Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office helps with cleanup near Odile Davis Park _lowres

Photo provided by Orleans Parish SheriffÕs OfficeÑFrom left are Orleans Parish SheriffÕs Office deputies Greg Jones, Harlon Martinez, Kirt Harrell and Drew Mercadel.

Volunteers affiliated with the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office recently participated in efforts to clean up vacant lots surrounding Odile Davis Park .

Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman led the effort in recognition of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Volunteers cut back overgrown vegetation and removed trash and debris covering the lots, some of which had not been maintained since the 2005 hurricane.

“It’s vitally important that public officials take a role in our communities, particularly in underserved areas and neighborhoods, such as the Upper 9th Ward,” Gusman said. “I’m calling on the city government, businesses and all other New Orleans residents to take part in the rejuvenation and cleanup efforts here, because everyone has a stake in the future vitality of this neighborhood.”

“I live in this neighborhood, so this is my home, and I want to see it cleaned up and safe for everyone to enjoy,” said Debra Campbell, a neighborhood activist representing A Community Voice, a nonprofit that pressed for cleanup of the lots. “I want to thank Sheriff Gusman and the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office for helping us make this area cleaner and safer through their volunteerism, and I’d like to see other elected officials follow their example and assist in this extremely important project.”

“(Cleaning up) means a lot to the neighborhood, especially since we’re right next door to a park,” said Victor Harris, a resident of the neighborhood for 34 years. “We can’t have our kids running around and playing in this type of environment, so it’s a plus to see things being done around here. It makes me feel like there is some justice.”

The Sheriff’s Office plans to assist with additional cleanup and beautification efforts in the neighborhood.