The Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office announced today a new tradition for Mardi Gras.
Similar to their successful ‘Christmas Tree Dump’ where the Guard collects and drops old Christmas trees in the swamps to help prevent coastal erosion, today the Guard will begin collecting Mardi Gras beads and dropping them along the offshore barrier islands to assistant in sustaining delicate island plants and maintaining Louisiana’s delicate coastline. This comes on the heels of authorities removing 93,000 pounds of beads from the city’s storm drains.
According to PAO Captain Maitland Booker, the Beads Offshore – Ocean Barrier Sustainment program, or B.O.O.B.S., will go a long way in preventing coastal erosion.
“People have tons of beads they caught during Mardi Gras that most will just be dumped in the trash,” Booker said. “Today’s Guard has gone green, and we spent several drills trying to find a way to repurpose all those beads; keep them out of the waste stream. That’s when we thought about B.O.O.B.S. It’s been our total focus the whole Mardi Gras season.”
Adjutant General Joseph “Big Joe” Kelly fully supports the project.
“I know firsthand how well beads can keep sand, plant roots — just about anything — in place,” Kelly said. “I lost a son back in ’97 when we returned from Endymion and an avalanche of beads trapped him beneath the pile. We never saw him again. It’s still in my living room as a memorial but now we can give him a proper burial and can keep our coastline safe. God bless him.”
While environmentalists are concerned with the potential pollution the beads will create, Kelly says the program is absolutely needed to protect Louisiana’s future.
“Scientists tell me a football field is being washed away every hour; that’s a huge problem for our state,” Kelly said. “Right now, Louisiana produces more NFL players per capita than any other state. If we keep losing these fields, where are all the future little Peyton Mannings going to grow up playing? Where is Baylen, Bowen, Callen, and Rylen Brees going to throw around the pigskin? Atlanta? Charlotte? Tampa Bay? Unless we do this, it won’t be here. I can tell you that much.”
From today until March 31st anyone can turn in their beads for B.O.O.B.S. at their closest National Guard Armory. Unfortunately, only beads can be turned in for B.O.O.B.S. Doubloons, cups, frisbees, stuffed animals, and panties will not be accepted.