A small Cajun town in rural Louisiana holds an annual exhibition football game between the majority Black public school and majority White private school, called the Tee Cotton Bowl. This meditative small town portrait examines racial segregation and a range of perspectives on the game and whether it should continue to be celebrated as it has been.
Ville Platte, Louisiana is a dying town and one of the poorest in the state. Despite this, a strong current of optimism persists and ramps up around the yearly Tee Cotton Bowl game between the town’s two schools. The one-week event that culminates in a friendly high school football game is regarded as a precious tradition, particularly to the older residents who remember Ville Platte’s history of racial segregation. However the game also starkly underscores Ville Platte’s racial divisions and educational inequalities that persist to this day.
Jennifer Vidrine, both the first female and first Black mayor of the town, Tim Fontenot, the white founder of the Tee Cotton Bowl, Grace Vidrine Sibley, the first desegregate of Ville Platte High School in 1965, and others all weigh in with their respective insights on the town’s past in relation to the Tee Cotton Bowl. Within living memory lurks ugly memories, but the game is seen as a hopeful beginning of sorts.
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