Several months after the FOX 8 Defenders found stretches of one of New Orleans' most famous streets in the dark, we get a progress report.
"We're happy to pay our share, but when you pay almost $20,000 a year in property tax and we can't even get light bulbs, it's just very sad," explained Jean Davidson. Our interview with Davidson, a longtime St. Charles Avenue homeowner, was several months ago, in May. Then, she told us, "we feel almost as though we need a flashlight to get to our car when we park right out here."
Again, in May, on one stretch, we found the street car headlight provided the most light. In fact, all you could see in that spot was mostly darkness until vehicles approach the area, making it tough to see people crossing the street on foot. In some spots you couldn't see bikers till you were on top of them.
Davidson and the St. Charles Avenue Association called attention to the issue with bumper stickers that read "Real Lights, Real Fast", and they turned to the FOX 8 Defenders for action.
Fast forward five months, from May to today.
New Orleans resident Viola Williams stressed it was real dark in the area before, and now, she said, "so I'm glad that they're working on the lights you know." Resident Ronnie Seaton agreed, and stressed street lights are extremely important, especially for him. He's handicapped.
When the sun goes down, Seaton has noticed street light after street light now shine bright along blocks of St. Charles Avenue. "If you look around, you'll see that they're LED lights that will last seven to 10 years," explained Laura Claverie, a board member with the St. Charles Avenue Association.
The city tells the FOX 8 Defenders, along St. Charles Avenue alone, it's converted 442 conventional street lights to new, more energy efficient LEDs. Claverie says it's a stark difference. "People are walking up and down the street. They're jogging at night, and they're doing this because the lights are on, and they feel safe in this neighborhood," said Claverie.
The city tells the FOX 8 Defenders, currently, its contractor is securing leaning streetlight poles on St. Charles. Workers will also replace 28 streetlight poles that are missing in the coming weeks.
If you have a consumer complaint, call the FOX 8 Defenders staffed with volunteers from the National Council of Jewish Women at 1-877-670-6397 or fill out our online complaint form on www.fox8live.com.