Katrina: loose ends

* Richard, a NOLA blogger, returns home briefly to assess damage and hopes to find his cat Lola alive:

I look around and see that there's not much damage. Some more small trees and shrubs are down in my neighbor's yard. A handful of my potted plants have died. I walk back to the kitchen to get my duffel bag and start packing.

Then I see her: a long, low lump stretched across a side table. I take a step toward her and call out "Lola?", but she doesn't respond.

The pieces quickly fall into place: during the storm, the door to the study slammed shut, trapping her in the back of the house for nearly three weeks, a few crucial feet away from bowls of food and a tap that's still dripping. Lola's eyes are slits, green and lifeless. I call her name again, stroke her back, but nothing.

Without thinking, I say, "I'm sorry." I keep repeating it: "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry."


* Sascha Meinrath, volunteer tech aid coordinator with CUwireless, has this update for Boing Boing readers on some post-Katrina reconnect projects:

My friend Michael Maranda (President of the Association for Community Networks) summed up the lessons learned better than anyone I've heard thus far:

"The storm makes the case for distributed capacity/expertise to deploy networks throughout society… From voluntary/community and government sectors as well as business. Mobilization of volunteers for every aspect… From direct help to communications and database development and support presents a challenge…
Existing structures don't know how best to open a space for such involvement. I know this is not what is understood as general definition of infrastructure, let alone critical infrastructure, but I believe we have the opportunity to redefine 'critical infrastructure' to include human systems and coordination of volunteer resources and talents."

Where the ad-hoc coalitions of Community Wireless Networkers excelled was in mobilizing quickly, integrating rapidly into chaotic conditions, and setting up infrastructures that meet the needs of the people involved. Whether it's setting up a computer cluster at the Houston Astrodome or creating a community built and operated telecom center in Algiers, the looseknit coalition of Community Wireless Networking groups has proven to be an effective force for bringing telecommunications infrastructure to the marginalized and ignored.

Over the next few days, plans include upgrading the LPFM Radio Station in Algiers, connect 25 shelters in the Bay St. Louis area, and shipping 2600 pounds of phones and computers to Response Teams in and around the disaster area.

* Here are some images of telco central offices in the New Orleans area. Food for thought for those in charge of rebuild plans: Link

* Intel donates 2300 laptops to the Red Cross and 150 wireless access points for first responders and disaster victims: Link

(thanks, Jonno, doug humphrey / Wayne's list, Lloyd Rodenbaugh )