Looking Back, Moving Forward: A Reflection
by Oyd Craddock ’76, President & CEO
A full scholarship to the University of Notre Dame awarded to 2016 St. Augustine High senior Durrell Jackson prompted me to reflect on St. Aug’s academic legacy with Notre Dame and many other prestigious institutions. This includes historically black colleges and universities, Ivy League schools and others both near and far. Once this reflection started, it grew to the bigger picture of my alma mater’s history and impact. St. Aug is a special blessing from God that has had historical impact on New Orleans, the state and our country.
The world’s largest cruise line is led by St. Aug’s Arnold Donald ’72, President and CEO, Carnival Corporation. Arguably the world’s most influential news publication is led by St. Aug’s Dean Baquet ’74, Executive Editor, New York Times. One of the most popular anchors at the world’s premiere sports entertainment network is St. Aug’s Stan Verrett ’84, Anchor, ESPN. The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is aired weeknights in millions of homes and its bandleader is St. Aug’s Jon Batiste ’04.
The fraternity of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that led a nearly thirty-year effort to have the MLK Monument erected in Washington D.C. is currently led by St. Aug’s Mark Tillman ’84, General President, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. The University of Alabama has only had two Heisman Trophy winners in its history and both were coached by St. Aug’s Burton Burns ‘71, Assistant Head Football Coach / Running Backs Coach. For the first time in the NFL’s Super Bowl era, one high school had a graduate on each of the four teams competing for conference championships and a trip to Super Bowl 50.
These Purple Knights are in roles that grab public headlines and there are more in sports and entertainment like Avery Johnson ’83, Head Basketball Coach, Alabama, Leonard Fournette ’14, running back, LSU and PJ Morton ’99, singer, musician, record producer and keyboardist in the pop rock band Maroon 5. We don’t hear as much about guys like engineer Jermaine Mazant ‘99, a project leader on the F-35 fighter jet manufactured by Lockheed Martin in Dallas. Or, Lucien Parfaite ‘81, IT program manager who just returned from a five-year assignment in Bangkok, Thailand at one of the world’s largest banks.
This reflection could extend for pages naming New Orleans businessmen, doctors, lawyers, judges, educators, engineers, architects, police officers, fireman, legislators and more from St. Augustine. St. Aug graduates in roles that don’t make the news are far greater in number and represent an even greater impact. They are leading organizations, communities and most of all families.
St. Aug Alumni Mardi Gras Ball fundraisers held in Houston and Atlanta last month attracted 300 and 1500 attendees respectively. This level of attendance outside of New Orleans is a great example of the respect for Purple Knights living in these communities, their love for the New Orleans culture and strong connection to the unique St. Augustine High School mission. Surely this kind of broad and diverse impact from one school is not a coincidence or rare accident. Something very special has continued to happen at St. Aug.
Below you will find a list of even more alumnus’ names and school milestones in recognition of Black History Month and the contribution of the Josephite Fathers and Brothers who founded St. Aug in 1951. Josephites, the only community of men in the American Catholic Church whose exclusive mission is to serve the African American community, instilled a culture of leadership at the school that was manifested in social action. In 1967, the Josephites integrated Louisiana High School sports through legal action and also integrated Mardi Gras through the St. Aug’s Marching 100 Band. Even larger was their leading St. Aug’s students to be Louisiana’s first Black high schoolers registered to vote in 1965.
St. Augustine High School is a blessing from God and a special gift. Recipients of divine gifts have a responsibility to develop the gift, invest in the gift and use it for good to uplift God. This is why we must invest in St. Augustine High School. When we look at the past and the present we clearly see the school’s tremendous positive impact.
Looking to the future is even more important. The City of New Orleans can never achieve its full potential if Black males are not making a greater contribution. Unemployment among Black males is approximately 52%. More than 80% of men incarcerated in Orleans Parish are Black and over 90% of homicides in New Orleans are Black males – both victim and offender.
These statistics are horrifying and they are not unique to New Orleans. This cannot continue. We know there are many factors affecting these statistics, but education is definitely part of the answer. No man can fully lead, provide for and protect a family in this country without an education and valuable skills. St. Augustine High School is part of the answer. St. Aug’s proven formula of academic excellence, discipline and faith in God develops men that lead and make outstanding contributions to the economy and culture of communities everywhere.
The spirit of excellence instilled in St. Augustine by its founders can only continue if we invest in our school. We must each take the legacy of St. Aug personally. We can’t rely on others to build on our tradition.
I ask you to join me in making an investment in St. Aug and its mission. Contribute now. Donations may be directed wherever you like. Our critical needs are tuition assistance for students, dollars to attract and retain quality teachers and improvement of facilities on the 65-year old campus.
I end this reflection and appeal where I began, with 2016 senior Durrell Jackson headed to University of Notre Dame on full scholarship from the Posse Foundation. He will join fellow Purple Knight Derek Gauthier ’13 on campus and begin networking with recent Notre Dame graduates Jordon Brown ’09, David Soublet ’11 and Michael Harrison II ’11, son of New Orleans Police Chief Michael Harrison. All are continuing the St. Aug legacy established by its many Notre Dame graduates from past decades, including St. Aug’s Alvin J. McKenna ’59 the first Black to graduate from the Notre Dame Law School in 1966. Durrell joins a proud group of men that represent how St. Aug continues to influence Black History in America and around the globe.
The history of St. Aug is marked by a pioneering spirit.
Below are St. Augustine’s influential people and milestones that shaped Black history:
1958 – First African American school in the South to win a National Merit Scholarship.
1959 – First African American to graduate from Loyola University New Orleans.
1960 – Served as a center for operations for groups which participated in successful efforts to integrate lunch counters in New Orleans.
1964 – First Presidential Scholar in Louisiana and first African American student to enter and win the Tulane University Science Fair.
1966 – First African American student to graduate from the University of Notre Dame Law School.
1967 – First African American school to be admitted to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association, first African American marching band to participate in the Krewe of Rex parade, first African American to graduate from Tulane University, first African American to earn an athletic scholarship to Tulane University, and the first marching band to play at a New Orleans Saints game.
1968 – First African American to earn a Ph.D. from the University of New Orleans.
1969 – First African American to graduate from Tulane’s School of Law.
1974 – First African American Louisiana state senator.
1975 – First AAAA football team to go undefeated in the LHSAA and win the state championship.
1978 – First high school football team to win a state championship in the Louisiana Superdome.
1979 – First AAAA football team to win back-to-back state titles in the LHSAA.
1981 – New Orleans’ first African American city council member.
1982 – New Orleans’ first African American civil sheriff.
1983 – First AAAA basketball team to go undefeated in the LHSAA.
1986 – Second African American mayor of New Orleans.
1988 – First African American school to host the National Catholic Forensic League Speech Tournament.
1995 – First Louisiana basketball team to be named USA Today high school national champions.
1999 – “Passing Glory”, a movie about St. Aug’s secret basketball game against Jesuit High School during the Civil Rights era, airs on TNT.
2002 – First Louisiana band to participate in the Tournament of Roses parade.
2003 – New Orleans’ first African American district attorney.
2005 – First African American editor of The Los Angeles Times.
2014 – First African American executive editor of The New York Times.
“Notable Knights” – Alphabetically by Industry and Alumnus Name
Burton Burns | Associate head/running backs coach, Univ. of Alabama
Eugene Edgerson | Former Harlem Globetrotter and former NCAA basketball national champion (Univ. of Arizona)
Leonard Fournette | #1 Football Recruit 2013, LSU Record-Setting Running Back
Leroy Hoard | Rose Bowl MVP (Univ. of Michigan, 1989) and former NFL player
Tyrone Hughes | New Orleans Saints Hall of Famer
Alfred Jenkins | NFL player, Member of Undefeated Miami Dolphins 1972
Avery Johnson | Head basketball coach, University of Alabama; member, Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame; first coach to take the Dallas Mavericks to the NBA Finals; former NBA player and champion (San Antonio Spurs); and NCAA record holder (assists, Southern Univ.)
Kerry Kittles | Villanova Univ. basketball record holder and former NBA player
Steve Martin | Commissioner of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (NAIA), former NBA player, and first New Orleanian to be recruited by legendary Georgetown Univ. basketball coach John Thompson
Tyrann “Honey Badger” Mathieu | NFL player (Arizona Cardinals), 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist, and former NCAA All-American (LSU), NFL All-Pro 2015
Harold Nash, Jr. | Strength and Conditioning coach (New England Patriots) and former Canadian Football League player
Trai Turner | NFL player (Carolina Panthers), NFL Pro Bowl 2015, Super Bowl 50 appearance
David White | Arena Football League champion (Tampa Bay Storm), former NFL player, and educator
Mark Tillman | General President, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Kenneth Boutte, Ph.D. | Associate dean of Summer Programs and External Initiatives, Xavier University of Louisiana
Col. Alphonse Davis, U.S.M.C. | Former superintendent, New Orleans Public Schools
Raymond Diamond, J.D. | Vice chancellor and professor, Louisiana State University Law Center and first African American to gain tenure at LSU
Patrick Dobard | Superintendent, Louisiana Recovery School District
Antoine Garibaldi, Ph.D. | President, University of Detroit Mercy
Alfred Guillaume, Jr., Ph.D. | Vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, Indiana University South Bend
George McKenna, Ed.D. | Board member, Los Angeles Unified School District; famously turned George Washington Preparatory High School into an 80 percent college bound institution (depicted in the movie “Hard Lessons” starring Denzel Washington)
Percy Pierre, Ph.D. | Trustee emeritus, University of Notre Dame; director, the White House Fellows Foundation and Association; and vice president emeritus and professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Michigan State University
Alden Reine, Ph.D. | Former Xavier associate director, Center for Bioenvironmental Research of Tulane and Xavier Universities
Justin Augustine, III | Chevalier de L’Ordre National du Merite (Knight of the National Order of Merit conferred by the French Republic) and CEO, the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority
Wayne Baquet | Restauranteur and owner, Lil Dizzy’s Cafe
Ronnie Burns, Sr. | Founder, President and CEO of QCS Logistics
Arnold Donald | CEO, Carnival Corporation (parent company of Carnival Cruise Lines)
Al Gourrier | First African American bank president in Nevada and financial management consultant
Ruston Henry | Owner, H&W Drug Store
Vernel Bagneris | Writer and producer of the Grammy Award-nominated “One Mo’ Time”, actor, playwright, and dancer
Jon Batiste | Pianist, Band Leader, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
Terence Blanchard | Grammy Award-winning jazz trumpeter, bandleader, composer, arranger, and film score composer
Victor Goins | World renowned saxophonist, clarinetist, composer, arranger, bandleader, and educator
P.J. Morton | Grammy Award-winning songwriter, producer, musician, vocalist, and member of Maroon 5
Harold Sylvester | Film/TV actor, producer, and first African American to earn an athletic scholarship to Tulane Univ.
Carl Weathers | Actor, former NFL and CFL player, and U.S. Olympic Committee member
Rep. Austin Badon | Louisiana State Legislature
Hon. Dennis Bagneris | Judge, Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal
Hon. Michael Bagneris | Former judge, Orleans Parish Civil District Court
Sidney Barthelemy | Former mayor of New Orleans and first African American Louisiana Senator
Lambert Boissiere, Jr. | First African American New Orleans city council member, former Louisiana state senator, and New Orleans constable
Hon. Herbert Cade | Judge, Orleans Parish Traffic Court
Hon. Sidney Cates, IV | Judge, Orleans Civil District Court
Eddie Compass | Former New Orleans Police Department superintendent
Hon. Dennis Dannel | Late judge, Orleans Parish Traffic Court
Hon. Arthur Hunter, Jr. | Judge, Orleans Parish Criminal Court
Hon. Charles Jones | Judge, Louisiana Court of Appeal
Hon. Robert Jones, III | Chief administrative judge, Orleans Parish Traffic Court
Eddie Jordan, Jr. | First African American New Orleans district attorney
Hon. Bruce McConduit | Former judge, New Orleans Municipal Court and attorney
Hon. Lloyd Medley, Jr. | Former judge, Orleans Parish Civil District Court
Charles Parent | Former New Orleans Fire Department chief
Hon. Kern Reese | Orleans Parish Civil District Court judge
Fred Tombar | Executive director, Louisiana Housing Corporation
Paul Valteau | First African American New Orleans civil sheriff
Rory Verrett | Principal, the Raben Group (a law, advocacy and public policy firm); public affairs professional; and former vice president of Public Affairs and vice president of Talent Management, the National Football League
Hon. Ben Willard | New Orleans Criminal Court judge
Dean Baquet | First African American executive editor of The New York Times, first managing editor of the Los Angeles Times, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist
Terry Baquet | Page One editor, The Times-Picayune
Warren Bell, Jr. | First African American prime time weekday TV news anchor in New Orleans, radio broadcaster, and educator
“The World Famous” A.D. Berry | Radio broadcaster
Warren Brown | Columnist, Washington Post
Lebron Joseph | Former radio program director, TV personality, and media executive
Damon Singleton | Television meteorologist
Tod Smith | General manager and president, WWL-TV
Vincent Sylvain | Publisher, The New Orleans Agenda
Stan Verrett | ESPN anchor
John S. Adams, M.D. | OB-GYN
Louis Bevrotte, M.D. | Pediatrician
Emmett Chapital, Jr., M.D. | Cardiologist
Pierre S. Charles, Jr., M.D. | Surgeon
Anthony T. Clavo, M.D. | Anesthesiologist
Kenneth Coignet, M.D. | Family physician
Joseph Cole, III, M.D. | Anesthesiologist
Edgar Dapremont, Jr., M.D. | Opthamologist
Keenan Davis, D.D.S.
Fabian Desbordes, D.D.S.
Gary Dawson, M.D. | Physiatrist
Earl Epps, Jr., M.D. | Family physician
Joseph Epps, Jr., M.D. | Neurologist
Keith Ferdinand, M.D. | Cardiologist and professor of Clinical Medicine at the Tulane Vascular Institute
Clarence Foster, III, M.D. | Transport surgeon
Lloyd Gueringer, M.D. | Emergency medicine doctor
Jerald James, Aud.D. | Audiologist
Lance Lamotte, M.D. | Cardiologist
Michael Lavigne, M.D. | Internist
Chris Marrero, M.D. | Orthopeadist
Roy Marrero, M.D. | Internist
Dwight McKenna, M.D. | Internist
Warren McKenna, M.D. | Opthamologist
Milton Moore, Jr., M.D. | Dermatologist
Winston Murray, Jr., M.D. | Gastroenterology
Kendall Parker, D.D.S.
Reginald L. Parker, M.D. | Family physician
Errol Quintal, M.D. | Cardiologist
Alden Reine, Jr., M.D. | Urology
Fred Sambronne, D.M.D.
Reginald Taylor, D.M.D.
Ernest Tiller, D.D.S.
Don Timpton, D.D.S.
Kirk Washington, D.D.S.
Gerard K. Williams, M.D. | Internist
Wydell Williams, M.D. | Surgical oncologist
Maj. Antonio Amos | U.S. Army
Lt. Col. Corey Broussard, Ph.D. | U.S. Air Force Academy
Maj. Harold Brown | U.S. Air Force (Retired)
Col. Irwin Jollivere | U.S. Marine Corps
Cdr. Elmo Peters, Jr. | U.S. Coast Guard
Col. Steven Scioneaux | U.S. Army (Retired)
Maj. Ferdinand Stoval | U.S. Marine Corps (Retired)
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