TRACC hosts In The Zone before Krewe of Omega Parade

In The Zone, which took place Friday, Feb. 17 at 5 p.m., is a pre-parade event hosted by Tangipahoa – Reshaping Atitudes for Community Change Coalition as a tobacco and alcohol free area for children to enjoy. There were games that engaged the children physically with non-candy prizes. There were tables with games set up by multiple organizations to entertain the children. The children participated in these games while waiting for the Krewe of Omega Parade.
Annie Goodman / The Lion's Roar

Before Friday’s Mardi Gras parade, Tangipahoa – Reshaping Attitudes for Community Change Coalition hosted an event for children called In The Zone. This was to provide a safe place for children to have fun while waiting for the parade.

“It’s promoted as an alcohol tobacco free area that kids can play and parents can not worry so much about the pre-parade waiting,” said Annette Baldwin, President of Junior Auxiliary of Hammond.

At this event, various organizations set up tables with games for children.




“Different agencies are invited to participate, and we have to provide some sort of physical activity for kids along with a non-candy prize,” said Baldwin. “Not only is this an alcohol tobacco free zone, but we also encourage healthy behaviors and physical activity before the parade.”

Organizations present included TRACC, AmeriHealth Caritas Louisiana, Southeast Advocates for Family Empowerment,  Student Outreach and Advocacy Representatives, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Tobacco-Free Living and Southeast Community Health Systems.

“It is a alcohol, drug and smoke free environment for kids set up just for the Omega Mardi Gras parade in Hammond,” said Lisa Locascio, a member of Southeast Advocates for Family Empowerment. “It’s for vendors to put on games, they can have food and I think they give out bottled water too for kids and families.”

Locascio feels it is important for children to have a personal space.

“We are SAFE,” said Locascio. “We are a domestic violence nonprofit located in Hammond. We are out here today because this is In The Zone that TRACC is putting on, and it is a drug free, smoke free and alcohol free area for family and kids. It’s important because it’s important for kids to have an area that’s theirs where they can feel safe and enjoy the parade without having to worry about anybody that’s drunk or anybody that’s smoking around them.”

Stephanie Solar, an organizer of the event believes it is important for the parents not to have to worry about negative influences.

“It’s important because it’s an alcohol, tobacco and drug free zone that allows parents to come out and celebrate Mardi Gras without having to worry negative influences that they may be exposed to elsewhere,” said Solar.

SOAR is an organization of the university that also attended the event.

“In The Zone is where the kids can come and play games and be educated and be great right before the parade,” said Breshawn Russell, a freshman social work major and a member of SOAR. “Just to kind of amp them up.”

SOAR set up a bead throwing game for the children. Other games included ring tosses, jump rope, face painting, bowling and more. There was also a concession stand set up with popcorn.

“This is important because it’s us connecting with the community especially since SOAR’s an outreach advocacy representation,” said Russell. “We’re just out here dealing with the community and giving back. We are doing a jester game. We made a jester and you have to ring the jester’s neck with Mardi Gras beads. We’re giving away rulers.”


Annie Goodman / The Lion's Roar




Annie Goodman / The Lion's Roar