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With March Madness heating up, we look at first integrated high school basketball game in Louisiana

The Purple Knights pose on the court; Harold Sylvester is kneeling next to his coach.
Harold Sylvester
Amistad Research Center
The Purple Knights pose on the court; Harold Sylvester is kneeling next to his coach.

As hospitals in rural America close their doors, residents are strapped to find options in an emergency – like going into labor. But a new program in Mississippi provides paramedics and healthcare workers with the training for neonatal emergencies – almost like a delivery bootcamp. The Gulf States Newsroom’s Maya Miller heads into a classroom with an unconventional teacher.

Hayley Arcenaux has worn many titles. The St. Francisville native is a physician’s assistant, cancer survivor and astronaut who became the youngest American in space for a time in September of 2021. She was also the first-known Cajun and first person with a prosthetic bone in space. And earlier this year she released an autobiography, Wild Ride: A Memoir of IV Drips and Rocket Ships. 

Back in December she joined us for more on her journey and her new book. Today, in honor of Women’s History Month, we give our conversation with this inspiring Louisiana woman another listen.

It’s March Madness! And as the NCAA basketball tournament heats up in the Sweet 16 round starting tomorrow, we wanted to look back at the history of the sport in Louisiana.

Like schools, sports teams in Louisiana used to be segregated. And in New Orleans, even after the schools were integrated, sports leagues were still divided along racial lines. That was until 1965, when the principals of two New Orleans high schools decided to have their teams play one another, marking the first integrated high school basketball game in Louisiana.

Back in 2016, NPR’s Laine Kaplan Levenson reported this story for the TriPod podcast. Today, we give it a second listen.

Today’s episode of Louisiana Considered was hosted by Adam Vos. Our managing producer is Alana Schreiber and our digital editor is Katelyn Umholtz. Our engineers are Garrett Pittman and Aubry Procell. 

You can listen to Louisiana Considered Monday through Friday at 12:00 and 7:30 pm. It’s available on Spotify, Google Play, and wherever you get your podcasts. 

Louisiana Considered wants to hear from you! Please fill out our pitch line to let us know what kinds of story ideas you have for our show. And while you’re at it, fill out our listener survey! We want to keep bringing you the kinds of conversations you’d like to listen to.

Louisiana Considered is made possible with support from our listeners. Thank you!

Adam is responsible for coordinating WRKF's programming and making sure everything you hear on the radio runs smoothly. He is Newscast Editor for the WRKF/WWNO Newsroom. Adam is also the Baton Rouge-based host for Louisiana Considered, our daily regional news program, and is frequently the local voice afternoons on All Things Considered.
Alana Schreiber is the managing producer for the live daily news program, Louisiana Considered. She comes to WRKF from KUNC in Northern Colorado, where she worked as a radio producer for the daily news magazine, Colorado Edition. She has previously interned for Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul and The Documentary Group in New York City.