When Hurricane Katrina ravaged the New Orleans area, Warren Easton High School was hit hard. W.E. was damaged so badly there was talk of shuttering it permanently and converting the oldest public high school in Louisiana (est. 1844) into apartments. The community rallied to save the school, but rebuilding the football program presented an even greater challenge.
When head coach Tony Hull arrived in 2007, all the former players had been relocated to nearby states. Every piece of the school’s sports equipment had been destroyed. Of the 55 students that came out for the team that first year, only four had ever played football in their lives. Squad by squad, Hull rebuilt the program, but even now challenges remain.
“We have kids who don’t have running water at home,” says Coach Hull, “who don’t know where the next meal is going to come from.”
Cut to 2014, the Warren Easton Fighting Eagles have been fully rebuilt and, anchored by blue-chip quarterback and Texas A&M recruit Deshawn Capers-Smith, are on the brink of the Class 4A state championship. Standing in their way at the Superdome, however, is perennial Louisiana high-school football power, Neville.
In “W.E. NOLA,” directed by Colin Barnicle, we follow Warren Easton from the raucous pep rally to the thrilling conclusion of the back-and-forth championship as it attempts to complete the amazing journey from nothing to the school’s first state title since WWII.
“Our kids are extremely passionate,” says Coach Hull. “They care about this game a whole lot because they know it can take them places they’ve never been before.”