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Longwood Area Neighborhood Association to Celebrate 40th Anniversary with First Block Party Since 2019

The Longwood Area Neighborhood Association block party returns tomorrow, for the first time since 2019 and just in time to celebrate LANA’s 40th anniversary. (Photo from LANA’s 2017 block party.)

Among our many local neighborhood block party traditions, the Longwood Area Neighborhood Association’s annual celebrations have been among the largest and longest-lived.  But as with most of our other local neighborhoods, the group’s festivities came to an end when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020.  Happily, however, as with several others, the Longwood Area party is roaring back to life this year, just in time to celebrate LANA’s 40th anniversary.

The big event will be held tomorrow – Saturday, May 20 – from 2-6 p.m. on Edgewood Place between Longwood and Keniston Avenues.

An contestant in the 2017 dog show awaits her turn in the spotlight.

Daphne Brogdon, a LANA resident who’s part of the block party organizing team, reports that this year’s family-friendly festivities will feature food trucks from Windsor Hills Pizza and Bruster’s Ice Cream, a giant slide, a succulent swap garden area, and demonstrations from Liberation Yoga and the Blackbird Dance Company.  There will also be balloon animals, a bake sale, more food and beverage options, tables/booths from a variety of local schools and businesses, and – as always – the hugely popular “Best in Show” dog competition, with VIP judges including CD 10 City Councilmember Heather Hutt, the Honorable Jan Perry, and LAPD Senior Lead Officer Hebel Rodriguez.  (The dog competition will take place at 5 p.m., and people can sign up their pups at the event.)

Sadly, one person who will be missing from this year’s party is long-time Longwood Highlands resident Mark Peel, the well-known chef (and Brogdon’s husband), who passed away in 2021. Peel had long manned the grill at each year’s event, and his absence will definitely be felt.

Also, in addition to Peel’s loss, Brogdon says there have been other challenges, too, in bringing back the party.  “It has been harder to do this year because we had less people involved, some moved away, and we are out of practice,” Brogdon told the Buzz.  “But we know that people need to come together again so we are excited for the event. All are welcome even if they do not live south of Olympic and East of Rimpau!”


LANA History

Milton Gaines, who was born and raised in the Longwood area and has long served as the DJ at the LANA block parties, wrote the following note about LANA and the block party to the community this week.

November 1983 in the Living Room of my family’s home, the Longwood Area Neighborhood Association (LANA) was founded by my Mother, Marie Gaines. LANA was first known as the Longwood Avenue/Place Neighborhood Watch Group and was one of the larger groups at the time consisting of 1000, 1100, and 1200 Blocks of Longwood Avenue and all of Longwood Place. By 1985, the group included residents from Highland Avenue and Tremaine, so the need for a more inclusive name was selected. By 1990, the boundaries of the group grew to include Olympic to the North, Pico to the South, La Brea to the West, and Rimpau to the East.

LANA has addressed many community issues aside from crime over the years: homelessness in the area, gang violence, violence in the schools, traffic mitigation, and development of both residential and commercial areas.

The main goal of LANA has always been for neighbors to know one another and create a true sense of community. The slogan now is “A Neighborhood Where Neighbors Say Hi!”

I am pleased to announce the 40th Anniversary Block Party to be held on Edgewood Place between Longwood and Keniston on Saturday, May 20, 2023, from 2 pm to 6 pm. As one of the founding members, it warms my heart to know that such an incredible group of neighbors has kept the group alive, well, and viable! Continuing the tradition started 40 years ago to give EVERYONE a voice in the community – renter or property owner. This event is a celebration of their work and dedication to the Longwood Community!

We look forward to seeing you on May 20th so we can say “Hi” to you!

Yours for the Best in the Community,
Milton H. Gaines
Founding Member of LANA

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Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and has been writing for the Buzz since 2015.

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