City of New Orleans to replace streetlights on St. Charles

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - In an update to a FOX8 defenders story, stretches of St. Charles Avenue and I-10 in New Orleans East will soon see light. The City of New Orleans found nearly $2 million to use for streetlight repairs.

Johnnie Hart rides his bike to and from his job on St. Charles Avenue. But the commute can be a difficult one for Hart because has a syndrome that's causing him to go deaf and blind.

"It's very important for me for the street to be well lit," Hart said.

Parts of St. Charles are completely dark. Residents say over the years, bulbs have gone out and never been replaced. Work on the streetcar tracks caused even more problems.

"They also wanted to rewire the light stands themselves. The infrastructure needed some repairs but that has been completed. Actually, it's been completed in our area for about six months now but the lights are still off," said resident Jean Davidson.

During a budget committee meeting at City Hall Wednesday, the administration tackled the street light issue.

"There are the lights on the highway in New Orleans East and the lights on St. Charles Avenue are the more high profile," said Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin.

In April, the city received a $14 million reimbursement from Entergy to replace old bulbs with newer, energy efficient LED lights.

City Councilwoman Susan Guidry explains, "We can't do those on highway lights or decorative lights because the cost for those is just too prohibitive."

The administration Wednesday told the council, they've found another $1.7 million leftover from a small property tax millage that could help with the outages.

"This $1.7 million will cover the types of lights that can't be covered with the LED conversion," said Guidry.

"For those lights that are in a situation where a major repair is needed, this money will handle those projects," Kopplin added.

The idea of a safer, more well lit path home is welcome news to Johnnie Hart.

"Hallelujah, yeah I would love that," she said. He's keeping his fingers crossed the repairs will happen and soon.

A member of the Landrieu administration says the work to replace the lights should start next month. That $1.7 million will pay for all of the lights that should need to be replaced from now until the end of the year.

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