METAIRIE, La. -- Frustration boiled over for Charles Kruse when a debris removal truck drove past his Old Metairie home Monday.
“They should be here way before 9 a.m,” Kruse said. “I’ve been waiting for nine days, and they tell me they’re coming, and when they come they pass me up.”
With debris still piled up in spots across Jefferson and Orleans parishes, patience is running thin for many, but officials stress crews are working hard.
“We have 55 trucks working on the east bank, 30 trucks working on the West Bank,” said Jefferson Parish President John Young.
Young said his crews are actually ahead of schedule when it comes to the amount of debris picked up.
“A hundred and twenty seven thousand cubic yards compared to same period after Gustav, but only picked up 7,500 cubic yards,” Young said. “We’re ahead of the game, but having said that, look, I know a lot of people wanted it picked up yesterday. I wanted it picked up yesterday.”
Young and New Orleans officials say crews have to follow specific guidelines prioritizing the type of debris they pick up.
“We have people cutting, stacking limbs, people picking up large vegetative debris, we have people picking up trash bags,” said Ryan Berni, a spokesman for the city of New Orleans. “They’re out there and they’re coming to get it, and it’s a very methodical process.”
Berni said crews in New Orleans are still tackling their first pass, gathering the largest debris before moving on to other items.
“This was always going to be a very long process. This first round has certainly taken much longer than we expected,” Berni said. “The amount of debris is intense, but we’re coming to get it.”