When Hurricane Katrina roared through New Orleans in August 2005, it took nearly 2,000 lives, displaced more than a million people, and caused significant damage to St. Augustine High School.
In the days following the storm, the school, students and teachers were scattered across the country. The world famous Marching 100 was silenced. St. Aug’s brand-new rehearsal hall, hundreds of instruments and the Marching 100’s pristine uniforms were all destroyed.
In time, the school would rebuild the rehearsal hall and replenish instruments, sheet music, and parts of the iconic Marching 100 band uniform. However, the band’s signature gold helmet would prove a challenge to replace. The band was left without a key part of the uniform.
In the summer of 2010, the Marching 100 would move toward regaining a part of their iconic uniform that had been missing for so long. The band staff agreed that it was time to bring the flash of the Marching 100’s nostalgia back to New Orleans. “The helmets we had at the time were merely temporary, and we knew it was time to bring in something true to our tradition,” said Eddie Williams, assistant band director for five years, now head of the program.
The staff began a search for a uniform company that could replicate the traditional Marching 100 helmet. Several manufacturers reported that the price of new helmets would be too expensive because the mold of the Marching 100 helmet is so unique. The uniforms were replaced, but the staff could not find helmets to match the majesty of the traditional Marching 100 regalia.
God answered St. Aug’s prayers by way of Al Poree, an alumnus and owner of Poree’s Plastering Company, a pottery company in New Orleans. With regular consultations over the course of two months, Poree replicated 150 new helmets to match the rejuvenated Marching 100. He took his time crafting each helmet out of hard clay, giving it a “finely stitched” appearance along with a beautiful gold-flaked finish.
The new helmets gave the Marching 100 a renewed sense of pride, and it showed as they marched in parades and competitions across the country from the Martin Luther King Celebration in St. Petersburg, Florida to Pasadena California for Tournament of Roses Parade. Of the remaining hand-crafted helmets, St. Augustine is providing families, friends, and supporters of the Marching 100 a chance to own a piece of that rich history.
Now for a limited time, the Marching 100 is raising funds for the music program by offering the classic helmets for sale. The helmets are priced at $100 and 100% of proceeds benefit St. Augustine High School Music Programs.
Consider your helmet purchase an investment in the next generation of Marching 100 musicians who will make an impact on New Orleans culture and illuminate stages around the world.
All band helmets are sold ‘as-is.’
About the St. Augustine High School Music Program: St. Augustine High School’s internationally acclaimed music program draws talented students from all around the Greater New Orleans area. This unique program brings students directly into the life of New Orleans’ professional music community allowing them to study in a disciplined environment while receiving a standard of artistic and academic training unique at the secondary school level. Graduates of the program go on to study at some of the world’s best colleges and conservatories.