LOREAUVILLE, La. (The Daily Advertiser) – He played football at Loreauville High in the early 1970s.
He had two sons who played football at Loreauville, not to mention a few nephews.
He even has a grandson finishing up this career this season.
But despite all of those All-District and All-State honors and all the wins posted during the Nora family’s association with Loreauville High, perhaps the thing that the longtime members of that football program will remember most is the enthusiastic voice of Gene Nora.
Depending on future results in the bottom quadrant of the Class 2A playoff bracket, Friday’s regional home playoff contest against Ferriday will be Nora’s last game as the public address announcer at Loreauville High.
“I was kind of emotional before last week’s game (home win over Bunkie),” Nora said. “I think I’ll be a lot better this week.”
Time will tell how long it takes the diehard Tigers’ fans to get used to another voice. For more than three decades, Nora brought a lively, exuberant approach to being a P.A. announcer that most high school football fans don’t enjoy.
Nora graduated from McNeese State in 1978 in TV broadcasting, so he learned not to be shy behind a microphone.
Upon going back to support his beloved Tigers, Nora was asked if he could help out in the press box. He agreed, and it last 37 years.
Much of what Nora did over the years to build up the Tigers’ players or incite the crowd to cheer on their team was his own. He did admit taking some notes as he went to other stadiums, particularly the late Cliff Aucoin doing New Iberia Senior High games at Lloyd G. Porter Stadium.
“Listening to Cliff, you would think that Johnny Hector’s runs last 30 seconds,” Nora laughed. “I definitely listened to what he did and added some of it to what I did.”
One visiting coach once told longtime Loreauville coach Kirk Crochet that his P.A. announcer drove him crazy.
“Kirk liked that,” Nora said. “Kirk told me, if the other team’s coach is worried about the P.A. announcer, he’s all for it.”
Another crown jewel comment that made Nora feel like he was doing his job came from a Hall of Famer in former St. Martinville head coach Carroll Delahoussaye.
“Carroll told (son, current LHS coach) Trent (Delahoussaye) after one game, ‘If it wasn’t for that guy in the box, you lose that football game.'”
Indeed, Nora made a difference and made Loreauville football an experience.
So many of his years, though, were spent calling games involving his relatives. When it was his sons — 1995 graduate Thomas or 2004 graduate Gene II — though, Nora went the opposite of building his sons up bigger than others.
“Actually, I never did that,” Nora said. “I never wanted to be a part of that stigma, so I would just say, ‘first down Tigers.’ I wouldn’t say ‘Gene Nora on the run.'”
Nora will now go back to being “just a fan in the stands,” but one who knows how cool the view from on top can be.