The Cool Kids Code with Operation Spark in New Orleans

This post by Blackstone Content Correspondent Summer Suleiman originally appeared on

operation sparkCool kids code.

That’s what I found out yesterday.

And I didn’t have to go far. I just walked down the hall from our office in the IP building and checked out Summerware, a 3-day hackathon hosted by Operation Spark, a non-profit that works with at-risk youth in New Orleans on software development skills to help them start careers in tech.

How cool is that?

But wait, it gets cooler. Because I’m a total geek for reports. Remember?

The teams at Summerware used open data reports released by the NOPD to develop apps.

They worked with data sets on police recruitment, calls for service stops, use of police force, and police field interviews.


The hackathon was part of President Obama’s Police Data Initiative, a push for police departments to become more transparent.

The purpose of creating the apps at Summerware is to help increase transparency, build community trust, and support innovation between New Orleans residents and the NOPD.


Operation Spark COO Max Gaudin worked with teens on use of police force.

And if data is not cool to you, the teams had a guest visit from Denise Ross, Presidential Innovation Fellow with the White House.

Yup. They were just hangin’ out with the White House. No big deal.

Summerware White House

From left: Alon Robinson, Operation Spark student, White House Innovation Fellow Denise Ross, founder of Operation Spark, John Fabroni. Source: Jed Lipinski,





I may have had a little code envy. Okay, alot. I really wanted to whip out my Mac and start coding ferociously like they were. But then I remembered I don’t know the first thing about <h2>//code=+=_code/-code//</h2>

I need to get my code skills up. All the cool kids are doing it.