demolition of the Batten home in New Orleans
Photo: Danielle Boyce Batten
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Starting Over

"The first time I went back, I wore a mask and only stayed ten or fifteen minutes," Danielle recalls. "There was a moldy smell, and it just affected your whole sinuses. You really could feel it. It burned your throat, it burned your eyes—I mean, it was that strong." Danielle's family members have suffered with health problems that she attributes to their mold exposure. "My sister Dionne was the first person to get into the house," Danielle says, "and she developed some sort of upper-respiratory condition that the doctors in Baton Rouge thought was caused by the mold." Last September, Danielle and her husband had the home demolished. "The mold," she says, "was one of many factors in our decision."
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