This evening, neighborhoods across Hattiesburg hosted block parties for the annual Night Out Against Crime. Nearly 40 neighborhood associations held parties ranging from a half dozen attendees to more than 50. It's a great night and reminds me of what's great about living in the city of Hattiesburg- a kind of community you can't find elsewhere.
A funny quirk about the night is that elected officials try and make the rounds to as many block parties as possible in their district or ward. It can be difficult, because all parties are pretty much held between 6-8 p.m. So you basically fly around town, spend 10-15 minutes at each party and move on to the next. Last year, Councilman Dave Ware took the award for most parties attended, sweeping to 9 neighborhoods in Ward 4 during the two hour period.
This year, as I looked at the map sent to me by the city, I identified 11 parties in District 102 and one additional one right outside the district. So the goal was to make it to 12 in two hours. I started around 5:30, jumping the gun a bit, but there was a strong contingency at St. John's Lutheran Church even then. I then proceeded to make it to the Heritage Apartments, Southern Heights, Highlands, Midway, Anointed Word Ministry, Myrtle-Duane neighborhood, Audubon-Westwood neighborhood, Arcadia-Sunset neighborhood and to the Parkhaven/Kamper-Avenues/Heights-Avenues combined party at Kamper Park. So I hit 10, enough to set the new mark, but 2 short of my goal of 12 (apologies to the Hope Drive neighborhood and the Timberton neighborhood). Even still, it was a great night of visiting with people around the city and a big testament to the work Maxine Coleman does with neighborhoods in the city of Hattiesburg.