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Fold out full color map. Black Classic Press, Fore edge foxed. Ceres Editions, The upper walls and ceilings in the house were not vacuumed as part of the initial cleanup procedures. In addition, a small water leak saturated a portion of the concrete floor after work was completed. Because possessions remained inside, the house was closed and the humidity levels could have created a climate hospitable for further mold growth. The fact that culturable mold levels in this home were not substantially lower after intervention than before is likely related to these factors. After post-intervention sampling was completed, the water leak in house 1 was fixed and cleaning and mechanical drying was conducted.

House 1 also offers a cautionary note about the risks involved with leaving some of the original drywall in a home. Some flood cleanup guidance suggests that, in homes with minimal flooding, removing drywall on walls to 1. However, many homes were submerged for weeks after Hurricane Katrina; although the water may have only wicked from the water line to the first 1. In our study, the house with the lowest water line house 1 had visible mold growth in the wall cavities above 1.

Although we cannot be certain that the growth would have occurred had cleaning and drying been adequate, the potential health risks of leaving the original drywall in the home must be taken into consideration.

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The question of whether household bleach is an effective treatment mechanism was one of the most debated topics among the advisory group. Although it can have adverse environmental health effects, we used a dilute solution of bleach because of widespread concern of bacterial contamination and evidence that it could denature allergens Chen and Eggleston ; Matsui et al.

In house 2, bleach was applied to the wooden building members, whereas it was not used in house 3. Because the postintervention findings for mold were similar in the two homes, we are encouraged that intensive dry cleaning followed by the application of borates appears to control mold growth. The use of dry cleaning without wet cleaning the wood had the added benefit of reducing the time of flood cleanup because the workers did not need to allow the wood to dry before applying borates.

Research to examine alternatives to bleach is under way. If effective alternatives are identified, we would encourage their use to be incorporated into the federal emergency response protocols. Ideally the products should be accessible to consumers both available and inexpensive to enable their adoption.

There are several noteworthy limitations to the present study, including a the small sample size; b inconsistency of the number of samples collected; and c possible lack of generalizability to other homes because of the home-selection process Hung et al. The number of homes was necessarily small so that we could quickly try different types of cleanup procedures and assess their feasibility and efficacy. To conduct the interventions in a larger set of homes would have prevented expeditious reporting of findings. We had an inconsistent number of samples because of the lack of electricity; as of 22 July , this was still a problem for much of New Orleans Nossiter , as was the lack of access to a fully functioning laboratory in New Orleans.

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We selected houses with a range of flood damage; however, the houses were typical New Orleans building structures, and the level of flooding was typical of many homes in the affected areas of New Orleans. The homes in Mississippi that were directly in the path of Hurricane Katrina sustained heavy wind damage, and we do not believe that our intervention results can be generalized to those homes.

Nonetheless, our discussion of respiratory protection should be applicable to those homes with extensive mold growth. The main goals for this pilot project were to synthesize, field test, and evaluate existing flood cleanup methods. Using a variety of sampling and analytical methods, we observed airborne levels of mold and endotoxin, which often increased orders of magnitude during the intervention, and determined that workplace protection factors of some respirators can be suboptimal in such conditions.

Although the generally accepted mold remediation protocols reduced bioaerosols in the demonstration houses, myriad issues including the qualifications of those performing the work including homeowners , depth and duration of flooding, and the availability of electricity and supplies can affect the feasibility and ultimately the success of flood cleanup efforts. Our pilot project was not designed for determining whether the demonstration homes were safe for reoccupancy.

Rather, we examined the extent to which homes that experienced significant and prolonged exposure to flood waters could be satisfactorily cleaned to enable reconstruction. Future research may include revisiting these homes after reconstruction to determine whether the low bioaerosol levels persisted or even continued to decline. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U.

Journal List Environ Health Perspect v. Environ Health Perspect. Published online Aug Ginger L. Chew , 1 Jonathan Wilson , 2 Felicia A.

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Muilenberg , 6 Peter S. Thorne , 7 Dorr G. Dearborn , 8 and Rebecca L. Morley 2. Felicia A. Michael L. Peter S. Dorr G. Rebecca L. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer.

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Address correspondence to G. Telephone: Fax: E-mail: ude. Received Apr 11; Accepted Aug Copyright notice. Publication of EHP lies in the public domain and is therefore without copyright.

All text from EHP may be reprinted freely. Use of materials published in EHP should be acknowledged for example,? Reproduced with permission from Environmental Health Perspectives?

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Articles from EHP, especially the News section, may contain photographs or illustrations copyrighted by other commercial organizations or individuals that may not be used without obtaining prior approval from the holder of the copyright. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Background After Hurricane Katrina, many New Orleans homes remained flooded for weeks, promoting heavy microbial growth. Objectives A small demonstration project was conducted November —January aiming to recommend safe remediation techniques and safe levels of worker protection, and to characterize airborne mold and endotoxin throughout cleanup.

Methods Three houses with floodwater lines between 0. Conclusions During baseline and intervention, mold and endotoxin levels were similar to those found in agricultural environments. Keywords: endotoxin, flood, fungi, mold, Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, remediation, respirators. Materials and Methods Selection of homes Three single-family houses in the Gentilly district of New Orleans were selected to participate in the project. Personal protective equipment All workers and supervisors wore N filtering facepiece respirators, nonwoven polypropylene disposable coveralls, and gloves during the property inspection.

Table 1 Baseline conditions and demonstration activities in houses. Baseline description Removal of flood-damaged items Cleaning Drying Biostatic agent used House 1 Built in Two-story, slab on grade with attached apartment on the first floor Water line at 0. Open in a separate window. Deconstruction Deconstruction at all houses included removing carpet or otherwise clearing floors down to the finished flooring and removing insulation, nails on studs, and lower cabinets, if present.

Cleaning and sanitizing Workers cleaned and sanitized all three houses with a combination of dry-cleaning and wet-cleaning steps. Biostat treatments After cleaning, the three houses received biostat treatment with one of two borate formulations to prevent future emergence of mold. Drying Windows in houses 2 and 3 were left open to allow cross-ventilation to dry the moisture introduced by the biostat treatments. Air sampling We conducted air sampling during three time points for each home: a before intervention i.

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Table 2 Air sampling activities conducted for houses indicated by X. Outdoor samples To collect outdoor samples, we placed the battery-operated AirChek pumps 3 m outside the front door for collection of one preintervention sample for house 3, one sample during the intervention for house 2, and postintervention samples for all three homes.

Field blanks On sampling days when intervention occurred, we collected a blank BioCell to assess fungal spores that could have been on the collection media before sampling, that were introduced in the moments before starting and after stopping the pump, and during sample transport. Analytical methods Culture of fungi Teflon filters were placed in 5 mL pyrogen-free water with 0.