NEW ORLEANS -- Less than a block off of North Claiborne Avenue, the sounds of progress sound heavenly to Doris Gauff.
"When I pulled up this morning, I didn't know if I'd get out the car, run across the street. Thank you, Jesus," Gauff said. "I didn't know what to do. Honey, I was so happy."
Gauff's Lower 9th Ward property sat next to what was once an overgrown lot -- but no more. Volunteers spent the day cleaning up that lot and several others in the neighborhood.
"Even though it may be a small event, it has such a huge impact on the quality of life, on the residents in this community," said Vanessa Gueringer, with A Community Voice, which helped organize the cleanup. "So, just being able to see clear to another street, is just a wonderful thing."
Among the volunteers: St. Aug Purple Nights and LowerNine.org. It was also a chance for participants in Orleans Criminal Court Judge Ben Willard's "Drug Court" to do their community service.
"In life, when given a second chance, do good with that second chance," Willard said. "And this is our way of giving that back, so we're contributing. So, this is their second chance."
It was also a chance for the neighborhood to get rid of what are both eyesores and potential health hazards.
"The mice and rats were just plentiful, plentiful," Gauff said, when she tried to clean up the lot herself. "They were just taking over the place. They had taken over the lot."
"We have a lot of elderly folk, residents, young families, that don't even come out of their homes and enjoy their yards because they're sitting adjacent to these lots that have all of these rodents and the like," Gueringer said.
However, for some, that won't be a worry now.
"This is more than a Christmas gift," Gauff said.
For more information on future planned clean-ups, contact A Community Voice at (504) 941-2852.