A thing of the past – 77 NOLA pay phone kiosks being removed and put up for auction

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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WGNO) — Beginning March 4, Hard Rock Construction, LLC, will begin the process of removing abandoned pay phone kiosks. A total of 77 total pay phone kiosks will be removed in batches of 10 and subsequently available during public auction.

The first 10 will be removed from the Central City neighborhood. These kiosks will be available for purchase during the April 2021 public auction.

“This is a small project in dollars, but substantial in terms of the impact to people’s everyday lives,” said Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Ramsey Green. “Removing these outdated kiosks is a big quality-of-life win for residents who live in these neighborhoods. I am grateful to Councilmember Moreno for partnering with the administration to make this important project a reality.”

Abandoned public pay phones largely became obsolete with widespread use of personal cellular phones; although the phones have been removed, kiosks have remained in the public right-of-way.

As part of the approximately $60,000 removal process, the contractor will restore the damaged concrete sidewalk panels on which the majority of the kiosks rest. 

“This is the result of work begun by a constituent named Michael Burnside who documented countless broken payphones in all different neighborhoods and turned over the information to our office,” said City Council President Helena Moreno. “I’m proud of the collaboration with the City to now remove this antiquated infrastructure. Clearly the City had permitted the payphones at one time, but research showed these are now abandoned by the owner, therefore allowing for the removal. Picking up these disconnected pay phones is just one small way to show respect for our neighborhoods and make progress toward more inviting public spaces.”

A list of the known locations of the abandoned kiosks is available here.

Residents who wish to report additional locations of abandoned pay phone kiosks may report them to 311.

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