NEW ORLEANS —Mayor Mitch Landrieu, along with the New Orleans Pelicans, RPM Pizza, MetroPCS and PlayNOLA, today announced the start of NOLA FOR LIFE Midnight Basketball Season 13, a program that focuses on providing safe recreational activity, jobs and opportunities in crime hot spots for males over 16 years old through basketball, mentorship and support. The free eight-week season will tip-off at St. Bernard Recreation Center (1500 Lafreniere St.) on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016 with registration beginning at 7 p.m. and the tournament tipping off at 8 p.m. Regular tournament play will continue Saturday nights, from Oct. 29 to Dec. 10, from 8 p.m. to midnight. The event will include remarks from Holy Anointed House of Prayer Pastor Lionel Roberts.
“NOLA FOR LIFE Midnight Basketball has been a huge success for the City’s young men,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “We are not only providing recreational opportunities in a safe environment, but also we are connecting thousands of young men in our community to jobs, training and services so that they can create their own pathways to prosperity.”
Since the launch in 2012, the program has reached 8,300 participants and 3,400 spectators. Season 13 will be hosted at the St. Bernard Recreation Center in the Seventh Ward. Each week, participants will have a chance to learn about job skills training from different service providers.
Judy Reese Morse, Deputy Mayor for citywide initiatives, said “We look forward to building upon the success of NOLA FOR LIFE Midnight Basketball. We are proud to work with our partners to create opportunities for our young people.”
Lavonzell Nicholson of PlayNola said, “We are grateful to partner with the City of New Orleans to coordinate this vitally important community project. We not only love watching the young men play basketball, but also see this as a way to support them in making smart, safe choices both on and off the court.”
The Oct. 22 launch event will include remarks from Holy Anointed House of Prayer Pastor Lionel Roberts and enrollment opportunities from Limitless Vistas. Limitless Vistas, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to training disadvantaged youth in New Orleans in Environmental Technician and Wetland Restoration skills. Their mission is to help further their education and learn the skill necessary to become gainfully employed. While at Limitless Vistas, students receive a number of industry recognized environmental certifications and hands-on field training.
The Network for Economic Opportunity will be offering access to resources beginning on the launch throughout Season 13 at www.nolaforlife.org/
Pelican’s tickets and NBA socks will be awarded to players. T-shirt giveaways will take place during the season.
Local role model and radio personality DJ Wild Wayne plays an essential role in NOLA FOR LIFE efforts by lending his media presence every week to share the benefits of participating in Midnight Basketball with his listeners.
DJ Wild Wayne said, “It’s exciting times for young men around New Orleans as Season 13 kicks off for NOLA FOR LIFE’s Midnight Basketball on this Saturday at the St. Bernard center! I’m personally glad to be an integral part of a great and safe outlet for our young men! Players can come ball in a competitive and fun weekly tournament and get some knowledge with the guest speakers and resource providers. Let’s tip it off!”
NOLA FOR LIFE Midnight Basketball is a part of Mayor Landrieu’s comprehensive NOLA FOR LIFE strategy to reduce murders in New Orleans. Midnight Basketball aims to reach young men who are most likely at risk for being victims of or contributors to violent crime in the city. Midnight Basketball’s inaugural season started in January 2012.
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ABOUT NOLA FOR LIFE
Launched in May 2012, NOLA FOR LIFE is New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s comprehensive strategy to tackle the city’s historically high murder rate. Recognizing that law enforcement alone cannot solve the murder problem, NOLA FOR LIFE takes a holistic approach to get to the root of the problem and implements initiatives in five main categories: Stop the Shooting, Invest in Prevention, Promote Jobs and Opportunity, Strengthen the NOPD and Get Involved and Rebuild Neighborhoods. In the four years since NOLA FOR LIFE launched, there have been 86 fewer murders and an 18% lower murder rate than in the four years prior to NOLA FOR LIFE. In 2011, 55 percent of New Orleans murders were gang or group related, while that number has been cut in half today. For more information, visit www.nolaforlife.org and tune in to NOLA FOR LIFE original programming 24/7 on Cox Cable Channel 99.
In June 2016, the City of New Orleans released the NOLA FOR LIFE 2016 Four-Year Progress Report, which details why certain initiatives were selected, who they are reaching and the results they have produced. Click here to view the Progress Report.