The only lights on the Crescent City Connection bridge now are the standard safety bridge lights.
After a judge suspended tolls on the CCC pending an upcoming vote, the state pulled the plug on the iconic lights that have decorated the span for years.
The Young Leadership Council worked into the evening, in an attempt to keep the bridge lit, and says they plan to work through the weekend to find a way to keep the span illuminated.
"We continue to be in discussions with partners at the state and the local level to try and find some funding immediately," says Curry Smith, Executive Director of the YLC. "We're happy to offer up our own funds for a brief period of time. We recognize that that's not a long-term solution, nor should it be."
The YLC, the non-profit that raised money to light the bridge more than 20 years ago, says the state is obligated to keep those lights on, and the YLC tried to save the lights earlier, but instead ran into bureaucratic red tape when trying to donate the funds.
Smith says the DOTD told them the decorative lights would cost about $47 a day. They also said the YLC would need a memorandum of understanding between the DOTD and one of the municipalities: the Regional Planning Commission, Jefferson Parish or the City of New Orleans. That could not be accomplished in time to keep the lights on Friday night.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development says it can only afford to fund essential services and is not responsible for funding decorative lights. According to the DOTD, the task falls to local governments and the RPC.
"I'm cautiously optimistic that we can find a solution," says Smith. "I believe the obstacle that we're running into is a short time frame. We're dealing with multiple entities at the state and local level. And, there are more considerations than just the lighting, which is what the YLC was prepared to fund...such as the maintenance and operations cost...and those are not things that we were prepared to take on, but are things that need to be looked out for in the long-term solution."
"We really do believe that the Crescent City Connection has become a signature symbol on the New Orleans skyline, and we want to see it continue to have that iconic status over the coming months and for many years to come."