NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – A new plan from the New Orleans Public Works Department should bring more light to the French Quarter.
All Star Electric signed a one-year contract with the city to tackle 4,200 throughout the city.
According to an assessment by the French Quarter Management District, about a third of the lights in the French Quarter are out, and some businesses are concerned.
The Ahearn Family, who owns the Irish Cultural Museum and St. Pat’s Irish Coffeehouse in the French Quarter, say the lack of lighting in the city leads to suspicious activity.
“It leads into where if you have these dark streets, what ends up happening is you end up having just people just spending the night in front of your doorstep, and now, in the morning, I have to wake [them] up, or some of these areas, you have to kind of push them along,” Michael Ahearn, who helps manage the Irish Cultural Museum & St. Pat’s Irish Coffeehouse, said.
On Thursday, a spokeswoman for Public Works, Sarah Porteous, told the city council’s committee that All Star Electric is utilizing the French Quarter Management District’s assessment.
“They’re currently verifying the locations where they can replace poles and replace damaged fixtures,” Porteous said. “They plan to begin replacing poles next week once the crowds have subsided from Halloween, and they are in the process of doing fixture replacements this week. So, they’re about 40% complete. They’ve documented about 30 outages, and seven are going to require some major work to restore power.”
The Aherns believe there are easier ways to go about addressing outages in the French Quarter.
“Rather than going ahead and replacing whole entire light poles, they could actually do simple things, like just checking lumen to see if the lumen panels still work or just maybe [check to see] if the fixture is still there.,” Ahearn explained.
During the meeting, Councilman Oliver Thomas questioned the type of lighting in the French Quarter.
“Do we continue that historical aura that we have, or do we light it up because of the activity that we have? I think those are the questions that that we can begin to answer today,” Thomas said.
According to Porteous, once 98% of the city’s lights are operational, public works will start looking at different types of lighting in specific areas of the city.
However, the owners of the Irish Cultural Museum believe it needs to be a higher priority.