NOAHH Finishes Its Third Annual Attack the Block
Part of fighting substandard housing and blight in New Orleans is addressing every facet of what makes neighborhoods places people want to live. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, NOAHH learned first hand how signs of recovery and progress would draw people back who had been reluctant to return. As new homes were built in hard hit neighborhoods, the people who already lived there began returning, finding the welcome sight of new construction to be a sign it was safe and reasonable to return. As time has passed since the storms and floods, NOAHH’s focus has turned toward other projects we might enact to continue bringing hope and improvement to the places we build in.
The Attack the Block program was designed with two ideas in mind: the first was to address litter and blight in areas where Habitat construction was going on, and the second was to give the enormous influx of volunteers brought on by spring break a lagniappe in their week. It began as “Fun Fridays” in 2012 and has grown into a yearly custom. Over 400 students joined NOAHH at neighborhood parks and green spaces to help fight blight. Every Friday in March, NOAHH’s many spring break volunteers took a little time off building homes so they could work at neighborhood revitalization for the afternoon. This year, NOAHH focused efforts in Hollygrove, St. Roch, the Upper Ninth Ward, and New Orleans East, and was sponsored by the Junior League of New Orleans.
Students from across the country, from Oregon to New York, from Louisiana to New England, joined NOAHH (many of them commenting on the nice change in weather!). Together, they cleared 76 front lots and 60 storm drains, filled 685 bags with trash, removed 127 tires, six mattresses, a pool, a bench, and a couch that had been discarded, filled three 30-yard dumpsters, gutted wiring in a 6,000 square foot building, built 20 garden beds, planted 30 vegetable plants, and delivered 86 bundles of produce in the neighborhoods, all despite some hard rains on the final day of this year’s program cancelling the clean up efforts. NOAHH worked with neighborhood groups and HUG partners to focus on areas that could be best served by our volunteers, and NOAHH staff lead the volunteers.
NOAHH sends its gratitude to all the volunteers, community partners, and especially the Junior League of New Orleans for their support! We look forward to future neighborhood revitalization efforts!