When a fire set by arsonists last month heavily damaged Resurrection of Our Lord School in New Orleans East, Dr. Si Nguyen, the school principal, lost one of his cherished possessions – an LSU helmet autographed by Coach Les Miles.
“I couldn’t find the helmet after the fire,” Nguyen said. “I imagine when they were cleaning things out it went straight from the office to the dumpster.”
Miles heard about the fire, and on March 16, a new helmet freshly signed by the head coach arrived at Resurrection School.
As Nguyen showed off the helmet to Toya Jackson’s kindergarten class, they squealed with delight.
“Do you know what this is?” Nguyen asked the kids.
“A football helmet,” one boy replied.
Nguyen asked, “Specifically, what team is this? Do you recognize the letters – L … S … U? And there’s a Tiger on the helmet and it’s signed by the head coach; see, ‘Les Miles.’ I’m so excited, do you know that?”
Nguyen said many schools, churches and individuals have helped in Resurrection’s recovery. Students in pre-K through first grades have been back in their classrooms for three weeks, but students in second through eighth grades should be able to return from their temporary quarters in the former St. Paul the Apostle School in Gentilly by the week of March 26.
“So many people have been helping us,” Nguyen said. “We certainly will not forget those who have helped us, especially in our daily prayers.” Nguyen is a 1994 psychology graduate of LSU. “I’ve always been a fan,” he said. “I was not expecting this.”