Lights in Lafreniere? Soccer club aims to illuminate Metairie park’s fields

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In the winter when the sunlight fades at 5:30 p.m., the soccer fields at Lafreniere Park become unusable, a problem that the largest soccer association in the New Orleans area is seeking to solve. With the number of players in the region steadily climbing, the Louisiana Fire Soccer Club, which hosts teams for 2,800 young players, is seeking to raise money to install lights on four fields at Lafreniere Park and in the process ease overcrowding of teams on illuminated fields elsewhere.

How nearby homeowners will react is not known. “When we put new lights up, we always have the problems with the people who are neighbors,” said Barry McGuiness, east bank administration for the Jefferson Parish Recreation Department. “We want to be good neighbors with them and not intrude on their private life.”

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BR benefiting from three economy-stimulating events

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One down, two to go.

By the time the last of the record 135,000 Bayou Country Superfest 2014 fans left Tiger Stadium on Sunday night, organizers of the Miss USA pageant and a major soccer tournament already were busy preparing their economy-stimulating events in Baton Rouge.

The expanded three-day Superfest smashed its own 5-year-old attendance record of 85,000. Coming next are all the participants, family, fans and television viewers of the Miss USA pageant’s worldwide broadcast June 8 from the River Center, followed by the 11-state U.S. Youth Soccer Region III Championships from June 19-26, expected to attract 20,000 people.

Hotel managers are noticing increased business from those events.

“Adding that Friday night (to Superfest) was a big help,” said Khalid Daifallah, acting general manager at Hotel Indigo. “We were sold out Friday and Saturday.”

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