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Katrina 5.0: A Symposium on Technology & Blogging

Next week I’ll be on a panel called “Katrina 5.0: A Symposium on Technology & Blogging” hosted by the Louisiana State Museum.

Among other things, I’ll be talking about blogging, my experience of writing about the aftermath of the levee failures, and how the platform or community has evolved in the past five years. I think it’s interesting to look at how Katrina played out in the blogosphere, and compare it to the BP oil spill and how it continues to play out. I have my own ideas, but I’d be curious to know what others think.

So — what do you think? How did blogs and new media inform your understanding of Katrina and the levee failures and the ongoing recovery work in New Orleans? In what ways is that similar or dissimilar to the story of the oil spill?

Here are the particulars. I believe the panel itself will be in the final hour of the event.

Time: August 25 · 5:30pm – 8:00pm
Location: The Presbytère, Jackson Square

Join us for a preview of, a comprehensive hurricane website from The University of Rhode Island. Meet two members of Rising Tide Nola, Bart Everson and Troy Gilbert, who captured Katrina’s wrath in real time, on their blogs. Learn about tools for disaster management from Ky Luu, Executive Director of Tulane’s DRLA and previous Director of the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance. Hear from Len Bahr, prominent blogger and previous Director of the Governor’s Applied Coastal Science Program, who’s using LaCoastPost as a voice for the Gulf.

Hope you can be there. In the meantime, by all means, let me know what you think.

Published inGeekyKatrinaNew Orleans


  1. rickngentilly rickngentilly

    the two weeks i couldn’t get back into town it was priceless.

    once i got some fake boh brothers passes for my windshield and started rebuilding my house i was out of touch.

    once the juice came back on in my neighborhood in november and my wife was able to come home from houston , the nola bloggers were my intensive psycho therapy for a good two years. it has become less of a crutch to sanity and more of a window to information since then.

    they “the nola bloggers” literally kept me sane as i toiled in my hood while going to work in the 1/4 and hearing well meaning people say stuff like yall seem to be o.k.

    the b.p. to katrina ratio i cant really address.

    it’s still to fluid.

    i can say a.z. is a good read.

    thanks for doing this. i hope it will be online for listening.

  2. Brenda Helverson Brenda Helverson

    During Katrina, I relied on two online sources: The excellent Times-Picayune online coverage and a blog by some guys who were protecting a data center in downtown New Orleans. I forget the name of the blog but it was an hour-by-hour report of the entire ordeal.

    I later came to Brox from a list of about 10 NO bloggers provided by Scout at First Draft. Yours has been the only long-term keeper of the bunch.

  3. rickngentilly rickngentilly

    hey brenda.

    i would love to read that “some guys data center protection” blog.

    it would be interesting and therapeutic to read someone else’s real time experience other than mine.

    i spent the first two years after katrina reading every thing i could find trying to figure out what was going on in my life and head.

    never found that one.

    i am still debating in my head if i am ready to see the two photo exhibits at the historic n.o collection and the ogden museum.

    i want to see them and think they will be a good foot up the ass for my tiny little pal ptsd that still thinks he can be part of my life.

    he used to hang over me big time but he is slowly becoming a ghost.

  4. Anonymous Anonymous

    I can’t remember exactly how I stumbled across your blog, but I know it was Post-Katrina. My only connection to New Orleans was the four years I spent at Tulane, and countless visits in the the years that followed, so I was quite surprised by my own emotional devastation in the days after the flooding.

    The national news coverage seemed impersonal and somehow degrading (all those dirty water shots, the disaster at the Superdome, the reported crime and looting, the violence). I couldn’t make sense of it and I took to the Internet to find out more. I found pictures that someone had posted of my old uptown neighborhood and of the Tulane campus. I found first-hand accounts of people who had fled before the flood. I found the amazing Time Picayune coverage and Chris Rose’s columns. And somewhere along the way, I found your blog, and others at well. I ultimately stuck with your blog and an livejournal community made up mostly of artists and performers as they gave me a feeling of hope that the communal spirit of New Orleans was going to survive.

  5. Hey, Brenda:
    found this on my Katrina page:

    The Survival of New Orleans blog…
    Many pictures and blow by blow telling of surviving Katrina and the aftermath in a New Orleans highrise.

    Can’t get to the site from work, but I think it’s what you’re talking about. I found it fascinating.

    I started my Katrina page ( right after Katrina as a way to deal with my “survivors guilt”. That made way for my blog a few years later.

    The blogging community – an not just the NOLA community – helped get word out to the world as to what was going on down here, not just in the city.

  6. Thanks, Judy. The Interdictor is for sure the blog Brenda was talking about. I couldn’t remember the name last night. I believe the author moved to Florida and then to Sicily, but he was blogging the storm (and the flood) live from the CBD.

  7. I think initially my blog served as a way to vent frustration. That was before I realized there was an entire network of people who were either documenting their own recovery process or highlighting the good and bad of the recovery in general. As time has past I think the focus of local blogs has branched out to different aspects of post Katrina New Orleans.

    I think bloggers have tried to generate the same energy for the oil spill but politics and the mainstream media have fought harder to control the debate and it’s made it more difficult to get the message out. I think the same thing was tried after Katrina too but there was a more united effort to get the message out about what was going on.

    I hope this helps. Have a good time on the panel.

  8. rickngentilly rickngentilly

    to brenda, judy , and bart.

    thank you for that link.

    i cant believe i read the whole thing and didnt go into some kind of katrina funk.

    confronting your demons is getting easier at k+5

    thank yall.

  9. Jack Schick Jack Schick

    I think y’all will benefit from a little reflection-that-informs-your-future.
    Like the fact that cell-phone comms were blocked intentionally during the
    flood-emergency-rescue phases….
    Are you guys aware of rumblings from Our Federal Empire that they will control
    internet, texting, twitter, 3-G transmittance when and where they want to…?
    Anybody still gotta CB Radio? How about some kind of planned-ahead means
    of communicating with your physical neighbors, like Flag Semaphore signals
    which can be read a Mile away?
    There are apparently HUGE lies dominating common news Media about your
    present Oil Blowout situation. They don’t care about your Health. They don’t care about your kids.
    Saw a story about bona-fide LSU researchers denied access to the water,
    because they weren’t authorized and sworn to the BeePee Security Code of Silence.
    Blogs are effective for those who Read, consider, think, respond and engage,
    with the thought of immediate Management Challenges, like your kids’ possibility of survival. It’s a Possibility, but not Likely, at this real crucial
    critical crisis of repetitive redundancy…

  10. Brenda Helverson Brenda Helverson

    I’m sorry for not checking back and am glad that someone else found the Interdictor site. That’s the one! Interdictor and the Times-Picayune were must-read sites for me during Katrina. I don’t remember how I found Interdictor but because it has technical references it was probably though Boing Boing.

    As I recall, they were running an old Enron data center that was picked up from the bankruptcy sale and kept data flowing down the fiber optic cables throughout Katrina.

    I still want to know how the Times-Picayune maintained its web presence during this period.

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