Gayle Benson’s double duty

By Peter Finney Jr., Clarion Herald
Photo by Ron Brocato | CLARION HERALD

History was made Friday night at St. Charles Catholic High School in LaPlace.

Before St. Charles Catholic defeated E.D. White 36-0, Archbishop Gregory Aymond and Saints owner Gayle Benson dedicated the Comets’ new Thomas J. Dupuy football stadium.

The new home stands replace the ones that were originally part of the upper deck of Tulane Stadium before it was demolished in 1979, four years after the Superdome opened.

Former St. Charles Catholic coach Glenn Lee said the Comets’ original football field was laid out for the 1980 football season, and the Tulane stands were reassembled  by local volunteers – welders, engineers, parents and students – by 1981 or 1982.

“We had volunteers who were there whenever we called on them,” Lee recalled. “They supplied the trucks to haul the stands from New Orleans to LaPlace. People liked the idea of preserving a piece of Tulane Stadium.

“Many of our players and their parents took apart the red-oak boards that were the Tulane seats. It was a really big bonding of the community.”

The Sugar Bowl stands eventually began to show their age, and the school began the new stadium project last year. The total project cost came from individuals, businesses, a $100,000 donation from the Gayle and Tom Benson Foundation, a $50,000 donation from the NFL Foundation Grassroots Program and another grant from the NBA.

At a pre-game ceremony, St. Charles Catholic Advisory Board president Louis Authement presented Benson with a fleur-de-lis welded from the original Tulane Stadium stands.

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