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Mayor Landrieu Forms Midnight Basketball League to Fight Crime

The city of New Orleans is launching a midnight basketball program at the St. Bernard community center. Eileen Fleming reports it's part of the Save Our Sons initiative designed to keep young men out of trouble.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu says the midnight basketball league is linked to his Crime Action Summit held last September, where residents suggested that young people have recreational options for using their spare time.

"This is what we all remember when we were kids – playing against each other, having competitions, having really good, honest, decent, hard competition. That's where we learned the values of life. And that's where we learned the values of constructive engagement. That's where we learned the values of hard work. That's where we learned the values of discipline. It's where we learned how, when difficult things came later in our life, to use the things that coaches taught us."

New Orleans Hornets President Hugh Weber says the team is working with the city to launch the league.

"Basketball is more than just entertainment, more than just exercise, but a method and a tool to bring a positive message to the community."

Landrieu introduced some of the young men who signed up for the league, including LeJeune Moye, who says he wasn't expecting to make any remarks.

"Yeah, I'm a little nervous, but thank God for this opportunity to keep us out of trouble. It's a great way to make friends, a new way to discover basketball skills, work out with each other, develop friendships. Thank God to everybody for this. Everybody."

Landrieu will officiate the opening jump ball when the league kicks off Saturday, January 14th. The program features a series of five-on-five tournaments through March 24th from 8 p.m. to midnight. It's free, and open to males over 18 years old.

Eileen is a news reporter and producer for WWNO. She researches, reports and produces the local daily news items. Eileen relocated to New Orleans in 2008 after working as a writer and producer with the Associated Press in Washington, D.C. for seven years.

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