Talented people ooze through our communities
Another Bayou Boy is making his name on the big stage over in Baton Rouge, as Larose native Ed Orgeron helped lead the LSU Tigers to victory on Saturday night.
But few folks around these parts are all that surprised.
People from our community have been doing big things for a long, long time.
For as small as our community is, we have a huge number of extraordinary people who call the Bayou area home.
In the world of sports, we have Orgeron, of course, who is a veteran football coach, who is regarded by his peers as one of the best in the country.
Of course, we also are the home Bobby Hebert, too, the once-Pro Bowl passer who is now known as the Voice of the Saints on WWL Radio. Hebert grew up just down the road from Orgeron in Cut Off.
Both Orgeron and Hebert are of the same era. Heck, they graduated high school together and won a State Championship on the gridiron at South Lafourche in the 1970s.
But a look into the present shows that the two aren’t just one-hit wonders. They’re merely just two in a long line of local standouts who do wonderful things on a national stage.
Sticking with football, many don’t realize that the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL Draft just a few years ago was a man who was born and bred in Thibodaux.
That would be big Greg Robinson, who dominated at Thibodaux High School a few seasons ago, then went to Auburn.
While there, Robinson helped lead the Tigers all the way to the top of the standings, which pushed him to the NFL ranks where he’s currently regarded as one of the top offensive tackles in the NFL.
While Robinson is a star today, Houma native Justin Williams is trying to ascend to that level in the world of professional baseball.
The Terrebonne High School graduate is rising through the Tampa Bay Rays farm system right now, and is widely considered to be one of the team’s top prospects.
In a few years, we fully expect Williams to be slugging home runs in Major League games. If it happens, he will be the first local MLB player in several years.
Shifting to the world of basketball, and the Houma area is home to several players who are either at the professional level or are soon to take their talents to the top.
Houma is home to Sumar Leslie – the area’s only-ever female professional hoops player.
Her little brother, Lionheart Leslie, is a senior at California State – Fullerton. He, too, will likely be a pro once the season ends.
Area high schools also produced talents like Nicholls standout Cassidy Barrios, UNO’s Nate Frye and Randi Brown, LSU-Alexandria’s Gibby Talbot, George Mason’s Jewel Triggs and many, many others who are all representing their programs in collegiate action.
It’s awesome to see, and per capita, we arguably have more people who make it to the top than any other place in the state of Louisiana.
And the reason for that is simple: We provide the adequate support system that fosters young peoples’ developments and allows them to shine.
The Houma-Thibodaux area has some of the best youth sports leagues in the country.
In terms of facilities, we may be a little bit lacking, but the area has an influx of volunteer coaches, which, of course, allows for more player development.
Having that is something that many in our area take for granted, but it’s a luxury that allows many of our area’s children to grow up and become productive citizens once they’re out of the athletic setting.
So kudos to all of those unsung heroes who never get any of the praise that they’re due.
Behind every accomplished athlete are about 100 coaches, family members, friends or teachers who have been patient enough to allow the young man/woman a chance to be successful.
Our area is loaded with talent, and it’s awesome to see.
But we’re also loaded with good people who foster that talent, and that should never be forgotten or unappreciated. •