Louisianans try to move on after difficult week | Marcase

John Marcase
Special to The Town Talk

I’m not going to lie.

The past 10 days or so have been rough.

What do you say to a friend, who is experiencing every parent’s or grandparent’s worst nightmare, that being the death of a healthy and vibrant infant?

How do you help when it comes on the anniversary of the nightmare you and your wife lived through 12 years before?

What do you say to a former employee and good friend in the hours before he will bury his father, all the while knowing it will be the first of two funerals that week for he and his mom? Sure enough, his sister died a couple of hours after his dad’s funeral.

LOVE AND KINDNESS:Returning the love: Local businesses gather donations to help Southeast La. residents

What do you say to your wife when her nearly 92-year-old grandmother dies on the 12-year anniversary of your 3-month-old daughter dying of SIDS? What do you say to your father-in-law?

On that same day comes news of the death of longtime auto racing journalist Robin Miller, someone you admired and respected, someone who befriended you as you crossed paths many times as you both covered Indy car races. Someone who would greet you by calling out to you, “Hey, it’s my Louisiana Gannett Buddy!”

What do you say to your numerous friends and family who were in the direct path of Hurricane Ida, many of whom thankfully escaped injury, but are now dealing with damage or the prospects of being without power for weeks?

Finally, what do you say to the family of a classmate from high school who died Monday after a long fight with COVID-19. Just the day before, his father told me he was praying for a miracle.

We often associate miracles with sports – the Miracle on Ice, a Hail Mary finish to a football game, a length of the court buzzer-beating shot.

Sports should be our escape from the weight of the world, and they often are.

A PURPLE AND GOLD TICKET:Could vaccination be the ticket to watch LSU football in person? | Marcase

A year ago, Chris Towery joked his new title was lumberjack. Before he coached his first game at Sulphur, the 1990 graduate of Pineville was leading a team of players and coaches as a chainsaw crew, helping cut trees off houses in Sulphur following Hurricane Laura.

Sulphur played a shortened season a year ago, but at least they played. Many other Lake Charles-area schools never got that chance, such as perennial 5A power Barbe.

Drive through Lake Charles today and you still see heavy damage throughout the city from Laura and Hurricane Delta that hit weeks later in mid-October.

Friday night, Sulphur will play its first home game under the lights in two seasons when the Tors and Towery host his alma mater, who will be making its debut under first-year coach Bryant Bell.

It’ll take weeks, months and likely years for Southeast Louisiana to recover, as many schools face the same rebuilding as Sulphur and Barbe and many other Calcasieu Parish schools.

Tulane spent the entire summer hyping its football season-opener as the Green Wave were scheduled to host Oklahoma on campus in Yulman Stadium. The game was moved Monday out of powerless New Orleans to Oklahoma.

New Orleans Saints quarterbacks Jameis Winston (2) and Trevor Siemian, right, participate in the team's NFL football workout at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Monday, Aug. 30, 2021. Displaced by Hurricane Ida, the  Saints went back to work Monday about 500 miles away in the home of another NFL team. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

The Saints, anxious to begin the post-Drew Brees era, may not be able to play their home opener against Green Bay Sept. 12 in the Superdome due to the power issues. Thankfully, the Superdome appears to have escaped damage. As we all know, that wasn’t the case 16 years ago when Katrina pounded the city and Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Hopefully, the Saints won’t be vagabonds like they were then, and can return home following their brief exile to Dallas.

LSU, due to fortuitous scheduling, isn’t likely to miss a home game as the Tigers were scheduled to open their season Saturday in the Rose Bowl against UCLA.

MORE FROM MARCASE:Alan Fontenot steps into new role for Rapides Parish students and athletes | Marcase

As my wife and I discovered a dozen years ago, life goes on, whether you want it to or not. It’ll be the same way for those I care about who are in mourning, and those who are literally picking up the pieces following Ida.

And, to my friend Robin, wherever you maybe, take LSU Saturday and give the points.

John Marcase is a former assistant managing editor and sports editor of The Town Talk. He writes a weekly column.