How Nicholls football is recovering from Hurricane Ida as Memphis opener arrives

Chris Singleton
The Courier

Nicholls football has a season opener to play Saturday at Memphis. However, you'll have to excuse the Colonels if some of their focus remains on the  community dealing with devastation from Hurricane Ida.

The Category 4 hurricane caused widespread damage across southeastern Louisiana on Sunday. Lafourche Parish, where Nicholls is located, was one of the hardest-hit areas by the storm.

Many Nicholls players and their families had damage to their homes. The Nicholls campus in Thibodaux suffered moderate damage and remains closed until further notice.

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Nicholls coach Tim Rebowe said the Colonels are doing their best to handle the situation as they prepare to face the Tigers in Liberty Bowl Stadium on Saturday (6 p.m., ESPN+).

“They know our community and their families back at home are going through some tough times,” Rebowe told Houma Today. “I think our players are handling it real well. They have a chance to do something that they love and get on the field and play ball. That’s what those guys are here to do.”

Rebowe said Nicholls didn’t leave Thibodaux prior to Ida’s landfall on Sunday. The players left town on their own and evacuated with their families.

“We usually give the players off on Friday and Saturday before we start prepping on Sunday anyway, so our players were gone,” Rebowe said. “They were out of town. They relocated to other areas where they were safe. It wasn’t like a mass exodus where we had to hurry up and get out of town. They were already gone for the storm and we just told them to stay put. We started getting back once we started getting communication.”

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Rebowe said Nicholls regrouped on Tuesday and arrived in Memphis on Wednesday morning after setting up arrangements with Tigers coach Ryan Silverfield. Memphis has allowed Nicholls to use its practice fields, locker rooms and even helped with lodging and aid.

“We are very grateful. We can’t thank Memphis enough," Rebowe said. "Their whole staff has helped us out they best they can. We greatly appreciate it. I think everybody is doing really well here." 

After seeing their fans deal with Ida's destruction, Rebowe said Nicholls will be inspired to play for the Bayou Region against Memphis.

“I wish we could all be there to help everyone but I think this is something we can do,” Rebowe said. “We’re going to try to come home with a victory for them.”