After Hurricane Katrina hit, there were searches going on for thousands of people that had evacuated their homes to get out of the storm's path and wide receiver Chris Mitchell was one of the displaced people that Marrero (La.) John Ehret coach Billy North was trying to find in the days following Katrina's landfall.
North started at the Astrodome to find his player and mother, but the Chris Mitchell's that he did find were not his player, so his search continued. Finally, he got a phone call from his displaced player to let coach know he was okay.
"He evacuated with his mom to a hotel somewhere, not at a shelter or anything," North said about finding Mitchell. "So it was tough to track him down, but when he eventually called me, he told me he had been all over the place. His last stop was in Beaumont, Texas, but he's home now living with his grandmother and some friends."
Before evacuations and devastating hurricanes, North was watching his 6-foot-2, 195-pound wide receive prepare for his ACT, a great senior season, and the next step in a big time recruiting process with numerous college scholarships in his grasp.
However, now for obvious reasons, the priority has changed.
"Let me tell you what we've discussed," North said. "We've discussed where he's going to sleep at night, if he has enough food, if he's just doing okay. We have not one second discussed recruiting or college. We're trying to get all our kids back in school, make sure he's taking the right courses, and taking the ACT in October if we can."
"The problem is with New Orleans is that we don't even know who's giving the ACT," Mitchell said. "We have places totally destroyed. The recruiting stuff will work itself out because he's still in great shape and looks as good as ever."
The John Ehret football team will finally suit up this Saturday night for this first game and coach North said the only reason that the coaches, fans, and parents made this happen was to give the kids something that resembled a sense of normalcy in the wake of everything that has happened.
"With this season, the reason we're even having it, is to give these kids the opportunity to have some fun and forget about their troubles for a couple of hours a day," North said. "It's so they forget about their house that has a tree in the living room or a water line all over their home that is four feet height. So far, it's been pretty good therapy."
One thing coach North has realized though is that even though the kids are back playing again, any supplies for football practice or games are practically nonexistent. North and his team are looking for help.
Chris Mitchell VideoClick "Just let everyone know that if anyone wants to donate shoes, socks, shorts, Gatorade drinks, or anything at all they can contact me and we would be thankful for anything anybody could do," North said. "We're trying to give these kids their season back after a terrible series of events."Here to view this Link.
Contact information for donations to coach Billy North and John Ehret High School can be found here: John Ehret donation information.