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Community Spirit: Building A Place to Play in New Orleans

  • July 5, 2006

On a sweltering June day in New Orleans, more than 200 volunteers came together to build a new playground, restoring joy and laughter to a neighborhood badly decimated by Hurricane Katrina. 

The new playground was built on the site of the Royal Castle Development Center, a childcare facility that cared for 100 children pre-hurricane, but that was forced to close due to flooding and other damage by Katrina. The playground build was the final event leading up to Royal Castle’s July reopening.

The project was the combined effort of AmeriCares, the United Way for Greater New Orleans and KaBOOM!, a nonprofit that focuses on building great places to play for children across America. It is the first of three playgrounds to be built by AmeriCares with KaBOOM! in the Gulf Coast.  The second will be built in D’Iberville, Mississippi in October, and the third in Biloxi in November.

“It’s nearly impossible for most of us to grasp the full extent of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation,” said Darell Hammond, CEO and co-founder of KaBOOM! “Now, imagine you’re a child and that everything stable in your life is turned upside down. We owe it to these children to give them a sense of normalcy. For AmeriCares to commit their money and time to this project is incredible and we’re honored to work with them.”


Staff Photo

Volunteers from AmeriCares, seen here, helped in rebuilding the Royal Castle playground.

Today, dozens of children are enjoying the colorful monkey bars and slides at the playground, a sight that makes the caregivers of Royal Castle truly happy.

“Child care is my passion. I really love what I’m doing,” said Pearlie Harris, owner and director of the center. “A lot of kids I work with don’t have much, and giving them this great playground has also given them a lot of laughter and fun at Royal Castle.”

Support AmeriCares relief efforts around the world.