New Orleans Is Spending Millions to Remove Tons of Mardi Gras Beads From Storm Drains

January 27, 2018, 5:08 PM UTC
Mardi Gras 2016 - February 7, 2016
NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 07: Mardi Gras beads adorn a fleur de lis iron fence along the Uptown parade route before the 2016 Krewe Of Bacchus parade on February 7, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images)
Erika Goldring—Getty Images

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, 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

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