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New Orleans stinks as trash rots after Hurricane Ida

New Orleans had problems picking up the trash even before Hurricane Ida. Now, neighbors are wondering if it will ever get picked up.

NEW ORLEANS — The stench of Hurricane Ida has yet to fade as trash and debris continues to pile up throughout the state.

The City of New Orleans reports that there was 54,000 tons of debris throughout the city after Hurricane Ida. So far, sanitation crews have been able to clear 3,000 tons.

"It's a perfect storm of three things that have married together to accelerate these challenges," said Greg Beuerman, Metro service group spokesperson.

Metro is one of three sanitation contractors used by the city. Beuerman tells WWL-TV that Metro's workers have been impacted by the covid pandemic, the hurricane, and the sheer amount of trash and debris said hurricane left behind.

Solid waste contractors are reporting that they're about two thirds through the first pass of the city.

Now the city is outsourcing for help.

"We have our emergency procurement for supplemental assistance solid waste opening this evening," New Orleans, Sanitation Director Matt Tori, said on Monday at a press conference.

In the aftermath of hurricane Ida, Metro says that trash has been an issue across the state, but in New Orleans East residents say their sidewalks have been covered in trash all Summer.

"This been going on for a minute now," Mary Williams said. 

She’s been living in her home in New Orleans since the 90s and says she’s never seen anything like this before.

"We feel like we're second class citizens," said New Orleans East resident Ashleigh Grandpre.

At Monday’s press conference, Torri acknowledged the trash pick up problems in district two, which includes New Orleans East.

"We are all aware we had service issues going on there up until hurricane Ida. We had routes in all three of those neighborhood that weren't completed on the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday prior to Hurricane Ida," Torri said.

Of course, Hurricane Ida only made things worse.

"We're living right now with four bags of trash in our house," Grandpre said.

The Grandpre family considers themselves lucky, as trash and debris continues to pile up throughout the East, leaving behind a bad stench and bad taste in many mouths.

"It's been like this for weeks now, just the trash in the can," said Loriano Lombard, New Orleans East resident.

Lombard tried to get her trash pick up last week, by trying to wave down the garbage collectors who had passed her home in the East on multiple occasions.

Unfortunately, the crew just kept going.

"I was very disappointed because we pay a sanitation bill every month on our water bill," Lombard said.

"It's just crazy that we have to live this way with trash piled up. It's stinking outside and not only that there's trash piled up in the house," Grandpre said.

Ashleigh, her husband Terrence and their newborn have been living with this dank smell in the air for more than a month.

Now they’re forced to bring that smell in their home because only trash inside of bins are getting picked up, leaving the overflow of trash no place to go but inside the homes of the Louisianans who pay to have their trash picked up.

"Who ever thought that having your trash picked up was a luxury," said Grandpris.

The hope is that the city’s emergency teams will help.

"It's insane and it's unacceptable and we really want to see some change," Grandpris said.

Metro wants to remind residents that three contracted trash pick up companies can only pick up certain items. Find out more information here.

The city says all trash should be picked up by late next week. But if you don't want to wait, you can also take it to a public landfill. You may have to wait in a line and you may have to pay a fee. Find those details here.

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