Lead in New Orleans: The Next Flint?

Corrosion and CorruptionIn a city as old as New Orleans, a vast majority of the housing stock relies on decades-old lead-filled water pipes. With the city launching a $2.4 billion overhaul of water lines citywide, lead is certain to become a bigger issue. The ongoing lead crisis in Flint, Michigan provides a cautionary tale of the dangers of lead poisoning, and the environmental justice issues associated with an aging and poorly maintained infrastructure. Could New Orleans be next?

  • Thomas Beller, Associate Professor, English, Tulane University  (moderator) beller-bio-pic-thomas-beller.jpg
    Thomas Beller is a writer and Associate Professor of English at Tulane University. He is a long time contributor to the New Yorker whose work appears in New York Times, Vogue,  and The Paris Review,  among others. A former editor of Open City Magazine and Books, he is author of Seduction Theory (1995), The Sleep-Over Artist (2000), How to Be a Man: Scenes from a Protracted Boyhood (2005), and J.D. Salinger: The Escape Artist (2014) which won the New York City Book Award for Biography and Memoir in 2015.
  • Monique Harden, Co-Director and Attorney, Advocates for Environmental Human Rights                                                                                                                     Since 1996, Ms. Harden has provided legal counsel and advocacy support that have helped community organizations win important environmental justice victories.  In 2003, Ms. Harden, along with Nathalie Walker, co-founded Advocates for Environmental Human Rights. Ms. Harden is a graduate of The University of Texas School of Law (1995), and received a B.A. from St. John’s College (1990).  Ms. Harden has authored and co-authored numerous reports and papers on environmental justice and human rights issues.  Her advocacy work has been featured in television, radio and print news, as well as books, magazines, and documentaries. (Biography received from http://www.ehumanrights.org/about.html).
  • Adrienne Katner, Assistant Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, LSU a-katner_-water-sampling-adrienne-katner.png
    Dr. Adrienne Katner in an Assistant Professor in Environmental and Occupational Health at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) School of Public Health. Prior to entering academia, Dr. Katner worked with the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch; and the Louisiana Office of Public Health (LOPH). Dr. Katner’s research focuses on exposures to heavy metals, within the context of environmental policies and public health interventions. Ongoing projects include an assessment of lead in New Orleans drinking water and cost-effective interventions; an evaluation of flood-related private well water impacts; development of a project-based environmental public health curriculum for high schools; and development of a web-based resource enabling assessment of risk for communities concerned about their drinking water. Her investigations have revealed potential problems with lead in Louisiana drinking water; issues with drinking water monitoring protocols; gaps in regulations and state oversight; and inadequacies with prevailing exposure reduction guidelines and practices. For her local work, she has received a Katrina Hero Award for Environmental Justice and a Community Angel Award from New Orleans non-profits.