Building a Sports’ Program- St. Augustine High School (1955)

 ” The Purple Knights”

When St. Augustine opened its doors to young black males in the fall of 1951, the Josephite Fathers/ Brothers and faculty knew of the important need to develop not only the spiritual and educational, but also the physical and mental health of its students. As a result, Mr. George“Nick”Connor was given the task of building a sports’ program at the newly opened facility. Aside from teaching Industrial Arts, General Science and Civics; George Connor coached football, basketball, baseball, and track. He was the first coach and the only coach that year but, by the second year, he was assigned two assistant coaches. For the next forty- three years, he would remain the Athletic Director. Building a tradition of winning in sports is no easy task for a new school which has to compete against already established programs.

The photos and names of students are taken from the 1955 yearbook, “The Josephite”. This was the year of the first graduating class and the fourth year of sports at St. Augustine. Students below are members of various grades and are not necessarily graduating seniors. Just thought you might enjoy taking a few minutes to look back and remember…58 years ago


[ Click images to enlarge all photos below ]      

Back Row (left to right):  Wendell LaGarde (Mgr.),  Mr. Michael Houlemard (Asst.)Coach),  Jules Dixon,  George Saul,  Ronald  Rebert,  Herman Shiloh,  Kenneth Beckman,  Sylvano Houlemard,   Elliott Labat,  Ronald George,  Calvin Ramie,  Horace Ellsworth.

Second Row:  Howard Nickles,  Lawrence Russ,  Burney Scott,  Herbert Chatman,  Gregory Bart,  Albert Allen,  Roy Dejoie,  Gilbert Potlongo,  Herman Dobard,  Oliver Moret,  Manzel Woodfork,  Mr. George  Connor (Coach).

Front Row:  Steve Narcisse (Mgr.)  Lionel Barthelemy,  Horace Courseault, Herbert Jolly,  Joseph Pepin,  Anthony Long,  Leon Mathieu,  Joel Charbonnet,  Wayne Berger,  Albenny Ross,  Lloyd Alexander, James Jackson,  Melvin Morris (Mgr.)

Results-1954-55 Football Season—7 Games Played [5 Wins-2 Losses]




Back Row (left to right):  William Severin,  Percy Pierre, Watson Jones,  Eddie Andrews,  Stanley Briscoe,  Wilfred Garnier,  Mr. George Connor (Coach).

Front Row:   Alton Domio (Mgr.),  Arnold Romain,  William Cheatham,  Adam Banks,  George Saul,   Louis Veret,  Aaron Tircuit,  Horace Ellsworth (Mgr.)

Results- 1954-55 Basketball Season— “City Champions”— 21 Games Played  [16 Wins—5 Losses]



Back Row (left to right):  Samuel Gable,  George Saul,  James Jackson,  Ronald George,  Willard Gibbs,  Oliver Moret,  Manzel Woodfork,  Elliott Labat,  Burney Scott,  Anthony Long,  Albert Arcenaux,  Ernest White,  Mr. George Connor (Coach).

Front Row:   Herman Dobard (Asst. Coach),  Joseph Pepin, Melvin Morris,  Errol Lizana, Glynn Jones,  Albenny Ross,  William Cheatham,  Lloyd Alexander,  Howard Nickles,  Horace Courseault,  Albert Bierria, Adam Banks.



Back Row(left to right):  Morris Whitfield,  John McClenon,  Robert Johnson,  Donald Remy,  Wilfred Garnier,  George Payton,  Arnold Romain,  Donald Frazier,  Mr. Michael Houlemard (Coach).

Front Row:   Dominic Roussell (Mgr.)  Horace Ellsworth,  Raymond Aguillard,  Joseph Blazio,  Walter Doucette,  Fabian Desbordes,  Errol Remy,  Calvin Ramie, Virgil Sorina (Mgr.)

Sources : The Josephite ( St. Augustine High School’s Yearbook of 1955- personal copy); Between Law and Hope, Compiled by Matthew J. O’Rourke of the Josephite Fathers and Brothers; The Louisiana Weekly, 01 September 1951 p.1 & 2.

Lolita V. Cherrie

7 thoughts on “Building a Sports’ Program- St. Augustine High School (1955)

  1. Thanks again for an important part of the New Orleans that was in our day and before. I look forward to one on Mr. Hampton since both of my children are band directors and admired him greatly in fact Sybil did part of her observation at Loyola with Mr. Hampton. He was quite a role model.  Of course, I had to learn to root for St. Aug once there were no longer boys and football at Xavier Prep.  Those days were priceless.  Your posts continue to amaze me. Please continue.Jackie Grooms James

  2. Praise God! There is so much to be thankful for in our past: REAL MEN — thank you Jesus!!!!. The shoulders we stood on and took for granted because we did not know!!!! Mr, Hampton, Mr. Blouin, Fr. Pavlak, Fr. McKenna, Fr. CHARLES Hall, NYG NFL, Fr. O’Rourke, Fr. Caffey, Fr. Grant, Fr. Keenan, Mr. Davis (Bai-Bai), MR. EVANS (knof yo teef out wifff a rof), MR. FLINT, SMILLEY, Bro. Baptiste, Bro. Oliver, Bro. John Degruy, Bro. Ron and Gerald Williams (WAM!), Bro. Craig Bouise, Bro. David Arceneaux, Sister Theresa Avilla at Corpus Christi Church, Mrs. Lillie at Rivers Frederick JHS, and the best CREOLE cooks in the whole wide world at St . Aug Kitchen, DAILY. OMG!!!!!. I can never forget Fr .Caffey trying to teach us manners at lunch with CREOLE FOOD on the long tables! Go figure! HA! JOY! JOY! JOY! What a life for a whoping 10 bucks a month. I loved it. Thank you. Philip Ortick (The Original Maching 100 ’62)

  3. Amen!!! Ditto to everything you said Philip. What a wonderful and powerful legacy we have at St. Aug. A solid foundation laid – we were destined to succeed. Thanks to all…Blessings, David Arceneaux (Class ’62 – Marching 100)

  4. Thank you for this enriching article. I am proud to be among the chosen few. St. Augustine molded me into the man I am today. I am proud to have crossed the paths of St. Aug legends: Fr. Pavlak, Fr. Coffey, Fr. Perry, Mr. Ott, Mr. Curet, Mr. Lenfant, Coach Watson Jones, Bro. Geroge, Bro. Fox, Bro. Price, Coach Payne, Coach Al Jones, Ms. Carter, Mr. Augustine, Mr. Davis, Mr. Nick Conners, Mr. Hampton, Mr. Blouin, Mr. Caruso, Mr. Allen….Thanks to all and many more. Kentral Hagan (Class ’86–Marching 100)

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