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Lakefront left covered in trash from Easter Sunday

“You wonder what’s going on that people would think it’s ok to just leave so much stuff,” said Charles Marsala.

NEW ORLEANS — Days after Easter Sunday, most of the trash has been taken care of, but even with the trash removed, concerns are still there. After Easter Sunday, pictures from the New Orleans Lakefront show what Charles Marsala calls a mess.  

“You wonder what’s going on that people would think it’s ok to just leave so much stuff,” said Marsala. 

Trash cans were overflowing, and others were knocked over.  

“Full platter of jambalaya, of rice, of half-eaten pizza, hamburgers, wine glasses that were just left,” said Marsala. 

The amount of trash and food left on the ground became a feeding frenzy for seagulls.  

“I don’t think I’ve seen it at that level,” said Marsala. “It was kind of shocking to see it at that level.” 

Marsala posted photos online to the Facebook group Protect the Louisiana Brown Pelican at New Orleans West End, racking up thousands of shares and comments. He says the trash problem happens often, but Easter weekend was unbelievable, and it’s gotten a lot of attention. 

“Terrible. I hate to see it. People should actually clean up after themselves,” said Clint Fidel, who was out exercising Tuesday afternoon. “People don’t really care about picking anything up.” 

Easter weekend always means lots of people on Lakeshore Drive. With the crowd size, the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East says enforcement of litter laws is simply unmanageable.  

“We wonder how many other instances are we just getting accustomed to feeling it’s ok to leave trash in New Orleans,” said Marsala. 

The Lakefront Management Authority controls the grounds, including trash and maintenance. Executive Director Louis Capo says an additional 200 cardboard trashcans were put out and the 200 existing metal ones. Capo says there just weren’t enough, and late-night rain ruined some of the cardboard ones. People not picking up after themselves just added to the problem.  

"Perhaps they need to be patrol with trash bags and just offering trash bags to people,” said Marsala. 

Thanks to volunteers and additional workers from ArcGNO, which is contracted for trash pickup, most of it was gone on Monday. Capo says 12 to 15 tons of it were hauled away. 

Some bags were still waiting to be picked up Tuesday.   

“I think the city is going to need to fix this before it keeps expanding and creating more areas like this,” said Marsala. 

Another holiday that draws a big crowd to the Lakefront is Mother’s Day. That’s less than a month away, and the hope is to not have a trash repeat. 

The Lakefront Management Authority plans to hold a meeting to discuss having additional resources in place.  

The agency released this statement to Eyewitness News: 

“The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East owns Lakeshore Drive, a public entertainment destination that draws large crowds on several days each year. Easter weekend brings the largest turnout of the year to the Lakefront. This would be similar to officers enforcing littering on city streets, sidewalks, and neutral grounds during and after Mardi Gras festivities or the riverfront after French Quarter Fest. When crowd size is largest, safety is our primary concern. Our officers must prioritize the safety of those on the roadways and in the park areas, and do so in a manner that keeps them safe as well. While we do patrol the Lakefront for the safety of our citizens, maintenance of the Lakefront is the primary responsibility of the Lakefront Management Authority (LMA). We rely on LMA to maintain the trash build-up during big events such as Easter and Mother’s Day. They maintain the trash cans and employ the crews to pick up trash and keep the properties clean.”