Few bands live out their song titles in their everyday lives, but the guys of Better Than Ezra are doing plenty of “Good” in the city of New Orleans. Through their organization the Better Than Ezra Foundation, the trio has raised thousands of dollars to, according to their website, “provide support in renewal of the structural and cultural heritage of New Orleans and Southern Louisiana.” This Saturday, the band and volunteers will continue their mission by commencing construction on a playground for Bethune Elementary.
The Orleans Parish school located in the Hollygrove neighborhood was selected to receive the new playground when the organization met and spoke with Principal Mary Haynes-Smith. Tom Drummond, chairman of the board and bassist of Better Than Ezra, says, “The faculty at Bethune go above and beyond for their students and you can see that in their test scores. Both the faculty and the kids continue to work hard, so we wanted to reward them with something everyone can enjoy.”
Bethune Elementary’s current playground caters more toward the older children, so the organization wanted to provide a place where the Pre-K and Kindergarten students could play. “We thought it would be perfect to donate a playground that would not only entertain but educate as well,” Drummond says.
And the means of entertainment and education provided by this playground are abundant. There will be a math station, a rock climbing wall with raised dinosaur bones, a tricycle path, a sand and water table, a playhouse, and several slides. One highlight of the playground is a music station with standing drums, bell, horn and chime panels. Finally, the playground has a green design with “state-of-the-art ‘kid powered’ energy panels” aimed to educate the children about the impact of their carbon footprints.
In fact, the playground itself is green. Drummond says, “This particular playground was designed by Planet Recess which has been committed to reducing their carbon footprint by using greener materials and eliminating PVC from their products.”
The Better Than Ezra Foundation will be building the playground this weekend on February 4 and 5, and then installing the rubber surfacing; Drummond says they are hoping for everything to be ready to go before the end of the month. “The playground is incredible… [And] I think it is important to give kids an outlet to express themselves creatively and learn, but also in a space that is good for the environment.”