Used needles litter French Quarter streets, residents say

Published: May. 21, 2019 at 8:22 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Some residents who live in and around the French Quarter said they are worried about used needles being found on the streets and neutral grounds -- a sight they said has become as common as cigarette butts.

Every day, Pamela Branning and her dog Kirby walk down Esplanade Avenue near the French Quarter.

“We walk up maybe three blocks, four blocks pretty much on a daily basis, so I do see them,” Branning said. “I don’t want my dog to step on it, for one thing.”

She said she sees used needles and syringes scatted across the Neutral Ground on a regular basis.

“It was shocking at first, but not anymore,” Branning said.

Clark Hawley lives in the Quarter and said he doesn’t have to venture far to find them.

“I just wonder who is doing it? It must be at night when they’re disposing of them. I don’t know whether it’s dropped out of a car or dropped by hand," Hawley said.

On Monday (May 20), Hawley said he found several needles hidden in his flowerbed.

“I guess they have enough sense to try to hide it after the deed is done,” he said.

At a French Quarter Task Force committee meeting Monday, business owner Robert Watters said his employee picks up the needles himself every day.

“He collects needles from the neutral ground, and from the public parking, and the fact that we have areas in the city full of needles is appalling," Watters said.

Hawley said he does the same.

“I dispose of it," Hawley said. "I don’t call the police because they have some much else to do, they’re not going to come down here and look at a needle. Maybe I ought to call.”

NOPD said the 8th District, which includes the French Quarter, has not received any calls on used needles.

“I don’t think there’s anything we can do,” Hawley said. “It’s almost like dropping a cigarette butt somewhere.”

FOX 8 reached out to Mayor Latoya Cantrell’s office for a response to the syringe problem, but did not get a response Tuesday.

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