NEW ORLEANS -- The bathrooms haven't worked since Hurricane Katrina in the four shelters along the lakefront, and the streetlights are powerless.
"Fishing's great," smiled lakefront Fisherman Samuel Willams. "Just don't have the lighting that they need out here, because we were just talking about it yesterday, when we were out here fishing yesterday, how great it would be to have the lighting out here."
"I think it is going to be great for the citizens of New Orleans to have the utilities restored along Lakeshore Drive, the lights, the use of the shelters, the use of the restrooms," said Louis Capo of the Orleans Levee District.
Work is now underway to do just that, using new methods.
"With the new criteria from the corps, and since Katrina, nothing can penetrate the levees, so now everything has to go over the top."
So they're running the pipes over the levees in nine locations, covering them with dirt. Then they'll check the plumbing and streetlights.
But a major delay was finding funding for the million dollar plus project.
That was the subject of a number of Action Reports in the years 2010 and 2011, and I talked to the Army Corps of Engineers many times about them paying for the work to be done to reopen the lakefront.
And when they agreed, it made a crucial difference.
"Orleans Levee District is going to be completing the work, and (Army Corps of Engineers) will be reimbursing them. We signed a cost reimbursement agreement with them," said Corps Senior Project Manager Bradley Drouant.
"I think it was great that the corps stepped up," added Louis Capo.
"Having the lights on would be great," said Williams.
FEMA and the corps are also completely restoring the Mardi Gras Fountain. They plan to finish all the work later this summer.