LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A three-and-one-half stretch of Rodeo Road was renamed Barack Obama Boulevard Saturday to honor the nation’s 44th president.
CBS2’s Jeff Nguyen reported from the renaming ceremony held in the Crenshaw district — it was part street festival, concert and way to express pride in and for the former president.
He said, “It’s one of the best block parties I’ve been to in a while.”
And the concert part probably had a lot to do with that .Sheila E. performed the national anthem. And then, how’s this for a surprise? — Stevie Wonder took the stage with Doug E. Fresh.
The hip hop legend and original Human Beat Box says he couldn’t pass up the chance to be part of the celebration.
“This is something that I think everybody when they come to LA they are going to want to come to Barack Obama Boulevard,” says Fresh.
President Barack Obama Boulevard intersects — fittingly — with Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The boulevard will also become what is known as President’s Row where other streets are named for Washington, Adams and Jefferson.
Today’s unveiling ceremony was part of a day-long festival.
The street was officially renamed just after 6 p.m.
Earlier in the day, Nguyen spoke to Mr. and Mrs. Rice, a couple who have lived in the area since 1980.
Obama Boulevard passes right by Dorsey High School where kids can look back in order to look ahead.
“We were at President Obama’s Inauguration,” Mrs. Rice said, “that’s how much it meant to us, our whole family, our grandchildren, our kids. And just to be there, and to be a part of that and now, to be a part of this, to see this naming it’s amazing. It’s so much pride.”
Mr. Rice noted how far Los Angeles has come.
“The change, from that type of environment when I was a kid,” he said, “to the fact we actually now have a street now in Los Angeles named after the first African-American president in this country, you know, that’s an incredible set of changes, things I never thought I would witness in my lifetime.”
He also spoke to 16-year-old Zoe Turner who came to the ceremony with her parents.
“It means to much to me,” she said, “Just seeing the president’s name up on the street. Every time we pass by, every time we see it. It’s so inspiring.”