Emile’s memories

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 7, 1999

ANNA MONICA / L’Observateur / July 7, 1999

RESERVE – The ticket reads “Reserve vs. St. James, December 7, 1941.” Whilethis football game went on Pearl Harbor was bombed, setting the stage for World War II.

The ticket is in a scrapbook belonging to Emile Hotard of Reserve and is one of several kept up by his mother, the late Blanche Perilloux Hotard. So treasured byEmile Hotard he has had the books reproduced for preservation and longevity.

Hotard left Southwestern to enter the Navy as a naval aviation cadet in 1942.

The Navy sent him to William Jewell College, Kansas University and Iowa University. On a lighter note, one day during the war, he was on a troop trainwhich stopped in Kalamazoo. The popular song was “I’ve Got a Girl inKalamazoo,” and at that stop the Red Cross treated the troops to sandwiches wrapped in a special paper with the words of the song and which said “from the gals in Kalamazoo.”Some of the names in the WWII scrapbook are familiar ones like Raymond Borne and Joe LeBoeuf of Garyville, Riley Boudreaux of Lutcher, Arthur Arceneaux of Gramercy and the first St. John casualty, Gillespie Templain. During that timeMyrdis Nobile of Lutcher married Ensign Norman Buckner of Marshall, Texas, in Norfolk, Va., and Reserve’s Sidney Hotard, now of Convent, also made the news.Beside covering Hotard’s Navy years from 1942 through 1946, the books cover his coaching years and include personal mementos and pictures from so many events in his life. As interesting as the scrapbooks are, so are the life andtimes of Hotard himself, one of the area’s more colorful and better known citizens. In Hotard’s special room in his home in Reserve the sign above the bar,a gift from wife, Gerry, reads: “Emile’s Memory Lounge.”In fact, to walk into that room is to walk back into nostalgia, history and accomplishments. Each book in there represents a different phase of Emile’s lifeand is sort of a “this is your life” for him. They range from 1941 until 1983.There are also certificates of merit, including those for being on the boards of River Parish Mental Health Clinic for 25 years and Bank of LaPlace for 19 years.

Hotard came out of the Navy the first time as a third class P.O. and immediatelysigned up for the Naval Reserves. After being put on inactive duty he went towork for his dad’s company, Emile Hotard Distributors. The Navy activated himagain during the Korean conflict and he was put on recruiting duty. Releasedonce more from active duty, Hotard went to LSU to earn a bachelor of science degree and attended Tulane for a semester. He worked as a supervisor of St.John Parish Youth Program in 1953 and moved to a coaching job at Leon Godchaux High School with Coach Joe Keller, coaching there for the next 17 years.

During that time he used his summers to work on his master’s degree at Ole Miss and achieved his 30-plus hours certification while attending Nicholls, LSU, South Dakota and University of Miami. At Southeastern he worked on theequivalent of a specialist degree in advanced administration.

Teaching at Leon Godchaux High School didn’t keep Hotard from being recalled into the Navy during the Vietnam War, and he went to Cuba.

“I never regretted it,” he said. “I feel the Navy helped make me a better man. Myexperience under Coach Keller also helped to make me understand and be able to perform much better. I feel he had a lot of influence on how I did my work. I hadhim in high school, but I learned more from him as assistant coach than I did in school.”Another of Hotard’s fond memories are about the one-year-only semi-pro football team, the Reserve All Stars, coached by Keller. The team includedHotard, Howard Audiffred, N. J. Madere, J. A. Aubert, Lynn Sutton, Leon Duhe,Wilfred Catoire, Daniel Labat, Mark Klibert, Adam Duhe, Clyde Weber, John Guidry, Richard Prudhomme, Roland Clement, Francis Luminais, Leon Scioneaux, G.J. Jacob, B. J. Elfer, Brent Tregre, Julian Guidry, Ben Waguespack, R. J. Klibert,Paul Duhe, E. J. Montz, Harry Oubre, A. J. Scallan, Joseph Oubre, Farrel Madere, H.Scioneaux, Ted Elfer, Harris Duhe, Raoul Guidry, L. J. Madere, Oscar Entremontand Russell Cambre. Hotard remembers them all.Hotard has bragging rights about winning football games from Lutcher for 17 years. “Then I joined them,” he said, “by marrying one of the cheerleaders.”He and the former Gerry Landry of Lutcher have been married for 30 years. Arecently discovered 1955 picture of Gerry as Lutcher’s Homecoming Queen shows her sitting in Emile’s borrowed new convertible and must have been a sign of things to come because the two didn’t even know each other.

The couple’s two daughters are Maria, a former St. John Sugar Queen whofinished Nicholls and Southeastern as a speech pathologist, and Alison, who earned a bachelor of science at LSU and is now working on a master’s in rehabilitation consulting at LSU Medical. School. Alison was also a Louisiana Furand Wildlife Queen and attended the Mardi Gras Ball in Washington D.C.Mile runner Myron Brady of Garyville and Steve Delaneuville of Reserve were and still are Hotard’s good friends, and he is pleased to remember and displays pictures of his other exceptional athletes such as Frank Monica, Gus Madere and Michael Madere.

Blanche Hotard was from Milesville where Emile was born, and Emile Sr. wasborn in Taft but spent most of his time on Oak Alley Plantation, which his father owned for a while. The Hotards lived on the former Belle PointePlantation before moving to Reserve where the original Cornland Plantation was. Even while married, Hotard has stayed on the same tract of land.After his stint at Leon Godchaux High School, Hotard assumed principal duties at Godchaux Grammar for 10 years, then retired from the public school system in 1979. During his four-year tenure as principal at St. Peter’s, enrollment theredoubled. After that, he went full time into the family business until itdissolved.

Fully retired since 1990, Hotard still sees lots of friends, especially those in the “Breakfast Club” at Holiday Inn. Some of the “old timers” wanted to seesome of his pictures recently, so with E. J. Aucoin taking over at the bar in theHotard home, Roland St. Martin, Mac Donaldson, Harold Keller, David W. Millet andDon Ensminger enjoyed the reminiscing and the lunch served by Gerry.

The Hotards also often meet with breakfast club friends, C. J. and Naomi Tastetand Bubby and Pye St. Pierre, sometimes taking trips with the St. Pierres. Theyno longer make all the LSU football games in their motor home, but do like going out to eat or listen to big band music at the Treasure Chest or Jefferson Orleans. They love traveling, mostly to Florida, with Wyoming being the secondfavorite.

To date, this is what the almost legendary Emile Hotard has been about. He hasalso been a remarkable inspiration and role model to so many, as a teacher and coach in school, on the playing field and in real life.

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