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Mr. Jarrett "J." Jones

3710 Rue Andree
New Orleans, LA 70131


Home Phone: 504-915-3158
Work Phone: --
Fax: --
Email: jarrettjones1@yahoo.com

Football: Jones enjoys HGTV fame

August 12, 2006 – Dan McDonald

When Hurricane Katrina was barreling down on New Orleans last August, University of Louisiana cornerback Jarrett Jones knew that his real-estate-agent mother had left the city ahead of the storm.
Little did Danette O’Neal know that her escape to Atlanta would eventually put her on national cable television. And Jones was part of the show, although only through a framed picture.

O’Neal was a New Orleans realtor who relocated to the Atlanta area after Katrina. She and Jones’ younger brother lived with a cousin in Decatur for several months while searching for a home in Atlanta.

It was that search that caught the attention of House Hunters, one of the staple shows on Home and Garden Television (HGTV, channel 61 on Lafayette Cable TV).
“She was looking for a house there, and a lot of people in real estate know her in Atlanta,” Jones said. “The TV people figured it would be a good story after the hurricane.”

Jones, of course, was in Lafayette during the past fall and spring semesters, participating in his junior season with the Ragin’ Cajuns and playing in all 11 UL games for the second straight year. Mom and brother, meanwhile, were searching Atlanta for a home, with the House Hunters crew in tow.

The show, which airs nightly at 9 p.m. (CDT) with new episodes each Thursday, takes viewers behind the scenes as people evaluate and decide whether or not to purchase selected homes. The show focuses on the emotional as well as the physical experience of the home-buying process.

Each episode features three homes and ends with the prospective buyer choosing one of the three. During her episode, O’Neal showed pictures of Jones in his UL football uniform.

“She told me they went to several other houses and filmed there,” Jones said. “They took the best of those to show.”

O’Neal wasn’t a television rookie. She put her 16 years of real estate experience to work on a real estate show on New Orleans cable television, but that ended when Katrina visited.

“She took off at the last minute,” Jones said. “She still has an office in New Orleans, so she goes back and forth a lot.”

Jones admits he’s not a regular HGTV viewer. Right now, he and his Cajun teammates don’t have a lot of time for television watching, and Jones himself is still recovering from a knee injury that hampered him both last season and in spring drills. During the spring, he normally took part in two practices each week along with scrimmages.

“They did surgery in December after I tore my meniscus,” Jones said. “It hurt all spring, and they had to go back in in May to shave it down a little more. I’m trying to get everything rehabbed for the opener.”

Jones has played in 30 games in his four-year UL career, but thoughts that the second surgery would threaten future play crossed his mind.

“It was like, you’ve got to do this another time,” he said. “The second time I only had to stay off it about a week, but you still have to do all the rehab work. They gave me some pain pills but I didn’t take them. I just did a lot of stretching and a lot of strength work.”

“He did an awful lot of work to get ready for this,” said defensive coordinator Brent Pry. “He always had a lot of swelling, but he kept after it.”

Jones will likely be the nickel back when UL goes to a five-deep secondary this fall.

“We’re trying to be more balanced on defense,” he said. “Our defense is built around speed, and we’ve got to be able to use that to our advantage.”

Want to watch?

Jarrett Jones’ mother, Danette O’Neal, will be featured on Home and Garden Television’s House Hunters series three times during the first week of October. The episode, titled “Post-Katrina Relocation,” centers on O’Neal’s search for a family home after relocation to Atlanta.

Air times on HGTV (channel 61 on Lafayette cable TV):

Thursday, Oct. 5, 9:30 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 6, 1:30 a.m.

Saturday, Oct. 7, 6:30 p.m.

More information on Danette O’Neal Realtors Inc., is available online at www.danetteonealrealtors.com.

Originally published August 12, 2006