You’ve got the soon-to-be winningest high school football coach of all time wanting to play football games in your stadium in Jefferson Parish, you got to figure out a way to make it happen.” – Jefferson Parish Councilman Scott Walker
METAIRIE, La. (WGNO) — Whether you call it the Gold Mine on Airline, the Shrine on Airline, Baby Cakes Stadium, or Zephyr Field, you might’ve noticed the 10,000-seat facility has been underutilized for a few years. According to parish officials, that could change soon.
Jefferson Parish councilman Scott Walker told local media Thursday that plans for transforming the stadium are in place, and those plans could begin as early as January of 2024. In the meantime, John Curtis Christian and Jesuit High School will begin playing games at the facility in 2023.
“Several months ago, the Jefferson Parish Council committed $15 million to the upgrades and renovations for this building because it just sits here and doesn’t do anything for the parish. It’s a state building. The parish owns the land. So it was just kind of in no man’s land. Well, now we are to the point where we’re ready to, in the next several months, start renovations on this building so it can be a real true multi-use facility, whether it’s football concerts, rugby, soccer, whatever it may be,” Walker said.
“This building can be a valuable asset for Jefferson Parish, and we want it to be all it can be for this area. With the Saints and Pelicans on this same stretch of property with this stadium here, and with all the houses that are between Kenner and New Orleans along Airline, we want to make sure the opportunities that come this way are executed in this building. The future vision for this building is for it to be a really popular high school football facility. So a couple of months ago, JT Curtis comes to us and says, ‘Hey, we need some help with this.’ We got all the parties together. JT and ASM and LSED, to kind of work through a deal that made sense for everybody so that they could play a full slate of home football games here in Jefferson Parish. You’ve got the soon-to-be winningest high school football coach of all time wanting to play football games in your stadium in Jefferson Parish, you got to figure out a way to make it happen.”
John Curtis head football coach J.T. Curtis and athletic director Johnny Curtis, along with Jesuit High School head coach Ryan Manale and athletic director Dave Moreau, also spoke to the media about their excitement in this project.
While renovations will not likely begin until the first of the new year, the Patriots are wasting no time moving into their new home. JT Curtis said they will be on Airline Drive for the opening jamboree game and most of their Catholic League schedule.
When asked about the NOLA Gold and current users of the facility, Walker said, “At the moment it doesn’t affect anybody. They’ll be able to work concurrently with each other. Rugby is still a tenant here and they’ll be able to work out their schedules to play here when they need to. During the construction, it might affect things for a little while, but once construction is doen we’ll be able to have high school football and rugby here.”
In 2004 and 2005, Zephyr Field was the site of the Class 5A Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) baseball tournament.
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