French Quarter residents on Wednesday are encouraged by city officials to recycle their Christmas trees in an effort to help restore Louisiana’s coastline.
Residents in the French Quarter, who are serviced by Empire Services, must place their trees at the location of their regular garbage collection before 4 a.m. on Jan. 8, said city spokeswoman LaTonya Norton.
The CPRA estimates that, without mitigating action, the Louisiana coastline could use up to 4,120 square miles in the next 50 years.
The trees help slow erosion, trap sediment and provide a buffer to slow down waves while keeping them out of landfills, according to the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana.
Only natural, unflocked trees that are free of all strands and trimming — including ornaments, tinsel, lights, tree stands, etc. — can be recycled, Norton added. Unflocked trees are those without artificial frosting.
Flocked and artificial trees and trees in bags, or trees with trimming that has not been removed, will be collected with garbage and transported to the landfill, Norton said, adding that trees should not be placed on the neutral grounds because it delays the collection process.
Many New Orleans residents are now in the process of disposing their trees following Twelfth Night, which signifies the end of the Christmas holiday and marking the beginning of the Mardi Gras season.
The effort to restore the coastline with recycled Christmas trees is a collaboration between the city’s Department of Sanitation and its solid waste contractors, the Louisiana National Guard and the city’s Office of Resilience and Sustainability, which funds the project, Norton said.
The agencies will work together to collect, sort and bundle trees, which will be placed in selected coastal zones, Norton said.
In 2019, more than 6,000 Christmas trees were collected in Orleans Parish after the holidays. They were airlifted by the Louisiana National Guard into Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge as part of a program to create new marsh habitat.
A portion of a French Quarter building crumbled and dropped debris from three stories high onto the sidewalk in the 600 block of Toulouse Street on Saturday morning, according to the New Orleans Fire Department (NOFD).
No injuries were reported.
NOLA Ready reported the collapse on Twitter at 10:45 a.m. The NOFD identified the portion of the building that broke apart as the parapet, or a wall at the edge of a roof.
The NOFD identified 627 Toulouse Street as the exact location of the collapse.
The @NOLAFireDept & @NOPDNews are responding to a partial building collapse in the #FrenchQuarter. The 600 block of Toulouse is closed to traffic. Avoid the area and listen to the instructions of public safety personnel.
The Hard Rock Hotel partially collapsed on Oct. 12 at 9:12 a.m., according to various reports, killing three workers, injuring dozens more and strewing debris near the intersection of Canal and North Rampart streets.
Several videos of the collapse emerged hours later on social media.
The cause of the collapse is still under investigation.
A partial implosion of the building on Oct. 20 toppled the construction cranes, leaving one dangling and the other crashing down onto North Rampart Street.
But the remainder of the building remains standing. The hotel project reportedly cost $85 million.
The two Canal street buildings are owned by LLCs registered to the same officer and manager of the Hard Rock property, VCPORA said.
The developer listed for the Hard Rock building and adjacent properties is listed as 1031 Canal Development LLC, which wants to demolish the 18-story Hard Rock building and adjacent structures.
The newspaper reported that relatives of those who were killed in the collapsed have filed lawsuits against the groups behind the construction–including 1031 Canal Development LLC and Citadel Builders.
Delmer Joel Ramirez Palma, a Honduran national and Hard Rock worker who survived the collapse and later voiced his concerns to investigators, was deported on Nov. 29, WWLTV reported.
A construction crane at the Hard Rock Hotel New Orleans collapsed on Saturday morning, killing at least one person, according to the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.
According to WWL-TV, the collapse occurred at 9:12 a.m. At least 18 people are injured and at least two people are missing, the news station reported.
Evacuation crews are on scene and rescue efforts are underway.
The Office of Homeland Security established a one-block radius evacuation zone.
N. Rampart Street is closed to vehicles from St. Louis to Canal. Other street closures include Basin from Conti to Tulane, N. Rampart from Conti to Common, and Canal from Saratoga to Baronne.
According to city officials, the Canal Streetcar out of service from Claiborne to the Mississippi River, the Riverfront Streetcar is out of service, and the Rampart-UPT line impacted.
The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority announced that all bus and streetcar connections in the affected area near Canal and Elk will now be operated at their headquarters at 2817 Canal St. Staff will be on hand to assist riders with rerouted services.
Southern Decadence—New Orleans’s original end of summer Pride celebration occurring on Labor Day this year—was led by none other than actor Jeff Goldblum as the event’s grand marshal on September 1.
Donning a leopard-skinned shirt and zebra pants, Goldblum strolled through the French Quarter greeting fans, along with co-grand marshal, Countess C. Alice (Daryl Dunaway Jr.).
Goldblum is known for his roles in movies such as “Jurassic Park,” “Independence Day,” and “The Fly.” He got his start in 1974 alongside Charles Bronson in the movie “Death Wish.”
New Orleans already has a Pride event that’s celebrated in June of each yea and coincides with similar celebrations across the United States. But Southern Decadence is considered the Big Easy’s largest LGBTQ event. Inspired in part by Tennessee Williams, the jubilee started in 1972 between a group of friends living in Treme who encouraged participants to come dressed as their favorite “Southern decadent.”
Southern Decadence thus became an annual event that attracts tens of thousands of revelers (gay and straight) to the heart of the French Quarter who dress in lavish costumes. The event is often considered the midsummer Mardi Gras and compliments the general drunken tomfoolery that occurs in the Vieux Carré on a daily basis.
Tropical Storm Barry gathered strength as it pushes sustained winds of up to 65 miles per hour, according to accuweather.com, and is predicted to make landfall along the central Louisiana coast Saturday morning as a possible Category 1 hurricane.
Whether structures will be damaged by the wind isn’t so much a concern as the flash flooding from the rain. The National Hurricane Center predicted that New Orleans could potentially experience six to 10 inches of rain as of Friday afternoon. While the French Quarter sits a bit higher than most places in the city, there are still ways to protect its historic buildings from rising water.
Interim Executive Director for the Vieux Carré Foundation Brook Tesler offered some tips to The Quarter Rat that may help protect buildings from flooding.
For one, sandbag your doors. Although the city isn’t distributing sandbags, there are some locations throughout the city. Nola.com provided a handy guide, although nothing for Orleans Parish. Third District City Councilwoman Kristen Gileson Palmer posted on social media that sandbags can be picked up at 530 Powder St. in Algiers. Get them while you still can.
As of this writing, according to the Flood Protection Authority, all of the floodgates along the Quarter and the entire city’s boundary of the Mississippi have been closed.
Close shutters if you’re fortunate to have them, Tesler said, and open up doors between bouts of rain to prevent from getting mold. Telser added that owners are generally allowed to temporarily place boards over windows to protect them from wind damage.
Most importantly, Tesler added, listen to the city if there’s an order to evacuate. No such order has been made yet, but the city advised its residents to shelter in place by 8 p.m. “Your life is more important,” she said.
The city received heavy flooding during the rainfall on Wednesday, receiving more than seven inches in some spots in a matter of hours, causing flash flooding.
The Quarter fared relatively better than the rest of the city. Royal Street in the Quarter received flooding during Wednesday’s rains, Tesler said, adding that Bourbon Street appeared to be draining better since construction.
“Living with water is important here in New Orleans,” Tesler said.
For city updates regarding Tropical Storm Barry, check with NOLA Ready.