Trash and Sanitation Issues Move Forward

The FQC’s long-standing efforts to address sanitation and trash collection issues have picked up new steam and allies. Discussions with the French Quarter Management District (FQMD), formerly the French Quarter-Marigny Historic Area Management District (FQMHAMD), led to folding an FQC-led informal working group into a Sanitation Task Force, which formally brings together the residential and business communities to address trash collection and sanitation issues in the French Quarter. FQC President Brian Furness and Bourbon Business Alliance Chair Robert Watters co-chair the Task Force.

Spurred by New Orleans’ “dirtiest city in America” ranking by Travel and Leisure Magazine, the Task Force is working to identify specific problems and possible approaches and assign priorities to remediation. Issues identified include trash carts illegally left on streets, business and residential evasion of rules regarding trash disposal, mule and horse debris (and accompanying odors), weaknesses in the law, and the lack of enforcement. The Task Force has also catalogued services currently provided to French Quarter businesses and residents; publication awaits review and corrections by the city. The Task Force holds periodic public meetings to get citizen input that can be put before the city this fall, and is discussing how best to work with businesses that can’t or don’t comply with the law.

These efforts to improve trash collection and sanitation took a step forward when Department of Sanitation chief Cynthia Sylvain-Lear and Intergovernmental Affairs advisor Michael Sherman attended the Task Force’s August 10 meeting. Mr. Sherman stressed the city’s commitment to improvements, but reminded that the city faces budget shortfalls. Ms. Sylvain-Lear pledged cooperation with French Quarter residents and the Task Force to address problems. She asked for advice on the best and most-convenient collection times to minimize the time uncollected trash and containers are on the street. She also reminded that residents themselves bear some responsibility for trash problems. For instance, light-weight plastic bags are illegal (the law specifies 3 mil black bags or heavier) and subject to tearing by animals and infestation by assorted vermin. Placing household and business trash by city metal containers is also illegal, as is leaving residential trash carts out during the day.

Comments may be sent to the Co-Chairs of the Sanitation Task Force:

Brian Furness at
Robert Watters at