This is the debris pile and household trash pile in front of my house today, Sunday, September 9. Our trash is usually picked up on Mondays and Thursdays but, because Hurricane Isaac blew through on Wednesday August 29, we didn’t get our regular trash pick up on Thursday. Totally understandable. So, by Monday September 3 we, of course, had more trash than usual to be picked up. We had to resort to putting household trash on top on the cans which were already filled but when the trucks came by, the workers threw those bags on the ground and left them. Fortunately, I saw what was happening & yelled for my husband who went out and actually threw them into the truck himself as the workers apparently didn’t believe they were trash but, instead, leaves. That’s ok, I can understand the confusion.
On Wednesday, a city contracted worker came by and picked up our debris which was about the same amount as you see in the photo and I’m grateful for that. But, again, on Thursday September 6 we didn’t have regular garbage pick up. We called the company and reported it. On Friday, I tweeted Kristen Palmer who replied within about 20 minutes that the mayor was having a press conference at 3:30 where garbage & debris pickup would be addressed. Great, I said. Except I never heard any more about it. I turned on a local talk radio station (admittedly at 3:45 because I was still raking storm debris in the yard) and there was no press conference on. I watched two local news stations Friday evening: no mention of a press conference. OK, maybe I just had bad timing but it really shouldn’t be this hard to get garbage/debris pick up information updates.
On Saturday I went on the NOLA Ready website but there was nothing new there. I called 311 and was told by a a very nice lady that they were no longer taking debris/garbage pick up calls and not to worry because it would all be picked up. The big question is WHEN? I watched local TV news on Saturday evening, no mention.
Saturday night I decided to tweet (see Femme Tweets in the sidebar to the left) and post on my FaceBook wall asking about garbage/debris pick up in other areas of the city. (I live in Algiers.) Here are the results from the various people who replied:
No debris pick up as of Saturday night (in no particular order):
Lower Garden District
From what I can gather, my particular area of Algiers seems to be the only area that has not had regular garbage pick up. For two weeks we have had only one pick up instead of two.
Saturday night @NOLA Ready responded to the conversation on Twitter about garbage/debris pick up. They stated, “we just got more crews & equipment in to help; they covering city & will check & see if can get ETA for you!” and today, “ thank you. We’re still running behind because of massive volume, so please leave out bins – crews working all day today.”
I sure hope today will be my day and I also hope all of my regular garbage, those bags inside the cans and outside the cans, will be picked up without my husband having to police them to make sure it is.
All in all, I think the city and Mayor Landreiu did a great job communicating and preparing the city for this storm – way better than was done seven years ago for Katrina. The NOLA Ready website (and Twitter presence) is a great idea and I referred to it many times during these last two weeks. The mayor has been accessible and visible and nobody has had to ask “Where is the mayor” in these post-storm days as so many of us did for years after The Federal Flood. Of course, no one is perfect so I hope once all the debris is picked up and the streets are clear that perhaps lessons will have been learned in that department for a better trash/debris protocol for next time. Because there will be a next time.
Addendum: It’s 9:35 pm and today, again, was not the day. Grrrrrr.