Do you smell something stinky?
The people of New Orleans certainly do, as garbage has not been picked up for thousands of them since Hurricane Ida roared through Louisiana three weeks ago.
The stench – which has attracted countless bugs and rats – got so bad in parts of the city last week that longtime New Orleans resident Aaron “Louisiana” Grant joked on Facebook, saying that he and others should organize a trash parade and dress up as trash. themed costumes while depositing their debris at the gates of the town hall.
On Wednesday, he created a group Trash Parade in New Orleans on Facebook. As of Friday evening, more than 1,900 people had expressed an interest in joining us.
Grant, 41, estimates the number of protesters on Saturday afternoon was closer to 150, which fell to 100 as inclement weather dampened enthusiasm. Those who showed up did so in all kinds of creative costumes, including a fly, Oscar the Grouch (trash can included) and Grant’s favorite, Marie-Antoinette, who was holding a sign saying, “Let them eat them. waste.”
Being witty and satirical in the aftermath of a disaster, Grant said, is “a coping mechanism.”
“When I called the town hall to ask for a permit, I was asked: ‘Is this a demonstration or a parade? They’re two different categories, ”Grant recalls. “I think it’s both. Everyone there was upset to some degree, and we take this opportunity to both evacuate and make a point. “
Only two trash bags were left in front of the town hall gates on Saturday. But as Grant sat on his porch Monday afternoon, the trash still hadn’t been washed away.
“When I turn around and look 360 degrees, all I see is garbage everywhere,” he said. “It’s absolutely appalling. Temperatures were in the 80s and 90s so you can imagine how bad it smells. “
Last week the mayor of New Orleans LaToya Cantrell recognized it, saying on Twitter: “No circumvention. The situation stinks.
Cantrell said it was a workforce issue: Before Ida struck, the sanitation department was already short of employees due to a workers strike. Ida dramatically worsened conditions. According to other media and an announcement from Cantrell, the city is now seeking help from outside contractors.
Grant, who runs a concert hall in the French Quarter, is not impressed. He said the garbage situation was “the most visible example of local government failures.” Elected officials should have foreseen it, he said, and had already signed contracts.
“Twenty thousand power line workers showed up a few days after the storm to help restore power – what’s the difference between them and the sanitation workers? Grant said. “The police are getting help, health workers… why haven’t we brought in sanitation workers? “