Mold Hazards, A Story From New Orleans

Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stoppler, MD
Medical Editor: Dennis Lee, MD

Interview from the front lines

I had originally written this article on the hazards of mold after a water disaster with the intent of it being strictly a medical information piece. I then received a phone call from one of the staff members from our Executive Office. She had just spoken with her friend who was in New Orleans, and had some striking observations on this topic. Here's the interview, and the facts.


Richard is a photojournalist with a national news organization and has been to Louisiana twice since Katrina struck. Cynde Lee is the Content Manager for MedicineNet.com

Ms. Lee: Richard, what things struck you the most on this last visit to New Orleans?

Richard: Three things Cynde. Number one, the smell and stench in the houses is horrendous. All of the doors have swollen shut, so you have to kick them open to get in. Once you kick the door open, it HITS you...hard. The smell is overwhelming. The best description of the odor would be this; when I was 18, and had moved out of my parent's house and into my own apartment, after a shower I would throw the sopping wet towel in the laundry hamper. A couple weeks later when I opened the hamper to do laundry, there's the smell. Well, take that smell and multiply it by 100. It is simply overwhelming and undescribable.

The second thing that struck me was the raw sewage on the floors of the houses. It was mixed in with dirt and mud. It was everywhere.