In a city where potholes seem a permanent fixture of life, New Orleans residents cope in their own ways — dodging them, reporting them, DIY fixing them or decorating them with adornments from the ironic to the obscene. Many New Orleanians have also heard of the city's "pothole killer," a truck that fills potholes, though fewer have seen it in action.
At a neighborhood meeting last week, however, Uptown residents and District B City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell discussed a new concept that might give them hope that the pothole killer will one day visit their streets — real-time online tracking that could at least show where the pothole killer is or has been. The city's pothole killer has recently been out of service, she said, but it is scheduled to return to the streets in June.
"Let's be honest," Cantrell said. "Some of these potholes, the pothole killer would probably fall in."
Meeting attendee Ann Meese asked if is there any way for residents to see where that pothole killer will be — once it returns to service. Residents can call their district councilmember's office to find out what the schedule for the pothole killer is, but there's no way for them to track it in real time, Cantrell said.
After the meeting, Cantrell called the suggestion for an online pothole-killer tracker a "great idea," and possibly easy to accomplish. Independent groups have already created their own apps using city data related to bus service, crime in the French Quarter, and even the location of toilets during Mardi Gras, so placing some sort of GPS device in the pothole killer and making the data public would not likely be too difficult, Cantrell said.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu's office did not respond to emailed questions about the viability of such an effort, but Cantrell promised her office would look into it. "With the boom in technology, that's low-hanging fruit," Cantrell said. "That's something we can stay on top of, and hopefully we can get a system as robust as that."