Annette Sisco column for Jan. 31, 2013 - New Orleans Community

If all the hype is to be believed, you aren’t going to be able to turn around this week without stumbling over a Super Bowl event or a celebrity.

Concerts and fundraisers are chock-a-block downtown. National figures will be on the scene, including entertainers like Justin Timberlake and Snoop Dogg and football stars like Deion Sanders and Marshall Faulk.

But New Orleans has a way of taking the big events that come here and making them our own, and even the Super Bowl is no exception.

The city is tapping into the energy by asking citizens and visitors alike to pitch in and help improve five NORD playgrounds.

The Super Bowl Host Committee, in partnership with the Young Leadership Council and New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity, is organizing a citywide service day at a handful of NORD parks Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.

Five parks are in for the Super treatment: Lyons Center, Palmer Park, Hunter’s Field, Kingswood Park and Pontchartrain Park.

At Lyons, the Louisiana Children’s Museum and Imagination Playground will present Mayor Mitch Landrieu with two mobile playground sets — blocks of foam that kids can combine and recombine to their imagination’s content.

Work will include landscaping led by Hike for KaTREEna, construction led by Habitat and light bulb installations led by Green Light New Orleans.

Shoes will be distributed to children, thanks to Samaritan’s Feet.

City officials have said repeatedly that this Super Bowl will leave New Orleans a better place, and it’s nice that our kids’ parks aren’t being forgotten.

Thursday is the last day to sign up to volunteer. Habitat is organizing registration; call (504) 861-2077 or register online at http://www.habitat-nola.org.

Bridge to a better city

The Young Leadership Council took the Super Bowl as an opportunity to clean and paint the railroad bridge over the Pontchartrain Expressway near the Lake Lawn Metairie Cemetery.

Since this is the route that so many visitors take to downtown, the YLC felt it was important that it look clean and welcoming. The bridge was cleaned and decorated with signage celebrating YLC, the city and the big game.

I live here, and I appreciate it too.

Cooking on a budget

Did your finances take a hit over the holidays?

Learn to plan, purchase and prepare economical meals in a class at the Rosa Keller Community Center, every Tuesday (except Mardi Gras).

The hands-on classes are offered in partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank. Registration is required; call (504) 481-7998.

Annette Sisco is Community editor. She can be reached at asisco@theadvocate.com or at (504) 432-9257.