Near Miss For French Quarter Cleanliness
If you're planning a trip to Mardi Gras in New Orleans this year, make sure to inhale the streets deeply. We're not putting you on: That's the sweet smell of seduction, and you are the one being seduced.
City officials recently amended a 2009 budget passed in December in order to continue what the New Orleans Times-Picayune called a "Disney-like" cleaning service that clears debris from and pressure-washes the much touristed French Quarter. In 2006, the city plunked down $8.9 million for a seven-year contract to clean the Quarter and another downtown district with private company SDT Waste, money Mayor Ray Nagin couldn't find in his cash-strapped coffers--especially with a spending freeze after Hurricane Gustav.
In the ensuing uproar after Nagin ordered SDT to stop working at the end of January, the New Orleans City Council reached a compromise which will keep the company working at least until October. But it's a testament to the outsize importance of NOLA's tourism industry--or at least our expectations--that every place we visit be neat and tidy. New Orleans is willing to cut back in other areas for now to keep people coming, but it's a trade-off that can't continue forever.
· City Council Reaches Deal to Keep Enhanced Sanitation Services [New Orleans Times-Pic]
· No Cash for Trash? French Quarter May Stink Again [AP, via Yahoo!]