New Orleans' first inclusive male rugby team is bringing the International Gay Rugby league to New Orleans. Luke Layfield, founder of the Crescent City Rougaroux team, encourages anyone to participate regardless of experience level or athletic ability.
Layfield started organizing the team late last year, utilizing social media to help spread the word. He tapped Tulane University women's rugby team coach Jessica Mallindine to coach Rougaroux. Jason Andersen of the Atlanta Bucks is also mentoring the team while Layfield gets it up and running.
While other LGBTQ sports leagues exist in the area, "The gay community is starved for athletic outlet variety," Andersen said. The chance to play with "a team of people that are just like you...it's just love. You feel like you belong," Andersen said. "Plus the workout is great. It makes you aware of muscles you never knew you had," he joked.
"Obviously New Orleans is a great location. Geographically, (New Orleans) is in the middle of everything," Andersen said.
For now, though, Layfield is focused on growing the local team. Rouxagaroux's first practice was March 11 and drew about 25 participants from the New Orleans area. Members of Tulane's women's rugby team and Nashville and Atlanta teams also came to help.