Thursday, May 7, 2009

Even garbage collection can be fun

New Orleanians know a lot about garbage. There were months after Hurricane Katrina when they couldn't get it picked up. A year after the storm, there were still mountains of it piled on sidewalks throughout the city.

French Quarter residents have recently been feuding about whose gets picked up and whose does not. The Times-Picayune annually reports the number of tons cleaned off the streets after the Mardi Gras parades. And the head of STD Waste and Debris, the city's chief garbage contractor, Sidney Torres IV, is a local celebrity and sex symbol who went onstage during Jazz Fest.

So, garbage is the subject of a great deal of regular conversation and debate. It affects our national image.
It's important to everyone that garbage gets picked up and taken off -- wherever it goes.

So, when I hear the garbage truck trundling down my street twice a week and hear whoops of delight, I'm not surprised. The two guys who empty trash cans into the back of the truck, shout as they toss the contents into the truck, signaling the driver to move forward.

None of those automated lifts to spare their backs from strain. Those guys jog to the curb and hop back to the truck like it's a dance and they're having a great time. It is beautiful weather now, so any excuse to be outside and second-lining down the middle of the street can be fun.

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