If you read anything about the efforts to rebuild New Orleans, this Fortune article by Charles C. Mann is a good place to start. An excerpt:
Erin Levins returned to the city in early October, as soon as the checkpoints opened. As a manager at Cox Communications, he'd used Google Earth to learn that his house was standing.
But the blurry images on his screen had not prepared him for what it was like to see his neighborhood vacant and wrecked. Or to discover that every surface inside his home had been transformed into a garish ecosystem - pink, black, white, and green - inhabited almost exclusively by molds. Like tens of thousands of other homes in the city, the Levinses' house was structurally intact but completely consumed.
Wearing a respirator and a Tyvek suit, Erin ripped out the washer and dryer; the dishwasher, stove, and especially the refrigerator; and all the furniture, clothing, linens, and papers, including his wife's collection of art books, 3,000 strong. Out to the sidewalk went every scrap of wallboard, pipe and electrical fixture, insulation batt, and most of the floor.