Destrehan exhibit honors Saints coach

The St. Charles Museum and Historical Association and the River Road Historical Society will stage an exhibit honoring coach Curtis Johnson Jr., the tough minded and uncompromising wide receivers coach of the New Orleans Saints. The exhibit will run during February, which is African American History Month.

Johnson is a graduate of St. Charles Borromeo High School in Destrehan.

The opening of the exhibit, “Who Dat Making History,” will be held on Feb. 20 at the Caire House behind Destrehan Plantation in Destrehan beginning at 11 a.m.  It will include an exhibit of Johnson’s personal artifacts and also artifacts from the current Saints football team. The exhibit will be housed in the Caire House from Feb. 20-26.

For the opening ceremony, a short program will include presentations from the Museum and Historical Association, St. Charles Borromeo Church Parish, St. Charles Parish, the Governor’s Office and a musical presentation.  An admission fee of $5 for adults, with children free, will be charged.  Visitors should enter at the gift shop.

Few coaches have brought more drive or passion to their profession than Johnson. He has produced outstanding results since his arrival to the Crescent City in 2006.

Johnson came to New Orleans after forging a reputation for developing top-flight targets on the college level for more than two decades, and his stature has only grown on the NFL level. Over the last four seasons, he has worked with both veteran and young wide receivers, with all benefiting from his guidance.

Last season, Lance Moore was the latest player to emerge as a key contributor. Through his own dedication and under Johnson’s tutelage, Moore went from the practice squad in 2006 to the Saints’ receptions leader in 2008 with 79 catches for 928 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Johnson’s high-energy teaching style has also advanced the career of Marques Colston, who has gone from being the fourth-to-last player selected in the 2006 NFL Draft to posting 4.074 yards receiving and 33 TDs since 2006.

From 2006-07, Colston had 168 grabs – more than any player in NFL history for a player in his first two seasons.

With an intense and detail-oriented coaching style, Johnson has developed wideouts that have combined for 65 touchdown catches and 24 performances with over 100 yards receiving since 2006.

Few coaches at any level can match the number of wide receivers that Johnson has helped develop.

The group of standouts under his direction while at Miami and his prior stop at San Diego State includes some of the top wide receivers over the last decade, including NFL first-round picks Andre Johnson, Santana Moss, Reggie Wayne, Yatil Green and Darnay Scott.

At Miami, Johnson was part of a staff that went to nine bowl games and won the 2001 National Championship. He polished the skills of at least one All-Big East performer each season from 1996-2005, including Johnson – – the third overall pick by Houston in 2003 – – and Moss, who became the Hurricanes’ all-time leader in receiving yardage before making the Pro Bowl for Washington.

Wayne departed ranked first in school history in catches as a Pro Bowl performer for Indianapolis.

In his five-year stint at San Diego State (1989-93) Johnson landed some of the school’s biggest recruits, including 2000 NFL MVP and fellow New Orleans native Marshall Faulk as well as Scott, who completed his eight-year NFL career with 408 grabs and 37 TDs. Each year Johnson was with the Aztecs, the school had an all-conference performer at wide receiver.

Johnson began his coaching career as a receivers coach at Lewiston (Idaho) High School in 1984, serving for three seasons before holding a similar position at the University of Idaho. He spent 1987 and 1988 at the school before becoming receivers coach at San Diego State. His next stop was at Southern Methodist in 1994 before becoming wide receivers coach in 1995 at the University of California.

Johnson attended the University of Idaho and graduated in Physical Education in 1985. Born in New Orleans, he attended St. Charles schools from kindergarten through the 12th grade.

Johnson and his wife, Angel, have six children:  Janene, Kiejon, Curtis III, Aaron, Angele and Justin.


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