CBS affiliate WWL-TV in New Orleans (Doug Mouton, reporting) broadcast a story on Tuesday about the devastating toll defective Chinese drywall is taking on thousands of Louisiana families with homes built between 2004 and 2007, particularly in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Mouton visited the home of Ken Maykut, whose family rebuilt near Madisonville after losing their Saint Bernard Parish home in Katrina. Maycut described how, after hearing news reports about the contaminated drywall, he climbed into his attic and found the name of one of the implicated manufacturers stamped on the back of a wall board panel. “It’ll make your stomach drop,” he said of the discovery. Describing how tough the past four years had been on his family – first losing their home to Katrina then learning his wife had breast cancer – he said, “Looks like we’re in for Round Three.”
Maykut demonstrated for the camera how the gases emitting from the defective drywall are rusting out his home’s stainless steel appliances and corroding the copper electrical wiring. He does not know whether he will be able to salvage anything in his home, and will have to gut it and replace the defective drywall at his own expense unless pending litigation is successful. For now, he says, “it’s a waiting game. There’s nothing you can do.”
State Senator Julie Quinn, who hosted a town hall meeting in Mandeville on Wednesday about Chinese drywall issues, told Mouton that affected homeowners need to push the Governor’s Office and legislators for changes in the laws to protect consumers facing similar consequences. She told the story of one man who contemplated suicide so his family could collect the life insurance to replace the tainted drywall in their home, and stressed that other government officials needed to hear his and others’ stories. Senator Quinn also noted that imported products are not adequately monitored at the federal level, and under current Louisiana law, homeowners cannot sue suppliers or builders for damage caused by the defective drywall.