In its 53nd year of fielding a football team, Archbishop Shaw High will finally play “home” football games at its real home.
Since its first varsity season as a member of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association in 1966, Shaw had rented Harold “Hoss” Memtsas Stadium on the West Jefferson High campus for home games.
Now, thanks to funding by sponsors and donors, the Eagles will host four games at its new on-property stadium.
The first regular seasonvisitor will be Vandebilt Catholic on Sept. 15 at 11 a.m.
Three Catholic League home games will include Archbishop Rummel on Sept. 29 at 2 p.m., St. Augustine on Oct. 5 at 3:30 p.m., and on Oct. 27 when the Eagles greet Brother Martin at 2 p.m.
The stadium, which hosted the New Orleans Gold Rugby Club’s first season during the summer, will seat about 2,500 spectators in its structure on the home side of the stadium and about 1,500 on the visitors side when additional stands – formerly used for football games at the stadium on Airline Drive – are erected at Shaw, said the school’s athletic director Tom Alef.
Revenue from the four games, which include admission, parking and concessions, will go toward improving the facility by Eagles Athletic Facility Corp, an L3T group that built the stadium.
Neither the school nor the athletic department will receive any revenue from profits, other than sale of T-shirts or other items bearing the Shaw logo.
But the school will no longer have to pay rental fees for Memtsas Stadium, which were $1,200 for a day game and $1,300 to turn on the stadium lights.
“What we will eventually be getting out of it is a beautiful stadium on our campus,” Alef said.
Alef noted that future improvements will include lights to enable the Eagles to play home games on Friday nights, a practice track and permanant locker rooms.
“This is a never-ending fundraiser whose long-term proceeds will eventually go back to financial aid and capital improvements,” he said.
During this first season, Shaw’s stadium will seat approximately half the 8,000 capacity of Memtsas stadium.
The Eagles’ three Catholic opponents have large, enthusiastic contingents of fans, parents and support groups that travel with them and who will get to experience football in Marrero.