In 2018 we were all horrified when city maintenance workers not only pulled 46 tons of Mardi Gras beads out of clogged storm drains in New Orleans, but also found a CAR hidden in the underground muck. And that was only in a five-block area on St Charles Avenue. The 93,000 lbs of plastic throws that were found led to a ban from city officials on throwing entire plastic bags of beads from floats in future parades. Since then, a huge recycling effort has garnered over 62 tons of plastic beads from storm drains throughout New Orleans.62 tons, y'all.

And if we're being honest, it really seems like such a huge environmental hazard to have all that cheap China produced plastic waste littering the streets, in the trees, and in the drains during Mardi Gras, and other festivals in the city. And evidently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency agrees.

The federal agency has given a $500,000 grant to officials to see if some of that plastic might be able to be converted to products made locally with sustainable materials. This is good news to Alma Robichaux, who is an outreach coordinator for the Thibodaux-based Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program. According to NOLA.com, Robichaux works with Houma's Rougarou Fest, French Quarter Fest, and Satchmo Summerfest, and she told the outlet "We need a whole cultural change of throwing things that are worthless."

The pollution left behind at these festivals, and especially Mardi Gras, is staggering, and at least $30,000 of the grant will be designated towards converting plastic throws to wooden tokens at the famous Houma festival. I don't think I'm alone when I say it's time for Louisiana to come up with a plan so that we can keep our state beautiful for generations to come. We love you, Louisiana.

Read more about the grant, and the impact it will have on our Louisiana festivals at NOLA.com

 

 

Fun Things to do in Louisiana on February 16th That's Not Mardi Gras