Mardi Gras beads along the Uptown parade route.
Erika Goldring—Getty Images
By Jamie Ducharme
January 27, 2018

Overdue efforts to clear New Orleans’ clogged storm drains have yielded literal tons of abandoned Mardi Gras beads.

The city allotted $7 million to clear the blocked catch basins, which were blamed for contributing to widespread flooding in August, NOLA.com reports. Since September, crews have tackled 15,000 of the city’s 68,000 catch basins — and discovered a staggering number of Mardi Gras beads in the process, according to NOLA.com.

Just along one five-block stretch of St. Charles Avenue, the main Mardi Gras parade route, crews recovered 93,000 pounds of the beads, NOLA.com reports.

“Once you hear a number like that, there’s no going back,” Dani Galloway, interim director of the city’s Department of Public Works, said during a news conference Thursday. “So we’ve got to do better.”

New Orleans officials are also exploring other ways to keep the city’s drainage system clear, including manually blocking openings so beads and other debris can’t make it down the drain, to avoiding future flooding and costly cleanup efforts. Residents from neighborhoods across the city have also been trained on how to clean the catch basins, NOLA.com reports.

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