On Tuesday, Oct 5th, the New Orleans Pelicans and the New Orleans Recreation Department Commission joined forces to celebrate the ribbon cutting of the newly refurbished basketball courts at A.L. Davis Park in the Central City neighborhood of New Orleans. Students from Edgar P. Harney Spirit of Excellence Academy were also present to participate in skills challenges, with Pelicans general manager Dell Demps, and the community was invited to be part of the celebration of the the new features and improvements. Renovations provided by the Pelicans include court resurfacing, new goals and nets, facility paint, and netting to provide long-term protection from pigeon nesting.
The festivities were an official Pelicans’ event, and part of their participation in Jr. NBA Week. The Jr. NBA is the official youth basketball participation program of the NBA that provides a free, membership-based program for existing youth basketball leagues and organizations. According to NBA.com, “Jr. NBA membership is designed to help encourage and support youth basketball participation at the grassroots level and improve the overall youth basketball experience for all participants. The Jr. NBA aims to develop a lifelong passion for the game of basketball in boys and girls ages 6-14 by teaching them the fundamentals of the sport while instilling core values including teamwork, respect and sportsmanship.”
A.L. Davis Park is just one of many projects the Pelicans are undertaking throughout our community. The nearly five-acre Central City park has a special historical significance as it was renamed after the first African-American New Orleans City Councilman and 1970s civil rights activist, the Reverend A.L. Davis, and has hosted civil rights and anti-violence demonstrations as well as recreational and cultural events. The park has been a public green space in the City since the nineteenth century, and while it had many names over its first few decades, it was officially named Shakspeare Park in 1900 (after late mayor Joseph Shakspeare), and rechristened in 1979 for the Rev. Davis. You can still hear longtime City residents refer to the park as “Shakespeare Park”, despite the incorrect spelling.
To help cut the ribbon on this special day was current District B City Councilman Jay Banks and NORDC Executive staff. Dell Demps was also onsite to cut the ribbon, as well as to lead Harney students through a series of skills challenges and drills, and attempting the ceremonial first free throw. Note: it was a good attempt. On the importance of the Pelicans commitment to youth basketball, Demps emphasized “It’s all about development and teaching kids how to work together. Not only because they are basketball players, but because they are teammates and friends. Everyone should find a way to work together because we all have a common goal.”
A.L. Davis Park is located at 2600 LaSalle St., in Central City, and residents can enjoy the newly renovated courts daily from 6am to 10pm. For more information on all of NORDC’s facilities and programming, visit www.NORDC.org. To join, or to learn more about, the Jr. NBA program, visit Jr.NBA.com or Pelicans.com.
See pictures and video from the event below.
Mentored by Sam Joffray (JRNOLA), Caroline Gonzalez (N.O. Pelicans), and our very good friends at Gigsy.co