If you think you’ve heard it all when it comes to arcane FEMA regulations, head to LSU Health Sciences Center, where Katrina-related work is still going strong. In the dark recesses of the Resource Building’s first floor, the cinderblock walls are painted gray, but only up to 4 feet above the floor. From that point to the ceiling — about 6 feet — they are aqua, the color they bore before the 2005 storm.
That’s not a designer’s idea for an arresting color combination. The gray paint, which is waterproof, goes up only to that point because the floodwaters never rose higher and, therefore, FEMA declined to cover the cost of painting the entire wall, said Treacy Stone, the center’s facilities services director.
There’s a similar situation across Gravier Street, where Katrina’s floodwaters swamped the first floor in the Lions/LSU Clinics Building. Some imposingly tall, gray doors stop about 3 feet above the floor, making them look like Dutch doors without the lower parts. The reason, once again, was the height of the floodwaters in that building — about 2 feet, with some leeway for unseen damage that water and mold might have caused, Stone said.
“In your home, if you had drywall that got wet that way, cutting it about a foot above the water level would be smart because water can affect the insulation,” said Matt Gedge, the center’s director of special projects.