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St. Roch, La.- Residents in St. Roch now have a cleaner and safer park. Volunteers came out to beautify the neighborhood for the city's 5th NOLA for Life day.
Tammy Monet walks to St. Roch Park from her home just a few blocks away. She grew up in the neighborhood, and she plans to stay.
"It's a gem, and we're hoping we can get it back to what it was in it's glory day," said Monet.
Neighbors say, before Katrina, the area started taking a turn for the worse.
"One night I came home and found someone shot someone in my driveway," said Edith Francisco, a St. Roch resident. "Good thing I was not home."
No, action that started within the community is helping to turn the area back around.
As part of the 5th NOLA for Life Day, volunteers scraped graffiti off the playground, picked up trash, and painted telephone poles and trash cans.
"When the community comes together, it has ownership of their neighborhood. Things get better. So, NOLA for Life is designed to help facilitate that," said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
"If we take care of this park, then maybe people will start to recognize that they need to take care of the entire neighborhood," said Monet.
Fifth District Commander Christopher Goodly says days like this help residents build relationships with police officers, which helps combat crime.
"You see the indictments with several members of the ride or die gang, P-Block... I could go on and on,' said Goodly. "If you know all these individuals that have historically plagued havoc on this community."
Relationships with the police make people like Edith Francisco feel safer in her St. Roch home.
"A lot of people, they're afraid of police officers," said Francisco. "They are the ones supposed to protect us. Why should we be afraid of them? So I have no problem with them at all. I'm always like, 'bye!'"
Volunteers said they hope the work instigates a change that will make their community something to be even more proud of. Tammy Monet hopes it'll bring St. Roch back to how she remembers it from childhood.
"A lot of people think it's a bad neighborhood," said Monet. "Well, we do have people here who care, and this event today is definitely an indication of that."
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