Louisa Street might look like any other street in the city, with uneven spots and potholes. But for the Carver High School Track Team, it’s where they practice – they have no track.
And an empty lot next to the still-storm ravaged school is the Carver Football Field.
It’s all they have.
“It’s tough, you know, when you’re looking at what you got, and you always want to provide something better for them,” said teacher Brian Bordainick.
And to provide something better – a state of the art track surrounding a new artificial turf football field – is exactly Bordainick’s dream.
Bordainick had never heard of Carver High School before Katrina, but the New York native signed on with Teach for America to become a teacher in New Orleans. Soon after arriving last year, the 23 year old was named the school’s athletic director. He saw an opening to make a difference.
“With this great opportunity, what were you doing at this time. I want to be like, I was there, I was doing something,” Bordainick said.
And that something has grown into an idea he can’t believe.
Recently, he heard about an NFL grant program that would provide up to $200 thousand for schools to build football fields. But the NFL money is a match. In order to get the full $200 thousand, the school would have to raise $200 thousand of its own.
“Some people definitely questioned my sanity,” Bordainick said. “They’re like, you have 30 days to raise $200 thousand in a recession. Ah – good luck, sir”
But with help from another teacher they developed a website to raise money. People can purchase a brick that will become the “Walkway of Hope” leading to the new field.
Their fledgling project is appropriately called the 9th Ward Field of Dreams.
“Lets give people the opportunity to be a part of something that is just a lot bigger than any one individual, small donation,” Bordainick said.
The project got a huge boost this month when the Recovery School District agreed to donate $100 thousand to the cause.
The website e-mails and phone calls to anyone who will listen have brought in another $7,000, and even Carver students are chipping in $5 and $10 dollars.
“And that’s like, you’re like awesome. And that’s something that you’re like, wow, I hope we can get this done for them,” Bordainick said.
But they’re still roughly $93 thousand short of their goal. And the problem is, they have to turn in their grant application to the NFL by Dec. 15.
And as the website shows, the clock is ticking.
No one knows that better than first year carver football coach Shyrone Carey, the former Shaw and LSU standout, who lead the Rams return to football since the storm. They only had 30 players and lost 5 of their 6 games – but in this case, playing was just as important as winning.
And Carey says there’s a lot more on the line here than a track and some artificial grass.
“When people hear of Carver, now post-Katrina, they kind of just think everything is kind of bad. I would never send my kid here. But for the most part, if the facilities change the attitude around the community will change, and the overall perception of the school will change.
“And then we can build Carver to old tradition – even better,” Carey said.
Brian says the project is bigger than just Carver. It’s a public space open to the community and other schools free of charge – just one of many reasons he won’t quit.
“I got to get this done for them,” Bordainick said. “You know what I mean? You just want it bad.”
Originally Posted on WWWLtv.com by Mike Hoss. (Video available at WWLtv.com)