New Orleans French Quarter trash contract extended despite public refusal

When people around the world think of New Orleans, a beautiful image of the famous French Quarter hopefully comes to mind. Now, some residents and businesses say that when world travelers arrive in the Vieux Carré, that image quickly becomes rotten. major problem in the region. Residents say they have stepped up the cleanup, but the city has shut them out. Although the French Quarter is known for music, partying and great restaurants, people say the gem has become tarnished and dirty. “It’s trashy, it’s trashy – yeah,” said Joseph Duffy, longtime owner of a souvenir shop called “Bourbon Pride.” it was picked up before,” Duffy said. But now residents say that is not the case, at least not by the standards many want to see. The streets are littered with drinks, debris and trash bags lying around. It’s not only an eyesore for businesses and visitors, but a major French Quarter homeowners association says the situation stinks. “It’s a home for many residents and they don’t want to see litter piling up on sidewalks and streets and have to step over takeout containers,” said Erin Holmes of the Homeowners and Residents Association. du Vieux Carré. A company called Empire won the $1.9 million-a-year contract to keep the neighborhood clean in 2014, signed by then-mayor Mitch Landrieu. The deal was extended by the Mayor LaToya Cantrell as it was due to expire in the fall of 2021. Something residents’ groups have been looking forward to…and having their say in a new “Working with Business Owners and Residents and the French Quarter Management Neighborhood Quality of Life Committee – we made recommendations on how to improve a contract,” Holmes said. Some of those recommendations include expanded pick-ups, smaller trucks, and more sweeping streets.VCPORA says their work was for naught and seems to have fallen on deaf ears at City Hall. without enough public input. “We were definitely surprised because we were doing so much stakeholder engagement with elected leaders and although it was something we were proactive about,” Holmes said. was extended again without opening it up to public bidding or simply making the process more transparent. “I think we take advice from any stakeholder, whether it’s in the French Quarter or any area when we’re working on these things,” said Matt Torri, director of sanitation at the city. “I think Empire and KBS have achieved satisfactory results over the past few years.” “I think it’s a disservice to residents and businesses,” said former city council member Kristin Palmer. Palmer, who represented the French Quarter, spent months working with citizen groups to revise Empire’s contract and supports their actions. “The French Quarter, we all know it’s an economic engine for the city, but because it’s a 24-hour community and because there are so many businesses within a square mile radius that he really needs to pay more attention to detail when it comes to trash,” Palmer said. It smells better this time around. “Tourists are definitely taking notice – we’re starting to lose business from it,” Duffy said. Empire California’s national spokesperson declined to comment for this report.

When people around the world think of New Orleans, a beautiful image of the famous French Quarter hopefully comes to mind.

Now, some residents and businesses say that when world travelers arrive in the Vieux Carré, that image quickly turns rotten.

Waste is becoming a major problem in the region. Residents say they have stepped up the cleanup, but the city has shut them out.

Although the French Quarter is known for music, partying and great restaurants, people say the gem has become tarnished and dirty.

“It’s trashy, it’s trashy – yeah,” said Joseph Duffy, longtime owner of a souvenir shop called “Bourbon Pride.” he was picked up,” Duffy said.

But now residents say it’s not, at least not up to the standards many want to see.

The streets are littered with drinks, debris and trash bags lying around.

It’s not only an eyesore for businesses and visitors, but a major French Quarter homeowners association says the situation stinks.

“This is a home for many residents and they don’t want to see trash piling up on sidewalks and streets and having to step over takeout containers,” said Erin Holmes of the Homeowners and Residents Association of Old square.

A company called Empire won the $1.9 million-a-year contract to keep the neighborhood clean in 2014, signed by then-mayor Mitch Landrieu.

The deal was extended by Mayor LaToya Cantrell as it was set to expire in the fall of 2021.

Something the resident groups have been looking forward to…and to have a say in a new deal.

“Working with business owners and residents and the French Quarter Quality of Life Committee, we came up with recommendations on how to improve a contract,” Holmes said.

Some of those recommendations: longer pickups, smaller trucks, and more street sweeping.

VCPORA says their work has been for naught and seems to have fallen on deaf ears at City Hall.

When Empire’s 2019 expansion ended last fall, the Cantrell administration again extended the contract — some say without enough public input.

“We were definitely surprised because we were doing so much stakeholder engagement with elected leaders and although it was something we were proactive about,” Holmes said.

WDSU investigators went to City Hall to find out why a lucrative waste collection contract was again extended without opening it up to public bidding or simply making the process more transparent.

“I think we take advice from any stakeholder, whether it’s in the French Quarter or any area when we’re working on these things,” said Matt Torri, director of sanitation at the city. “I think Empire and KBS have achieved satisfactory results in recent years.”

“I think it’s a disservice to residents and businesses,” said Kristin Palmer, a former city council member.

Palmer, who represented the French Quarter, spent months working with citizen groups to revise Empire’s contract and supports their actions.

“The French Quarter, we all know it’s an economic engine for the city, but because it’s a 24-hour community and because there are so many businesses within a square mile radius , he really needs to pay more attention to detail when it comes to trash,” Palmer said.

Residents and business owners hope so too, vowing to make sure what they’re feeling is a stinky process – it smells better this time around.

“Tourists are definitely taking notice – we’re starting to lose business from them,” Duffy said.

Empire California’s national spokesperson declined to comment for this report.

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