'Gutter buddies' protect catch basins along parade routes

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Not every one of those beads being thrown each year are actually being caught. Lots of them end up in catch basins along the parade route. In September of last year, the city began cleaning thousands of catch basins.

"We've collectively cleaned about 23,000 catch basins in a 12-month period," says interim director of the Department of Public Works, Dani Galloway.

On St. Charles Avenue from Poydras to Lee Circle, there's a unique French drain system.

"We actually devised a little hook and pulled out all the stuff that was there. What we found in just those short blocks was 93,000 pounds of beads, and so when you know better, you kind of have to do better," says Galloway.

For the Carnival season, the city decided to create a bead and debris blocker of sorts with metal grates and a piece of wood to hold it in place along a few blocks around Gallier Hall.

"Seems like they're trying to go in the right direction. This is a start anyway," says Don Poole.

Poole is the chief engineer for the Blake Hotel at the corner of Poydras and St. Charles. Before the city made its move to put the gutter guards in place, he took matters into his own hands.

"I tie-wrapped them over the drainage to keep beads and other debris from clogging them up," says Poole.

After the firsts big Carnival weekend, it seems to be working.

The city also decided to place what they call "gutter buddies" in front of catch basins all along the parade route.

"It's just a guard to make sure some of the larger stuff doesn't go down the catch basins and block the drainage system," says Galloway.

From Tchoupitoulas to Poydras, about 250 gutter buddies are now protecting the drainage system from all the muck and unwanted Mardi Gras throws.

The city says it spent about $30,000 on the buffer system along the parade route.