St Augustine High School in New Orleans has had a big weekend, to put it lightly.
The latter honor, the result of a chance meeting with a CBS producer, was eventually tied in logistically with this year’s Grammy Awards—which featured 4 nominees who attended the Black Catholics boys’ high at 2600 A. P. Tureaud.
The school was founded in 1951 by the Josephites, the nation’s only predominantly Black society of priests. St Aug has continued to maintain its mission in the Crescent City ever since, serving African-Americans specifically—just as the society does in its parishes.
Unfortunately, the school's Grammy nominees were victims of the Recording Academy’s annual shenanigans, in that the winners of their categories—and most all of the other Black-oriented ones—were announced hours before the main broadcast aired.
Only one St Aug nominee took home a trophy, with the Best Gospel Album award going to Morton, son of legendary Bapticostal minister and recording artist Bishop Paul S. Morton and his wife Debra.
(PJ was also the only Purple Knight to perform, but only during the aforementioned pre-show.)
He is also the one St Aug nominee who can boast of an association with not only the school, but Catholicism as well. (James and Morton are Protestant, and Electronica has been Muslim since the 90s.)
With St Aug also boasting a star player each on both teams in last month’s Super Bowl (also prompting a billboard tribute), it seems evident that Black Catholic education is alive and well—and productive.
Nate Tinner-Williams is co-founder and editor of Black Catholic Messenger, in priesthood formation with the Josephites, and a ThM student with the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA).