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“Paying Limits”

I talked to our insurance adjuster the other night, a guy named Roland Graybill. I told him that to the best of our knowledge the first floor of our home was flooded with up to six feet of water, and has been sitting in water for a couple of weeks now. He said that in all likelihood the insurance company would be “paying limits” to people in our situation.

That means we’d be getting approximately as much as we originally paid for the house, plus another sum for the contents. But I’m still completely clueless as to what we’ll do with that money. Will our house be salvageable in any form? Will it be condemned outright? Will it be consumed by toxic mold and mildew? Do we tear down and rebuild on the same ground?

So many questions, so few answers.

Published inFinancial ShitKatrinaOur House


  1. Scott Scott

    Bart, in all likelihood, the house is a goner but you still own the land and could rebuild.

    In addition to the sewerage that contaminated the water that soaked into your house, oil, gas and other fluids from submerged cars have had plenty of time to contaminate even the lumber. It’s likely that you had plaster on lath which is completely soaked too. While it is possible that you could decontaminate what’s left, it’s probably not economically feasible. It might be a favor if FEMA or other government people demolish the house because it would save the demo cost. Sorry.

  2. KJ KJ

    I was going through some ooooooold emails today and found my stash of Christyweeks from early 2000. Wondered if you all were still in NOLA and if the Man was still hasslin’ – well lo and behold Ye Olde Google found this blog.

    I hope your house is OK. I guess it would depend on the structure (wood/brick etc) though before it got demo’ed check with others in your ‘hood to find out what they are doing with theirs.

    Not that you know me from Adam but if you need a pick me up on your way back (whenever that may be) feel free to stop in Nashville.

  3. Garvey Garvey

    Think of it as a chance to build something “green.” Or a big DIY project, such as straw bale or even a FirstDay cottage.

  4. Scott Scott

    I forgot to mention as sources of contaminants the bodies of people, dogs, cats, rats, snakes, and now I hear there are industrial chemicals.

  5. I saw a report on ABC News this morning of what is in the sludge — seems it has more bacteria than possibly imagineable. The scientist that did the testing totally was against trying to salvage homes that were flooded. Seems that not only should the house be demolished, but the ground will need some real testing, as you could be sitting on a metal and bacteria mine field.

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