New Orleans team creates Hurricane Katrina costumes for USBC Women's Championships


    United States

    National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev. (March 16 - July 2, 2006)

    2006USBCWomensChampionshipLogo.jpg Every year, for the past 38 years, the Zodiacs team of New Orleans faithfully travels to compete in the United States Bowling Congress Women's Championships, presented by the Eldorado, Silver Legacy and Circus Circus. Considering the devastation of last fall's Hurricane Katrina, the six women of the Zodiacs aren't just fortunate to be here bowling, they're lucky to be alive.

    As the slow but steady clean-up continues in the Big Easy, these bowlers are representative of the enduring tenacity of the city they love, and a vivid illustration of bowlers committed to the sport. Zodiacs team captain Linda Prattini, 64, is New Orleans born-and-raised. A bowler for 42 years, Prattini was adamant that nothing would stop her from competing in this year's Women's Championships, where she received USBC's commemorative plaque for 40 consecutive years of tournament participation.

    In light of the fact that one of her homes was totally destroyed by Katrina, another home has a chance to be saved and she now resides in a FEMA trailer, Prattini decided to depict the epic saga on the team costumes they wore for the tournament. Upon completion of team, doubles and singles competition at the National Bowling Stadium, Prattini, flanked by Zodiacs teammates Frances Plaia and Muriel Staunton, spoke of how vitally committed they were to bowl this year, after nearly a year of uncertainty.

    "One of the things I was worried about when it was storming were the costumes that Frances and I have worked so hard on for 38 years, because they're all hand-made," Prattini admits. "I worried more about my costumes than I did about my house. We've spent hundreds of hours on them, and we're very proud of the Zodiacs. The International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame in St. Louis has at least 25 of our outfits."

    Plaia, an original Zodiacs member who's bowled all 38 years and who just celebrated her 41st Women's Championships, remembers bowling in the Women's Championships in New Orleans in 1966. She evacuated the city for the sanctuary of her granddaughter's home in a nearby city, but when Plaia, 87, was finally able to get someone to check on her New Orleans home, it was under six feet of water, with furniture, freezers and food floating close to ceilings in rooms that were also quickly filling with mold and stench.

    "I just had the house gutted out," says Plaia, "but in the meantime, I ended up in Mandeville with my daughter, where I've managed to buy a nice house."

    Staunton, who's bowled for 50 years and also received a plaque for 28 consecutive years of participation in the Women' s Championships, had almost 15 inches of water inside her house, and two cars under water outside. Since the disaster, Staunton says she's learned some of the finer points of sheetrocking, flooring and renovating her kitchen. After Katrina hit, Staunton joined forces with Prattini on a special mission to rescue their legendary bowling outfits for their friend.

    "Frances's family said her costumes were in plastic bins," said Prattini, who designed them. "All of our sequins, rhinestones and everything - 38 years of work. I lived around the corner from Frances and called Muriel and said, 'I know Frances is heartbroken. We're going to check on those costumes.' Muriel and I put on white face masks and plastic gloves and went over to Frances' house. The costumes were in the containers in the front yard. We popped it open, and it stunk to high heaven; imagine all the rotten eggs in the world you could think of. We pulled out her costumes and laid them on the cement driveway."

    Of the three women, Staunton was the only one who had electricity, so she took the costumes home and carefully cleaned them. This year, the Zodiacs created three-dimensional fabric sculptures on their uniforms, which must be seen to be fully appreciated. The most minute details of the disaster are depicted in the Katrina-story-on-fabric: the city's high-rise skyline, floating trees, the Superdome with damaged roof, soldiers, a broken levee with perished alligators and sea creatures in its wake, a FEMA trailer, and houses with people on the roofs, waiting to be rescued.

    "Here's a little guy that's being lifted into a helicopter," explains Staunton. "You will notice he's saved his bowling ball."

    In the spirit of their heartbroken city, the best-dressed Zodiacs of New Orleans kept their commitment to bowl, with a team score of 2,263 in Division 2.

    Kegel is the official lane maintenance provider of USBC.

    Top five division leaders with hometowns and pinfall:


    Team (946 average and over)
    1, Strike 3, Sun City, Ariz., 3,021. 2, C&S Bowling Supply I, Plainfield, Ill., 2,946. 3, Laurel Bowl, Johnson City, N.Y., 2,917. 4, Valley Bowl Pro-Shop, Spokane, Wash., 2,911. 5, Keller Williams Realty 2, San Antonio, Texas, 2,895.

    Doubles (379 average and over)
    1, Carrie Meares, Seneca, S.C./Lisa Wagner, Duluth, Ga., 1,331. 2, Dianna Innerst, San Jose, Calif./Cathy Johnston, Folsom, Calif., 1,274. 3, Cherylle Secl-Cross, Marne, Mich./Carole Morgan, Wyoming, Mich., 1,263. 4, Bonnie Vaughan, Englewood, Ohio/Rae Parks, Vandalia, Ohio, 1,234. 5, Nicole Van Deventer/Laurie Clark, Sioux Falls, S.D., 1,231.

    Singles (190 average and over)
    1, Shannon Duplantis, New Orleans, 707. 2 (tie), Valerie Carrillo, Montebello, Calif., and Dawn Convay, Las Vegas, 691. 4, Lisa Wagner, Duluth, Ga., 683. 5, Mary Gifford, Belvidere, Ill., 680.

    All Events (190 average and over)
    1, Lisa Wagner, Duluth, Ga., 2,097. 2, Lisa Stevens, St. Charles, Ill., 1,991. 3, Kelly Borysiewicz, Franklin Square, N.Y., 1,989. 4, Nikki Lunsford, Plainfield, Ill., 1,967. 5, Patti Gleason, Palatine, Ill., 1,928.


    Team (846-945 average)
    1, Village Bar II, Omaha, Neb., 2,842. 2, Washington Mojo, Ferndale, Wash., 2,818. 3, Cavalettes 1, Sacramento, Calif., 2,811. 4, The Queen Bs 1, Loveland, Colo., 2,807. 5, BeauBien Street Saloon, Troy, Mich., 2,781.

    Doubles (339-378 average)
    1, Pam Schulz, Longview, Wash./Valery Hubbard, Kelso, Wash., 1,264. 2, Irma Day, Helotes, Texas/Julie Howard, San Antonio, Texas, 1,223. 3, Deidre Hicks, Morris, Ill./Joyce Underwood, Marseilles, Ill., 1,215. 4 (tie), Tonya Justinger, Painesville, Ohio/Marina Rimes, Madison, Ohio and Tracey Shaud, Fairlawn, N.J./Elissa Gotta, Kenosha, Wis., 1,203.

    Singles (170-189 average)
    1, Cathy Woessner, Euless, Texas, 710. 2, Kristine Kiesling, Las Vegas, 686. 3, Wynn Brandon, Reno, Nev., 676. 4, Paula Hallead, East Wenatchee, Wash., 674. 5, Casea Little, Longview, Wash., 670.

    All Events (170-189 average)
    1, Maika Winkler, Antelope, Calif., 1,856. 2, Christel Butler, Kannapolis, N.C., 1,853. 3, Holly Fett, Las Vegas, 1,852. 4, Cathy Woessner, Euless, Texas, 1,819. 5, Kristine Kiesling, Las Vegas, 1,804.


    Team (746-845 average)
    1, Jax 1, Jacksonville, Fla., 2,734. 2, The X Effect, Purcellville, Va., 2,692. 3, Lady Queens, Merit, Texas, 2,691. 4, Southern Girls V, Pomona, Calif., 2,690. 5, Centennial Lanes 2, Hays, Kan., 2,658.

    Doubles (299-338 average)
    1, Sharon Cassidy, San Mateo, Calif./Elaine Van Otten, Pacifica, Calif., 1,171. 2, Kim Illhardt, Seguin, Texas/Janice Kuhen, San Marcos, Texas, 1,169. 3, Jeanna Brown, Bloomington, Ill./Joan Kaufman, Heyworth, Ill., 1,154. 4, Darcy Netz, Blue Lake, Calif./Linda Scott, Eureka, Calif., 1,143. 5, Deborah Nowak-Frick, Walkerton, Ind./Pat Dukarm, South Bend, Ind., 1,141.

    Singles (150-169 average)
    1, Judith Kaufman, Winslow, Ill., 620. 2, Julie Andres, American Canyon, Calif., 619. 3 (tie), Joyce Moss, Columbus, Ohio, Linda Urbanek, Poway, Calif. and Sylvia Thomas, Columbus, N.C., 616.

    All Events (150-169 average)
    1, Shelley Hall, Long Beach, Calif., 1,774. 2, Nikita Williams, Oakland, Calif., 1,767. 3, Becky Carter, Anaheim, Calif., 1,741. 4, Pearl Cates-Bullock, Durham, N.C., 1,735. 5, Cheryl Blosch, South Wayne, Wis., 1,705.


    Team (651-745 average)
    1, Unbowlievables, Meridian, Idaho, 2,530. 2, Idaho Pick-Up Gals, Pocatello, Idaho, 2,501. 3, Just Marked, Oakland, Calif., 2,458. 4, D.C. Rollers Team 3, Brentwood, Md., 2,449. 5, Take Ten, Oklahoma City, 2,424.

    Doubles (261-298 average)
    1, Ronda Lutz, Paris, Idaho/Teresa Singleton, Montpelier, Idaho, 1,083. 2, Helen Sellars, Conroe, Texas/Linda Schmidt, Albuquerque, N.M., 1,081. 3, Anne Greer, Rainier, Ore./Alonnie Bolton, Oakland, Ore., 1,075. 4, Sandy Jackson, Minden, Nev./Sylvia Griffin, Detroit, 1,072. 5, Vivian Bisinger, Floyds Knobs, Ind./Kathy Smith, Greenville, Ind., 1,068.

    Singles (131-149 average)
    1, Nancy Galinat, Harrold, S.D., 638. 2, Linda Gearhart, Casa Grande, Ariz., 620. 3, Faye Stewart, Scott City, Kansas, 605. 4, Robin McGinnis, Petrolia, Pa., 598. 5, C.C. Deaky, Los Angeles, 596.

    All Events (131-149 average)
    1, Jennifer Reed, Hamilton, Va., 1,680. 2, Stephanie Dowd, El Paso, Texas, 1,644. 3, Faye Stewart, Scott City, Kansas, 1,616. 4, Jen Helton, Huachuca City, Ariz., 1,609. 5, Veronica Dugenio, Branchburg, N.J., 1,608.


    Team (650 average and under)
    1, Bear Nasty, Monticello, Minn., 2,187. 2, Got Pins, Santa Rosa, Calif., 2,156. 3, North Idaho Crushing II, St. Maries, Idaho, 2,111. 4, Tumbleweed Lanes, Ness City, Kan., 2,096. 5, Lundeen Ford, Annandale, Minn., 2,091.

    Doubles (260 average and under)
    1, Kathy Belmer, Manteca, Calif./Regina Antunes, Stockton, Calif., 973. 2, Jenna Cameron/Debra Ingram, Springdale, Ark., 962. 3, Sharon Carroll/Dee Carroll, Newport, Wash., 945. 4 (tie), Lorna Robinson/Holly Rybensky, Omaha, Neb. and Dorothy Gabbard, Camden, Ohio/Michelle Poe, College Corner, Ohio, 941.

    Singles (130 average and under)
    1, Barbara Dynes, New Castle, Ind., 593. 2, Rose Postle, Rice Lake, Wis., 554. 3, Connie Monk, Yelm, Wash., 549. 4, Tracy Goodson, Belen, N.M., 546. 5, Shelly Bloch, Ramsey, Minn., 538.

    All Events (130 average and under)
    1, Linda Azuma, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., 1,491. 2, Carol Hood, Waterville, Kansas, 1,490. 3, Connie Monk, Yelm, Wash., 1,481. 4, Kristine Ferguson, Greenville, Mich., 1,475. 5, Georgia Roberts, Wayland, Mo., 1,467.