Stayed with baseball program for 25 years, formed bond with players
On Saturday night (Aug. 4), the Destrehan baseball program lost one of its greatest and proudest fans as Iola St. Pierre passed away at the age of 83.
St. Pierre became synonymous with the program alongside her husband Freddie as the two volunteered for approximately 25 years and saw two generations of their family, both children and grandchildren, take the field for the Wildcats.
St. Pierre worked the concession stand at baseball games and was known around the school for her great enthusiasm and energy, her trademark accent from her upbringing in Chackbay and her closeness with the Wildcats’ players.
“She loved them all, treated them well and they loved her just as much,” said former Destrehan baseball coach Marty Luquet, whose tenure coincided with the St. Pierres’ run with the team. “She always made them feel special. The outpouring (from the players) has been tremendous. There’s nobody that did not like Iola and Freddie.”
Luquet said the news was devastating.
“It came out of nowhere. She wasn’t sick … she took care of herself. It was a shock to everyone,” Luquet said. “(She and Freddie) had a great love affair, 64 years of marriage. They did everything for each other … it’s just very sad to see her go.”
St. Pierre was a substitute teacher for 32 years. When she left that profession, she remained a positive force and helper of many, Luquet said, be it volunteering her time at a nursery nearby her home or visiting friends in a nursing home.
“She did so much for so many people. With the baseball team, we were just the easy ones to see. She was such a compassionate woman who would do anything for anyone,” Luquet said.
“She was a woman of Christ … my belief is we make our way to Heaven by who we serve, and certainly Miss Iola served everyone she ever ran into. She was truly special.”
In March of this year, she spoke of her connection with the DHS players, noting it’s what kept she and her husband coming back year after year, even after the graduation of their children.
“The kids … they were such great kids, always,” Iola said at the time. “They were my favorite part it all. We were always recognized so nice by the boys. They knew when it was my birthday.”
Luquet said their enthusiasm was infectious and appreciated, and the two became incredibly memorable figures at the school.
“They would come to practice and watch every practice when I first got on the job,” Luquet said. “She just told me she really enjoyed watching the kids have fun, that we made practice fun and games fun. She just loved it. From that point on, she was with us every day.”
Luquet said as much as Iola’s Destrehan baseball family misses her, he said the loss is most truly felt by her immediate family.
“We love being part of her family, but I don’t want to take away from her real family. Their boys played for Destrehan baseball, their grandchildren … I don’t want to take away from them, those who were so very fortunate to have this woman as their real mother and grandmother.”