Crews remove tons of trash after St. Patrick's Day parade

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The large crowds that accompany the parades in the Capital City provide a huge shot in the arm for a number of area businesses, but those crowds also mean lots and lots of trash and the annual St. Patrick's Day parade was certainly no exception.

Helene Irwin has been cleaning up on South Eugene Street after St. Patrick's Day parades for 15 years, but she said she doesn't care because it is part of the festivities. Irwin said littered roads and bags full of leftover beads is a small inconvenience for the fun that comes as part of the St. Patrick's Day parade celebration.

"Last year, my house and the house next door were the last two to clean up and I said, 'I bet you it's going to be the same this year, but then I got out and cleaned up,'" she said.

John Eby and his Department of Public Works crews were hard at work Sunday turning a colorful collection of discarded plastic and glass back into a busy throughway.

"Starts 6:00 in the morning and we go until the job is finished," Eby said.

According to Eby, the job can often last between 12 and 16 hours, as workers pick up and sweep their way to clean streets once again.

"When it's a cleanup, and they do one heck of a job cleaning it up. It's part of the job and comes with the territory," he added.

The debris and trash collected is sent to the Valley Street maintenance location in Baton Rouge and it will eventually be transported to the landfill in Zachary. So, how much trash was collected? Eby said when it's all said and done, it will easily equal more than 10 tons.

"Fourteen to 15 tons. This one might be 16 tons. It's kind of hard to say because there's a lot of beads on the ground still around Terrace Avenue, Kleinart, but we're getting close," he explained.

The effort rivals cleanup after the Spanish Town Parade, which Eby said resulted in more than 20 tons of trash. However, as the saying goes, one person's trash is another person's idea of festive décor…or something like that.

"I noticed my tree didn't have as much on it as it sometimes does and I like it that way and I just leave it, leave it hanging on the tree," Irwin said.

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