The Longue Vue estate, with its English furnishings, Turkish rugs, blown-glass chandeliers and oil paintings, is on life support. Hundreds of yards of air-duct hoses run through doors and into cellars, trying to save the mansion from Hurricane Katrina's long-lasting remnant: mold.
The storm flooded the flower-studded grounds, swamped the wine cellar and buried the gardener's quarters in muck. Two months after Kartina, workers are at war with creeping moisture, trying to repel stench and rot from the Greek Revival mansion and museum in Old Metairie, a National Historic Landmark.
New Orleans - the perennially flooded city platted amid sea, lake, swamp and river - has always battled mold. But since Katrina inundated 80 percent of the city, moisture's assault has hit an all-time high, and a busy army of "mold remediation" crews have come from around the country to dry homes, businesses, schools and churches.
"We've had floods before," says preservationist Daniel Brown Jr., "but nothing like this where houses sat in water for two, three weeks."