Damaged Homes With Asbestos Cleared By D'Iberville

Norma Jean Hart snapped a picture for her family's scrapbook. The image will be a final memory of place her daughter and grandchildren called home for 25 years.

"It's kind of hard," Hart said. "And I know it's going to be hard on them, too."

Mrs. Hart's photo captured the jaws of a hungry Bobcat on a feeding frenzy. Mist spraying out of its mouth resembled an animal licking its chops right before it gobbled up another piece of a home that Katrina initially devoured.

Jay McGraw is D'Iberville's debris removal coordinator. He said his job is "putting the city back together. Getting D'Iberville back."

McGraw served up the bobcat's latest meal -- a hurricane damaged home sprinkled with asbestos.

"It's a simple procedure," he said, referring to the asbestos removal. "You do the applications you're required to do, and it's a simple procedure."

McGraw has overseen every demolition project in D'Iberville. He's watched crews haul off close to 400,000 cubic yards of hurricane debris.

"It doesn't bother me as bad as the first week," he said.

Tuesday was the first time his team members needed protective suits, air masks, and hoses to protect themselves from a potential asbestos hazard hidden in a damaged home.

"It takes a little more time and effort on everybody's part," said McGraw.

Once upon a time, Mrs. Hart's family lived amid the asbestos. A combination of Katrina's fury and a Bobcat's claw destroyed the 7th Avenue dwelling. Some would call the situation devastating. Mrs. Hart said her daughter looked at it as progress.

"They're looking at building a new home and starting over again," she said.

D'Iberville has almost 50 hurricane damaged homes and businesses with asbestos removal concerns. Once those properties are torn down, the debris is being hauled to a certified site at the Pecan Grove landfill.