Archive for the 'bayou' Category

He said that?

June 2, 2010

I’d like my life back.” ?
Another WTF?! moment.

Oil spill begins soaking birds in delicate Louisiana marshes.

Swampland, TIME, CNN

What does a fishing community look like?

June 2, 2010

Fishing Communities Facts

Many communities in the Gulf of Mexico were
originally founded to exploit the rich marine resources.

Some communities in the Gulf of Mexico, for example,
Empire and Venice in Louisiana, are below sea level
and protected by levies.

In many coastal communities, fishermen can no
longer afford to live near the water because
increasing development and redevelopment of these
areas has raised the cost of living beyond their means.

Seafood processing and sales

In 2006, there were 174 fish processing plants and
255 wholesale businesses located in the Gulf region
that together employed 10,841 workers.

Louisiana had the most wholesaler plants in 2006
(126) that together employed 661 workers, while
Texas had the second highest number (77) that
together employed 825 workers.

Shrimp fishery

The combination of long term increases in expenses
including marine diesel fuel, combined with the
dramatic increase in the amount of relatively cheap
imported farm raised shrimp, is making it very
difficult for many Gulf fishermen to make a living in
commercial fishing. Over 90% of the Nation’s shrimp
supply is now imported.

Vietnamese fishermen are now an important part of
the shrimp fishery in Mississippi and Louisiana.

Recreational fishing

Florida had the most saltwater recreational fishermen
in the United States in 2006: 3.7 million, and another
2.9 million saltwater anglers from other states
reported saltwater fishing trips to Florida in that year.
These recreational fishermen released just over 44%
of their catch in 2006.

Historical context

Coastal dwelling American Indians relied on the Gulf
of Mexico’s inshore marine resources for part of their
subsistence for thousands of years before Europeans
began arriving in the 16th century.

Some of the first scientific studies of the Gulf’s fishery
resources were begun in 1884 by the U.S.
Commission of Fish and Fisheries. They eventually
included surveys of the oyster beds in areas near
Apalachicola, Florida, and inshore waters of Alabama
as well as other areas.
[Source: Gulf Summary Communities]

“Overall, 30 fishing communities in Alabama, 99 in Louisiana, 14 in Mississippi, 68 in Texas, and 119 in West Florida have been profiled by NMFS social scientists because of the nature of their links with commercial and/or recreation fishing. In 2006, 14 United States’ top fifty ports by landings revenue were located in the Gulf region. They were: Bayou La Batre, Alabama; Dulac-Chauvin, Empire-Venice, Golden Meadow-Leeville, Intracoastal City. Lafitte-Barataria. Louisiana: Brownwsville-Port Isabel. Port Arthur, Galveston and Palacios, Texas; and Apalachicola, Fort Myers, Key West, Tampa Bay- st. Petersburg, Florida. On average, the Gulf of Mexico accounted for 21% of U.S. annual landing revenue from 1997-2006.

The Gulf’s top fishing communities were typically smaller towns and villages with populations below 20,000 persons. However, on major metropolitan center approaching 2 million (Houston, Texas), and a few larger coastal cities also have significant fisheries involvement (Tampa and St. Petersburg, Florida; Mobile, Alabama; and Brownsville, Texas) Louisiana’s and Alabama’s top fishing communities are most likely to have populations below 5,000.Nine of Louisiana’s top ten fishing communities and seven of Alabama’s top ten fishing communities fall in this group.”

[Source: NOAA Fisheries Service – Southeast Region – Publications,
http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sf/socialsci/socialsci.htm, Accessed: June 2, 2010. No date cited. See also: Identifying Communities Associated with the Fishing Industry in Louisiana]

What is a human text message?

June 2, 2010

Matt Perterson: Never Again! Gulf Coast
Matt Pertsen: Never Again! Gulf Coast
Matt Petersen: Never AGain! Gulf Coast
From URL

Does this look desperate? – YES.

June 2, 2010

Suggestions and such are being taken by BP online. “More than 7,800 ideas have been proposed to date.” You should probably call first and submit snail mail or get out of the way entirely. Especially at the rate of 7,800 ideas in 44 days and nothing is working.

What is a nutria?

January 5, 2008

The other Red Meat and www.nutria.com. The television shocks me even today. I don’t know why I’m shocked anymore as I’ve seen this guy eat anything. Chocolate covered bugs included. This guy on TV the other night, waltzed into a cajuns kitchen and shared a bit a nutria. The first article from 2001 indicates it doesn’t taste quite like chicken. I wonder if New Orleans restaurants have nutria on the menu. The Federal funding for the elimination assistance of the nutria runs out in 2008.

Image from the Nutria Eradication page at the previously mentioned link. http://www.nutria.com

They list Chef Phillipe as the primary source of nutria recipes, however, I didn’t see one right away. I think the links are a bit old. Somebody’s cooked up some nutria, lately, somewhere. I had a good laugh at this site this morning. It sort of compares to My Sorry Ass Thanksgiving. I ran out of Tony Cachere’s, mainly. That’s what made it sorry, but, I didn’t cook dinner on Thanksgiving, someone else did. I finally found some Tony Cachere’s for Christmas and cooked the bird myself. Minus th neck bag, this time.

Ragodin au Choux Rouge

(Nutria with caramelized red cabbage and honey mustard sauce)

2 hind saddle of nutria (available at Calvin’s Bocage Supermarket)
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped carrots
Bouquet garni

1 branch french thyme, 1/2 bunch of parsley, 2 fresh bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil,
2 teaspoons flour
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard and 1/2 cup honey
1 cup red wine
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed fresh rosemary
2 cups hot water
Season to taste

Caramelized choux rouge: 1 thinly sliced red cabbage, _ cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, season to taste.

Saute red cabbage with oil, sugar and seasoning until sugar is caramelized (4 to 5 minutes).

Place oil, chopped vegetables and bouquet garni in a large saute pan. Rub each hind saddle with mustard, honey and rosemary. Place hind saddle into large saute pan with the vegetable and saute on medium high heat, until golden brown, sprinkle flour and stir will until flour disappears, deglaze with red wine, stir well then add hot water, simmer on low heat for 1 – hours. Remove hind saddle, strain juice into a sauce pot, bring to a low boil, skim the fat off of surface, add cream, reduce for 5 minutes and correct seasoning. Remove meat from bones and plate, top with sauce, garnish with caramelized red cabbage.

Nutria Sausage

Recipe by: Chef Enola Prudhomme

2 pounds nutria meat
1 pound pork meat
10 1/2 ounces potato, peeled
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons Enola’s Secret Seasoning (or Creole Seasoning)
1 teaspoon sage

Ground nutria and pork with potato. Add all other ingredients mix well. If using a
bar-b-que pit to smoke, build fire on one side of pit. Place sausage on the other side of pit; this will allow smoke to get to sausage without cooking to fast. If you have used bacon fat, put on your fire this will create lots of smoke. This will take less time to get a good smoketaste. Let sausage smoke 1 hour and 15 minutes; turn, let smoke 1 hour; remove from pit; letcool. Makes 4 pounds 5 ounces.
Nutria Chili

Recipe by: Chef Enola Prudhomme

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds nutria ground meat
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon red pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder +1 teaspoon
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced green bell pepper
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup tomato paste
4 cups beef stock (or water)
1 can red kidney beans (opt.)

In a heavy 5 quart pot on high heat, add oil, heat until very hot. Add nutria meat cook and stir 10 minutes. Add salt, red pepper, chili powder, onion, both bell peppers. Cook and stir 15 minutes. Add tomato paste, 4 cups stock. Cook 30 minutes; reduce heat to medium. Add red kidney beans; cook an additional 10 minutes. Serve hot!
Stuffed Nutria Hindquarters

Recipe by: Chef Enola Prudhomme

Stuffing for nutria:
3 tablespoons butter
1 pound nutria meat, ground
4 cups chopped onion
1 cup green bell pepper
1 cup red bell pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon Enola’s Secret Seasoning (or Creole Seasoning)
1 cup stock or water
1 10 3/4 ounce can cream of mushroom soup
2 cups fresh Louisiana crawfish, peeled, deveined and chopped
13 slices of bread (stale)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put bread in food processor; press pulse button several times. Bread crumbs must be course; set aside.

In a 5-quart pot on high heat melt butter. Add meat, onion and both bell peppers, cook and stir 10 minutes. Add red pepper, salt and seasoning; cook 5 minutes. Add stock; cook stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add cream of mushroom; cook for 7 minutes. Add crawfish, reduce heat to medium, and cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add bread crumbs, stir until mixture is moist but holds together.

Preparation of hindquarters:
15 nutria hindquarters
5 tablespoons Enola’s Secret Seasoning

Remove the large leg bone, then pound out legs, sprinkle seasoning evenly on both sides. Lay leg flat, stuff inside, roll and tie with cooking string. Place stuffed legs in oiled baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees covered, cook for 1 1/2 hour or until tender. Uncover; cook an additional 10 minutes or until brown. Makes 15 servings.

Enola’s Smothered Nutria

Recipe by: Chef Enola Prudhomme

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1-3 pounds nutria, cut in serving pieces
2 tablespoons Enola’s Secret Seasoning + 2 teaspoons
2 cups finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon salt (opt.)
3 3/4 cups chicken stock or broth

In a heavy 5 quart pot on high heat, add oil, heat until very hot. Sprinkle seasoning on meat, stir well. Add meat to pot, brown on all sides. Cook and stir 10 minutes. Add onion, bell pepper and flour, cook and stir 10 minutes. Add salt and chicken stock to pot cook and stir occasionally, (about 15 minutes) scraping the bottom to pot to remove all the goodness.
Serve over hot cooked rice, pasta or cream potatoes.

Smoked Nutria and Andouille Sausage Gumbo

Recipe by Brian Berry from Hotel Acadiana’s Bayou
Bistro

2 smoked nutria, cut into serving pieces
1/2 pound sliced andouille sausage
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1/4 cup diced garlic
3 quarts chicken stock
2 cups sliced green onions
1 cup chopped parsley
salt and cracked black pepper to taste

In a two gallon stock pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Once oil is hot, add flour. Using a wire whisk, stir until roux is golden brown. Do not scorch. Should black specks appear, discard and begin again.

Add onions, celery, bell pepper, and garlic. Saute approximately three to five minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Add smoked nutria and andouille sausage. Saute in roux approximately fifteen minutes.

Add chicken stock, one ladle at a time, stirring constantly until all is incorporated. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce to simmer.

Cook until smoked nutria is tender, adding additional stock to retain volume of liquid. Once tender, approximately one hour, add green onions and parsley. Season to taste using salt and pepper. Cook additional five minutes and serve over cooked rice.


From: 69 Posted on 06/01/2001 15:40:58 PDT by Irmahttp://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a3b17b34813b3.htm

Why would I buy all that if I wasn’t fixing it?

August 9, 2007

I understood that New Orleans and Louisiana, in general, had affordable housing issues prior to Katrina. Unsightly housing, or blighted housing has affected many in Louisiana. I’ve seen the old barge board, shot gun homes that people are actually living in today. I’ve walked through them before they were scheduled to be demolished. I’ve seen these places all over Louisiana. People need a place to call home, a place to live, and work, and rear their children. Regardless, of the substandard housing…they pay their rent and work and play like everyone else. Sure they complain to the landlords about the structural problems of their home. All of these landlords have one excuse or another as to why they never fixed the leaky roof, the plumbing, or the stove. The rent was cheap and so possibly some tenants did not complain. They were thankful for a place to live. The issues in New Orleans post Katrina are not new, unfortunately. It appears, as far as affordable housing is concerned, that they were only, and I use that term loosely and with sarcastic undertones, exacerbated after the disaster.

Some parishes, cities, or towns, have housing inspectors and some do not. Not everyone affected by Katrina lived in either Baton Rouge or New Orleans. It is an overlooked and under-exploited fact. Most of the inspection issues are applied both at the town, city, or parish level and require little else but an ordinance and the staff to conduct the inspections. Of course, the fees for the inspections are likely the responsibility of landowners. Inspections are just another financial issue for the homeowner/ landlord to deal with that they may not be able to afford.

The post office in the year since Katrina (now two years) had issues in delivering mail to the appropriate person(s) due to the mail forwarding time limits, names, families, etc. For those of you familiar with the postal services’ rules and regulations with regards to forwarding – you understand. I’ve sent letters off in the mail to Katrina damaged neighborhoods only to find the letter back inside my mailbox several weeks to a month later. I’ve had to call local Post Masters in order to verify addresses and tell them how silly they are being, all the while knowing that these people still live at the address I’ve listed, but I have received the letter stamped, “forward expired”.

The WAFB article dated June 2007 states that the city of Baton Rouge gave her six months in order to respond. The article was written in June, and said that the woman was given notice in August of 2006. The home was not damaged by Katrina according to the article, but was damaged by a fire after Katrina in the summer of 2006. The journalist was quick to point out that the original owner of the home, was dead, but did not go into detail. Assuming that the daughter kept her maiden name, which is a large assumption, there are a number of “Davis'” on the Katrina Victim list.

Did the journalist provide pertinent and adequate detail? “Woman Upset the City of Baton Rouge Bulldozed Her Home”.

Bill Crider’s Pop Culture Magazine points out, “We’re here from the government, we’re here to help you.” August 6, 2007 A story from the Ninth Ward’s Jason Banks on KSAT San Antonio, Texas news online.

No One Knows Why Family’s Home Torn Down – Local News Story – KSAT San Antonio: “NEW ORLEANS — Jason Banks got his trash hauled away, obtained a building permit, gutted his Ninth Ward home and was ready to renovate.

But then, the brick house vanished, reduced to a slab in an unwanted demolition.

‘I was heartbroken. I was in tears. I was furious,’ he said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said orders to tear down the house came from City Hall — but no one in City Hall is answering questions about Banks’ home.

‘They don’t know why. It happened it wasn’t on the blighted list. The last call I made yesterday, they told me FEMA did it. Then, a guy called me back from FEMA and said they’re not in the business if tearing down homes,’ Banks said.

Jason Banks said he kept his grass cut, paid his taxes and had the home appraised at $147,000. He was just waiting on money from Louisiana Road Home rebuilding program to make repairs to his house.”

And still more housing demolition articles gathered from The Truth Laid Bear.

Map with housing scheduled to be demolished in and around New Orleans. Disregard some misinformed, un-educated commentors who believe the map is a “propaganda” tool. The housing crisis before Katrina was too obvious to those who attempted to solve the problem. . . I wish it were all just propaganda! Internet maps are kewl and their display (ie linked icons – pins, circles, etc. ) oftentimes must be sized largely to create the internet link. Some of the comments here reflect extreme ignorance to both internet map making, and housing issues. Karen, listed below, also has a map of her photographed homes on the chopping block.

Still there are people who believe the housing crisis and issues in New Orleans are exclusive to the “African American” community. I have to give them credit for their media coverage, but I also have to interject that the short sighted focus on larger cities, and racial prejudice is getting into muddy water. Everyone deserves a place to call home – is my point exclusively. Others choose to make housing in New Orleans a racial issue. They can. It is their right. However wrong I feel about making this a racial issue, – the majority rules… and they are not home, yet.

Update: 11:25AM See also : Library Chronicles “It’s about G8d d*mmed time”

Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal – It’s on today’s front page – link views actual paper.

Various Flickr Groups Photos
New Orleans
BloggingNewOrleans
louisiana
New Orleans Recovery
Hurricane Katrina
Defend New Orleans
Hurricane Katrina Photos – Pool
Humid City

What’s in the news for da parishes 8/01/07?

August 1, 2007

The Daily Advertiser
Jul 31, 3:35 PM EDT

AG to judge: make lawyers for nursing home owners apologise

By MARY FOSTER
Associated Press Writer

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Louisiana Attorney General wants a court-ordered apology from lawyers for the couple charged in the deaths of 35 nursing home residents after Hurricane Katrina. The lawyers want Foti ordered out of the case.

The judge should not just deny the motions filed for Salvador and Mabel Mangano, who own St. Rita’s nursing home, but make their lawyers apologize publicly, Foti’s office said in court motions. District Judge Jerome Winsberg was scheduled to rule on the motions Wednesday.

One of the Manganos’ motions asks that the attorney general’s $200 billion federal court claim against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers be made part of the court record in their case.

The other contends that because the suit against the Corps blames its faulty levees for the floods that inundated St. Rita’s, the rest of St. Bernard Parish and 80 percent of New Orleans, the charges against the Manganos are conflict of interest.

Foti contends those motions “are part of an ill-conceived and desperate attempt to thwart the jury process,” said a motion filed Monday in the 20th Judicial District Court in St. Francisville.

The attempt to make Foti step aside is pure public relations – an attempt to get their side of the story in the press, Assistant Attorney General Burton Guidry said.

He said the defense is also trying to create a red herring by accusing the attorney general personally and professionally of a conflict of interest, bringing politics into the case.

That “indicates the most frightening realization of how deep and broad the venom of public innuendo and baseless argument can be brought in a court proceeding,” he wrote.

If the court doesn’t make the Manganos’ lawyers apologize, it should penalize them in some way, he wrote.

The attorney general also filed motions to quash a subpoena for Gov. Kathleen Blanco and other state officials, including Foti.

Defense attorneys could not respond to the motion because of a gag order preventing any discussion of the case. They did, however, file motions in opposition to the attorney general’s Tuesday afternoon.

The Advocate
State: Nursing home case targeting Foti

By JAMES MINTON
Advocate Baker – Zachary bureau
Published: Aug 1, 2007 – Page: 1B

ST. FRANCISVILLE — Attempts to bar state Attorney General Charles C. Foti Jr. from prosecuting two St. Bernard Parish nursing home owners are but one more “chapter in the book of character assassination” against Foti, a state response to a defense motion says.

Retired Judge Jerome Winsberg is scheduled to hear arguments today on a request by attorneys for Salvador and Mabel Mangano to bar Foti and his office from prosecuting the case.

The judge should require the defense attorneys to “publicly apologize” for what the state prosecutors call baseless arguments for Foti’s removal, the memorandum signed by Assistant Attorney General Burton P. Guidry says.

The prosecutors also filed motions Monday to halt the defense’s move to have Gov. Kathleen Blanco, Foti and members of Blanco’s cabinet testify in the case.

The Manganos, owners of St. Rita’s nursing home, face 35 counts of negligent homicide in the deaths of residents trapped by flood waters that inundated the facility in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The couple also faces 24 counts of cruelty to the infirm.

Their trial, moved to West Feliciana Parish, is scheduled for Aug. 13.

Winsberg has issued a gag order barring attorneys from commenting publicly about the case.

The couple’s attorneys contend Foti has a conflict of interest in prosecuting the case because he also is claiming in a federal lawsuit that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for the devastation that followed the Aug. 29, 2005, hurricane.

Foti’s reply calls the defense argument a “red herring” and says no conflict of interest exists in his office prosecuting criminal offenses while also representing the legal interests of various state agencies.

“Our courts have been clear in delineating that the normal rules of conflict for private counsel do not apply in the same manner when the Office of Attorney General is concerned,” the state’s filing says.

The state’s reply concludes the defense arguments are intended to obfuscate the legal issues and are “part and parcel of an orchestrated public relations campaign to transfer blame to anyone but the Manganos.”

In a separate motion to quash the subpoena for Blanco’s testimony, the Attorney General’s Office said issuing a subpoena for the governor violates state law because no hearing was held to determine the privileged nature of the testimony and the applicability of constitutional immunity provisions.

Blanco and other cabinet officials subpoenaed are not witnesses to the alleged crime and have no knowledge of the case, other than through media coverage, the motion says.
Hammond Daily Star Online – By Don Ellzey
Thursday, July 26, 2007 10:01 AM CDT
Ponchatoula’s 1st Habitat house

PONCHATOULA – The city’s first Habitat for Humanity house was dedicated Wednesday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony that included a large turnout by local and parish officials, Ginger Ford Habitat for Humanity representatives and the general public.

Under a broiling sun that had almost everyone sweating during the mid-morning ceremony, Rosie August was presented the key to her new home at 333 Cedar Lane.

Blair Edwards, executive director for the Hammond-based Ginger Ford Habitat for Humanity, said the mission of providing homes for people in need is a Christian ministry to change lives.

“It’s amazing how something as simple as picking up a hammer can change people’s lives,” Edwards said.

The family of Mayor Bob Zabbia donated the lot. Waste Management and Charter Communications were the project’s corporate sponsors.

August accumulated more than 1,000 hours of “sweat equity” working on this home and the homes of others. She will move into the gray frame house with her four children, Brittany, Alicia, Quinten and Terry. The house will allow them to leave behind a lifestyle of living with friends and family.

Among those recognized during the ceremony was the Ponchatoula High School Future Farmers of America Chapter. Edwards said chapter members helped build the house and will work with Master Gardeners of Tangipahoa Parish this year to landscape the lot.

The Junior Auxiliary of Hammond provided some clothing and furnishings.

Community support was a key to the success of the project, Edwards said.

Cars for Homes also helped, she said.

Marcia Rundle of Seattle, director of Habitat’s Cars for Homes program, said the organization gets donations of cars and other vehicles to raise money for the Habitat program. Rundle said a resident of a Northeastern state donated a power boat, the sale of which started the Ponchatoula house.

Hurricane Katrina was a “perfect storm” that caused much devastation and hardship, she said. After Katrina, the Habitat for Humanity program was a “perfect storm” of love that has resulted in such projects as the one in Ponchatoula.

“I wish you luck in moving forward with this ministry and the building of more homes,” Rundle said.

Zabbia said it was great to see the culmination of the project. Much effort from many people went into the construction.

He thanked his family for agreeing to the donation, and said he was looking forward to more such projects in the city.

Jim Laurent, director of government relations for Charter Communications, commended Edwards for her role in coordinating the project.

In closing the ceremony, Edwards commented on the “theology of the hammer.” When someone picks up a hammer, regardless of their religious affiliation, they manifest love by building a house. That love passes through the hammer to others.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, a Bible with a hammer on top was passed along the line to each participant.
The Daily Iberian
Tuesday, July 31, 2007 12:36 PM CDT
BY JEFF MOORE, THE DAILY IBERIAN
Comeaux takes parish president’s post
To fill the void created by the resignation of Iberia Parish President Will Langlinais, the Parish Council turned to its elder statesman Monday.

Committee to discuss pay hike for top official
Tuesday, July 31, 2007 12:36 PM CDT
BY JEFF MOORE, THE DAILY IBERIAN

“…A measure that would boost the salary of the parish president by nearly $24,000 will go before the Finance Committee of the Iberia Parish Council on Wednesday.

The committee will discuss increasing the salary of the parish’s top elected official from $103,060 to $126,963…”

Cajun Jokes – Cajun telecommunications
Friday, March 9, 2007 11:34 AM CST

Cast your Vote for LSU Tigers to win the SEC Conference at The Daily Iberian.

Hurricane victims get additional year to sell vacant land The Courier
Houma Today.com August 01. 2007 7:58AM

July 31. 2007 10:51AM
Disagreement over Lafourche levee bill remains at stalemate
BEN LUNDIN- Staff Writer Houma Today.com

July 30. 2007 12:01PM
Locals say illnesses may be linked to FEMA trailers
NAOMI KING- Staff Writer Houma Today.com

Wallace Trosclair (right) stands outside his FEMA trailer home, which he says may be to blame for his recent health problems. In the background (from left to right) are Trosclair’s daughter Amanda Trosclair, 20, Amanda’s daughter, Ansleigh Lovell, and friend Ashely Luke, 17.
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DULAC — At first he didn’t notice the labored breathing, but, Wallace Trosclair said, once he compared his health before and after living in a FEMA trailer, he saw a difference.

The 40-year-old commercial fisherman said he and his 39-year-old wife, Melissa Marie Trosclair, have experienced health problems since they started living in a FEMA trailer. Hurricane Rita flooded the couple’s house in 2005.

“She got diagnosed with asthma. Right before that, I got diagnosed with it,” he said Sunday afternoon, while working to remove the pillars that once supported his now-demolished Shrimpers Row home.

As of Friday, about a dozen Terrebonne and Lafourche people living in FEMA trailers have reported health issues or concerns they say are related to a chemical called formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde is used in a variety of products, including composite wood and plywood panels used in the trailers that house hurricane victims throughout the Gulf Coast.

In light of recent reports that formaldehyde vapors from FEMA trailers led to health problems for its occupants, federal government workers distributed fliers warning of the danger to the more than 45,000 travel-trailer residents in Louisiana and set up a hotline for people who have concerns. And FEMA officials started working with scientists last week to set up a way to test the trailers for the chemical.

Trosclair said he received one of the health-warning fliers and, though he hasn’t reported his health problems to the agency, he suspects that he’s having difficulty breathing at night because of time spent in the trailer.

Trosclair said he hasn’t talked to a doctor about his labored breathing, which is more pronounced while he’s sleeping, because he wants to test his theory that the trailer is to blame by sleeping elsewhere for several nights in a row. He plans to sleep on his boat, he said, and see how he fares.

“I’d have to stay somewhere else to see if I get a different reaction,” he said. “Because then it would be fresh air.”

Farther down Shrimpers Row, Patricia and Joseph Verdin say they and their three kids haven’t had any health problems because of their FEMA trailer.

“No health problems. I just smoke too much,” said 41-year-old Patricia, who spends most of her day inside the trailer, time typically spent cooking, cleaning and browsing the Internet.

If she did notice anything, Patricia said, she would definitely consult a doctor.

“If any of us get cancer, I’ll question it,” she said, adding that the possibility concerns her.

The Verdins said they’re not sure if they can trust FEMA, which handed out fliers without discussion.

“No one was around to speak to you. They just duct-taped them to the FEMA trailers,” Patricia said.

As for official complaints of health problems, FEMA hotlines registered nine calls from Terrebonne, FEMA officials said.

Four of those calls were health questions that FEMA officials referred to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The other five callers asked to review other living options paid for by FEMA.

Five people from Lafourche called FEMA with concerns. Four of those had health-related questions, and the other was interested in finding an alternative place to live, officials said.

Bob Josephson, external-affairs director for Louisiana’s FEMA office, declined to provide specifics on who made the calls or the extent of reported health problems.

“We’re trying to be as transparent as possible. But we can’t cross the line of people’s privacy,” he said.

The CDC is encouraging anyone who may have health problems to see a doctor. It’s important to tell the doctor that the affected person lives in a FEMA trailer.

Symptoms associated with illnesses from inhaling formaldehyde include:

# Headaches, fatigue and irritation of nose, eyes, throat and skin.

# Symptoms can be worse for people with asthma and other chronic health conditions.

FEMA trailer residents can protect themselves from overexposure to formaldehyde by:

# Airing out the trailer by opening the windows and turning on fans.

# Not smoking inside the trailer.

# Keeping indoor temperatures moderate. The warmer the temperature and higher the humidity, the quicker the gas will be released.

At a news conference in New Orleans last week, FEMA officials declined to comment on recent allegations in Congress that FEMA lawyers ignored requests from workers to test trailers for formaldehyde.

“I’m not going to comment on what the lawyers may have said,” said Jim Stark, director of the Louisiana Transitional Recovery Office.

Tuesday, a crew of scientists, epidemiologists, hygienists and other medical experts canvassed New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Biloxi to look at trailers — their design, use and interior humidity.

The information will be used to establish guidelines for testing more trailers in the future.

Though the federal government regulates how much formaldehyde is allowed in homes and buildings, no rules have been made regarding travel trailers.

“At this time, frankly, there is no commonly accepted or federally regulated level for travel trailers,” Stark said.

The goal is to find what is a “reasonable level” of formaldehyde for travel trailers, Stark said.

The scientists also will look at all indoor-air-quality issues, including mold and other potentially harmful chemicals.

As of last week, 291 people from throughout the state had called FEMA’s toll-free number to report a health problem or ask questions about the chemical.

About 30 percent to 40 percent of the callers asked to move out of their trailers, FEMA officials said.

“We’re always trying to get people to transition to more suitable housing,” Stark said.

As of May, people in Terrebonne Parish had 520 trailer leases with FEMA; Lafourche had 215.

In the past few months, FEMA has also offered to sell trailers to those who live in them. So far, 284 people in Terrebonne and 131 in Lafourche have expressed interest.

But only six trailers have been sold so far, FEMA officials said. If people want to return the trailers they buy, FEMA will reimburse them.

Officials at the CDC said they couldn’t comment on the extent of problems being reported. Instead the center gives information about the possible heath risks and tells callers to consult local doctors, said spokeswoman Dagny Olivares.

Formaldehyde can be found in a range of everyday items, including cleaning solutions, shampoos, clothing, couch cushions, gas appliances, cigarettes and plywood. Long-term exposure has been linked to cancer, asthma, bronchitis and allergies.

It’s not clear, however, what constitutes long-term exposure, Olivares said.

“A lot of the work that’s been done has been worker related,” Olivares said of studies.

Workers tend to be at work eight hours a day, she said. So, someone living in a trailer could conceivably be exposed for longer periods of time. That factor will be taken into account when CDC scientists establish “reasonable” exposure levels, she said.

Staff Writer Naomi King can be reached at 857-2209 or naomi.king@houmatoday.com.

N.O. project to provide housing
By JOE GYAN JR.
Advocate New Orleans bureau
Published: Aug 1, 2007 – Page: 14A

The Advocate Baton Rouge, Louisiana
E-mails: FEMA knew about toxin
By GERARD SHIELDS
Advocate Washington bureau
Published: Jul 21, 2007 – Page: 1A

WASHINGTON – When FEMA tested unoccupied trailers in Baton Rouge for formaldehyde, the move confused staff attorney Jill F. Igert.

Igert raised red flags to FEMA administrators that the testing would not yield a realistic reading of how residents who were complaining of toxic fumes were living. FEMA had tested the trailers over a 14-day period in September 2006 with the windows open and the air conditioners running, according to documents released Thursday by a House oversight committee.

“I don’t understand why Sample B is focused on the utilization of the air conditioner and virtually nothing else since it is unrealistic that an applicant will use it 24 hours a day,” Igert wrote in a report.

But Federal Emergency Management Agency officials used that testing to conclude that the only step occupants of the trailers needed to take was “airing out” their campers.

The Igert report was part of the documents released Thursday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Igert wasn’t alone in her concern. E-mails released by the committee show that FEMA field workers recognized a problem.

“We need to take a proactive approach,” staffer James Lowery wrote on March 17, 2006. “The implications are much too large not to take immediate steps to assure safety of our units.”

“This needs to be fixed today,” wrote James Russo, another FEMA staffer, also on March 17, 2006.

However, dozens of e-mails released by the committee and reviewed by The Advocate show that FEMA lawyers were more concerned about being sued than protecting residents.

“Do not initiate any testing until we give the OK,” FEMA attorney Patrick Pearson advised in an e-mail. “While I agree we should conduct testing, we should not do so until we are fully prepare (sic) to respond to the results. Once you get the results and should they indicate a problem, the clock is ticking on our duty to respond to them.”

Lawmakers rap FEMA
House members participating in the hearing on the matter Thursday accused FEMA of covering up the reports of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, despite receiving 200 complaints.

U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal, R-Kenner, requested the hearing. E-mails showed that FEMA was more concerned about negative publicity and being sued than it was over the potential health risks to travel trailer occupants, he said.

FEMA issued 120,000 travel trailers after hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit in 2005, FEMA said. About 62,000 trailers are still in use, including 44,000 in Louisiana, according to the agency.

“This is more than an isolated problem and they refused to treat it as systematic,” Jindal said. “What you never see in the e-mail chain is someone saying ‘What about the health of the children?’ ”

FEMA Administrator R. David Paulison told the House panel that he did not instruct agency attorneys to recommend holding off testing. Paulison said he lets the office of general counsel operate at its own discretion.

But Paulison acknowledged that the final responsibility rests with him. The agency replaced 58 trailers, including 18 in Louisiana, Paulison said.

“The department did not stop dealing with formaldehyde,” Paulison said. “We were not formaldehyde experts. In hindsight, we could’ve moved faster.”

U.S. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., told Paulison that attorneys trying to protect the agency may have put it in more legal hot water.

“You should get new lawyers,” said Norton, an attorney. “You have increased your liability. Plaintiffs may be able to show you knew.”

Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., criticized Paulison for not being more hands on.

“That’s not hindsight,” Waxman said. “You didn’t have the foresight to listen to your own staff.”

First complaints
The first complaint about formaldehyde came in March 2006 when a Mississippi couple reported problems to a local television station. FEMA’s test of the trailer – the only occupied trailer the agency has tested – showed levels that were 75 percent higher than the maximum workplace exposure level recommended by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Safe levels were recommended at below .01 parts per million, but parts of the trailer tested as high as 2.4 ppm. A room that contained bunk beds tested at 1.2 ppm.

“Who sleeps in bunk beds?” asked committee member U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn. “Our precious children.”

FEMA also was criticized for not providing residents with contact numbers to address their problems. James Harris, a 46-year-old minister from Gulf Port, Miss., testified that the contractors representing FEMA changed often.

Not being able to reach FEMA representatives to complain, the married father of one tried to make the best of the situation by buying a $470 air purifier. On Monday, Harris ended up in the emergency room with respiratory problems.

“When you’re helpless, that’s one thing, but when you’re hopeless that’s worse,” Harris said.

FEMA e-mails indicate that one agency representative advised another not to put a contact phone number on information handed out to residents.

“I don’t see a number on it,” staffer Sidney Melton wrote. “Are y’all going to put your MDC numbers on it? We here in (Mississippi) would put our call center number on it.”

Martin McNeese, a FEMA staffer in Louisiana, wrote back: “Hi Sid, we are trying to not generate a lot of calls, just get the facts out as we know them so we are not putting our number on it.”

Paulison denied committee claims that FEMA intentionally tried not to respond to complaints. Each trailer had a number posted on it so people with problems could call a FEMA maintenance center, he said.

But after the hearing, Paulison acknowledged that FEMA should have used the formaldehyde warning brochure they eventually put out to alert residents to call the maintenance centers.

“We should have done that and we didn’t do that,” Paulison said.

Media reports sickness
E-mails also show that FEMA workers initially were suspicious of people complaining about formaldehyde. That was especially true in Mississippi, where the first media report of sickness surfaced during a local television newscast.

Lindsay Huckabee, a mother of five from Kiln, Miss., testified that she never saw the TV report. Huckabee said her ear, nose and throat doctor warned her to get out of her trailer because he had seen other travel trailer patients with similar respiratory symptoms.

Over-exposure to formaldehyde, a solvent used in press wood and adhesives, can result in burning eyes, coughing, sore throats, chest pains and nose bleeds, scientists say. Huckabee’s daughter suffered chronic nosebleeds, she said.

“I was told by our ENT that we needed to get out of the trailer as soon as we could,” Huckabee said. “He had many repeat patients with the same symptoms all living in FEMA trailers.”

A class action suit was filed about six weeks ago against the travel trailer manufacturers. Daniel Becnel, an attorney in Reserve, is handling the case, representing “a couple of thousand” FEMA trailer occupants from Florida to Louisiana, he said. Becnel is seeking $2 billion in his lawsuit.

And formaldehyde exposure is the subject of a lawsuit in Baton Rouge federal court. Desiree Collins, 47, who moved to Renaissance Village after losing her home in New Orleans, sued River Forest Inc. and other makers of the FEMA trailers.

Collins died earlier this month of lung cancer; it isn’t clear yet whether formaldehyde played any role.

U.S. Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind., represents a district where 60 percent of the nation’s travel trailers are made. Souder criticized the hearings Thursday, saying none of the testimony implicated trailer manufacturers.

“We don’t have any experts on this panel,” Souder said. “What we have here is terrible personal stories that the government should have responded to. You cannot say on the record that it was the way they were made.”

On Wednesday, the eve of the committee hearing, FEMA announced it had asked the national Centers for Disease Control to conduct short-term tests on the air quality in occupied trailers and long-term tests on the possible health ramifications of those who may have been exposed to the toxins, which were used in campers.

“This agency has made the best decisions it could with the information we had,” Paulison said. “Now we have to do something different than we’ve done in the past.”

Ex-Saint No. 1 on bad list
Former New Orleans Saints linebacker Rickey Jackson.
‘Most wanted’ poster lists delinquent parents
By EMILY KERN
Advocate staff writer
Published: Aug 1, 2007 – Page: 1A

“Former New Orleans Saints player Rickey Jackson, who earned millions of dollars on the gridiron, holds the top spot in Louisiana as the noncustodial parent who owes the most in back child support.

Jackson and 17 others are featured on this year’s “Most Wanted” poster by the state Department of Social Services Support Enforcement Services division. They owe more than $759,000 combined — Jackson owes $160,000 — in court-ordered child support…”
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