This past Thursday, officials in the city of New Orleans reported that 7.2 million pounds of garbage was found clogged in catch basins. The catch basins run along a downtown area of five blocks that serves as a Mardi Gras parade route—St. Charles Avenue. Interestingly, 93,000 pounds, or 46 tons, of Carnival beads were found among the trash.
The city had planned a four month project to assess and improve the quality of its drainage system. Part of this project consisted of cleaning the drainage systems of rubbish. Attention was put on the city’s drainage systems because they did not seem to work so well when a storm on August 5th dumped up to six inches of water.
The effort to clean up the drainage systems lasted from late September to late January. Out of New Orlea ns’ estimated 68,000 storm drains, about 15,000 storm drains have been cleared.
New Orleans is well known for its Mardi Gras celebration. During the festivities, people wear and throw around beads. This goes on in places where party-goers are, including Bourbon Street and the French Quarter.
In order to curb the problem of Carnival beads building up in catch basins, residents have been asked by the Department of Public Works to clean catch basins. The Department of Public Works is considering ways of preventing Carnival beads from getting stuck in basins. One method that they are considering is the use of “gutter buddies,” which would keep beads from going down drains.
Mardi Gras is celebrated before Ash Wednesday. By tradition, “Fat Tuesday” is a day when excessive amounts of vice and partying are done before Lent. Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent. On the Catholic calendar, Lent is a time when people are supposed to abstain from partying and reflect on serious issues.