NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Christmas trees are cluttering the neutral ground in some neighborhoods, including Mid-City, where it's hard to miss the last little bit of holidays abandoned in the center of the streets.
Usually, the trees get recycled for coastal restoration, but according to the Department of Sanitation, trees left in the neutral ground likely won't end up on the coast.
"Parks and Parkways as they're trying to cut and there are trees there they end up having to dispose of the trees and the trees don't get recycled," said Cynthia Sylvain-Lear, the director of Sanitation for New Orleans.
Sylvain-Lear said for three days, starting Jan. 12, all trees placed on the curb, not the neutral ground, will be recycled, but in some neighborhoods, that message isn't clear.
"It's an eye-sore," said Jonathan Bowman, who lives in Mid-City. "I know they mean well, but for purposes of getting rid of it. I'll do it the right way, whether it's putting it by your trashcan or putting it in your front yard and waiting for the right people to pick it up. But don't get rid of it and give it to someone else's problem. It's your problem. Take care of it and finish it, otherwise next year don't get the tree. That way you don't have to worry about doing it."
Bowman even decided to move a tree someone ditched in the neutral ground in front of his house to make sure the process is done right.
"I'll go ahead and just take it over here. Don't get me wrong, I'm not gonna run down the street and pick up all the Christmas trees, but to get the word out I'd say, 'Hey, put it in front of your house where it belongs, not on city property. That's going to cost taxpayers more money,'" Bowman said.
In Lakeview, the neighborhood is doing all it can to make sure the trees end up in the right spot, even planting signs discouraging ditching the trees in the neutral ground, something residents hope will send the coniferous holiday decorations to a better place.
"They get left there longer, and then they end up clogging up the landfill and they don't get repurposed and recycled. We can use them in the wetlands, we're losing land every year and it helps to rebuild them," said resident Jennifer Snowden.
To find out where and when your tree will be picked up, check out the list below for your location. All parishes ask that residents make sure their trees are un-flocked and bare of lights, tinsel, stands or ornaments.
St. Tammany Parish: The program will begin on January 3, 2017, and the last day for dropping off trees will be January 29, 2017. Trees may be dropped off between the hours of 7:30am – 3:30pm Monday through Friday. On the Western side of the Parish, residents can drop off their trees at the St. Tammany Parish Fairgrounds in Covington. The Parish would like citizens to use the entrance by Lyon Elementary. On the Eastern side of the Parish, the old Levee Board building in Slidell located at 61134 Military Road is the designated drop off location.
Orleans Parish: Trees can be recycled by placing them curbside, before 5 a.m., on their regularly scheduled second collection day that occurs between Jan. 12–14, 2017 for properties served by Richard's Disposal and Metro Services. Properties in the French Quarter or DDD, served by Empire Services, should place their trees curbside before 4 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017.
St. Charles Parish: The St. Charles Parish Public Works Department will pick up live Christmas trees for recycling curbside around the parish on Jan. 6 and Jan. 13. Drop-off sites will also be available at the East and West Bank Bridge Parks in Destrehan and Luling until Jan. 20.
Jefferson Parish: Christmas trees will be collected curbside throughout unincorporated Jefferson Parish, Gretna, Harahan, Kenner, Lafitte, and Westwego on January 12, 13, and 14, 2017. Trees will be recycled for beneficial re-use –marsh restoration and/or composting.
St. Bernard Parish: St. Bernard Parish Government will be collecting Christmas trees curbside to be used as part of the marsh restoration. Trees will be picked up Tuesday, January 3, 2017 through Monday, January 9, 2017. Residents of St. Bernard Parish can also bring their Christmas trees to the Paris Road Transfer Station, located at 5120 Paris Road in Chalmette or the E. J. Gore Transfer Station, located at 7715 E. Judge Perez Drive in St. Bernard. Trees can be dropped off between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m