Litterbugs Need Not Apply

My NO Metroblog silence of late is due to a decision I want to make and soon – should my blog voice become louder and more urgent? It’s not business as usual in NOLA, but we’ve lapsed back to our old ways, merely content to be here and go about our daily work. As I said to Chelsea Merz of Open Source Radio last evening, “Those returning to New Orleans must realize that their work here will have to be quadrupled, or quintupled, to bring the city back to to what it was before and move beyond. Each one of us has to attend to our own job, friends/neighbors and their needs and civic duties such as cleanup, writing and engaging in dialogue with the government and those outside New Orleans. And please don’t make work for other people.”

Our city can only handle so much right now. We didn’t and don’t have the moentary and human resources to fix every pothole and busted main and even to pick up mountains of trash piling up in MidCity, Gentilly and other neighborhoods struggling by a thread to survive.

Walking home last night, I watched a man and a woman run from Mojo Cafe to the Magazine St. bus. My delight at more people taking local public transportation was broken by the sight of the woman toss a go-cup into the bushes by the bus stop. Angered, I yelled, “Hey, did you just throw garbage on the street when a trash can is available at Mojo?” The couple turned, gave me a blank stare and continued on their way. Picking up the cup myself, I stewed for a long while after at this lack of civility and how can New Orleans survive when our own don’t respect it?

This is not the first instance of such barbarism. In fact, it is so prevalent in the Quarter (even the residential sections) and CBD that I am surprised when someone utilizes the large and ubiquitous brown and green receptacles. How hard is it to walk an extra 100 yards or half a block or to temporarily carry it in your purse/pocket/bag to get rid of trash? If you don’t care about your living environment, why should it give a rat’s ass about you?

Yes, I’m hopping mad. I’m so mad that on the evening of August 30th, I am walking the entire stretch of Magazine St. between Melpomene and Felicity to pick up debris that morons did not dispose of responsibly while our city is more than flummoxed by How Do We Pick Up All The Hurricane And Flood Debris? Want to help? Contact me. I’ll return the favor in your neighborhood.

If you’re reading this and are the kind of uncivilized philistine described earlier in this post, kindly pack up and leave New Orleans or, if somewhere else, don’t bother coming back. We’re having a hard enough time sustaining half of the old population and simply do not need you here that bad.

6 Comments so far

  1. Craig (unregistered) on August 24th, 2006 @ 1:36 pm

    TBK and I are addressing this very problem on our block. About once a week, or more often if we can, we walk up and down our block and pick up trash. Nearly all of it has been tossed from some car or truck that’s been driving much too fast (we’re posting ‘slow down’ signs as well). At least from what we’ve seen, much of it it tossed by people who live in places not much cleaner than the street itself.

    We really DO have to go the extra mile. Or five. We’ve made the effort to plant some hibiscus out on the banquette and encourage some new jasmine and mandevilla to climb the utility pole on the corner. Other neighbors are involved in the same kinds of projects. Of course, there’s still this huge pile of asbestos shingles across the street and a second pile of rotted lumber. But at least the person who put these piles there is trying to get someone to come get them.

  2. Gentilly Girl (unregistered) on August 24th, 2006 @ 2:05 pm

    I’m with you Maitri!

    A few times a week I scour the block where we are living for stray trash. Also am slowly convincing folks to BAG THEIR GARBAGE, and it seems to be working.

  3. Laurie (unregistered) on August 24th, 2006 @ 2:38 pm

    “Trash invites more trash to come an’ visit”.

    I keep my ditch as clean as I can which also

    means I have to keep my neighbours up also.


  4. Editor B (unregistered) on August 24th, 2006 @ 3:18 pm

    Xy picks up trash on our block, but around the corner tenats simply dump their garbage on the curb unbagged. It’s more than we can handle.

  5. Mallory (unregistered) on August 24th, 2006 @ 8:39 pm

    This reminds me of when, during Mardi Gras, our group of friends all brought out trash bags after all of the parades had passed and picked up the trash in our little section of the parade route. Others walked around us and looked at us like we were crazy for doing this. I think maybe one or two people we didn’t know actually noticed and decided to pick up some trash too, out of the entire weekend that we spent at that same area of the route.

  6. Laurie (unregistered) on August 25th, 2006 @ 2:39 pm

    Exactly, an’ sometimes they use you for target practise.


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