NEW ORLEANS -- With a quiet roar, the jets at the lakefront's iconic Mardi Gras fountain send streams of water shooting skyward after an extensive repair job this summer.
"It was as bad as I've ever seen," said Robert Kuykendal of Waterworks International. "I mean it was a true disaster."
Waterworks International spent two and a half months repairing the fountain, and the Orleans Levee District accepted the work Tuesday.
"Just a lot of hard work," said Kuykendal. "Quite proud. I like things like this because it's a landmark."
But visitors are not happy the lakefront is still closed at night.
"We come in the daytime. We don't come in the night because of the lights," said fisherman Chris Smith.
"It's very important, it really is," added his friend and fishing buddy Charles Williams.
"The Levee Board police usually close it at a certain time, usually at dusk, and the reason why is the lights are not fully restored to Lakeshore Drive at this time," said Louis Capo, director of Non-Flood Assets for the Orleans Levee District.
Now teams are working to restore power and plumbing to the shelters, and to get the streetlights along Lakeshore Drive working again.
They had hoped to have the project completed and the lakefront reopened before the end of summer. But it turned out to be a more time consuming project than they first thought.
"Our goal right now, and anticipated completion, sometime before Thanksgiving that the shelters and the lights between Shelter One and Marconi, or the Orleans Canal will be restored," said Louis Capo. "The lakefront will open at night."