Despite Mardi Gras, New Orleans Struggling

By RUKMINI CALLIMACHI, Associated Press Writer 16 minutes ago

NEW ORLEANS – They’re throwing Mardi Gras beads again — so many strands, they’re landing in tree branches and getting snagged on the trellised balconies of the French Quarter.

You’ll find them adorning the arms of Spanish statues. Tourists are wearing them, but these days so are contractors and the National Guard. It’s hard to walk on Bourbon Street without stepping on them. You’re likely to crunch them underfoot, long necklaces of plastic pearls brightening the asphalt.

At the corner of Bourbon and St. Peter, Pat O’Brien’s is once again serving its syrupy, yet potent Hurricane cocktail. At Tropical Isle, you can get an equally potent Hand Grenade in a tall, plastic go-cup.

But walk to the end of Bourbon Street, take a left on Esplanade Avenue, a right on Rampart Street and head east. At first, the debris comes in bits: A small pile of siding. A rusted box spring. One taped-up refrigerator. At first, you find them in neat piles, in the front yard or outside on the curb.

There’s still a semblance of order. But keep going. It gets worse.


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