NEW ORLEANS – In the heart of Central City, residents showed unity with music, food and a message: “stop the violence.”

The message has gotten louder in recent years, but is it helping?

Michael Delay and Albert Daniels say they have been victims of violence on the streets. They say the message of stopping violence often reaches young people too late.

The two men say they’ve had to fight to turn things around. To them, “Stop the violence” means they must do something that no one else did for them.

Djuana O’Neal says that message was too late for her son who was killed right in front of her. But she still believes the message needs to be heard.

“So, events like this, I think it sends a positive message, an encouraging message that we don’t want to see the things that are happening in our neighborhood,” O’Neal said. “We want better.”