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5G streetlamps in the French Quarter? As supply chain backlog delays rollout, blocks remain dimmer

Glade Bilby has spent weeks spotting new poles in the French Quarter, debating whether they belong in an industrial park or a warzone.”They look like some scud missiles,” said Bilby, who has called the New Orleans neighborhood home for four decades and is currently president of French Quarter Citizens. “It’s hardly something that fits in the French Quarter.”Back in October, crews dismantled dozens of streetlamps, so they can put 5G towers in their place. The towers will enable better cell service, as well as lights and other decorations that resemble the old lamps.But supply chain backlogs have delayed the arrival of certain parts.”I think this happens with a lot of things in the city, where they start something and don’t finish it for one reason or the other,” Bilby said, suggesting crews should have waited for all supplies to arrive before starting construction. “It’s almost like demolition by neglect on purpose.”And the outcry isn’t just about looks. French Quarter resident Bob Simms says the lack of completed streetlamps is leaving parts of his Dumaine Street block — and others nearby — in the dark.”It’s not that bright,” he said. “From a deterring crime point of view, having it dark is not the best idea.”Simms notes crews have installed temporary motion-censored lights atop the new poles, but he argues one light per pole isn’t enough.”It’s not really doing anything,” he said.A city spokesman tells WDSU that private construction crews are willing to install more temporary lights on a case-by-case basis, adding they’re working as fast as possible amid the supply issues. “If lights are taken down temporarily during construction, they will be put back up as soon as possible,” the spokesman said. “If residents or businesses are concerned about lighting on their block, they should contact the city, and we will work to improve it.”City officials expect the 5G poles to have permanent light fixtures installed by March 1, so Mardi Gras revelers can party with more light and better cell reception.

Glade Bilby has spent weeks spotting new poles in the French Quarter, debating whether they belong in an industrial park or a warzone.

“They look like some scud missiles,” said Bilby, who has called the New Orleans neighborhood home for four decades and is currently president of French Quarter Citizens. “It’s hardly something that fits in the French Quarter.”

Back in October, crews dismantled dozens of streetlamps, so they can put 5G towers in their place. The towers will enable better cell service, as well as lights and other decorations that resemble the old lamps.

But supply chain backlogs have delayed the arrival of certain parts.

“I think this happens with a lot of things in the city, where they start something and don’t finish it for one reason or the other,” Bilby said, suggesting crews should have waited for all supplies to arrive before starting construction. “It’s almost like demolition by neglect on purpose.”

And the outcry isn’t just about looks. French Quarter resident Bob Simms says the lack of completed streetlamps is leaving parts of his Dumaine Street block — and others nearby — in the dark.

“It’s not that bright,” he said. “From a deterring crime point of view, having it dark is not the best idea.”

Simms notes crews have installed temporary motion-censored lights atop the new poles, but he argues one light per pole isn’t enough.

“It’s not really doing anything,” he said.

A city spokesman tells WDSU that private construction crews are willing to install more temporary lights on a case-by-case basis, adding they’re working as fast as possible amid the supply issues.

“If lights are taken down temporarily during construction, they will be put back up as soon as possible,” the spokesman said. “If residents or businesses are concerned about lighting on their block, they should contact the city, and we will work to improve it.”

City officials expect the 5G poles to have permanent light fixtures installed by March 1, so Mardi Gras revelers can party with more light and better cell reception.

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