At the corner of North Roman and Spain Streets, Lucien Peters joined a group of volunteers to try and clean up an abandoned and overgrown lot.

'We have a lot of help from out of town, but we have a lot of people that live in the immediate neighborhood,' he said.

Peters lives in the St. Roch neighborhood and was one of 175 people at five sites, where volunteers worked on the city's 'Fight the Blight' campaign on Saturday.

'We constantly work in the area, without any help,' Peters said. 'But now we have the help, which we totally appreciate.'

This week, though, they're about to get even more help, when 5,000 people arrive in New Orleans for the 2011 National Conference on Volunteering and Service.

'We've been coordinating, through our 'Serve NOLA' initiative here at the city and so folks will be out doing similar types of things over the coming days,' said Jeff Hebert, director of blight policy and neighborhood revitalization for the city.

Hebert said this is the time of year, when volunteers appear to have the most time to give.

'We usually, in New Orleans, see an uptick around spring break and the summer, of people coming in and wanting to do service projects,' he said.

Now, the national conference on volunteering will follow in those footsteps-- using New Orleans as an example of how volunteers can help a city get back on its feet.

'Volunteerism, post-Katrina, became a calling card when people around the world wanted to help and people around the nation wanted to help, they wanted to find ways to get into the city of New Orleans and so every time a convention came to town, we pushed a volunteer piece on the front and back end of it,' said Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

The effort is noticed by people who live in the places getting some of that help.

'It absolutely makes a difference,' Peters said. 'There's no two ways about it.'

The national volunteering conference begins on Monday and runs through Wednesday.

Read or Share this story: