Tuesday, September 27, 2005

A post that makes this whole thing worth while.

This email I received tonight from Georgi Shearin who was desparatley trying to find out if his elderly Aunt in Mid City had gotten out of the city and if she was even alive. I posted his information on the blog. His email perhaps puts this whole thing into perspective and although it was brief it did make me realize how many of us and how deeply this thing has affected us.

"My Aunt Jean has been found, still living in her house with her dog. She is doing ok and has provisions, the National Guard and Army have been stopping by and leaving provisions for her.

But my special thanks and gratitude go out to first you Jon, for having the blog, and second to the fine folks that have responded - Cheryl Wagner for giving me hope and to Penny Young for making that hope come true. Penny actually went to my Aunt's house and called us from her cell phone - hearing Jean's voice brought all those hopes to realization. Words cannot express the thanks that Jean's relatives in Tennessee feel. Looking forward to meeting all of you when the city is re-opened.

WOW! A great story from Caroline Cook.

HI! I am a midcity resident living on Orleans ave. near Delgado. I've been wanting to write to you but things have been extremely hectic!
My boyfriend and I decided to ride out the hurricane at his house on St. Peter St. behind my house on Orleans Ave. I got stuck working at the hospital (ochsner) and spent the entire Sunday getting my parents out of town, my house ready and my boyfriends' 100yo house ready for the storm.
Obviously, the hurricane was terrifying!!!!!!!! We ended up crawling onto the floor to the stairwell where we huddled for 5hrs. in the stairwell with our flashlight, radio, blanket and pillow. Following the hurricane, we walked the neighborhood to assess the damage. Our beautiful area rcvd. extreme damage and flooding was evident in the area but not directly in front of our house YET. The next morning, one of the neighbors banged on the door, "Rick, Rick, the levee broke, you got to get out, the water is coming in!!!"
Out of nowhere, the water was suddenly there. It must have came in through the night. Again I panicked thinking we would end up on the roof. Luckily, my boyfriend's house is very high off ground so did not rcv. flood damage. HOWEVER, he rcvd. extensive roof damage and it rained inside his house LITERALLY during the hurricane.
Long story short, we were stranded for 1 week before being rescued!!!!!!!!! Our adventures were incredible. We even managed to get a boat from City Park and paddled to the pumping stations down Marconi Meadows to retrieve military meals. Once there, we were encountered by men with guns!! For the first time, I saw fear in my boyfriend's face! They ended up helping us with our boxes of meals and we helped them with their boat. We paddled back to Orleans ave. thru the Oaks LITERALLY paddling up into the trees, IT WAS SUREAL!!!!
Our rescue took 12hrs!! The rescuer was John Goodman's body guard!! I ended up in the hospital with rash on my face and legs. I became allergic to the antibiotics and ended up with partial facial paralysis.
Meanwhile, my family put us on the MISSING PERSONS list and was frantic!! We had no way to communicate.
I am back at work at Ochsner but very sporadic shifts and living at hospital. When not working, I'm living in BR. I've managed to sneak back into the neighborhood 2-3x/wk. to feed Rick's cat and all the cats left behind in the neighborhood. 2 animal rescue missions have donated food to me.
I miss N.O. and miss midcity!!! I will be back!!!!!!!! Very sad for our neighborhood, the park, etc. This has definetly changed my life. I desire simplicity and stability AND a good night's sleep! Caroline Marie Cook from Orleans Ave.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Response to Palmyra and S. Gayos

from John Weilbacher: If CW is familiar with that area, he knows that crime is rampant there (it's a big drug corner). The answer to the question about my insurance adjuster being fired upon is yes someone shot at him.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Mid-City Re Entry

Please help someone. I've been told today that I must vacate where I am staying, and I've got nowhere to go. Is there any day set yet for when residents can return to Mid City - 70119? Can I get back in through some sort of "back-door" system? Thanks for any help.

Madonna Franco

(Jon adds: If you are in Louisiana staying at a hotel then they can't kick you out. Blanco's orders.)

Missing Person

It’s now been almost a month and I still have not heard anything about my Aunt Jean that lives not more than about two blocks from Cork and Bottle. Could someone PLEASE check to see if she is still in her house at 3911 Toulouse St. I have registered her on each and every data base that I can and still no concrete information. Could you please check on her and e-mail me back? I would be on my way driving down there but I’ve been told and from what I’ve seen on the news would not be let in by the authorities. Jean is 76 and lives alone with her dog Karma. Her relatives in Tennessee are very concerned and worried about her.

E-mail – shearing@yahoo.com

Phone – 865-966-6546

Work – 865-218-2610

Friday, September 23, 2005

The Cheese Case

Ok, a rite of passage for all good New Orleanians has/will become cleaning out the refrigerator. That is, unless the fridge in question has 200lbs of fresh, gourmet, unpasteurized cheese in a cooler that had been out of power for a month. I can not impress on you all exactly how uniquely rancid this thing smelled. And it leaked. The rich bleus on the bottom shelf liquefied and leaked out. Without a doubt the worst smell I have ever smelled. Here are pictures to document the most horrific thing I have ever done in my entire life. Click on any picture for a larger, more "in depth" image.

"Raw" Material

The %$#*@# thing leaked all over the place. No that's not water, that's melted, liquefied cheese and, yes, we destroyed the affected wine. I don't even want to tell you what was growing and crawling inside those boxes.

The adventure begins, please God make it quick.

Hey, who ordered the Bleu cheese? Nice beet red face Jon. How are those dry heaves treating you?

Oh my, this disgusting thing is empty (there were no pictures of the rest of the progress because the photographer couldn't bear the smell and had to bail.

Thankfully we are near the end of this terrible thing.

And Jon gets some well needed fresh air.

More Mold Info

This was a posted as a comment on an earlier post, but I thought it important enough to bring it to the forefront:

i am an architect and would like to clear up something about mold issues: one this is run of the mill mold, not the toxic mold of media sensation. toxic mold is usually seen where very cold things (such as A/C ducts) are in contact with hot areas, and almost always in new (post 1970), tightly sealed buildings. the type of mold we will see is easily controlled with bleach and ventilation. as far as coliform bacteria, there is less danger as the city dries up (but get your shots before you come back!). as bad as it looks and smells, the houses around cork and bottle are quite salvageable. with a few major exceptions, new orleans is a matter of repair, not rebuilding. charleston saved many similarly inundated buildings after hugo; this will be a much bigger operation, but it must be done unless we want to be jackson, ms. just get used to the smell of bleach.

the national trust has a useful guideline booklet here:

i hope this helps keep hope alive.

until the next tasting,

Meg and Her Red Cape

Meg is great. If you know Meg you no doubt agree with me, if you haven’t the first idea who Meg is just trust me on this one. She is great. Meg is the only realistic idealist I know, she slyly draws you into deep conversations, always brings up points you’d never consider and she is a downright pleasure to be around. Meg believes in New Orleans and puts that practice to work. In fact she makes her living on that thought. Even before the Hurricane, she wanted the city of New Orleans to be a fully renovated glory of its former self, she longs for the history of days long gone, but she also understands we live in the real world. She is an urban pioneer, renovates historically significant homes next door to crack houses and refuses to let the adversity of city living make her quit. Her front door, inner door and living room wall is marked by an errant bullet from a neighborhood barroom brawl which claimed a life under her living room window. The bullet holes still stand as some sort of testament to her internal fortitude and devotion to the living history of New Orleans and she has NO PLAN to move out. Some people would say Meg is crazy. I think she is cool. I get it. I get what makes her tick. She’s a hard lady to knock down.

I drove Meg through the city Monday and let her visit her Treme home. I quit counting the “Oh my’s” the “Oh no’s” and the plain old gasps. We drove the blocks in Treme and Mid City and Meg’s head was on a swivel, not knowing which direction to look in next. Somehow, though, you knew this wasn't stopping her. She knew EVERY house in her neighborhood and almost spoke to them as if they were people. She loves her neighborhood and she loves New Orleans. When we were driving back to Baton Rouge on Monday and the threat of Hurricane Rita was becoming obvious instead of saying “Woe is us” Meg got on the horn with a Climatologist buddy of hers and figured out what this storm was going to do and how to prepare for it.

The other day I received an email from a distraught friend who has been exiled to Chicago lamenting the fact that there will be no more New Orleans. I disagree. I disagree because New Orleans has Meg. Meg for one will be back with a broom and a mop and a hammer and a smile. New Orleans is a very lucky city to have so many of the Megs of the world living in it and loving it. Take comfort in that fact. So long as everyone has a bit of Meg in them this city will be fine. And, no, it won’t become a modern suburban nightmare. It will look like New Orleans. That’s if Meg has anything to do with it

Formatting Change

Sorry about the errors in formatting you've seen in IE over the last few days. I do everything in the greatest webrowser ever inveted - MOZILLA FIREFOX - which isn't nearly as fragile as Internet Explorer. My wife pointed out to me that the page looked wrong in Explorer, I've fixed that and I apologize if any of you were having trouble reading it.

Mold = Bad News

My buddy Marc Pagani sent me this link of the damage Mold can do to a house. While my heart goes out to this family in these pictures, I hold out hope that the century old construction Cypress houses a good number of us in the Bayou St. John area live in will hold up better than this newly constructed apartment in Metairie.


GREAT Photo Fundraiser Idea

Photographers Jenny Bagert and Herman Leonard invite you to participate in a fundraiser featuring a Special Edition of New Orleans Photographs by Herman Leonard & Jenny Bagert. Proceeds will be contributed to the victims of hurricane Katrina.

Six images have been selected.
Each image is a limited edition of 250, 11” x 14” giclee prints.
$325 per print
Please see the attachment for details.

We are confident that New Orleans will be our home again. Please help us make this happen for as many as possible.

All our best,
Herman Leonard
Jenny Bagert

(Jon adds: These prices, especially for the Leonard work, are a STEAL! If you have a mental image of Jazz in your mind chances are it was from a photograph you saw that was taken by Herman Leonard. He is THE great Jazz photographer. Jenny Bagert works with Mr. Leonard and although her style touches his it is still a style uniquely her own. In 35 years someone will be writing that Jenny Bagert is THE great New Orleans Music photographer. Buy a Bagert Photo, ask her to make a Katrina comment on the matte and in a couple of decades your artwork will be priceless)

Some Palmayra Street Questions Answered

My name is John Weilbaecher and I wanted to respond to an older post that you had. Adam Wilson and Megan Finn were asking about Palmyra and S. Gayoso. I am (was?) renovating a house near that corner and I have received a report from my adjuster. He said that the water was about 3 ft. high inside the house (which is up on piers so about 6-8ft total in the area) and it is now completely covered in mold (to the point that it cannot be entered for an extended period of time without some sort of breathing apparatus). He had no trouble entering as the authorities (National Guard or whomever) had opened houses to conduct survivor/body searches. I am sure that they are aware of the relative safety of the neighborhood so it would probably not surprise them to learn that the adjuster was fired upon during his inspection. I am sure this is not very comforting right now but this is my understanding of the situation. The worst part of the whole experience for me so far is not knowing what happened to my house one way or the other so perhaps this takes care of some of the uncertainty. You can put them in touch with me if they want to contact me.

Best Regards,

John Weilbaecher

PJ's Coffee Shop Hangout in Hammond

Hey again Jon,

Just wanted to let you know that there seem to be a fair amount of New Orleans "refugees" in this area. I'm in PJ's in downtown Hammond and have met quite a few homegrown folk. It's nice to talk to neighbors!!

Anyone around these parts might want to stop by sometime. The coffee is typical PJ's but the place seems friendly and has excellent wireless. It's not FairGrinds (MY coffee hangout at home) but it'll do til I can get back.

Also, to mention again, anyone interested in my pictures from Leda and Verna Courts, as well as the area around FairGrinds on Ponce de Leon, and some Banks St. in MidCity, is welcome to email me at itskimnotkimberly@yahoo.com. I will be happy to send a link to access the albums. I've attached a some random pics for you as well.

Missing home terribly,


More Great Mid-City Pictures

Here is an extensive gallery from a rescue worker, a friend of my stepsisters'. Starts out in Lakeview, but lots of mid city photos towards the end.


Still thinking about trying to get in this weekend. That thing's headed to Galveston.

Mitchell Powers

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Good information about the mold.


Photos from Danny Brennan

Although (selfishly) I only have pictures of my house on Orleans Ave., others MidCitizens (Ian, you need a royalty on this one) may be starving for photos...



From Neil Guidry

please check out the website, it's a local relief effort put together by some of Sonja's friends. A good place to danate if your not sure where to. www.lhainfo.org please pass it on. thanks

North Hagan Information

We recovered one friends papers (international student) and many
belongings from 2000 block of Broadway. The ceiling had rained down
into his appartment, but most things came clean with a bit of

We also saved my girlfriend's cat from her appartment behind John
Dibert. It was amazingly fine.

Surveyed the house in the 900 blk of hagan. It looked like the places
on the north side missed water by ~1 ft. while it was closer on the
south side. My house only had water enter the lowest back room by
about 1 ft. *across* (not up) the floor. So the water came within ~2
inches of seriously flooding our house.

Something do to in Chicago this Thursday

To anyone who is exiled in Chicago, a good friend of Cork & Bottle Marc Pagani is up there with you. Marc must have some amazing friends in Chicago, people who want to lend a hand. If you need a good diversion and want to hang out with some fellow New Orleanians, check out this site


Monday, September 19, 2005

Damn Spam

Sorry folks, I had to turn off the anonymous post feature for comments becaue I was getting killed with Spam. Don't these people know we've been through a tragedy!?!

Bienville Resident Checks In

First, we went to high school together (jon's note: this is a miracle, I went to high school with about 6 other people) Thank you for the postings. It has been very helpful sharing my experience with others just through your blog. Thank you for all of the photos.
I did get to my house on Bienville on Saturday. We live by the Moral house. Our house was nasty. Jon, today my brother and I went with my mother and grandpa to their homes in St. Bernard. We really are lucky with just a few feet of water in our house. There house was like the contents and walls were thrown in a blender and thrown back in. The lower area by Six Flags stunk. As we drove toward the checkpoint, the mud was knee deep, boats tossed like bread, and cars moved to the road sides for safe passage. It really looked like a bomb went off. It was spooky. We were able to take out only a few personal items from both homes.
Rob lives in Mereaxu. He has oil in his house. He may not be able to recover anything. His wife is newly pregnant.

Keep your spirits up. You are doing us a great service.
Again, thanks for the postings.
Roblynn (Gass) Sliwinski -

Palmayra and Gayoso Check In

I see that my neighbors Adam and Megan from Palmyra and Gayoso posted. We're going back this weekend to try and salvage. Wedding dress and family art, stuff we should have brought with us. We got an email from Dr Paul and Helen Gailliunas who lived on Cleveland around Cortez. They sent photos. Looked like water got up to three feet above the floor, and they were about four feet from street level as I recall. Most worrisome was the mold that looked like it was thriving. Hope y'all are well. Mitchell and Liberty msampp@yahoo.com

Dr. Leon Fletterich question

Louie and I continue across the country, though we're planning to return that 1st week of October. I'll go nuts soon otherwise. Have you heard anything about Dr. Leon Flettrich and his staff? We'd love contact info if you have it.

Bell Street Question

Can any one tell me the condition of the houses on the 3000 block of Bell Street. More to the point at the intersection of Bell St. and N. Gayoso St.

Thank you.
D. Ashley

Tips from Brandy Sheely

I went back into Mid-City on Friday with a pass and a police escort. I saw two men walking down the street who were promptly arrested by the NOPD. If you don't look "official," be prepared for jail.

Compared to Uptown and the CBD, it was deserted, dirty, and depressing. My house (4420 Iberville) was dry in the front and wet in the back. Probably no more than 1-3 inches came in at the back of the double, but it was a raised house. Unfortunately, I could not find a mask, so I have no idea what awful things I have in my lungs now. My advice is not to go back until you have a couple and about 20 pair of gloves.

That brings me to my question -- are there any recommended vaccinations I should get? I got tetnus the night I got back. I've heard Hep-A is good, too. Any others???

A heartbreaking post

(it killed me to read this and post this - jon)

Hello Mid City!
I was able to go to my house this past Saturday. We left a little late, arriving in the city at 6 pm. We were never stopped. I live in the 400 block of South Solomon, off of Carrollton and Banks. The entire neighborhood was grey....sediment and mud filled the streets. Fallen trees and branches were in abundance. When we pulled into our drive way, we found our window pane of our door broken (it is large enough for a child to enter). I Peeked in and saw that my belongings were scattered. In my naivety, I thought we had been broken into. But upon entry I realized that the standing water had shifted our furniture. Our block had up to 7 feet of water. My boyfriend had a record collection of 10,000 plus LP's and EP's (can we say obsessive?). Most of those shelves had collapsed and 20 something years of record collecting just disappeared literally under our feet. We were able to take very little, but grateful for our measly leftovers. Thick black mold was growing furiously on the bottom half of our walls. The stain and varnish on our floors had been stripped, and our floorboards were bowing. The smell of the neighborhood had to have been the worst part of this experience. It was the most pungent, nauseating seaweed-like odor that seems to envelope itself into everything that is left of your home.
We returned to New Orleans the following day, Sunday. We were stopped by the National Guard, did not have a business pass (I had a letter from my father's business). We were allowed in. My neighbor's were at their house when we arrived. They had been to their home about 5 times post-storm, and it had been secure up until Saturday. Someone had broken in. I noticed that there were virtually no National Guard in my Neighborhood. Perhaps it has to do with how worthless our homes are now, or the income level of my little area of Mid City.
Once we had taken everything that we could out of our house, we locked it up, knowing we will never return. I loved the little house and life that I once had. I will miss my hometown, my family, and friends. I wish those that are staying good luck and good health.

Elizabeth Broussard

Leda and Verna Court

From Kim Clayton: I went in today... The whole area is SO depressing!! I can see how spending any amount of time in the city right now could make someone be REALLY down in the dumps (I guess because, technically, you'd be in a dump. What a mess!!).
Anyway, I've got some pics of Verna and Leda Courts, across from Cabrini. I will be happy to send invites to my Yahoo album. Anyone interested can email me at itskimnotkimberly@yahoo.com
I will also be uploading many Mid City pics as well... and will be glad to share them when I am done. I have a horrible internet connection where I am and it's a slow, tedious process!
Hope this finds you doing as well as can be expected...

3000 Block of DeSoto

do you have any information on this area?? we live on the first floor of 3001 desoto st. diagonally across the street from the krishna temple. rachael - bebemonk@yahoo.com

Really Good N.O. Water Info

(From Naomi Duffey) John, I tried to email Elizabeth Milhouse, but every one has come back. If you hear from her, please tell her I'll try to call her. I remember her 5 years old, in costume at Halloween, with her mom dressed as a sexy black cat.
Also, I told another neighbor, James Hicks, to get in touch with you, who has shots of our street, Hagan. I don't have the computer power to forward them. We're in Minnesota tonight, in a motel. Last night we camped out on Elk Hill in South Dakota. Did you know elks never shut up at night, and sound like cows pretending to be coyotes pretending to be ghosts? We've heard our zip opens first week of October.

Here's some advice for people going in before water is really available. I sent it to my neighbors list, but thought you might want it for the site. Our friend Neal here suggested that the water in the hot water tank will be good. To access that water, close the inlet valve before running ANY water in the house. That will give you 30-40 gallons of good water from the drain plug. Don't run water IN the house because you'll bring in contaminated water, requiring complete flushing of the system later, a big pain. There's a drain valve on the bottom of water tank, and a 2nd valve - an air valve - at the top. First, TURN OFF THE GAS/ELECTRICITY TO THE TANK. Then, open the top valve to allow air in the tank, which will allow water to come out of the bottom valve. Don't turn back on until all is clear.

The other suggestion Neal has, who is a licensed electrician, is to turn off the main breaker on the panel box to your house. You don't know what problems may have developed.

Greetings from St. Louis

my name is allison smith. we moved from new orleans (to st. louis) 2 years ago. i just wanted to thank you so much for your blog, all the wonderful info, and pics. i've been checking daily. we miss new orleans every day and had always thought we'd move back someday. i'm so glad to get the updates on our neighborhood. we lived on st. john court. have you (or anyone) heard from helen (eams) ball and her kids, avery and joseph? they lived on The Court too. i haven't been able to reach them, but i'm assuming it's because they evacuated. god bless new orleans and all you wonderful people. thank you again for maintaining your site. the next time i'm in new orleans, i'll make sure to visit your store. (although i never need an excuse to buy good wine!!). warmest regards, allison

My buddy Marc throws his hat in the ring.

I've finally gotten attacked by the blog bug and have posted my thoughts and many photos relating to my experiences away from home as a result of Katrina.

the address is:


3200 block of St. Philip

Please let anyone asking for information on the neighborhood know: Water was only in houses that sit on the ground or especially low, and it DOES NOT stink -Nicole Martin

Pet Recovery Question

Like too many of us, I have a cat stranded in my apartment (at 41 Allard Blvd) while I commute from Baton Rouge to Ochsner for work (I am an RN in the Transplant Stepdown unit). I am ready to go get him anytime, but I am alone and have no pass to the area. Could I enlist your help in some way? Since we are currently reduced to a barter economy, I would gladly trade a few days of hard labor helping you clean up in exchange for a chance to rescue Sam (angry, lonely cat). I have contacted many working rescue groups already, but I have no idea if they have been able to get to my pet. If there is another way I can help you, please let me know. You have no doubt received many other requests for aid, so I do understand if there is nothing you do for me in this matter. My email is masorum@cox.net (obviously) and I can be reached in BR at 225-767-9417 (home of Catherine and Chris DeJohn-Plauche)

Ville St. John

I am/was a resident of Ville St. John condominiums, located at 818 Moss St. (in between St. Ann and Dumaine). I am trying to find out the condition of the building and establish contact with the other residents. Anyone with information may email me at rosejmort05@yahoo.com. Thank you, Rose

Sunday, September 18, 2005

More....Good pictures

Jedd Haas an artist from New Orleans sent me this link to more aftermath pictures. Ironically, the online photo albumn also has pictures from somone's trip to Napa so I was doubly excited to see the photos.


More Great Mid-City Pictures

I pulled this post off of Nola.Com's forum on Mid-City (which, by the way, is getting shamed by the Bywater/Marigny. They have 3K posts and we only have about 300). Anyway someone posted a great site for pictures of the aftermath of Mid-City flooding. The pictures are focused on the Carrollton area.


Also, the post that went along with it, albeit somewhat free form, was dead on. Again, credit for this goes to Nola.Com:

one word about going in....go in, look, leave, come back the next day...the shock of seeing this city like it is left me shell shocked, and all i saw when i closed my eyes was the LINE....the level of hell this city got, it started from only 6 inches downtown, to the full 6+ feet in places.it took me some time, and then some phonecalls to get an idea of how much water my home should have....i will be going back soon, i have to save my home before the mold takes everything that survived the wind, flood, and whatever else...i will not let time hurt more, are you &^$&%# hearing me mr(s). big bad gov, some homes might have a chance...let us stop the decay of 100+ year old homes for #^$& sake....let ppl come back everywhere thats dry to clean .....some of us will be doing it anyway FEMA says dont go in or lose their help, insurance says get in, stop damage...whos right???

Reopening the city

No One wants the city to reopen faster than I do. No one is a bigger proponent of bringing back New Orleans more than me. Its kind of hard selling wine without a wine shop or customers. I've been back to Mid City five times now (going back Tuesday) and I've been deep into Lakeview and Old Metairie twice. Its nothing pretty and its not yet suitable for human living. I badly want to do this thing (getting back) but I also want to do it right. Like many people, I have a young child's health to consider and I hesitate bringing him back until things are significantly improved from what they are now. The picture above was from the Picayune's website and it shows my street Dumaine (several blocks back from my house) looking towards the Bayou, although it could be any street in Mid-City that flooded. IF we are going to rebuild our city we need a reasonable, accurate time frame for rehabilitation of the city instead of these hurry up and wait announcements like we've had in the French Quarter that do nothing but deject us. Its like telling a kid on December 23rd that Christmas is postponed until further notice. Also, AB was very clear on what Jefferson's return plan was -get in, look around and get out. You'll be back in a month. I'm the biggest Nagin fan there is, but is Hizzoner's (now rescinded) re-entry plan a call to come back and stay or a call to come back and pick up. There is too much political ambiguity at a time when an entire city needs hard, concrete calls to action.

I actually thank
FEMA for being a voice of reason. In yesterday's on-line Picauyne "Maj. John Thomas, a spokesman for the federal government’s Hurricane Katrina recovery effort, said federal officials are concerned with the timeline proposed by Mayor Ray Nagin to repopulate the city, which would begin Monday with a return to Algiers and then continue Wednesday with a return to parts of Uptown. Nagin's administration has already backed off on the timetable, saying it would take a wait-and-see approach for the schedule after Monday.
“What’s important to understand is that conditions are, in many cases, inhospitable,” he said. “It’s not like it used to be. People need to be aware of the safety and health hazards.”