History of the Origins of the New Orleans Women’s Rugby Club (Halfmoons)
In 1978 Jenna Meeks, Laura Roberts, Kris Franz, and Leslie Brandt while gathered at a bar in the French Quarter began to discuss forming a women’s rugby club in New Orleans. Three of the people present had played at LSU. Leslie Brandt (who had not played at LSU) had recently attended a meeting of the West RFU. The plan which was discussed and later enacted was to become an associate member of the West RFU.
Players came to the club in many different ways. Some had played in college but many had an athletic interest in the sport sparked just by watching the women practice or play. Tracy Moens (who went on to play representative rugby for the national side) was jogging on the batcher (levee) one day when she saw the Halfmoons practicing. She came out to her first practice which included a scrimmage. Kris Franz tackled her and looked her in the eyes and said, “ If you want to play rugby and you can take that, you’re in.” Tracy brushed herself off and said, “I want to play.”
In the early days the Halfmoons traveled to either Texas or Florida for matches. Florida State University was the competition in Tallahassee, and Houston had 2 sides (The Hearts and the Boars) and the Dallas Debutants would would come to Houston to make a round robin tournament out of New Orleans visit to the Lone Star State.
For the first 3 to 5 years the Halfmoons were awful. The team was excited just to score a try. The idea that the team might win a game was almost laughable. After George Henderson began to coach the team they began to steadily improve and recruit serious athletes.
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