January, 2007
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

New Orleans: Representing ASHI at the NAR® Conference and Touring Areas Still Devasted


As a result of what Joe Corsetto, ASHI president, and Frank Lesh, ASHI president-elect, saw when representing ASHI at the National Realtors Association Conference in New Orleans, the ASHI membership may have another opportunity to do what it has done so often in the past—contribute to the welfare of a community. Corsetto describes the experience that motivated him and Lesh to suggest that attendees at InspectionWorld 2008 in New Orleans have an opportunity to help with rebuilding efforts.

Photos are courtesy of Roy Burst.

Roy Burst, a New Orleans home inspector and one of several ASHI Members who worked in the ASHI booth at the National Association of Realtors® Conference, set time aside to show Frank Lesh and me some of the devastation hurricane Katrina inflicted in a few of the areas north of New Orleans proper.

In these hard hit neighborhoods, the destruction was complete … entire developments wiped clean except for some debris and a few standing trees … buildings missing with only the front-entry concrete steps left behind to identify what was once a house. The equivalent of a traffic wreck between two vehicles is what occurred between two buildings … we referred to them as building wrecks, whereby two or more buildings smashed into each other due to severe winds and 40-foot-plus floodwaters.


As you can imagine, the interiors of middle-class, single-story ranch-style buildings submerged underwater are going to have damage. Not prepared for the level of damage, we entered a few buildings to find construction materials blended with personal items in a ‘milk shake’ mix strewn throughout each room. I noticed “pink carpeting’ … actually compressed fiberglass batt insulation that fell from ceiling framing after receding floodwaters.


Then there were refrigerators on rooftops and stuck in attic framing that floated there by rising floodwaters. I cannot even imagine the stench of opening one after it had been closed for more than a year. Seaweed piles were clumped on the rooftops of buildings that had been submerged.


The floodwaters in one neighborhood reportedly rose to 30, 40 or more feet within 35 minutes. If one was not prepared, that was certainly not enough time to get dressed, find the car keys and flee the area. One of the more disturbing visuals was the buildings with small cut-out holes through rooftops, no doubt made by folks escaping rising floodwaters and attic entrapment.


Every imaginable structural building defect was visible from an open pick-up truck window doing 20 mph: buildings broken in half, quarters, and in pieces; collapsed roofing systems, entire building walls blown-out; and enough severely sagged framing over broken, buckled and leaning masonry block piers to satisfy any group of home inspectors. After a period of time and due to the extent of destruction, the ‘routine’ of seeing site after site of common occurrence damage was glazed over for the more visually interesting total building destruction. To have been in it during the storm is unimaginable.


To say that the folks in this area can use some outside help is an understatement. I will support whatever effort ASHI can coordinate with local groups.

—Joe Corsetto, 2006 ASHI President


Friends in Need

ASHI President Joe Corsetto has eloquently shared our observations from our tour of the devastation in the 9th Ward and St. Bernard’s Parish. After viewing the destruction, I had a chance to talk to some of the ASHI leaders in New Orleans. 

It’s still in the planning stages, but Sidney Chaisson has agreed to help coordinate the effort of ASHI volunteers who wish to go to the “Big Easy” before or after InspectionWorld ‘08. Here’s our idea: We’ll have transportation from the hotels to the site. We’ll provide the equipment (masks, shovels, gloves, etc.) necessary at the work site. Cafe au lait and beignets are on me. It will be a worthwhile project that some of our members from as far away as Oregon and Colorado have already undertaken. Marygail Sullivan (aka Sully) and ASHI Director John Wenger were already down there helping out. I’m sure there are others that I just don’t know about. If you’ve been there, drop me an e-mail. 

We would really like to support our friends and colleagues in their time of need. You’ll be hearing more about this effort. Let’s see if ASHI can help make a

— Thanks, Frank Lesh, 2007 ASHI president


Members From Six States Work the Booth at NAR® Conference

The ASHI membership was well represented at the National Association of Realtors Conference, November 10-13, 2006, at the Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, La. by volunteers from six states.

The following ASHI Members joined ASHI officers and staff in the booth to demonstrate the Web site and deliver the ASHI message to real estate professionals.

From Louisiana…

Bill Hatchett
, Henry & Hatchett Inspection Services, Harvey, La., worked four shifts.

Bill Springer,
William, Springer Building Inspection Institute, Metairie, La., worked three shifts.

Roy Burst,
Home Inspections, LLC, Nine Mile Point, La., worked two shifts and took ASHI’s President and
President-elect on a tour of the 9th ward, resulting in a proposal that  InspectionWorld 2008 attendees participate in the recovery efforts when they attend the 2008 conference in New Orleans.

Carrie Booker,
Booker Building Inspections, LLC, Harahan, La., worked two shifts.

Sidney Chaisson, Chaisson Building Inspection Services, Inc., Baton Rouge, La.

Addley Coleman, Addley’s, Terrytown, La.

From Mississippi…

Charlie Sessums, Charlie Sessums, Alpha Inspection, Brandon, Miss., worked two shifts.

Scott Jordan, Scott Jordan, Check-It-Out Home Inspection, Ocean Springs, Miss.

From Illinois…

Stan Kupich, Stan Kupish, The HomeTeam Inspection Service, Decatur, Ill.

From Oregon…

MaryGail Sullivan, Sullivan Inspection Service Co., Portland, Oregon.

ASHI has two important audiences: consumers and real estate professionals. Volunteers make it possible for ASHI to connect with one of these audiences, both at the conference, and later, using the contact information collected from attendees. They can be proud of their work at the conference on behalf of the Society and the profession.