Chef Henry Chandler was dropped off in the St. Mary’s parking lot one hot August morning to begin his ninth grade year, and his football career, sans cleats. Born in the Natchitoches hospital, Henry was a just a country boy from St. Maurice.
Henry will bring the party back to Natchitoches Saturday, March 10, starting at 6 pm during the St. Mary’s Second Annual, “Whatever Happened To…A Trip Down Memory Lane.”
He fondly remembers Head Coach John Wayne Odom, a figure in his life who made a lot of boys into men on the football field. His assistant coach Kenny Ratlin was a “cigar smokin’ blue athletic pants wearing son of a gun,” who Henry said the players learned to love and hate all at once.
A transplant from outside the city limits, the first thing Henry did was beat John Ackel for class president. “After being class president for the last 8 years I think John’s forgiven me by now,” said Henry.
Tenth grade brought drivers licenses and Henry began driving his signature red Thunderbird, becoming infamous with the Ackels and McKnights for his “tire talk.”
Henry said that with friends like Mike Thomas, John Vercher, John Ackel, Tim Lily, Mark Hymes and Tommy Plunkett, they formed a diverse group of troublemakers.
“Ask anyone in the Class of 1977; we loved 99% of our time at St. Mary’s,” said Henry. “The teachers did everything they could to try and teach us, and St. Mary’s always felt like our second home. There was a lot of foolishness, but an education was given to about 90% of us. We all ended up being who we are, we’re all individuals, and we’re all still family.
Get ready for an evening of stories and lore from St. Mary’s alumni and former employees including:
Barry Guillet, Entrepreneur, Class of 1964
Henry Chandler, Celebrity Chef, Class of 1977
Dr. Chris Maggio, NSU President, Class of 1982
Mrs. Nona Bobo, St. Mary’s Librarian, 1973-2008
The evening will feature Live Auction Items, Light Hor d’oeuvres, and a Cash Bar. Social Hour starts at 6 pm, and the program begins at 7 pm in the St. Mary’s Gym.
Tickets are $50 per person. Contact Susan Wright, 318-352-8394, firstname.lastname@example.org or Payne Williams, 318-352-6695, email@example.com.