Local photographer captures cleanup of French Quarter in the hours after Mardi Gras Day

Mardi Gras 2020

Sidney Donaldson's Facebook gallery shows the gritty reality of the trash left behind

Photo by Sidney Donaldson

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NEW ORLEANS – A local photographer captured the sobering reality of the amount of trash left in the French Quarter after Mardi Gras Day in a viral Facebook photo gallery.

Sidney Donaldson posted nearly 90 pictures of what he called the “aftermath and cleaning process that goes into the biggest trash day of the year.”

At midnight on Mardi Gras Day, February 25, Mayor LaToya Cantrell and NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson led a wave of police on foot and horseback down Bourbon Street to announce the official end of Mardi Gras 2020.

They were closely followed by cleanup and sanitation crews, who spent the next several hours cleaning all manner of debris from the streets of the French Quarter. Donaldson documented that cleaning process as tons of beads, cups, and other items were hauled away.

“Being a local myself, it’s upsetting,” Donaldson told Buzzfeed. “It’s almost a catch 22, though. The business that is brought into our city for Mardi Gras every year is amazing. It is the life blood of New Orleans. However, it does make the locals angry to see how people come to such a great city and cause this much damage in one day.”

The photo gallery quickly picked up thousands of shares, reactions, and comments from people all across the globe, as well as a profile on Buzzfeed.

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