“Look At This F#@&in’ Street” becomes cult, even at City Hall

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He wouldn’t call himself a citizen journalist, but he is. It is a digital, satirical and individual infrastructure crisis aggregator.

NEW ORLEANS – We all know the feeling of hitting a huge pothole that you just couldn’t avoid. Your whole car is vibrating and you don’t know if you need a chiropractor, a brand new set of tires, or just to drop an “F-bomb.”

Many swear words were uttered by motorists driving through New Orleans. And now more than 91,000 people can sympathize with the Instagram account dedicated to the bumps, bumps and unpredictability of New Orleans roads.

The Instagram account, titled “Look At This F— Street”, is inspired by shortcomings in the city’s infrastructure. Subscribers find at least two posts a day about giant potholes, sinkholes, construction projects and crumbling general infrastructure across New Orleans.

“I would turn into a street and it would be completely removed or there would be a huge pothole or a huge pile of gravel. And I just found myself literally saying, look at that fucking street,” the guy behind the account said.

He wouldn’t call himself a citizen journalist, but he is. It is a digital, satirical and individual infrastructure crisis aggregator.

“The squeaky wheel gets the grease in New Orleans,” he said.

We do not use his name as he prefers to remain anonymous. He’s a small day contractor, who asked us to hide his face and keep his real name a secret. For the purposes of this story, we’ll call it “LATFS,” an acronym for its viral account.

“It’s partly because I think it’s more effective for the account that way. I think if it was just one personality it’s a little less interesting, it’s a a little less dynamic,” LATFS said. “And also, it’s just fun. We get to do these funny interviews where I’m sitting directly behind a cone, and it kind of gives off a pothole batman vibe.

Yes, if you watch the video with that story, you’ll see that we met over a sinkhole in the West Bank and strategically pointed an orange cone between our camera and his face to hide his identity.

Just scroll through the LATFS account and you’ll see that “Pothole Batman” has found a loyal following for the most egregious examples of New Orleans’ crumbling infrastructure.

You’ll see a chair marking a hole in Hollygrove, indoor rugs covering potholes in the Bywater, cars and buses and construction equipment, bottom to top in bottomless pits.

The examples of bad streets and clever cover-ups for them are endless. The intersection of Laurel and Webster, one made infamous on the LATFS account, has an overflowing cornucopia of flowers and other items to catch drivers’ attention.

“It started with people planting flowers there, then people now for the fall season put gourds. Some people put up little solar lights,” LATFS said.

The LATFS account kicked off in November 2019 with a post of a giant hole in the road in Algiers. Almost immediately, it struck a chord with the costumes at City Hall.

“I was initially trying to get the sewer and water department to block me. But they never did,” LATFS laughed.

In fact, the Sewerage and Water Board follows the account and interacts.

“Thank you fam,” the sewer and water department wrote this summer. “It was reported to our emergency line…crew en route.”

In fact, Parks and Parkways and Roadwork NOLA are also tracking the account. We asked a city spokesperson about the city’s overall view of the account. Turns out what started as a rib has turned into a resource.

The spokesperson wrote in a statement:

“DPW and Parks and Parkways have a great relationship with this account. They will flag them in an issue they know concerns us and we will respond if we see an issue that requires our attention. … The page is also extremely helpful in allowing us to constantly remind people to report issues to the appropriate channels via 311.”

The Sewerage and Water Board also welcomes this partnership. A spokesperson wrote in a statement:

“Through social media, we have become more aware of the issues surrounding aging infrastructure – not just here in New Orleans, but for our country as a whole.”

“What do you think of that?” we asked for LATFS.

“Yeah, I mean honestly, I got a little warm fuzzy feeling,” he said. “It was cool to see. And you know, it’s funny to be known for posting pothole pictures on Instagram.

LATFS has a local cult following, with many people dressing up as an account for Halloween. New Orleans residents carried costume cones, broken streetlights and orange signs all over town.

The account features “Pothole Watchdog” merchandise, paid memberships through Patreon, and even a recent general collaboration with New Orleans rug company “We Might Be On Fire.”

LATFS has also garnered national attention. Our pothole watchdog says the White House’s Office of Digital Strategy even slipped into their DMs to talk about social media infrastructure ahead of the bill’s passage. infrastructure.

Subscribers send between 50 and 100 submissions a day in hopes of getting published on the feed.

“The (Instagram) story is really easy to understand. The main page, it must be something really good,” LATFS said while scrolling through his most recent posts.

One of the lucky few whose photos have been released is Shannon Walsh Sanders. She is the unofficial steward of a sinkhole at least 3 years old on Eton Street near her home in Algiers.

We caught her outside as she finished the Halloween exhibit.

“So it was a bunny, then after the bunny, let’s see,” she said, scrolling through her phone to show us photos of past decorations.

Walsh Sanders is dressing up the hole for the season, partly to entertain the neighborhood and partly so no one drives there.

The orange barrel has been dressed up as a Saints player, minion, snowball, “the hole at the end of the rainbow” for St. Patrick’s Day and more.

“Well, of course we want (the hole) to be filled,” she said. “But we said when it’s full we’ll have a jazz funeral for him.”

While Shannon is not expected to schedule the fanfare just yet, the potholes featured on the account were filled days after a post. LATFS likes to believe that a little public shaming and an image makes all the difference.

“The visual element of social media, I like to think when the city sees some of it, they’re like, oh man, we really need to do something about this. Like…cars physically get stuck in it on the way to work.

With embarrassing infrastructure failures on full display, LATFS successfully walks the line between facetious and fed up.

“I tend to fall into the camp of, we can be funny about these things and we can do something about it. And they’re not mutually exclusive,” LATFS said.

It’s a playful part of New Orleans culture that will never be fully paved: comedy that crumbles under your tires.

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