BRUSLY, La. (The West Side Journal) – What started as a potential story on the new Brusly High School ended with the unveiling of “Walt Lemoine Court” in front of a crowd of just under 50 people.
Lemoine entered the gym with a stunned, but seemingly intrigued look on his face as everyone in attendance gave him a standing ovation.
Loupe introduced Lemoine as other coaches unveiled logos on each side of the court to begin the short ceremony.
“I’ve been here 32 years,” Lemoine said. “I was an outsider who came here and was accepted. My kids and grandkids, this is their home. It’s not St. Francisville, which I consider St. Francisville my home. Thank you for being here… it means a lot.”
Lemoine talked about other legendary coaches and the opportunity he had to coach against them. Lemoine coached against Lemoine coached against John Bueche (former Plaquemine and White Castle coach), Ronald Johnson (former White Castle coach) and current Glen Oaks coach Harvey Adger, all of whom have courts named after them.
Former Brusly coach and administrator Julie Mayeux, who is now West Baton Rouge Parish’s supervisor of secondary education, spoke about Lemoine and debunked the notion that wins and championships are most important for a coach/educator’s legacy.
“That’s not what it’s about,” Mayeux stated. “I always tell people the most important thing about coaching is the relationships you’ve made. Coach has been a man who’s served with humility. He’s given everything to this school, and this is not just about basketball.”
She glanced at Lemoine and added, “This is about your legacy needing to be continued long after. This about your humbleness and commitment to Brusly High School.”
Loupe met Lemoine 25 years ago when he played in the LHSCA all-star basketball game. Lemoine was a team coordinator. Years later, Loupe became the basketball coach at Brusly’s rival, Port Allen High.
“From the second I stepped on Port Allen’s campus, instead of him being a rival coach, he was a mentor,” Loupe said. “We stayed friends throughout even when he became principal. Him hiring me five years ago, he’s become a really good friend. A guy that I can count on, a guy that I can go to for advice or just go to vent. He’ll just sit and listen.
“Whether it’s the head basketball job or the principal job, he’s been here for 30 plus years and he is Brusly High School,” he continued. “I thought there needed to be a way that we recognize him and as an ex basketball coach, what other spot than we have a brand new floor, let’s put his name on it.”
Loupe acquired Lemoine’s signature thanks to a story he told him about a banner for the Top 28 that all the players signed and Lemoine’s signature was needed for the banner.
The Brusly boys basketball program advanced to the Top 28 for the first time in over 20 years after beating Ville Platte in the last game played in the old gym in March. It was fitting that Lemoine was the person who cut down the last string on the net to celebrate the emotional victory.
“Leading up to that game, he (Lemoine) kept saying if we win, I’m not getting on that ladder,” Loupe said. “There was just nobody who was going to cut the last string down outside of him with all the time he put in that gym. Just kind of seeing the emotion and knowing what that meant to him to be able to cut down the net in a game he didn’t really coach. This is just fitting for him. His legacy will live on in this community. All the players that he’s coached and the people he’s mentored. Every time they walk in this gym, he’ll be remembered.”