Only in New Orleans: Benefit set for police officer

By Annette Sisco

Community news editor

A gunman robbed the Dollar General store at Poland and St. Claude avenues in Bywater at 7 a.m. Feb. 23.

When New Orleans Police Officer John Passaro walked in to investigate the alarm, the robber shot him multiple times, then fled. No one has been arrested.

Passaro, 41, was seriously wounded and is still recovering. Now, the community is trying to help him and his wife, Stephanie, meet some of their living expenses with a benefit on Wednesday at Generations Hall, 310 Andrew Higgins Blvd., New Orleans.

The event begins at 5 p.m. with restaurant food tastings and live music by the Wise Guys, Charmaine Neville, Kingsroe, Kandee Side and the Bucktown Allstars. There will be a silent auction and a raffle for tickets to Zephyrs games, the PGA golf tournament and an LSU baseball game.

Response from the business community was immediate, organizer Steve Schulkens said. In addition to giving goods and services, they wanted to help the officer’s family in the most immediate way possible. “A lot of them donated money,” he said.

Police risk their lives every time they go on a call. A benefit can’t undo the damage to an officer wounded in the line of duty, but it shows that the community cares.

Tickets are $25 and available through any NOPD District Station or Gulf Coast Bank & Trust New Orleans,or at http://www.NOPJF.org. Donations can be made to Gulf Coast Bank & Trust, Nancy Lytle, (504) 539-7281 or Nancy
Lytle@gulfbank.com.

Blue ribbons for awareness

Are you wondering about the blue ribbons you’ve seen on the live oaks Uptown?

The New Orleans Children’s Advocacy Center is looping blue ribbons around trees along Louisiana, Napoleon and Jefferson avenues between St. Charles Avenue and Tchoupitoulas Street and in Palmer Park to raise awareness about child abuse. Each ribbon carries a tag containing facts about child abuse.

The Advocacy Center, 1101 Henry Clay Ave., New Orleans, provides a place for children to be interviewed and examined, said Rob Goecke, AmeriCorps VISTA worker for the center. Last year, the Audrey Hepburn CARE Center at Children’s Hospital provided forensic medical exams for nearly 1,000 children, he said.

The center has several events planned to raise awareness and money. On Saturday, the Epsilon Phi chapter of Delta Gamma sorority at Loyola University holds its Anchor-thon, a 5K and fun run for the CARE center. It starts at 10 a.m. in Audubon Park. At 9 p.m. Wednesday, a concert to aid Court-Appointed Special Advocates takes place at Howlin’ Wolf, 907 S. Peters St., New Orleans.

Louisiana has one of the highest incidences of child deaths related to abuse and neglect in the U.S., said Stacie LeBlanc, NOCAC director.

For information about the center, call (504) 894-5484. To report child physical or sexual abuse, call the hot line at (855) 452-5437.

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