Saturday’s Trash Parade Parody on City’s Botched Pick-Up Attempts

Random Second-Line” by sandstep is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

There are few things that all citizens agree on post Hurricane Ida. The City’s blatant failure to quickly pick up tons of smelly trash and debris from homes and businesses across the area is definitely one of them. 

To vent their anger, more than 1,000 New Orleanians have expressed an interest in attending Saturday’s first annual New Orleans Trash Parade. The parade will line up at Elysian Fields and St. Claude Avenue and will depart for City Hall at 11 a.m.

The parade idea was conceived by Faubourg Marigny resident Aaron “Louisiana” Grant who was frustrated that his trash and debris was piling up along the curb. Support for the parade quickly grew. Participants are asked to bring a bag of trash with them. “Time to raise a stink. Crank up the jams. We’re having a Trash Parade,” Grant wrote on Facebook.  In a mid-afternoon post Friday, Grant advised attendees that he had arranged a police escort but was still seeking a brass band or disc jockey. 

WWOZ DJ Jonny Ray suggested that those who were parading without a bag of trash might want to costume with a garbage bag over their heads, in salute to the Aints campaign of years ago. He also suggested that the parade needed to be amended to just the “Get Rid of LaToya” parade.

Among those who expressed an interest via Facebook to march include State Rep. Mandie Landry, grassroots activist Beth Butler, DDD Chair Leo Marsh, NO East criminal justice advocate Anthony Jackson, Jr., City Council candidate Bob Murrell, real estate developer Kirk Williamson, entrepreneur Margaret Walker, and LGBTQI hospitality official Tony Leggio. 

The parade also coincides with Saturday’s LSU game but that is not diminishing enthusiasm from marchers. Summer showers are possible on Saturday. Marchers might want to bring along secondline umbrellas to keep themselves and their trash dry.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced Thursday evening that City employees from agencies including the Sanitation Department, Park and Parkways, the S&WB, and Armstrong Airport are being employed to help pick up household trash. Some of the trash collection strategies implemented during Mardi Gras season have also been put in place.

The City also has under year-round contract two major trash haulers – Richards Disposal and Metro Service Group. IV Solutions is currently assisting Metro in some areas. Ramelli Waste has also increased their number of routes. Ceres Environmental has been retained to collect storm debris. 

Driver shortage has contributed to unusually slow service by year-round contracted trash haulers. Some supporters of the parade say that it is not the job of citizens to pick up trash and that outsourcing trash pick-up is not a long-term solution. They prefer that hoppers (the men who ride the back of garbage trucks) be better paid.  

Dozens of residents testified at today’s meeting of the City Council’s Public Works Committee about the unhealthy situations in their neighborhoods due to the trash and debris that has not been collected. 

Mayor Cantrell’s administration and the City Council also clashed about who was responsible for the problem. 

The committee will meet again Tuesday to determine what progress has been made.

The City is expected to post an online map where residents can see in real-time where haulers are working.      

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