Local law enforcement agencies teamed up with Crimestoppers Inc. Thursday to promote the upcoming National Night Out festivities in the New Orleans area. Crimestoppers Executive Director Darlene Cusanza also revealed the names of the neighborhood groups that won sponsorship for their Tuesday evening events through the agency’s National Night Out contest.Crimestoppers of Greater New Orleans
“This is a really special week for everyone that’s here,” Cusanza said, motioning to the crowd behind her, including U.S. Attorney Jim Letten, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand, Harahan Police Chief Mac Dickinson, Commander Chris Goodly of the New Orleans Police Department’s 5th District.
The contest invited local civic or community groups to share their plans for this year’s Night Out, the nationally-celebrated block party that encourages neighbors to get to know one another and fight crime. Local law enforcement agencies this year voted to move the event from Aug. 2 to Oct. 11 so attendees would have cooler weather.
The civic groups were also asked to share their creative efforts to keep their neighborhoods safe and how Crimestoppers could help. The prizes included money for refreshments, a visit from local law enforcement and Crimestoppers VIPs, T-shirts and other goodies.
The large-audience category winner was Reconnect Nola, a non-profit organization that will hold its Night Out event at Lemann Playground, 538 N. Claiborne Ave., New Orleans from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Though based in New Orleans’ Treme neighborhood, Chairman Wayne “D.J. Wild Wayne” Benjamin said the group reached beyond its borders to invite residents from all of New Orleans.
“I think the really big thing is to invite the kids and the younger kids to be a part of this,” said Benjamin, who noted that they are most often the perpetrators or victims of crime. “We need to involve them in the process.
The small-audience winner was Night Out Against Crime party that will be held at Sampson Playground, 3100 Louisa St., New Orleans, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. The party, sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee and A Desire for Change, will feature a D.J. and peace-themed dance contests, chalk art and sports, according to organizer Ahmane Glover.
Crimestoppers handed out a surprised third-place award to the Multifamily Council of Greater New Orleans, an affiliate of the Home Builders Association of Greater New Orleans. Their carnival-style party will be held at 733 Trisha Court, Westwego, from 5-7 p.m.
For more information about Crimestoppers-affiliated Night Out gatherings or to receive Crimestoppers materials for a Night Out event, call 504.837.8477 or visit the group’s website at www.crimestoppersgno.org.