Commentary: Hurricanes and championships bond New Orleans and Houston

Commentary: Hurricanes and championships bond New Orleans and Houston
November 16
04:00 2017

By James B. Ewers Jr.

Hurricanes and championships bond New Orleans and Houston

If you live along a coastal city like I do [New Orleans], you know the weather is mild with no snowflakes around. Well, maybe once in a blue moon.

Cold weather seldom stays around long, so we sometimes watch television to gain a perspective on what cold weather really looks like. Wind chill is a term we only hear in January, maybe February.

However, along with the mild, balmy weather comes a season that we fear and it is appropriately called “hurricane season.” Hurricane season begins in June and usually ends in November. During this time, we are on the lookout for severe weather.

Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29, 2005. Cities like New Orleans were devastated. Lives were lost, homes were destroyed and the city of New Orleans was left in peril.

The pictures shown on television about the effects of Katrina were real. Never in its history had New Orleans been breached so badly. Lake Pontchatrain waters filled the streets, levees overflowed and people were on rooftops begging for help. The Super Dome was a temporary shelter for hundreds of residents.

The hurricane filled the streets and avenues with grief and sorrow, but it did not break the spirits of its citizens. Slowly but surely, the city of New Orleans began to rebuild. Hope replaced hopelessness and despair turned into strength.

Nothing was going to stop New Orleans from regaining its place as a world-class city. People love to visit this city. Its culture, the food and its history beckon people from all over the world.

One of the ambassadors for this revitalization was the New Orleans Saints football team. Fans in Louisiana love their football team. Trying to get a ticket to a Saints game can be a tough task.

The Saints’ season in 2009 was special. The excitement grew as the Saints went on a winning streak and won the Super Bowl played early in 2010.

Who would have imagined that a team whose city was almost destroyed would win a Super Bowl? Do you believe in miracles? I do, along with the citizens of New Orleans and its football team.

The city of Houston is also near water as the Gulf of Mexico is not far away. Hurricane Harvey hit the city of Houston Texas and nearby areas like Galveston on Aug. 25, 2017. It had 130 mph winds. It was classified as a Category 4 storm and was the most intense storm in the Gulf of Mexico since Hurricane Rita in 2005. Loss of life, families displaced and horrific conditions characterized the Houston area.

The Red Cross and first responders were on the scene from the very beginning. JJ Watt, a football player for the Houston Texans, has garnered millions of dollars for the city through his acts of courage and conviction.

In the meantime, the Houston Astros baseball team was attempting to play their games. While shell-shocked as they were, they played winning baseball. Their last game of heroics against the New York Yankees earned them a trip to the World Series. Their opponent was the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Houston Astros had never won a World Series. So, if you looked at the two franchises and what the Astros and their city were enduring, you would probably pick the Dodgers to win.

As Lee Corso of ESPN always says, not so fast my friends. The Astros won a decisive seventh game and won the 2017 World Series. The Astros, formerly known as the Houston Colt 45s, entered the league as an expansion team in 1962.

So, we have two championship teams roughly five hours apart from one another tied together by hurricanes. While each hurricane had a different name and the sports were different, the exhilaration and pride are the same. When you look at what each city has had to overcome and is still overcoming, you realize a Higher Power was at work in each case. Both cities fell but got back up again. They refused to lose, despite the odds.

Rudy Tomjanovich, former coach of the Houston Rockets, said it best when he said, “Don’t underestimate the heart of a champion.” Both cities and their teams exemplified this statement.

Congratulations to the cities of New Orleans and Houston for their resiliency and for their championship teams.

James B. Ewers  Jr. Ed.D. is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem and played college tennis at Johnson C. Smith University. He is a retired college administrator.  He can be reached at

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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