Today, St. Augustine is one of the best schools for black males in the state of Louisiana. But it was the school’s role in battling segregation half a century ago that put St. Augustine and the Marching 100 on the map.
Darren Morris: The Marching 100 represents pride, tradition.
Ajay Mallery: Dedication, determination, drive.
Darren: It’s a brotherhood. You know, nothing else compares to it.
Shelby: Known for its military-style march and superior song selection, the Marching 100 has become an iconic symbol of Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
Darren: We march down the street and just everybody – just the love that you feel from everybody – it’s just, it’s everything to New Orleans.
Shelby: Playing with pride in rain or shine, the all-black, all-male band from St. Augustine High School in New Orleans marched more than 50 miles in 11 Mardi Gras parades this year.
Jeffrey Herbert: There’s not a night without having a parade here in New Orleans that St. Augustine is not in the parade.
Shelby: The Marching 100 often leads the way by following the footsteps of former band members.
Kyle Carter: To say it’s a privilege would be an understatement. Just the fact that about sixty years ago, we weren’t even allowed to march in a lot of these parades. It’s a great feeling.
Shelby: In 1967, the Marching 100 broke a Mardi Gras color barrier. Under the direction of Mr. Edwin H. Hampton, it became the first black high school marching band to appear in, and lead, the famous Rex Parade on Mardi Gras day.
Mr. Herbert: To see them in one of those parades on carnival day, it meant a lot. They just marched on no matter what was thrown at them or what was said to them.
Shelby: The Marching 100 broke color barriers almost a half a century ago. What does that mean to all of you today?
Frank Joshua: It really shows how this band has a legacy.
Shelby: That legacy has been carried on ever since, and the band has continued overcoming challenges, like Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Kyle: We lost uniforms, parts of our band room were destroyed. We kind of had to start from the beginning, just get all of our band members back, get some new ones in.
Shelby: But the Marching 100 marched on, and with the help of donated uniforms and instruments, the band appeared in Mardi Gras parades just a year and a half after the storm.
Ajay: A lot of people saw that if they could come back, we can rebuild a whole city. And so we became like the beacon light of the city.
Shelby: But shining bright in the band room only comes after hard work in the classroom.
Darren: If you see your brother out of check, you check him. You make sure that he’s doing his work, he’s doing his homework, he shows up to school on time. You have to be that brother to help him be successful.
Kyle: So many young males get caught up in the wrong things, end up in prison or dead, and St. Aug really helps us get away from that life.
Shelby: Thanks to big goals, discipline and a lot of practice, the Marching 100 has made a name for itself around the world.
Kyle: We’ve marched for the pope, we’ve marched for presidents. We’ve been in movies, we’ve had parts in TV shows and commercials.
Shelby: And even this year’s Super Bowl festivities!
Kyle: We carry that torch by keeping the tradition strong, keeping the discipline, maintaining what Mr. Hampton built the band upon, keeping that foundation, building upon it.
Shelby: What are your plans for the future?
Darren: To attend Southern University, major in electrical engineering, be in the marching band, and just live my life and be successful.
Shelby: Shelby Holliday, Channel One News.