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New Orleans is struggling to pick up weeks-old trash, so residents staged a 'Trash Parade' protest

New Orleans Trash Hurricane Ida
Posted at 1:54 PM, Sep 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-20 13:55:56-04

There isn't anything quite like a New Orleans parade. Be it one of the dozens of parades that wind through city streets ahead of Mardi Gras or a jazz funeral march accompanied by a brass band, parade culture is one of the aspects that make New Orleans one of America's most unique and beloved cities.

So after weeks of complaining about rotting garbage that hasn't been picked up since the arrival of Hurricane Ida, New Orleanians did what they did best — they held a parade.

On Saturday, about 100 people marched up St. Claude Avenue to City Hall to protest the ongoing sanitation delays. NOLA.com reports that in true New Orleans fashion, many of the participants were costumed.

"One marcher impersonated Oscar the Grouch, complete with a portable garbage can," NOLA.com reported. "Another dressed as an elegant fly, and another wore a gas mask surmounted by a headdress composed of crushed aluminum cans, eggshells and candy wrappers."

While the parade brought levity to the situation, the city's sanitation crisis is beginning to become a public health issue.

Late summer temperatures oftentimes reach 90 degrees in New Orleans, and much of the garbage that's still sitting in neighborhoods consists of food that spoiled during Hurricane Ida. The rotting garbage has attracted flies, insects and rodents into neighborhoods.

At a recent city hall meeting, some residents told council members that their trash had not been picked up since before the arrival of Hurricane Ida on Aug. 29.

Millions in the region evacuated the state ahead of the storm, and the officials advised most residents not to return home for about a week. Most of New Orleans was without electricity during that time, and some areas still don't have power.

The temporary lack of electricity and lack of roadway access caused by debris certainly delayed pickup efforts. But NPR reports that one of the sanitation companies operating in New Orleans was already facing a staffing shortage brought about by the pandemic.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell says the city will temporarily re-assign some workers to put them on trash collecting duty. The city council will meet again on Tuesday to address the delays.