Police patrol Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras.

What’s in that Bourbon Street puddle water? Scientists took a look, and it’s not pretty

You may have seen a viral video of a man “swimming” in a puddle on Bourbon Street this past weekend. Plenty of filthy and questionable things have happened on Bourbon Street over the years, so there’s no reason to believe this is anywhere near the most filthy or most questionable.

But it is pretty filthy.

As noted on NOLA.com, a 2016 report from waterborne bacteria experts LuminUltra and their partners Microbe Detectives analyzed the contents of Bourbon Street’s puddle water for the 2016 Water Environment Federation’s Annual Exhibition and Conference in New Orleans. Unsurprisingly, the results were pretty gross.

According to the report, 32% of the identified bacteria in the puddle water was “fecal-associated bacteria,” particularly Prevotella, Bacteroides and others. Prevotella is more commonly found in large mammal excrement, so it’s safe to say that a lot of the microbes in Bourbon Street puddle water comes from horse poop (horse drawn carriages and mounted police officers are common in the neighborhood).

“We were told that the street is cleaned nightly, therefore we assumed the water may not be exotic as one might think. Maybe just a mishmash of bacteria consuming soap residue,” reads a LuminUltra article on the report. “Turns out, it was a bit more interesting than that.”

Interesting? Yes.

Worth swimming in? Well, that’s for each of us to decide for ourselves. 

Anyway, here’s that video of a guy swimming in the dirtiest pool in town. 

  • Michael Overmyer

    Oh Hell no!!! That is just nutz. Lived in Nola a lot of years and I have pretty much seen everything. Dumped. puked, pooped, peed, and who knows what other things may linger there.

  • George Berlier

    Jesus it’s not cleaned nightly in the morning

  • sraw

    What did you expect? This is a what a lot of science is good for – explaining in pseudo-impressive detail what anyone with any sense already knows.