Throughout its illustrious history, the city of New Orleans has had many firsts – corruption firsts, perpetually last in public education firsts, flooding firsts. But one first has always evaded it, has always remained elusive. That is until now. Now, New Orleans can declare itself the first city whose tooter smells just like its rooter. The first city to be pervasively pungent. The first city whose stench has left its trench. In short, New Orleans is now the first major American city to smell like ass. The garbage issues grow in New Orleans.
Step outside. Flare those nostrils. Take in a deep breath. Inhale the un-fresh air. It hangs there, doesn’t it, like the whole city just spontaneously farted.
Black trash bags and overflowing garbage cans line the curbs, marinating under the hot, humid sun. Birds hover above, keeping their distance. Even racoons walk by holding their noses. Some of us have watched two cycles of maggots transform into flies. The flies hatch and buzz around territorially. Some of them are approaching the size of a knuckle. It’s probably not safe to let your kids play in the street.
At one of those unproductive City Council meetings, one of the owners of Metro Service was asked what’s up with the trash. In these unsanitary times, his response was appropriately funky. He said that all of Metro’s customers had received one trash pickup since the storm. And this supposedly happened while we were all evacuated. That was called out as lies and garbage, by a citizen of course, not a Council member.
Apparently, unbeknownst to the owner of Metro, some of us didn’t leave for the storm. Some of us actually stayed and watched the trash pile up and the flies begin to swarm. Some of us even saw this for what it was – the continuation of the trash just not being picked up in this city.
We were told that this was due to a labor shortage. Yeah, that tends to happen when your workers go on strike. We were told by the mayor that we could pack up our trash and bring it to the landfill ourselves. Naturally, that didn’t go over well. Now, alas, we have a new solution.
Operation Mardi Gras, to be hence known as OMG. Under OMG, a rolling band of public employees will adorn the back of trucks costumed as garbage men. It promises to be a very festive affair. Feel free to clap, cheer, and wave them on as they pass by.
Here at Think 504, we’d be remiss if we didn’t advise you that typical Mardi Gras rules do apply. Keep all items six feet from the curb. And under no circumstances are you to show these people your boobs. Well, you can if you want. But they have nothing to throw to you except trash.
Late last week, Metro trucks did pick up the trash. They rumbled up the streets sparking the same type of heart palpitations we felt when Entergy finally appeared after Ida. And we were left with the same initial disappointment. When all was said and done, the Metro hoppers only took what was in the can, which meant the majority of trash still remained on the curb when they left. Outside the can trash is apparently the responsibility of OMG. In the name of competency, you would think that this would be coordinated. Right after the Metro trucks roll out, the OMG trucks roll in. But nope.
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Coordination is so lacking that at the aforementioned unproductive Council meeting, Metro and the mayor’s office couldn’t even say or agree on how many homes haven’t had their trash picked up. So as a result, Metro apparently just sent their trucks out to pick up trash like it was an ordinary day. Feel free to throw your hands up and scream OMG.
Maybe this is all a game. Maybe this is all a part of a conservation experiment where we citizens are forced to get a first-hand look at the amount of trash we compile. In the end, after we’ve been nasally insulted and physically discomforted, we’ll have gained a new appreciation for our sanitary footprint and work to reduce it in the name of global warming. Who knows, stranger things have happened. In the meantime, though, expect patience to wear thin and more trash to be piled up on the curbs.