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Members of the St. Amant band perform during a pep rally with East Ascension, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018, at Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales.

The St. Amant High School Band, 255 members strong, will be providing half-time entertainment – broadcast live on NBC – when the New Orleans Saints play the Dallas Cowboys at the Mercedez-Benz Superdome on Sept. 29.

The school’s relationship with the Saints dates back to the days after the catastrophic flood of 2016 that devastated the St. Amant High campus.

The flood waters destroyed over $250,000 worth of instruments and equipment, band director Craig Millet said.

“I wrote up a little story and posted it on as many social media sites as I could,” Millet said Friday. “We were going to need help.”

Millet said the Saints organization picked up his story and sent it on to Peter King, then a Sports Illustrated columnist, now with NBC Sports.

King put out a call in his column online for donations in September 2016. More than $82,000 was raised in the resulting fund-raising effort led by Sports Illustrated, the New Orleans Saints, United Way and private donors.

King and representatives of the Saints and United Way came to St. Amant High band class in September 2016 to present the check, Millet said.

He said the Saints had previously asked the band to fill in on two occasions when original half-time acts at the Superdome canceled. But, falling at holiday times when students were away, it didn’t work out.

This time, though, it’s going to happen.

Millet said he announced the Saints’ half-time gig on Thursday night at the last night of the St. Amant High band camp.

“They were completely blown away,” he said. “They didn’t even believe the words coming out of my mouth.”

Millet said the Saints media team is also planning to make a 45-minute film about the band’s and high school’s comeback from the flood.

For six months of the 2016-2017 school year, St. Amant High students went to school at Dutchtown High, in a “shift” arrangement, arriving for their school days at noon and leaving at 5 p.m.

The St. Amant High Gators were able to return to their own campus in February 2017, while flood restoration continued, thanks to T-buildings and a new Freshman Academy building.

For almost a year, after they were back on their own school on La. 431, St. Amant High band members practiced in large, temperature-controlled tents on campus.

The band was able to return to its band hall in March 2018. The high school, located on La. 431, was fully restored in February 2019.

Millet said the band is planning to perform a Louisiana-themed show at half-time in the Superdome on Sept. 29.

“It will be a tribute to Louisiana,” he said.


Email Ellyn Couvillion at ecouvillion@theadvocate.com.