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2nd Annual H.O.P.E Festival on Easter Saturday

11th March 2013   ·   0 Comments

By Fritz Esker
Contributing Writer

To promote positive change and community unity, the 2nd Annual H.O.P.E. (Helping Oth­ers Prosper Eternally) Festival will be held Saturday, March 30 from noon to 6 p.m. at the B.W. Cooper Apartments at 3402 Earhart Blvd.

The event was the brainchild of local rapper Levar “Calliope Var” Elzy, a former resident of the B.W. Cooper Apartments. He wanted to provide the residents of the neighborhood with a fun, positive day that could serve as an antidote to the harsh realities of the city’s high crime rates.

“I know firsthand what hopelessness can do to the community,” Elzy said.

Elzy’s Hood Star Entertain­ment partnered with the B.W. Cooper Resident Management Center and the Louisiana Com­munity Enhancement Corp­oration to bring the neighborhood’s residents, businesses and community leaders together for the festival. The event was designed to appeal to both young and old members of the community and foster togetherness. Tiffany Crawford, executive director of the Louisiana Com­munity Enhancement Corporation, echoed Elzy’s sentiments about a need to shine a light on the good things happening in the community.

“Everything is not gloom and doom,” Crawford said. “There are good things happening in New Orleans. There’s so many talented young people, there’s so many people wanting to give back.”

This year’s event will feature speakers, including Pastor Samuel Blakes of the New Home Ministries. Festival attendees will be treated to live music from local artists like Bar-G, Collage III, Lil Chuckee, and Kourtney Heart. A variety of musical genres, from rap to R&B to gospel to bounce will be showcased.

A new addition to this year’s festival will be the Freddie Davis Flag Football Tournament. Davis was a supporter of the original festival who passed away last year and the event will feature a tribute to him.

The organizers are working with local healthcare providers to promote healthy living in the community. As a part of this initiative, there will be diabetes trucks to perform free screenings.

“A lot of people in the community don’t know they have high blood pressure,” said Edward West, director of One Vision, One Voice, a program of the District 2 Community Enhancement Corp­oration that promotes music education. “They don’t know they have diabetes.”

Since the event will take place on Easter Saturday, children will be able to receive free face painting and participate in an Easter egg hunt. Like any good New Orleans festival, there will be plenty of food options available, from barbecue chicken and ribs to hot dogs to nachos to hamburgers and more.

“You name it, we got it,” Elzy said.

This article originally published in the March 11, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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