NEW ORLEANS -- The streetlights in Lafayette Square are working now, some even in the daytime. But it is a big relief for those who worried that a park left in the dark could spell trouble.
'It is amazing,' said Sally Shushan. 'This place is the difference between an ink spot, and a well lit safe place to be at night. And we've got the concerts every Wednesday. People can leave the concerts safely.'
Federal judge Sally Shushan is also head of the Lafayette Square Conservancy, and the square was very dark when she first contacted me before Mardi Gras. She had been asking the city to repair the park's 10 broken streetlights since August, and was worried about leaving Mardi Gras crowds, including tourists, in the dark.
'What worries me is that we've got hundreds of residents in the neighborhood now, all of whom have dogs,' Shushan said in February. 'They come through and they walk, and they have injuries. We're also scared for tourists who come through and can't see what may be hanging out in the bushes.'
Well, it took a month, but the city finally did respond in time for the Wednesdays in the Park concert series. The city's repair contractor fixed all the broken lights in the square, and tackled the ones in front of the square along St. Charles Avenue.
'I was very thrilled,' said Shushan. 'As you know, I came out with my camera, shapshots, posted them on our Facebook page, and put it on the Lafayette Square website, thanking the city.'
Unfortunately the story doesn't end there, because while the city did fix the lights in Lafayette Square and they also fixed the lights in the 500 block of St. Charles Avenue, the judge also sent me pictures to show that the lights are still burned out in the 600 block of St. Charles, and the judge is worried about safety.
'It's important,' said Shushan. 'I mean that whole block is dark. Following the Final Four, there were tourists waiting for the streetcar in the dark, huddled together. It looked like a third world place. It's just bad that we are not lit on St. Charles Avenue.'
So I asked City Hall to try again.