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Author Kent Babb On A New Orleans High School Football Team Fighting To Win — And Survive

Another big storm has come to New Orleans. Hurricane Ida left one of America’s great cities battered again, just as so many storms have done over the years, even as parts of New Orleans are still recovering from Hurricane Katrina 16 years later.

kent babb
Kent Babb

But the city has hard times between storms, too. On the far bank of the Mississippi River, across from the French Quarter, there’s a neighborhood called Algiers. It’s part of New Orleans but not really of the city. And at Edna Karr High School in Algiers, there’s a football coach trying to not just win games but save the lives of his young players.

That’s the subject of “Across the River,” the new book by this week's SouthBound guest, Kent Babb.

Babb is a sportswriter for the Washington Post, and after writing about Karr High for the newspaper, he went back and spent the season with the team for his book. It’s about young men trying to navigate lives far more violent and complicated than most of us ever have to deal with. It’s about coaches struggling with those kids and with one another. It’s about so much beyond what happens on the field.

One of the slogans at Karr is “give ‘em the real.” As we enter another football season in the South, it’s important to remember the power of the game in the lives of the kids who play it.

Kent Babb gives us the real.

Show notes

Other music in this episode

Serge Quadrado, "The River Song"

Tommy Tomlinson has hosted the podcast SouthBound for WFAE since 2017. He also does a commentary, On My Mind, which airs every Monday.