Erath High's Snooks Relays “Test of the Best”

World War II Hero Conrad "Snookie" Derouen Jr. was killed in action by a Japanese Sniper on July 17, 1944.

Talented track stars participate in the annual Snooks Relays at Erath High School each spring. It is an annual event which draws the best track champions in the area.

Track and field began at EHS when a new stadium was constructed in 1953. With Bob Segura as an outstanding head track coach, he led his team to the state championships for nine years, as well as implementing the Snooks Relays Track Meet.

With the cinder track set in a new stadium in the early fifties, additional funds were needed to complete concrete curbing around the new EHS track. Conrad Derouen, a successful Erath businessman, graciously donated money to complete the project. As a way of appreciation for additional funds provided, Erath High School dedicated its new established relays to Derouen’s son, who was killed in World War II.

Erath native Conrad Snooks “Snookie” Derouen Jr., was born an only child on February 12, 1921 to Mr. and Mrs. Conrad Derouen. He was the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Derouen and Mr. and Mrs. Aurelian “Cap” Theriot. Derouen is remembered as an outstanding athlete, who fit the bill of the “all American kid”.

Following his graduation at Erath High School in 1937, he graduated from Vanderbilt University with a Masters Degree in Health and Physical Education. He married the former Marguerite Domingues of Abbeville. At twenty one years old, he volunteered for service in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his tour of duty in WW II, Derouen was killed when he was shot in the neck by a Japanese sniper on July 17, 1944. On July 18, 1944, at the very young age of twenty three, “Snookie” Derouen was buried at sea, never to return home to Erath.

On April 9, 1945, both Derouen’s widow and mother, traveled to New Orleans to receive the Navy Cross from Rear Admiral A. C. Bennett. He was posthumously awarded the Naval Cross for Gallantry in action. Derouen died a hero’s death. The Derouen-Moss American Legion Post #279 was named for Derouen and Erath educator Louis Moss, who was also killed in WW II.

Under the direction of Erath High School Coach Robert Segura Sr., the first Snooks Relays Track Meet was held in the spring of 1959. That year high school Jr. Phyllis Dronet (Leblanc), daughter of Curney and Irene (Leblanc) Dronet, was crowned the first Snooks Queen. Phyllis Dronet Leblanc a former teacher at Erath Middle School.

The “Snooks Relays” continues to be a prestigious track meet each year, in which athletes attend by invitation only. Each spring, outstanding athletes compete, not as teams, but as individuals. This competition calls for the best of the best, which is a fitting tribute to its namesake, “Snookie” Derouen.

Erath High School Principal Henry Bernard, is shown donating a photograph of "Snookie" Derouen to his parents in 1959.

In the spring of 1959. the first Snoooks Queen and Court were named. The EHS Snooks Queen was  Phyllis Dronet (Leblanc). Her maids were Anna Brown (Saunier), Gloria Richard and Ann Broussard (Clostio).  The Queen is being crowned by her father Curney Dronet Sr.

Portrait of Conrad "Snookie" Derouen hangs in the Acadian Museum in Erath.

 

Erath High School

808 S. Broadway Street

Erath, LA 70533

Phone - 337-937-8451

Fax - 337-937-5109

 

Website URL http://www.vrml.k12.la.us/ehs

 

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