Friday, December 29, 2006

34 blocks of houses and counting...

We broke a new record today for coding houses. And we did it by noon.

We finished two more Gentilly neighborhoods (numbers 7 and 8) this morning: Gentilly Heights East and Bancroft Park. Part of it is that we are purely coding (i.e., walking) without entering the data, since our dedicated server at Dartmouth has failed. The other is that the core team is getting lots of help from residents.

In Gentilly Heights, we were joined by residents who are part of an informal walking club. Forget the stereotypes. A couple of people walking with us were retirees, but they walked around and coded 5 blocks of houses with ease. I walked and coded with Mary, and she remarked how easy it was. She would have walked more if we had more assignments!

In Bancroft Park, we had three Gentilly residents (Keith, Tonya, and Charlotte) and one local volunteer (Adam) help us finish coding the neighborhood much earlier in the day than I expected.

Before this walk started, I met briefly with Vera. She's a resident of another nearby Gentilly neighborhood Milneburg. She described walking house to house with a few neighbors to document local needs and rebuilding around Christmas time. The small group was able to cover a lot of the neighborhood quite fast. I wonder how much could be mapped if dozens of people were walking in Gentilly, or hundreds in the city as a whole?

Unfortunately, we got up so early this morning - 5:30am wakeup - that we forgot to emphasize taking some pictures during our morning walk. Maybe Zsuzsa has some. I'll try to do better next time. We have two more neighborhoods scheduled for tomorrow: Gentilly Heights Vascoville and Mirabeau Gardens.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

THis is Zsuzsa and Nick.

It's great to be back in New Orleans trusting that we can finish what a couple of us grad students came back here for after Christmas. Qunitus brought us back! But so did our love of the city.
It's not even a question of sheer faith any more.
The Gentilly Project is working because it has been well-designed and thouhtful since the beginning. NOw, our belief that it can be completed successfully by the end of this year is becoming a reality. Carrying on the good old spirit of "good times" and "sweet livin'" of early December, we have all earned some serious rat points this morning: the blocks we were mapping with volunteers from the Gentilly Heights East neighborhood were done so quickly we didn't even need an hour!
The calls we made in just a day yesterday created a response that is fast becoming a critical mass. What has been our original initiative, i.e. to let the people of New ORleans know they are not alone is being returned to us. People are volunteering and experiencing the genuinely rewarding feeling of making a difference just by contibuting an hour.

We have had great luck with the weather but what is more important is that there is genuine excitement about the progress we are making. Whoever sees and understands what we are doing wants to help and participate!
Richard from Gentilly East I walked with this morning is definitely going to be an engine of getting things done even after we left. He just has a wonderful understanding of what being an active member of his neighborhood means. And he loves walking, talking to others, exchaning smiles and handshakes.

Adam Montegut, who we had met when we first came at the beginning of December invited us out to a jazz club in the French Quarter last night. Yet today he made it halfway across town to put in an hour at Paris Oaks.
Although neither one of us are getting much sleep these days, like us, Adam was pretty excited about going out mapping and helping to finish the project. After having completed two neighborhood faster than ever before we have just a couple more neighbourhoods to go!

We can do it.

2:16 PM  
Blogger Quintus Jett said...

Photo of returning mappers!

From left: Adam, Nick, and Zsuzsa

4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ya'll are amazing! Congratulations on a job well done!


12:41 PM  

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