(NEW ORLEANS, LA) — City of New Orleans sanitation authorities and officials from the Board of Tourism showed a rare unified front late Saturday as they announced an emergency effort to restore the historic center’s fabled stench after weekend storm activity has nearly sanitized the air over the city. Citing concerns over the “lasting memories of our Tales tourists,” officials activated the New Orleans Scent Enhancement System (NOSES), which imbues the air of the French Quarter and bordering streets with a “nature-identic” scent that mimics the putrid stank of the area during times when the aroma is threatened or devastated by natural events such as intense rain or flooding.
Officials initially breathed a sigh of relief last week when they learned that they’d dodged the bullet of a direct hit by Hurricane Barry. As bands of rain continue to hit the city, officials are now confronting the storm’s unforeseen dangers, and are scrambling to find viable solutions. “Visitors come to New Orleans from all corners of the globe,” said Junkie Bonds of the New Orleans Board of Tourism. “And the list of reasons why they come here is as long as the Mississippi River is wide.” Topping the list, she said, are the city’s historic architecture; the iconic sound of New Orleans jazz; the distinct cuisine that has made this city a globally recognized culinary destination; and, not surprisingly, the ass-like odor that permeates the city’s streets, especially on weekend mornings and as temperatures rise every summer.
“People are calling it ‘Hurricane Barely,’ but that storm more than ‘barely’ obliterated the Quarter’s most valuable asset,” according to Taekwondeaux “Ty” Lightfoot, of the New Orleans Department of Sanitation, which processes the city’s solid and liquid waste, in addition to managing the aroma level of the French Quarter and neighboring areas. “If the Quarter don’t stink, people won’t come, it’s that simple,” he said, predicting officially what most observers believe inherently—that the the perpetual stink of New Orleans is essential to this city’s survival.
Any time the city experiences a devastating cleansing event, the NOSES system can be activated pending approval by the City Council. City officials, French Quarter business owners, and Tales of the Cocktail board members have all commented off the record that they hope the NOSES system works this time, and that Tales visitors do not leave the city with an unfortunate and inaccurate perception of the city’s air quality. “We just can’t survive as an organization, if people think somehow New Orleans has lost its cherished stink,” according to Gary Solomon Jr.