New Orleans's Sidney Torres IV is an artist when it comes to making garbage disappear.
BUZZING AROUND the French Quarter in his tricked-out Polaris Ranger, Sidney Torres IV - his film-star good looks as notable as his familial Roman numeral - is chasing garbage trucks. "There it is!" he shouts, throwing pedal to the metal. "That's one of ours!" As we approach the back of the vehicle, its chrome wheels catch the sunlight and its pristine black exterior gleams like a freshly polished grand piano. The signature bull logo (Torres's ancestors, he tells me, were bullfighters) along with the initials SDT, for Sidney Donecio Torres, can be spied from several key angles. It's unlike any garbage truck I've ever seen. Then again, Torres is no ordinary waste-management CEO.
Just back from vacation in the Bahamas (something he rarely takes), his skin glowing behind black Armani sunglasses, Torres is doing for garbage what CNBC's "Money Honey," Maria Bartiromo, did for Wall Street: making humdrum work - and in Torres's case, downright dirty work - sexy.
When I cease being distracted by this improbable scenario, I begin to notice what Torres has brought me out here, at six a.m., to see: absolutely nothing. Not a cup. Not a piece of paper. No indication that we are in the heart of the postweekend French Quarter in a city that still suffers in reputation - often unfairly - for being filthy and unsafe.