It’s Louisiana so there is some moss and the occasional palm tree. And it still retains some authenticity, so there’s the glory of (or near) one-off stores ranging from Isabel’s fashion to Murphy’s family restaurant to Cooper’s bakery to Stadtkrapfen and breakfast. Green Christmas garlands wrap around the pillars of City Hall, and electronic congratulations to a hometown soccer star rolls out with messages like “Water Bills Due on 15th” and “Be Safe Mask Up”.
A timber truck rolls by.
To this small list of the rare cities that send sons to the lectern when presenting the Heisman Trophy, add Amite, who carries an award. With around 4,547 residents, it surpasses Tuttle, Okla., For the charm of the smallest town of its kind in this century. It was fitting that DeVonta Smith, a favorite of his teachers at Amite High, won the sacred trophy on Tuesday night, with about 100 people gathering at the community center, his parents right up there.
“Some of these people have seen me since I was a little kid playing youth soccer and youth basketball,” said Smith.
It has to break so much so intricately that any city or town can boast of a Heisman winner that it is almost asking too much. It began this century with sons of Saint Paul, Minn .; then Omaha; then Rancho Santa Margarita in the hustle and bustle of Orange County, California (a strong Heisman spring among the counties); then Tuttle, the southwestern edge of the Oklahoma City expansion. After Tuttle made one of Heisman’s greatest recognitions by painting his water tower in honor of Jason White, the 2003 Oklahoma quarterback, the trophy moved on to make for bigger spots.
It went back to Santa Ana (California), Cleveland, Jacksonville (Florida), Oklahoma City. Over the years it hit the suburbs of Atlanta, the suburbs of Birmingham (Ala.), The suburbs of Dallas, great Austin, and even the ever-welcome Honolulu. It was going to Copperas Cove, Tex. (32,000 residents, home of Robert Griffin III); to Kerrville in the Texas Hill Country west of Austin (24,000 residents, home of Johnny Manziel); and to Yulee, Florida (population 12,000, home of Derrick Henry in the northern suburbs of Jacksonville). It would go to Joe Burrow of Athens, Ohio (25,000 residents) last year.
It just hadn’t gone to a technically smaller place than Tuttle (over 7,000 inhabitants) for a while, even if the spread makes things like this more and more difficult to measure and quantify. Then on a Tuesday in the midst of a pandemic, it went to the home of John Bel Edwards, the current governor of Louisiana, in a town in southeast Louisiana, about 25 miles south of the Mississippi line along Interstate 55, to a son of a town The Amite Lived High is in the middle of the city on a street framed and embraced by trees, two calls from the town hall. It went to where the Amite Warriors – five-time national champion, five-time runner-up – play on the field on Friday night amid the trees and buildings behind the school. The goal posts support the cool double stanchions. A short drive away, Miss Anns Fast Food arranged its marquee for the “Smith For Heisman” campaign.
Everyone talked about it.
“It just brings a lot of hype to the city, as far as it’s good that someone in your city wins the award, especially a small town like Amite,” said Scott Gay, chairman of the local Oyster Festival, which takes place every March in Non-Time Pandemic. “It’s kind of a wow moment. Who would think someone from Amite would win such a prestigious award? “He characterized Amite as” just your little, typical, I would say not like before, just your little, typical town, not much excitement. “
If the United States and its chain stores run out of the traps that once marked cities, then this is something for the Heisman legacy: Smith served as Grand Marshal for the Oyster Festival a few years ago, right alongside the fried oysters. Boiled oysters, boiled lobster, carnival rides and the chilli cook-off, which is supervised by the chief of the fire department.
It’ll need new signs now – the entrance on the other side of town near I-55 – and maybe even something to do with a water tower.
How long does a Heisman last? It kind of lasts forever and it kind of goes away. On the website for Tuttle, Okla., Beyond the front page, Tuttle describes itself about disposing of branches for the October ice storm or signing up as a volunteer firefighter in three ways: “It actively supports its Tuttle Tigers in and out of the classroom,” that it has a “high standard of living” and that “Jason White, the 2003 Heisman Trophy winner, is at home”.
White’s name still adorns the water tower, and 2018 news reported of the “Jason White Water Tower” suffering from a leak.
“It’s still very well known and well respected,” said Lindsay Johnson, President of the Chamber of Commerce, “but I wouldn’t say we are known any more for that.” We weren’t as big at the time as we are now. “As elsewhere, humanity has multiplied. The Tuttle Tigers went from 3A to 4A. “Tuttle hasn’t changed much in town,” said Johnson, “but the outskirts of Tuttle are definitely growing.” As with so much of anywhere, there is less open space than there used to be between the city and central Oklahoma City, about a half hour away.
Seventeen years later, Amite City was added to the list of rarities. It was born around 1855 on the banks of the Tangipahoa River. It is named either after the Choctaw word for “red ant” or after the French word for “thrift” or “friendship”, depending on the city. Some players have made the NFL over the years – Karl Wilson, Lester Ricard, Reggie Porter. It was the birthplace of Rusty Chambers, the Miami Dolphins linebacker, who died in a car accident near Hammond, La, at age 27. He reached the state finals in 2016 and lost a 40-36 heartbreaker to Lutcher before his slender senior recipient Smith took the lead on Nick Saban’s Kingdom in Alabama.
Smith ranked sixth among broadband receivers, according to Rivals, with Donovan Peoples-Jones first (and second to Michigan), Tee Higgins second (to Clemson), and Jerry Jeudy third (to Alabama). Everyone excelled, but then Smith rose and played with noticeable quality and his numbers broke the right path (a whopping 105 catches, 1,641 yards, 20 touchdowns) and the vote broke the right path (ahead of Clemson quarterback Trevor) Lawrence and his missed both games), and the small Amite City was allowed to join all the bigger Heisman cities with enthusiasm and certainly new signage.