Here are three things you may not know about the catch basins found throughout New Orleans: First, they drain directly to Lake Pontchartrain—meaning any trash that goes into the basins ends up in the lake and eventually, the Gulf of Mexico.
Second, if the catch basins are clogged during a rain event, New Orleans will flood—even if the pumping stations are operating at full capacity. Anyone who was present during the August 2017 floods experienced this firsthand.
Third, you can help ensure that your block stays dry by volunteering in the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation’s (LPBF) first Storm Sweep, which happens from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 11 at the New Canal Lighthouse (8001 Lakeshore Drive).
“We’re looking for volunteers to come out and prepare our community for the coming rains and hurricane season,” said Kristi Trail, executive director of the LPBF. “It is very important to be aware of where your catch basin is in your neighborhood, where the stormwater goes, and what happens to it.”
Volunteers can come to the lighthouse at 8:30 a.m. to collect free coffee, snacks, and clean-up supplies. Then, they’ll head back to their respective neighborhoods to clean the basins. Afterwards, they’ll reconvene at the lighthouse from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for free refreshments donated by Theo’s Neighborhood Pizza and New Orleans Coca-Cola Bottling Company. Second Line Brewing will offer beer and wine for sale.
The volunteer lunch coincides with a Hurricane Readiness Fair hosted by the City of New Orleans.
“We will have representatives from LPBF as well as city agencies sharing information about preparing homes for storm season,” Trail said.
Individuals and groups can sign up to participate at the LPBF’s website.