NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans showed the world how it was done. Saints fans threw the biggest party on Super Bowl Sunday and the game wasn't even turned on.
Now, we are learning about the lives changed because of last week's Boycott Bowl protest. More than $57,000 was raised during the celebration to help NORD programs.
At the adult swim class inside of the Treme Center lies the swimming pool. For many of the swimmers, that money will go a long way towards helping them achieve something many of them thought they could never do. Swimmers like Sierra Franklin.
Three days a week, for three hours, Sierra Franklin puts on her swimsuit.
"I'm actually just trying to learn how to swim. I started in October," Franklin said.
Believe it or not, she once feared the water. But one day, she said, 'Why not!'
"I said, 'Oh I work really close by. I might as well give it a shot.' So, I came to one of their lessons, not thinking I was gonna learn how to swim at all, and here I am!" Franklin said.
She noticed a chance in not just her stroke, but her attitude.
The aquatic class is one of many programs that is a part of the New Orleans Recreation Department Commission, a program that provides a safe, educational and recreational opportunities for New Orleans residents, like Sierra Franklin.
"In this community, surprisingly, despite the fact that we're a coastal city, a lot of people just don't know how to swim. It's giving the opportunity for a lot of people to actually learn how to swim so if we ever have another Katrina level event, a lot of people won't drown like they did in Katrina. They'll actually learn at least how to get above the water, at least how to float or to get to safe ground," Franklin said.
Today's announcement was deeper than football, it's about giving back.
"I hope this brings some light, and some fun to the recreation department for more people to be involved with the youth and in their communities and get involved with the recreation department," Boycott Bowl Co-Founder Brandon Rizzuto said.
"The recreation's department operates with a little more than $14 million budget. And it's enough really to get our programs going and keep it moving--but there's no such thing as enough, we can always use more," Barabino said.
"I'm so glad that kids have that today, and they have that option to where they can just go out and explore different activities outside of what they may normally be exposed to in their homes," Franklin said.
Franklin never would've learned her passion if it weren't for this center. With donations like the ones from the Boycott Bowl, she's glad future swimmers have an opportunity to find their own calling.