Thomas Dupuy Stadium on the campus of St. Charles Catholic has been the scene of numerous top-flight players and games over the years.
The history of the stadium, however, goes well beyond the Laplace school.
“That’s the old Tulane Stadium, which was the largest steel-construction stadium in the country at one time,” St. Charles coach Frank Monica claims. “It held 82,000 people. It was home of three of the first nine Super Bowls. Famous players like Archie Manning was in there.
“I remember the inaugural football game with the New Orleans Saints and John Gilliam (returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown) in that stadium.”
Monica also remembers how a portion of the old Tulane Stadium made it’s way to St. Charles Catholic.
“I happened to witness the guys cutting out the stadium at the time as a Tulane assistant when they were doing that,” Monica said. “It was cut out and moved by barges on the river and unloaded. It sat here for two years before it was actually resurrected into its present state.
“A lot of parents turned out to put the stadium up in its present fashion.”
Tulane Stadium opened in 1926, the venue served as the home for Sugar Bowls along with Tulane and New Orleans Saints football until giving way to the Louisiana Superdome in 1975.
Demolition of the stadium ended in 1980.
A portion saw new life as the stadium at St. Charles. Like most things, even inanimate ones, time takes its toll.
“Our football stadium has been condemned. It can no longer be insured,” Monica explained. “We have a number of the support structures have corroded away. There is a lot of rust beneath the stadium.
“The deterioration is to the point where it can’t be insured. It’s not ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant right now. We need handrails. The aisles themselves are somewhat narrow.”
With that in mind, a special meeting will be held at the school from 5-8 p.m. Saturday seeking pledges to build a new stadium.
“In order for us to have a stadium by the time the season opens up, we are having an immediate fundraiser,” Monica said. “We are asking people to pledge at least $200 a year for a five-year period.
“The overall cost of the stadium, we are looking at $540,000, which also includes the press box and demolition costs.”
St. Charles Catholic officials hope to have the new stadium in place in time for the 2019 season, allowing for a very small timeframe.
“The early feedback on it has been very, very positive,” said Monica. “I think anybody that’s played in that stadium or been associated with St. Charles Catholic would probably respect it enough and St. Charles Catholic enough and our program enough to feel it is part of their personality.
“I think it is important that we do get a hold of these people.”
The stadium is expected to hold about 1,600 people. The architects are the same ones who built the current Parkview Baptist stadium in Baton Rouge and Teurlings Catholic in Lafayette.
The first home game of the 2019 season is scheduled for Week 3 of the season, so that gives St. Charles a little extra time.
If the stadium is not ready in time, it could force several different options for St. Charles.
“Potentially, we could play some games at East St. John that didn’t conflict with their home schedule,” said Monica.
That’s one option.
“The alternative would be we would have to play all our games on the road or at a neutral venue. I don’t think that would sit well with our situation. We’ve always been a traditional Friday night football team.” Monica said.