NEW ORLEANS -- It was a joyous note in Gentilly as the rebirth of Donnelly Park was celebrated Tuesday. Kids especially enjoyed using the new playground equipment their suggestions helped design.
"So often adults don't listen to kids," said Hynes Charter School Student Sage Sigler. "But not this time. You listened, and this playground is the playground of our dreams. Isn't it beautiful?"
Neighborhood leaders saw it as a symbol of the area's recovery.
"This neighborhood had 9 feet of water sustained in it, so we all came back, and look how far we have come!" said Mandy Manuel Lilly of the Burbank Civic Association.
But a few miles away in Central City sit the shabby remains of what once was a city playground, the NORD Keller Center.
"You look at it, eyesore, disappointment. You know, you want to do something," said neighborhood activist Keith Hudson.
Hudson is campaigning to restore the Keller Center.
"I want a basketball court that's safe, I want this concrete up," said Hudson. "I want inside, they've got a dance studio for girls, downstairs when you put a gym, ping pong tables for boys."
"Look at the park now. Kids don't have nowhere to play," said Norman Cobbins, describing how he played here as a child. "Oh it's very important [to bring the park back]. It would probably stop a lot of the killings."
But Keith Hudson said he's not getting much help from the city.
"Lip service, plenty of it. Actual support, zero."
I spoke to the head of NORD, and he told me the Keller Center is definitely not on the city's radar. He said it is not one of the 100 projects the city has announced, so there is no funding for it.
But does that mean there's no hope for the Keller Center? Absolutely not. You see, there's the new NORD Commission, and I spoke to the head of that.
"What he can do now is attend the commission meetings, make his points known," said NORD Commission Chairman Roy Glapion. "Let us know what he needs, maybe do, and not to get too technical, but a basic analysis of what his needs are, and then we can possibly put a dollar figure with that and try and raise the money."
"It gives me hope when he said come see him, because when you say come see you, I'm coming to see you," Hudson said.--- If you have a problem and want Action Reporter Bill Capo to look into it, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Action Line at 504.522.4404.