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Listener Comments: Raising House and Up-Close with a Renoir

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Thanks to one listener for pointing out that $200,000 is, indeed, more money than it would take to elevate a home near New Orleans that we talked about last week. We are also prompted to explain how Susan Stamberg could actually get inside the Boating Party.


Time now for your comments.

Many of you have been following Steve's conversation with Donald and Colleen Bordelon. They've been giving us regular updates, as they rebuild their house in St. Bernard Parish near New Orleans. Last week, the Bordelons learned their house might have to be elevated three feet, if they're going to get insurance that they can afford. It's something thousands of families across the city are dealing with.

Donald Bordelon had this reaction.

Mr. DONALD BORDELON (Resident, St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana): I tell you what you do, Steve. No joke, man. You know a lot of people, man. You get in touch with a structural engineer. You send him over here. You let him look at this place. And you know what he's going to do? He's going to laugh at me.

MONTAGNE: Donald Bordelon assumed the work could cost him as much as $200,000. Glen Thompson from Ann Arbor, Michigan heard that and wrote in to say that estimate was too high. So we did what Donald asked us to do and sent a professional to their house for a free estimate.

Dr. NORMA JEAN MATTEI (Licensed Structural Engineer): I estimate the cost of elevating this structure to be probably in excess of $60,000.

MONTAGNE: Norma Jean Mattei is a licensed structural engineer who also teaches at the university of New Orleans. She walked around the Bordelon's house yesterday.

Dr. MATTEI: The house is probably on two separate slab foundations. They would have to dig underneath the foundation, jack it up, then pour another foundation. And then re-roof. Re-sheetrock. Reconnect the plumbing. Reconnect the gas lines. So the cost may be a tie as far as, you know, mowing the house down versus elevating.

MONTAGNE: Norma Jean Mattei says the Bordelons told her they're not likely to embark soon on a $60,000 project. They did, however, invite her to a party at their house this weekend.

And one more party before we go. A number of you wrote to say you enjoyed our story on Renoir's painting, Luncheon of the Boating Party. Special correspondent Susan Stamberg admitted she has a special affection for the painting.


I must say it's the only painting I ever wanted to be in.

MONTAGNE: Have you ever been to the Grounds for Sculpture outside of Trenton, New Jersey? So asked William Goodyear of Columbus, Ohio. J. Seward Johnson has created a life size, three-dimensional bronze sculpture of this event. You can actually put yourself in the party.

And you can send your comments to us at Just click Contact Us.

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