NEW ORLEANS, LA – Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the City of New Orleans applauded a year of progress for the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission, including openings at nearly a dozen recreational sites across the city, the launch of several capital projects, and successful summer and fall programming.
“New Orleans deserves a world-class recreation department that provides safe enrichment space for our city’s youth and serves as a resource for the entire community,” Mayor Landrieu said. “We are committed to driving additional resources and creating strategic partnerships, including the vital funding increase in 2014, to allow NORDC to expand programming for our citizens and build on the success of 2013.”
Continuing the City’s strong commitment to funding recreation, the 2014 operating budget added $1 million to NORDC’s budget. In 2011 Mayor Landrieu doubled the NORDC budget. The City is also using a $65 million bond issuance for new streets and NORDC facilities.
NORDC Chairman Roy Glapion said, “Our goal and our mission is to provide New Orleans with the strongest recreational program in our country and we will all benefit. Our progress is a powerful testament to the dedication of our staff and the strong partnerships we have developed.”
Vic Richard, CEO of NORDC said, “Our dedicated staff works hard to make sure our residents have safe and engaging activities. This summer, we had vital new programming and an improved quality of camp services that made a strong impact on the lives of the children we served.”
District A Councilmember Susan Guidry said, "It has been a top priority for this Council and Administration to revive and reinvent our recreation department. New Orleans' residents, and especially our children, are healthier and safer thanks to the wonderful programming that NORDC offers."
District B Councilmember LaToya Cantrell said, "It's not too late for all New Orleanians to make a New Year’s resolution to get outside and be active in the programs and opportunities available at the NORDC sites across the city. I am proud of the progress made in 2013 and know that as the work continues into 2014, we will see more young leaders developing as our young people take advantage of the terrific programs and opportunities that are coming on line."
District C Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer said, "The reform of recreation in New Orleans that was approved by voters at the beginning of my term is reflected in brick and mortar improvements across the city. A fresh approach to programming and facilities that relies on community partners is bringing lifelong benefits to our children, and I applaud all who spend countless hours working with NORDC."
District D Councilmember Cynthia Hedge Morrell said, "Our children truly are our most valuable assets. It is our responsibility to provide high quality and engaging opportunities for them to learn and grow in a safe environment. I thank all the staff, coaches and volunteers for their hard work in 2013. Last year was great for NORDC, and I expect 2014 will be even better. The redevelopment of the Milne site into a new recreational facility and headquarters will benefit not just the surrounding community, but the entire city!"
Mayor Landrieu and NORDC officials applauded the ongoing partnerships with Chevron, the New Orleans Saints, New Orleans Pelicans, American Red Cross, New Orleans Ballet Association, Casa Samba and others and thanked the numerous booster clubs members, coaches and parents for their commitment and hard work.
NORDC’s 2013 highlights include:
MILNE BOYS HOME
In November, the City broke ground on the new $11.2 million NORDC Headquarters at 5420 Franklin Avenue in the Milneburg neighborhood on November 25. This facility previously served as the Milne Boys Home which was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Mayor Landrieu said the campus’s rebirth as the new NORDC Headquarters is a testament to the City’s commitment to build the best recreation department in the country.
JOE W. BROWN MEMORIAL PARK
Early in 2013, Joe W. Brown Memorial Park in New Orleans East reopened after $23.4 million rehabilitation that includes Victory Football Stadium, a 10-court tennis complex, baseball field & clubhouse, concessions, two playgrounds, Victory Track and 46 acres of greenspace. The recreation center includes two gymnasiums, two multipurpose rooms, a conference room, boys and girls locker rooms, a music instruction room and fully equipped concession stand. In June, the center hosted the 4th season of NOLA FOR LIFE Midnight Basketball.
The Lyons Recreation Center opened in June 2013 following a $5 million renovation that included the gymnasium, a performance theater, state-of-the art Chevron Studio for the NORDC/NOBA Center for Dance, four multi-purpose rooms and an Olympic size outdoor swimming pool.
The Treme Center reopened in June 2013 following a $5.6 million renovation to the gymnasium, boys and girls locker rooms, year-round 25-meter indoor swimming pool, multi-purpose rooms and crafts and culture rooms. Treme Center hosted the 5th Season of NOLA FOR LIFE Midnight Basketball.
STALLINGS ST. CLAUDE RECREATIONAL CENTER AND POOL
A groundbreaking was held in April for a new $6.1 million, 17,000-square foot recreation center that will replace the previous 13,000-square-foot facility damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
ANDREW P. SANCHEZ RECREATION CENTER
Currently under construction in the Lower Ninth Ward is the $19 million new Andrew P. Sanchez Recreation Center. The 65,000-square-foot facility will replace the 50,000-square-foot facility that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. A 25-meter indoor swimming pool will be added.
In 2013, Pontchartrain Park received a new scoreboard for the football field and repairs to the high mast lighting on playing fields. The work continued recent improvements to the park, including the $6.5 million Wesley Barrow Stadium opened in late 2012 and the revamped Joseph Bartholomew Golf Course.
In 2013, several NORDC playgrounds and recreation centers sites in Algiers benefitted from improvements. Behrman Stadium received a new scoreboard, play clocks and PA system; Cut-Off received fencing repairs, Donsereaux/Harrison received a new playground in partnership with Rebuilding Together New Orleans; McDonogh Playground received improvements in connection with NOLA FOR LIFE Day; and Bodenger received high mast lighting repairs.
SUPER BOWL XLVII - SUPER SATURDAY OF SERVICE
Five NORDC playgrounds and recreation centers benefitted from capital improvements and volunteer projects, including relocation of the Super Bowl XLVII turf at Harrell Stadium. Other improvements took place at Lyons Recreation Center, Hunter’s Field, Kingwood Playground and Pontchartrain Park. Funding for Super Saturday of Service projects was provided by a $1 million contribution from the NFL along with $500,000 matching grants from both the NORD Foundation, thanks to Chevron, and the City of New Orleans.
SUMMER YOUTH PROGRAMS
In 2013, NORDC offered 34 youth camps that served more than 3,400 children. Seven teen camps, offered in partnership with JOB1, the City’s Office of Workforce Development, provided 900 teens recreational activities, exposure to a variety of careers and a weekly stipend. In total 1,654 New Orleans youth, teen camp participants participated in the City’s NOLA Youth Works Summer Youth Employment Program.
NORDC KID’S CAFE
The City of New Orleans partnered with the New Orleans No Kid Hungry campaign, local schools, Second Harvest Food Bank, Volunteers of America, NORDC and Share Our Strength® to offer a summer meal program. At NORDC camp sites, more than 57,000 free, nutritious meals were served to youth ages 5-18. The program provides free after school meals at Cut-Off Recreation Center, Treme Recreation Center and Comiskey Playground.
The City operated 13 pools in summer 2013 in conjunction with NORDC summer camps, along with public swimming and lessons. These included the pool at the Treme Center, which is opened for the first time since Katrina and the pool at the newly renovated Lyons Center.
Offered in partnership with the American Red Cross, the aquatics program provided 42,616 total hours of professional instruction to 5,442 participants. Over 70 partner agencies participated and 40 youth volunteers assisted as junior life guards and water safety aides.
NORDC participated in the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson, a global event to build awareness about the vital importance of teaching children to swim to help prevent drowning. The event was recorded for the Guinness World Book of Records, which included 123 youth from Kingsley House in a lesson at the Lyons Center Pool.
NORDC offers structured youth programs in football, cheerleading, flag football, baseball, softball, soccer, track and field, basketball, and volleyball.
The NORDC/RBI Baseball team advanced to the semi-finals in the World Series in Minneapolis in April. RBI is a Major League Baseball initiative designed to increase interest and participation in the game in urban communities. This is the first year of the partnership between NORDC and RBI. In an interview with WBOK “Sport-a-Facts “ host Ro Brown, Tyler Reid (15) said, “It all goes back to what the coaches said, ‘hard work pays off.’ That’s what happened. We worked hard, and it paid off.”
The 2013 football and cheerleading season culminated in November with a cheerleading competition, football championship games and a parade at Joe W. Brown Memorial Park. All events were free and open to the public.
One of the NORDC female football players, 6-year-old Jayda Duplesses, was featured on WWL-TV scoring two touchdowns for the McDonogh Tigers.
The Goretti Saints Cheerleaders attended the Saintsations Training Camp and Saintsations at a Saints game.
Several football teams and cheerleading squads performed community service projects including school supply giveaways, helping the homeless, helping kids with homework, and promoting breast cancer awareness screenings.
NORDC athletics youth and coaches participated in several clinics throughout the year including the Heisman Football Clinic, NCAA Women’s Final Four Powerade Free Youth Basketball Clinic, NCAA and Allstate Sugar Bowl Youth Day, UNO Privateers Volleyball Clinic and the R+L Carriers Bowl Youth Empowerment Program. These programs gave our youth athletics and life skills lessons.
NORDC formed a new partnership with the Young Leadership Council called YLC Kicks Soccer. Over 200 kids played soccer and the several teams participated in the Louisiana Governor’s Games at City Park in May, hosted by YLC Kicks.
New tennis programs were started at the new Joe W. Brown Tennis Center. The Atkinson-Stern Tennis Center won U.S. Tennis Association 2013 Special Tennis Event of the Year Award for hosting the Chandra Rubin Play Day held in February. The tennis clinic was held for youth 10 and under.
NORDC’s cultural programs include piano lessons, band, senior choir, Casa Samba and the NORDC/NOBA Center for Dance.
NORDC piano students were selected to perform in the House of Blues Action for the Arts Recital in April.
Participants from all cultural programs along members of the community performed in free public programs celebrating Cinco de Mayo and Black History Month. During the summer dance participants attended classes with the Chevron Master Artist Series at the Chevron Studio at Lyons Center.
A new leadership committee was formed for the 2013/14 school year. Each co-chair represents one of the Council’s focus areas (Violence/Crime, Student/School Support, the Arts, and Images of Young Women) along with volunteer initiatives.
Members of the Teen Council volunteered with NOLA FOR LIFE Days and led volunteer activities for the Global Youth Service Day held at A.L. Davis Playground in April.
The inaugural group of the Chevron Future Leaders Program was celebrated at an event in June. The program is designed to support skills development and enable early career exploration. In order to remain in the program and receive rewards, students must continue to meet GPA, school attendance, and leadership behavior requirements throughout the school year.
Senior programs include dance, fitness, water aerobics and choir. The Senior Fitness program was expanded and classes are now being held at the Chevron Studio at Lyons Center, Tremé Recreation Center, Joe W. Brown Recreation Center and Behrman Recreation Center. NORDC Senior dance teams won first and second place medals at the Greater New Orleans Senior Olympic Games in February.
MOVIES IN THE PARK
NORDC’s Movies in the Park continued this year. Throughout the spring and fall seasons, residents had the opportunity to watch family-friendly movies for free on an outdoor movie screen in neighborhood parks across the city. NORDC provided a large portable outdoor movie screen, A/V system, licensed DVD, security, trash receptacles and satellite restrooms. Community organizations and neighborhood associations served as the hosts that chose the movie, sold concessions and helped clean up. This year, NORDC presented Movies in the Park events in 11 neighborhood parks and served nearly 1,000 residents.
Residents celebrated a happy, safe and free Halloween at Treme, Lyons, Behrman and Joe W. Brown Recreation Centers with treats, dancing, activities and games. McGruff the Crime Dog and Officer Friendly visited with kids at each center.
FIT NOLA PARKS
Fit NOLA Parks offers free recreational activities for people of all ages and skill levels, along with healthy food options at the concession stands at three NORDC playgrounds: Taylor, Norwood Thompson and St. Roch. The new initiative is a partnership between the NORDC, the Louisiana Public Health Institute, and the City of New Orleans Health Department and is supported by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation and Chevron.
THE NUTCRACKER SUITE
In December, the NORDC/New Orleans Ballet Association Center for Dance presented an all-student cast in a special, hour-long adaptation of the classic ballet perfect for the whole family. This year’s production included a total cast of over 150 participants (153 youth ages 6-18 and 13 adults age 55 and up).
CHRISTMAS BASKET GIVEAWAY
Generous NORDC rec center staff members collected and donated Christmas 20 baskets to families in their communities. Each basket had a turkey or ham plus enough food for several side dishes.