The story behind Joe Yenni and the stadium named after him

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METAIRIE, La. (WGNO) – The John Curtis Patriots are just one of the many who call Joe Yenni Stadium home.

Joe Yenni was perhaps the most popular elected official in the history of Jefferson Parish. He was mayor of Kenner for nine years.

In 1980, he ran for parish president and won with 77% of the vote. His grandson, Mike, followed in his footsteps as Kenner Mayor and now president-elect of Jefferson Parish.

"Very few times was a politician revered and beloved. A lot of people refer to Joe Yenni as beloved," Mike Yenni told WGNO’s Ed Daniels.

Mike was Joe Yenni's oldest grandchild. He was 10 when his grandfather died in 1987 at the age of 69.

Joe Yenni was a veteran of the Navy in World War II, coach, Director of Parish Athletics, and a school board member. Mike said one of his father's best traits was his wonderful demeanor.

"My grandfather was a very humble and funny man," Mike Yenni said.

Joe Yenni died in office and was followed by his son Michael, who died in office in October of 1995 at the age of 44.

President-elect Yenni said the commitment his grandfather and uncle gave to Jefferson Parish is something he would like to mirror.

"It is tough when you live in the shadow of two giants like Joe and Mike Yenni,” Mike said. “I certainly don't want to make a mistake because my grandfather and uncle can't come out of their tombs in Metairie Cemetery and say, 'my grandson, my nephew, he didn't mean to do something wrong."

Joe Yenni ran for re-election in 1983 unopposed.  The stadium at East Jefferson High School was named in his honor shortly after his death.

28-years after his passing, Joe Yenni is still a giant in Jefferson Parish.

Learn more about the names behind local football stadiums, click here.

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