A documentary premiering Saturday at the New Orleans Film Festival recounts the saga of the 1967 St. Augustine High School football team, which desegregated the formerly all-white Catholic football league in 1967.
Featuring Louisiana actor Wendell Pierce and directed by Oyd Craddock, "Before the West Coast" will be screened at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Ace Hotel.
The St. Aug team, coached by Otis Washington, faced racist referees and hostile fans after it was allowed to play against white Catholic school teams. Nevertheless, the team, representing a historically black Catholic high school, went on to become the No. 1 ranked team in the state.
"Before the West Coast" relies upon archival footage as well as interviews with former players, coaches and community members to tell the story of the team that inspired the community and pioneered plays that later were popularized as the "West Coast style."