NEW ORLEANS -- The Second Annual Zulu on the Bayou festival descended on Bayou St. John Sunday as thousands of people gathered to enjoy each other company, good food, and great music.
The Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club puts on the event for two important reasons; to celebrate Mother’s Day and to spread a message of stopping the violence in the community.
“We like to use the platform that we have to produce and present a positive message to the community and we think that there is no better positive message at this time than stopping the violence,” said Naaman Stewart, president of Zulu.
Some residents said they felt violence was making a permanent, negative impact on the city.
“A lot of people are moving away from the city because of the violence and it’s just gotten ridiculous,” said Therese Sears.
Sears wants the community to use this annual celebration as a place to start the conversation of change.
“It has to start at home first,” said Sears. “Working with the families, touching, loving, together. I think that the families once they come together some things will change.”
After a long day of fun, the night ended with a second line to take a stand against violence.
This year the second line was dedicated to Deborah Cotton, the writer shot and killed in the 2013 Mother’s Day shooting.
“We just thought that it would be the absolute right thing to do to pay homage to someone that lost their life on Mother’s Day, but someone who was also so big to the culture of New Orleans as far as second lines are concerned,” said Stewart.
The message of Sunday’s second line did not go unforgotten.
“Because family is very important and we don’t need to be killing each other so stopping the violence is very important, and of course Happy Mother’s Day,” said attendee Krashawn Davis.