Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk to be honored with stadium at Carver Collegiate Academy _lowres

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Former G.W. Carver football player and NFL Hall of Famer for the St. Louis Rams Marshall Faulk, to the right of sign, unveils a rendering for the Marshall Faulk Field of Dreams Stadium, previously called the 9th Wa


Wednesday morning's press conference announcing a $3 million capital campaign to build the Marshall Faulk Field of Dreams served as the local version of the Carver Collegiate Academy legend's induction speech into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Distinct and dapper, Faulk recognized his mother and a long list of coaches, Rams supporters and friends in professional football that helped him during football journey from the Lower 9th Ward high school campus to San Diego State to a Super Bowl XXXIV victory with the St. Louis Rams as part of "The Greatest Show on Turf."

He also offered words of encouragement for Carver students in attendance.

"Sometimes it's dark. Sometimes it's hard," said Faulk, 42, who works as an pro football analyst on NFL Network. "Sometimes you have no idea where you are going. It's always good to chase a dream.

"And if you don't get to that dream, you're going to get further than not having that dream. So dream on."

If the capital campaign is successful by June, the stadium will be constructed in time for the 2016 high school football season, said Alvin Jones, president of the 9th Ward Field of Dreams Board of Directors. It will also serve as a home field for Carver, as well as McDonogh 35, Eleanor McMain and Warren Easton.

"It's been a long time coming," said Carver football coach Byron Addison, who led the 2014 football team to the first round of the Class 2A playoffs.

"It's a really good day for a lot of people. One of the things I've been struggling with is kids wanting to play in new facilities. They want to be in their own building. They want to be in their own school. It would be great to have our own stadium. Not many public schools can say that."

In August 2005, Carver's campus was ravished by Hurricane Katrina, moving its classes to modules, which has contributed to a declined enrollment.

The stadium will be located on Almonaster Blvd., off the Louisa exit of Interstate-10. The total cost of the facility is estimated at $3.6 million. Jones said the previous fundraising efforts have led to $1.3 million in funds.

"We were happy to do this project. This would be the first, state-of-the-art stadium and track (in New Orleans)," said Sean C. Turner, an associate at Harry Baker Smith, II Architects.

The facility is slated to seat up to 5,000, depending on funding efforts, and will host events from football and track to soccer and community affairs. Details will include a field turf playing surface, eight-lane certified track, instant replay video screen VIP suites and tailgating and parking areas. The site will also host a Hall of Fame dedicated to area high school players and coaches.

Faulk is sure to be on the list.

Jones, a 1964 graduate of Carver, said the school, which opened in 1958, was slated to house a football facility. Yet the concept was lost during the integration of the Orleans Parish schools.

"It was forgotten," Jones said. "So to get this idea back on track and have the opportunity to develop this stadium and make it something that's available to our children is very important to us."

Faulk, meanwhile, said it was an honor to have the facility named after him.

"It never gets old to know that the place that you call home, the place that you are from, you can have dignitaries show up, you can have the mayor show up, people from the Orleans Parish School Board, and try to build something that they understand is special."

Public officials in attendance included mayor Mitch Landrieu, Councilmen Jared Brossett, Nadine Ramsey and James Gray.