Building Inspectors Putting In Extra Hours

Even houses of worship weren't spared a blow from Hurricane Katrina. The parish hall filled up with about nine feet of water at Sacred Heart Church and School in D'Iberville.

"All these buildings are going to have to be gone through with a fine tooth comb to make sure all the electrical systems work and we will not have any kind of electric problems when we start up again," Father Bob Higginbotham said.

Checking out the electrical system is building inspector Wallace Freeman's job.

"Anything that had water on it has to be taken out and physically removed from the building. All the wiring has to be clipped back to where there's no corrosion, back to the insulated part with no corrosion and reattached to a new fixture."

Replacing the whole system is a lot of work.

"What happens if you don't replace it over a period of, say, three months, it'll start corroding. Then the ends will burn off and it could cause a fire."

Across the street where three businesses are under one roof, temporary power was turned on.

"The building itself is not structurally unsound, but it's not yet safe to be used. There's a lot of renovations to be done on this building. There's a lot of electrical work to be done. We got him temporary power run to the back so he could run his freezer that he had in here to start putting things back in it. Other than that we got the building completely off."

With thousands of buildings so badly damaged, Freeman says it will take the next year to put things back together.

Inspectors across the coast warn against unscrupulous contractors. Many cities require contractors to register and be licensed and insured.