NEW ORLEANS -- Tourists from around the world sightsee along historic St. Charles Avenue, but at night some areas have so many broken streetlights that portions of St. Charles are pitch black.
"This is an area where our Tulane and Loyola students walk every day and every night, to and from their dorms, their apartments, to the restaurants, the bars," said Laura Claverie of the St. Charles Avenue Association.
"It is unsafe for these kids."
A spokesman reports the City has fixed 13,000 streetlights this year, with 1,000 more repairs in progress. But there are 3,300 broken lights on the waiting list, and St. Charles Avenue residents say they've been seeking help for years.
"A very long time," explained Lou Hoffman, vice president of the St. Charles Avenue Association. "Calls and calls, and people are going to do something, and they don't."
The St. Charles Avenue Association did its own survey of 300 streetlights between Carrollton and Jackson Avenue, and found 160, more than half, burned out, broken or missing.
"We were stunned," said Claverie. "We knew the problem was bad, but we didn't know how bad it was."
A spokesman for Mayor Mitch Landrieu said the city is coordinating with the RTA because they have their massive streetcar track construction project. RTA officials said they are going to install new wiring for streetlights at the end of that project, but even before, as they finish each section, they are returning the wiring to the same condition it was before the work began.
"This is an issue that speaks to public safety; it speaks to quality of life, and it speaks to the tourism industry," said Claverie. 'We need real lights, real fast."
In the meantime, the city says they are installing temporary lights along the darkest sections of St. Charles.
"We need good lights, and not necessarily temporary lights," countered Hoffman.