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The Hurricanes: One High School Team's Homecoming After Katrina Hardcover – August 25, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A year after Hurricane Katrina pummeled the lower end of New Orleans' Plaquemines Parish, a peninsula housing one of the nation's most isolated and vulnerable counties, students from several demolished area schools set aside their rivalries at newly created South Plaquemines High. Cyril Crutchfield Jr., former coach at Port Sulphur High, took over the new school's football team-called, naturally, the Hurricanes-and led a ragtag group of players, living in FEMA trailers and lifting weights in a crumbling gymnasium, to the 2006 state playoffs. In 2007, the Hurricanes made another bid for the state championship, and New York Times sports writer Longman (Among the Heroes: United Flight 93 and the Passengers and Crew Who Fought Back) was granted exclusive access to every down. The result is an unflinching and often unflattering chronicle that reads like the series of newspaper articles it began as. It's clear that Longman, a native Louisianan, immersed himself in the local culture, and his insistence on providing political and social context makes this much more than a sports book. Unfortunately, Logman gets bogged down in that context ( as in nearly 20 pages on oyster farming), trying to make a big story-full of heart, sacrifice and the kind of American stories for which "inspired by" movies are made-even bigger.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School—Longman follows high school football coach Cyril Crutchfield, Jr., in his dogged determination to rebuild Louisiana's Plaquemines Parish through the sport. Teen rivals from three different schools joined together at the new South Plaquemines High. Overcoming many obstacles—including lifting weights in a makeshift training room in a ruined gym while watching highlights of opposing teams on a VCR run by a generator—this team made it to the 2006 state playoffs. Their goal for the next season was the state championship at the Dome in New Orleans. In addition to being a story about football, the book showcases the rebuilding of a community rich in tradition and commitment to family. It also highlights struggles with insurance companies, the poorly built FEMA trailers, and government subsidies. Share this title with fans of Friday Night Lights or those who want to learn about the effects of Hurricane Katrina on a small community.—Gregory Lum, Jesuit High School, Portland, OR
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs (August 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158648673X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586486730
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #479,420 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
THE HURRICANES: ONE HIGH SCHOOL TEAM'S HOMECOMING AFTER KATRINA is a heartwarming narration of achieving a dream after adversity.
Once again, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED provided an excerpt of this book in a 2008 issue. Numerous times SI has piqued my interest with selected sections from a book, and later on after reading it, I am glad I purchased or checked it out.
This is a story of a high school football team's achievement on the field of play after nearly the whole team faced tremendous adversity following the destruction of Hurricane Katrina in the bayou country. Jere Longman reviews so many areas surronding the team, community, coaches, parents, etc.,in that he presents a wonderful epic and narrative story. Not only does the community choose to advance from the destruction, but two high schools merge to represent the devasted area in sports. It is important for Mr. Longman to intertwine the recovery of emotional, physical and cultural areas in building the success of communities and a football team. It is interesting to read how the success of the region is ramrodded by the football team. Very pleasurable narration is provided to tell the story of the area's rebuilding. Presentation of the characters and culture of the region is done very well. At times the author bogs down the work with specifics of government beauracray and statutes. However, when he centers on football, it should be relished by the reader.
As a football official and former coach for over thirty years, I was shocked by the use of profane language by Coach Crutchfield whether on the field of play, in a locker roomor or simply trying to motivate his team. In the state of Kansas where I work sports, this type of abuse and use of vulgarities to his team, would have no use in this state. In a way, Mr.
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By Big Daddy Al on October 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Jere Longman has written an excellent book chronicling one parish's reaction to Hurricane Katrina, focusing on the high school football team but weaving in incredibly useful information about the people and history of Plaquemines Parish and all of Southeast Louisiana. It's a story of the importance of football in the fabric of a community in southern Louisiana.

Having played high school football in Louisiana myself "back in the day", I recognized so much in the story of coach Cyril Crutchfield and the Plaquemines Parish residents. The loud, profane and physical football coach. The sheriff's deputies who were former players themselves and still long to ride the bus with the team to away games. The players whose entire lives revolve around the sport. The anachronism of the wealth of resources and the grinding poverty of that part of the world. It really hit home.

The book is well-written and balanced - as an example, Longman strives to present the Belle Chasse side of the Plaquemines Parish feud, rather than simply showing the South Plaquemines/Port Sulphur side. And by tracking Randall Mackey, Jamal Recasner and the Bastrop Rams, he shows the intertwining of relationships in that part of the world.

As this review is written, Coach Crutchfield, Ridge Turner, Lyle Fitte and the rest of the Hurricanes are on their way to another state championship. One Times-Picayune reporter recently noted that they only way the Hurricanes don't win state is if they give up the sport of football between now and December. I recommend you read this book, and follow the Hurricanes through the rest of their season.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A well written, vibrant story about life after Katrina in a unique community. The story, based in a rural community surrounded by the Mississippi river and the Gulf of Mexico, accurately describes real personalities who make the community special in many ways.

If you are a fan of athletics, community life and the struggles of rebuilding life, then you will enjoy this book. One of the best books I have read in a long time.
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