Helping the formerly incarcerated one plate at a time

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NEW ORLEANS-- In the Mid-City neighborhood near Orleans Parish Prison is an organization dedicated to helping folks who have served time.

They're called The First 72+(plus) and every Friday during Lent you can help them help other.

Executive Director Ben Smith told us, "The First 72+ was founded by 6 formerly incarcerated people. We all did time in the state penitentiary at one time or another and 72, that's one of the most critical points upon a person's release, that first 72 hours. That's what really determines whether or not a person is going to make it out here on these streets."

Kisha Edwards is Office Manager and she said, "The people that we serve are all different types of men women formerly incarcerated. from Orleans Parish, from Angola, from the women's prison. We serve all different prisons, they come here."

Smith continued,"The 'plus' that stands for all of the wraparound services we provide. Housing, clothing, food, ID, Social Security cards, If they need help with food stamps, Medicaid, and employment."

Clothing and other services available to the formerly incarcerated at The First 72+ (WGNO-TV)

Edwards spoke of how we all can help the First 72+, "During our Lenten season we have a fish fry every Friday. It's gonna last from today through April 10th, I believe. Just to help people transition their minds from being incarcerated to to being free, transition their minds from the lifestyle that they used to live to a lifestyle where it's on the right side of the law."

Fish plates to benefit The First 72+ every Friday during Lent (WGNO-TV)

If you'd like to help The First 72+ or order a place on Fridays, their address is 2915 Perdido St. or you can contact them at


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