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FAREWELL TO THE FLESH — AND THE TRASH

At least 608 tons of beer cans and booze bottles, Popeyes chicken containers, broken strands of beads and other debris had been picked up since the start of Carnival season, a spokeswoman for Mayor LaToya Cantrell said last week. That number is expected to grow as crews continue cataloging the waste. Annual cleanup regularly tops more than 1,300 tons of Mardi Gras refuse.

The work began even before the party ended, with work crews finishing around 1:25 a.m. Ash Wednesday and resuming work at 6 a.m. This year, they used roughly 120 pieces of equipment. The crews include city workers, employees of contractors Ramelli Janitorial Services and Empire Services, participants in the city's JOB1 program and Downtown Development District employees. They could be seen all along the parade route and in the French Quarter on Wednesday, sweeping debris into pans, flushing the streets with hoses, emptying trash cans and tossing containers into bins.

The massive effort is not yet complete. The city will continue to send crews to clean and re-clean areas over the next few days, said City Hall spokeswoman LaTonya Norton. They include employees from the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission, who will focus on playgrounds and parks next to parade routes. Parks and Parkways Department employees will also focus on corridors and parks near the routes, while workers will clear other streets. This year, in keeping with Cantrell's "Clean Up NOLA" initiative, the city stepped up its requests that residents bring their own bags to cart away food waste and other trash.

Residents are encouraged to bring their unwanted Mardi Gras beads to Arc of Greater New Orleans (ArcGNO) on Labarre Road in Metairie or to the city's Recycling Drop-Off Center on Elysian Fields Avenue in Gentilly. The city's facility collects beads on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month. The Young Leadership Council and the all-volunteer Grounds Krewe also worked during parades to collect beads along the routes and send them to ArcGNO. — JESSICA WILLIAMS | THE NEW ORLEANS ADVOCATE

 

Landry meets with Trump in D.C.

 Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry joined other attorneys general for a bipartisan meeting at the White House last week focused on efforts to combat the nation's opioid epidemic, human trafficking response and criminal justice reform. Landry, a Republican and president of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), received a special shoutout from President Donald Trump, who referred to Landry as "a friend of mine" in his opening remarks.

"The opioid epidemic, human trafficking, and criminal justice reform are critical issues facing our states, and we are thankful the president and his administration are willing to work together with us to solve them," Landry said in a statement.

NAAG held its winter meeting in Washington during Mardi Gras. Landry's chief initiative as head of the group has been focused on emergency and crisis management.

The attorneys general also met with Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Attorney General William Barr. — ELIZABETH CRISP | THE ADVOCATE