Fighting crime together

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 20, 2012



LAPLACE – Residents of St. John the Baptist Parish were out in full force Tuesday evening mingling with neighbors and members of law enforcement as part of the 29th annual National Night Out Against Crime.

Church groups, civic organizations and single families organized parties of all sizes, which often included appearances by firefighters, sheriff’s deputies and parish government leaders.

The national event, in which neighbors and law enforcement agencies stand together in the face of crime in their communities, is usually held in August nationwide, but for the second year Louisiana has opted to shift the outdoor party to October when cooler temperatures are more prevalent. Residents in St. John took full advantage of the milder climate by scheduling more than 40 events in LaPlace, Reserve, Garyville and the west bank.

On Holly Drive residents of the Riverlands Estates area gathered under a large tent on nearby green space, where a team of cooks were dishing out meals to a throng of residents, who trickled in as the night wore on. The adults shared stories, while the children were entertained with fire hats and by “Sparky,” the Dalmatian mascot of the LaPlace Fire Department, which was offering tours of a fire truck.

 In the Woodland Quarters neighborhood, a large crowd gathered for a Night Out party as part of Rising Star Baptist Church’s regular outdoor Bible study led by Rev. Donald August.

August said the tight-knit church community regularly sponsors a party as a way to strengthen bonds between neighbors. He also said the gathering serves as an ideal way to get children involved in community events in the neighborhood.

There was also a larger party in Belle Terre, where the Civic Association staged its annual “Night Out” event at the LaPlace Volunteer Fire Department Station 53.

Meanwhile, in St. James Parish, a number of neighborhood gatherings also dotted various parts of the parish. One of the larger gatherings was in the community of Welcome on the west bank.

The party was organized by Fifth District on the Move and also served as a celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and a gear up for Halloween festivities.

The evening featured prayers, breast cancer survivior testimonials and a visit from McGruff the Crime Dog as well as refreshments and giveaways.

Nadine Nelson-Cooper contributed to this story.