In a paper I wrote in 2010, I outlined the need for New Orleans to revamp its streetlights in order to provide a modern appearance as well as to attract new visitors. Personally speaking, being beneath an “amber” colored streetlight incites a feeling of despair and hopelessness. I am sure others can agree. What the city of New Orleans has been noticeably undertaking this past year or so is replacing these “amber” colored streetlights with LED white lights. This is a long overdue improvement over the “amber” colored streetlights which have occupied the streets. Beforehand, what I understand as a sodium mixture/solution was used to create the amber effect, now these are largely becoming replaced with a LED light panel. Here an electric lineman works on one of these light poles (courtesy of Fox8live.com):
This can be great for the city, in my opinion. It will remind our citizens that we deserve state of the art technology, it will lighten our streets, and it will just looked better and not so depressed. However, environmentalists and social justice advocates among others may not agree with me. The environmentalist’ argument in regards to insects is as follow: the white lights will confuse insects that there is no darkness and the bright white lights will suggest to the insects that the sun is up which will then disrupt the natural mating patterns, flight patterns, which in the end disrupts the food chain which the end game will be killing us all. They refer to this as some type of light pollution. I wonder if they deem volcanic eruptions as pollution? The social justice advocates advocate for lights which have not been restored since Hurricane Katrina to be prioritized higher than these replacement lights. Sure, they have a point, but it is important to not pass up opportunities . Every governmental decision does not have to indicated there being a winner and loser, but that is how some people think. Another complaint I have personally heard is how these new lights are not as bright as before. Honestly, they can cover a bit less space than the amber lights but it is white light instead of amber orange lights.
Nevertheless, I wish my farewell to the “amber” streetlights and welcome in this positive change. And so to you “amber” streetlights, “So loooooooooooong, you have lit this city for a long time, now it is time to rest in peace.”