NEW ORLEANS, La. - A power outage Sunday in Mid-City came at probably the worst possible time. Thousands of Entergy customers hoping to watch the Saints game couldn't. However, some say, in a way, it was a good thing.
Whether it was by radio or cell phone, about 3,000 Saints fans around Mid-City panicked when tuning into Sunday's game.
"There was a moment that if this lasts, everyone will be losing their mind," said Grace VanDyk. "I was at home waiting for the game to start actually and power went out. There was a weird sound and it went out, and then a few minutes later it came back on."
The power had gone out. It was brief for some, others though, weren't so lucky and were forced to go somewhere not in the dark.
"Right around the beginning of the third quarter, it filled up and stayed full for about two hours," said Ricky Ricard, Co-Owner of G's Pizza.
Ricard says the loss of power brought a business boost, turning an average night into one of their busiest.
"Close to 70 people at one time and that's standing for two hours straight and that's not including deliveries," he said. "It was great for us, especially because we took a loss from that closing at the Canal intersection."
Entergy says a Mylar Party balloon caused the outage after it hit a power line on Jefferson Davis Highway. Assistant Dean at UNO's College of Engineering, Kim Jovanovich, says the problem is that particular balloon's aluminum coating.
"Mylar itself is a really strong, clear, transparent, non-conductive plastic," he said. "That coating is not the Mylar, it's aluminum placed on the balloon for strength, and one of the concerns is aluminum is conductive. So as soon as Mylar balloon, which is floating because it's filled usually with helium, comes into contact with an electrical conductor or goes across an electrical conductor, that outer metalized aluminum surface immediately conducts electricity."
When the two come in contact, it can cause a surge of electricity that short circuits equipment and can lead to power outages, fires, and possible injuries.
"You'll get an explosion and you'll probably get a tremendous spark," Jovanovich said.
Not only that, but like any balloon, Jovanovich says it can have a negative effect on something else: the environment.
"Who would've thought that a balloon would have an impact on 3,000 lives?" he said. "But It's not just the power grid. It affects wildlife because what goes up must come down. So it ruins our environment quite a bit and in Louisiana, our environment is pretty important to us."
The outage lasted for about two hours and came back on just in time for fans to have another panic attack, as the game came to a close but victorious end.
"It was an exciting one," said VanDyk. "I think it felt like we had it until the very end and then there was another moment of panic like oh goodness, what if it doesn't happen? But it totally did."
The last time this happened was March 2017. About 14,000 people lost power in that incident. There are also certain states, like California, that have laws when it comes to using and selling these kinds of balloons.
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