We had such a blast at last Saturday’s Fit Nola kick off, where newly renovated parks in three New Orleans neighborhoods were unveiled (Norwood Thompson Park, St. Roch Park, Taylor Park), showcasing new basketball courts, baseball diamonds, grassy fields, and concession stands featuring healthy snacks.

Said Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation’s own Lydia Martin, a key speaker at the day’s event, “You are a shining example of what community cooperation is all about. We are happy to support programs like Fit Nola across the state, to help more people in Louisiana to get moving!”

At each site, community activities (Zumba, CrossFit, Hula Hooping, Creative Walking and line dance classes) will be offered at no charge. Go to each park’s site for the full schedule of events. Meanwhile, click on the photo below for WWLTV’s video feature on the day, or read the news account below! Of course, Fit Nola was made possible in part through a $1 million grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation’s Challenge for a Healthier Louisiana program.

Sunday, Feb 23 at 3:04 AM
Thanh Truong / Eyewitness News
New Orleans, La. – Targeting the health of neighbors in under-served communities, the city of New Orleans is launching a program to get residents to reconsider what they eat, what they do and where they do it.
It’s what so many used to do – get outside, go to the park, and just plain move.

Desmond Lewis was born and raised in Gert Town, and says he’s concerned about the health of kids in his neighborhood. “Children need to be active,” Lewis says, “instead of staying and doing nothing, or running in the street and not doing anything.”

Lewis is not alone. As a way to get more residents in parts of the city that may not have good access to healthy food or health education, the city of New Orleans is bringing that to them through a program called Fit NOLA Parks.

Vic Richard with the New Orleans Recreational Development Commission says, “That’s the goal, is to create a family platform to foster healthy living and lifestyles in communities.” With the help of funding from private companies, the city’s recreation development commission is delivering things like Zumba classes to Taylor Park, St. Roch Park and Norwood Thompson Park. They’re also working to revamp concession stands. Instead of just fatty snacks, things like yogurt will also be served. It’s not just targeting kids either. Obesity is also an adult problem.

Sakari Morrison works with Chevron, Gulf of Mexico. She believes that the way to change is through local parks. “So how do we make real change, and that’s through the community,” says Morrison, “and, so the parks were a great part for us to center that focus of fitness and healthy eating.”

As a way to change habits beyond the park, the program is also teaching adults and kids how to cook healthy meals.

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