Friday afternoon, Mayor Mitch Landrieu told a crowd of parents, coaches and dignitaries that Harrell Stadium is off-limits to criminals.
“I am ordaining this a field of peace. That is what this field is. Don’t anybody bring violence or conflict onto this field,” the mayor proclaimed.
The stadium’s improvements are sure to inspire young athletes. The field is now made of the very same turf used inside the Superdome for last February’s Super Bowl. In fact, you can still see traces of the team’s emblems. Imagine being a ten-year-old and running on an actual Super Bowl field.
The money for the upgrades came, in part, from a $1 million donation from Chevron in conjunction with the city’s Super Bowl festivities earlier in the year.
During the same speech when Landrieu ordained the “field of peace,” he also told the crowd that the city is aiming to win the 2018 Super Bowl.
The mayor’s call for peace at the field follows a violent Mother’s Day shooting during a second-line parade that injured 20 people. But while the mayor wants peace and another Super Bowl, he doesn’t think getting the game is depending upon fixing the city’s violent crime problems.
“First of all, for the last 40 years in this city, we’ve had a violent crime problem and a murder rate that’s higher than the national average. And that hasn’t stopped us from hosting more Super Bowls than any place in America,” the mayor told WGNO News.
In fact, the mayor and other city leaders think the shooting signals real progress in how the city handles violent crime. From the work of citizens to help the injured at the scene to the tips that led to the now seven arrests, city leaders think the attack is sending a message to criminals that neighbors in the city will no longer lay down and accept the violence.
“You aren’t going to get by with this. We are going to make you meet the consequences,” said City Council President Jackie Clarkson who was also attending the Harrell event.
Clarkson made the comments to WGNO News while standing on the new field which she called, “A field of dreams.”