Found In Storm Drains – 93k Pounds Of Mardi Gras Beads

Crews set to work cleaning out storm sewers in New Orleans, and found an absolutely staggering amount of Mardi Gras beads.

By nowproducerdave on January 29, 2018
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

That’s about 46 tons, or about 17 Chevy Tahoes. All found within the bowels of the New Orleans sewer system.

New Orleans is known for their annual Mardi Gras festival, and associated with Mardi Gras is beads. Whether those beads are given away “just because” or, uh, other ways of earning them, they usually find their way to doorknobs and closets of those who have them around the country – but sometimes they’re dropped onto the streets during and after the festival. Where do the street and sidewalk surfaces lead to when it rains? Storm drains. That’s where any trash goes when it’s left on the streets. Those storm drains go into rivers (the Mississippi runs through New Orleans) and even lakes and oceans in some cases. Sometimes that trash is heavy and gets stuck in various spots within the sewer system.

New Orleans decided they needed to do some maintenance on their system, so they set to work cleaning things out that don’t belong. They find all sorts of things, knives, cups, clothes, shoes, bones (yeah really), and in this case, Mardi Gras beads. 93k pounds worth. Ninety-three thousand pounds. Of Mardi Gras beads. But that’s not all. Those beads, all 93k pounds worth, were found in the drains along the “main” street where the festival happens (St. Charles Ave. between Poydras St. and Lee Circle). And that’s only about a half mile stretch, or about 5 blocks.

That’s really nothing though; once they were mostly finished with cleaning out the storm drains in the city, a project that lasted 3 months and cost about $22 million, all said and done they found and removed over 7.2 million pounds of trash. Trash that’s been clogging drains, preventing water from draining from the roadways and sidewalks correctly, and causing backups and even other damage.

That’s a lot of beads.

Check out more details on the sewer cleanout here.

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