Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
NEW ORLEANS – They’re not hard to spot — advertisements sit next to chunks of old torn paper, cluttering utility poles.
"It’s just something that got under my skin and there didn’t seem to be any reason for it, especially in a city like New Orleans, which is so historic and beautiful," Faubourg St. John resident Steve Mardon said.
The Mid-City resident has taken down thousands of signs, in a personal battle to clean up city streets.
"Basically go down to Home Depot, get yourself a PVC pipe and put a screw through it and you can go up and yank them down."
He’s not alone. Councilwoman Stacy Head recently helped revise a city ordinance cracking down on the illegal signs that she says are spiraling out of control.
"The tax services, the free cell phones, the dental work, the tree cutting, the house leveling and raising, we really need to get rid of those," she said. Head said signs also deter potential future commercial development in certain neighborhoods.
The city is now sending a $10 removal invoice to any person or business listed on the illegal sign. If found guilty, additional fines of $25 to $50 could follow.
"The law has been very clear for a long time that these bandit signs that create lots of visual clutter, particularly in neighborhoods that have shown a lot of disinvestment in the past. They detract from the quality of life,” she said.
An epidemic is how Johnnie Young describes the illegal dumping that’s plagued his block and the Lower 9th Ward since Hurricane Katrina.
“Look on that corner. They have tires over there in the big old push, over here they’ve got a pile, over there," Young said. “People are trying to come back. Unfortunately, when they come back and drive by and see this, it’s become an eyesore, and that’s detrimental for the people who want to come back."
No dumping signs haven’t stopped offenders from off-loading their unwanted junk. But the city says it’s cracking down.
Violators caught littering or illegally dumping face fines of $150 to $5,000 per infraction – a promise Young hopes the city will keep.
"I’m like, this I’d rather see and not be satisfied to believe it.”
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