It's a vexing mystery -- what is causing the foul smell in parts of metro New Orleans? Experts at the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality have had trouble running it down.
Peter Ricca with the DEQ says tracing the source hasn't been easy. He says the description of the smell covers a broad range.
"One person said it smelled like benzene, there was a tar, a burnt tar smell, a rotten egg smell," said Ricca. He said that points to a lot of potential suspects: "If you have a rotten egg smell, that's usually hydrogen sulfide. If you have a smell like a burnt match, that's sulfur dioxide."
Ricca says what they have been able to figure out is that a release reported earlier today by Chalmette Refining doesn't appear to be the only problem. Handheld monitors haven't been able to get good results, so DEQ is brining in bigger equipment.
"Our mobile air monitoring lab is on its way down there," he said. "Once it gets down there and set up, we will pull some samples and see what we can find out."