Solely 5 of New Orleans’ outside swimming pools will open this summer time because of lifeguard scarcity

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The city’s year-round indoor pools remain open throughout the summer.

NEW ORLEANS — The sounds of splashing and laughter will be inaudible at most New Orleans public pools this summer.

According to the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission, only five of the city’s 13 outdoor pools will be open this summer because there aren’t enough lifeguards to mann them all.

“This is a national matter,” said NORDC CEO Larry Barbarino Jr. “They have swimming pools across the country that cannot open in different cities and states because of lifeguard shortages.”

Barbarino said the COVID-19 pandemic is part of the problem but he is looking for solutions he has control over, such as increasing lifeguard pay.

“We raised wages this summer,” he said. “In previous summers it was a little less than $12 an hour. Today we pay $15.91 for lifeguards.”

Only five of New Orleans’ 13 outdoor pools are open on Monday.

These five include St. Bernard Recreation Center, Stallings Gentilly Playground, Whitney Young Pool and Lyons Recreation Center. They are open on Mondays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m

A pool in Federal City in Algiers is open Monday through Saturday as it is the only pool on the west bank of the Parish of Orleans. It is open from 8am to 6pm on weekdays and from 9am to 2pm on Saturdays.

The city’s indoor swimming pools, which are open all year round, also remain open in summer.

Barbarino is appealing to the community to help with the lifeguard issue and hopes community members will be inspired to keep their neighborhood pools open.

“Basically I’m telling people, listen, if you grew up in the city of New Orleans, you knew how precious this community pool was to you,” he said. “Right now is an opportunity to pay it up front. Come back and become a lifeguard at NORD.”

The only requirement for the application is that you are at least 16 years old and can swim. To apply, you can visit NORDC’s Milneburg Officer at 5420 Franklin Avenue or apply online here.

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