By Tribune Staff
NUL President & CEO and former mayor Marc Morial among those recognized for role in founding the playground
Twenty five years ago, an empty, unused lot on Alhambra Street in the Holy Cross neighborhood was transformed into a wooden playground for families and children longing for a nearby place they could use for fun and recreation.
On Saturday, March 19, local and state leaders joined community members to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Delery Playground and to honor those who played a part in its founding, including to including National Urban League President & CEO Marc H. Morial, who was mayor of the city when the playground was created.
“Playgrounds are essential safe spaces where children can be themselves and express their fun-loving nature while developing crucial cognitive, physical, social and emotional skills,” Morial said. “During my time in office as Mayor of the City of New Orleans, we understood the necessity of recreation for our youth and we put our money where our mouth was…we allocated funds for the Delery Street Playground in the Lower 9th Ward and others.”
“Marc H. Morial deserves much of the credit for the establishment of the Delery Street Playground,” said Vicki Judice, co-coordinator of the celebration. “His leadership paved the way to create the playground in 1996. He has always believed in the power of neighborhood community organizing, the value of recreation for youth, and the relevance and beauty of the Lower 9th Ward. His light continues to shine in New Orleans.”
Building the playground 25 years ago was a true community effort involving volunteers and fundraisers. And that same spirit was evident earlier this month as volunteers gave the playground a face lift in anticipation of the March 19 celebration, which included food, face-painting and other activities.
In addition to Morial, other attendees included Judge Ellen Hazeur, state Sen. Joe Bouie, state Rep. Candace Newell, NORDC Director Larry Barabino Jr., civil rights leaders Leona Tate and former judge Arthur Hunter took were among those who took in the event.