The residents at Unity Nursing and Rehabilitation Center enjoyed singing Christmas carols along with the Orleans Parish Prison Office choir Voices of Thunder on Monday.
Inmates in the re-entry program joined Sheriff Marlin Gusman and Santa on a yearly visit to hand out gifts and spread a little cheer. Organizers say the event brings big benefits to both groups.
“This is really a part of their recovery, part of their re-entry," Gusman said. "They are actually a part of the re-entry program, and this helps them see the other side - people that have less than them,
's a joy for them, as you can see. They have smiles on their faces.”
“A lot of these residents don't have any family members at all, so to have the sheriff's department and other members of the community participate and come and visit this time of year, they are an extended family member coming to visit with them," said Heather Schexnayder, the administrator at the center. It's greatly appreciated not only from the residents themselves, but also from us.”