NEW ORLEANS — Look down, and most Mardi Gras cleanup appears to be finished. The tents and tarps are gone, beads have been collected, and confetti has been swept up.
Look up, however, and it is a different story.
Dozens of trees along St. Charles and Napoleon Avenues are still covered in toilet paper. Last Saturday, the Krewe of Tucks came down its route, its riders launching an untold number of rolls. The paper is one of the krewe’s signature throws, along with decorated plungers and toilet brushes.
Mayor Latoya Cantrell’s Press Secretary, John Lawson, sent WWL-TV this statement:
Cleaning trees is not a part of the city's Mardi Gras cleanup duties, nor is it the krewes' duties. Rain typically washes the toilet paper off of the trees; however, as we have seen, there has been no rain in the forecast immediately following Mardi Gras this year for the first time in a while.
It is also important to note that Parks and Parkways has required that Tucks and all other krewes use biodegradable toilet paper.
Thus, the trees still look much the same as they did on the day of the parade, even as life under them eases back to normal.
A visitor from North Carolina said she thought the paper-covered trees seemed like an upbeat reminder of Carnival season at first glance. However, after learning that it would not be cleaned up, Sonya Twitty said the toilet paper seemed like a problem. When asked if it lessened her opinion of New Orleans, she answered no, joking that if “it’s still here in July that’ll be a different perspective.”
Keep Louisiana Beautiful Executive Director Susan Russell feels differently. She understands why the city doesn’t clean up the toilet paper, acknowledging that, “it would take an enormous amount of time and money.” Russell thinks to avoid the problem, the Krewe of Tucks should stop throwing toilet paper in the first place, saying it is “not something that is collected by the parade goer, it’s not a trinket or a bead, it’s just waste.” She called the practice a, “black eye,” on the krewe and city.
WWL-TV reached out to the Captain of the Krewe of Tucks. So far we have not received a response.
One company, Twin Shores, had a crew downtown cleaning trees on Thursday. The manager at the site said the company had been contracted by the city. His company was not tasked with cleaning any trees uptown.
There is a storm system on the way toward the end of the week, though WWL-TV meteorologists predict lighter rain on the South Shore than the North.