Monday, December 31, 2007

NOMB Year in Review

Old-Time Project Overview:

When we started, we didn't know why we were compelled to continue. It sure didn't improve our spelling or help us sleep at night. It didn't make us feel better about anything at all really. More than anything, we decided, NOMB wanted to contextualize murders in the city. To watch them pile up in one place. You wouldn't have to scour the back pages of the metro, sort out who died where. Maybe we really did it to give our editors, and their wit, a cathartic outlet. To comment on current attitudes towards death in the country’s murder capital.

For whatever reason we did it, we did all that to our satisfaction mostly. Except when the killings came too fast for us to record. Or when our lives kept us too busy to follow the bodies. Or when it was just too much for us to bear.

The real result of the project was, thankfully, much more enlightening than anything we could have hoped for. What we learned from NOMB we learned from our vigilant monitoring of site statistics. NOMB has, from its incept, watched where our visitors came from and how they found our site through web searches.

In the beginning, all our visitors were from out of town. Seattle, New York, Texas all checked in. Upon further inspection though, most of these visitors found our site by searching proper names of streets and victims. It became apparent that these people were friends, residents, and family members spread out across the country, desperate for information about their loved ones.

Slowly, the locals discovered the project. Visitors from inside the city came to learn more about the murky murder culture that existed minutes from their quiet Marigny homes. Their nice Carrolton blocks. We started getting emails asking us to confirm reports of shots fired. Questions about investigations. Our URL appeared on legitimate site, touted as a alternative source on crime in the city. Now, we get an even split of visitors to the site, foreign hits as well as ones from home.

The Truth:
NOMB knew nothing beyond what we heard and read, had gleamed with our eyes, or imagined as we sat in our camelback and conspired to flee with fear from this wild west remake.

And NOLA didn’t let us down.

As the year ends, men with guns chase men in sneakers down Banks St. Prostitutes appear dead under docks and the East Bank violence continues to seep into West Bank burbs. The sheriff dies and the outlaws seize the moment of confusion to let their guns blaze. We had a woman chopped up and cooked (was that this year? No one remembers it seems). We had five kids gunned down in Central City in one moment and a boy paraded as the devil responsible across the papers. News Casters in white beards murdered their ungrateful ex-wives (again, was that this year?). FEMA trailer arson and good old street vengeance.

So turn on Brother Jess on Sunday Morning and listen to Sam Cooke sing gospel, New Orleans. Let the organs bleed through the floor boards into the mud beneath the house and get ready for whatever comes next.

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