VOIP, Web portals, geographic

By David F. Carr Print this article Print

City officials saw disaster preparedness as a job for another day. Then Katrina struck. In the six months since the hurricane blew apart the city, New Orleans officials have been improvising a plan to put its information infrastructure back together. Here

information systems all play a role in New Orleans' recovery">

City of New Orleans Base Case

HEADQUARTERS: New Orleans City Hall, 1300 Perdido St., New Orleans, LA 70112

PHONE: (504) 658-4000

BUSINESS: Governing a major port city known for jazz and its nightlife before 80 percent of the city was flooded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.


FINANCIALS: The city is facing a projected deficit of $358.6 million because of vanished tax revenue and increased expenses.

CHALLENGE: Recover from one of the biggest natural disasters in U.S. history. Use technological efficiencies to compensate for the layoffs of more than 3,000 city employees, or about half the municipal workforce.


  • Rebuild the population of New Orleans, which was 484,000 before the storm but stood at just about 200,000 at the end of February.
  • Restore the city's tax base, which was expected to drop 80 percent from the $260 million collected in 2005.
  • Complete inspections of more than 120,000 flood-damaged homes, which happened in November—four months sooner than might have been expected with paperwork methods.
  • Bring back local businesses; there were about 81,000 before the storm, but only 42,000 had resumed full operation at the end of February.

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    This article was originally published on 2006-03-06
    David F. Carr David F. Carr is the Technology Editor for Baseline Magazine, a Ziff Davis publication focused on information technology and its management, with an emphasis on measurable, bottom-line results. He wrote two of Baseline's cover stories focused on the role of technology in disaster recovery, one focused on the response to the tsunami in Indonesia and another on the City of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.David has been the author or co-author of many Baseline Case Dissections on corporate technology successes and failures (such as the role of Kmart's inept supply chain implementation in its decline versus Wal-Mart or the successful use of technology to create new market opportunities for office furniture maker Herman Miller). He has also written about the FAA's halting attempts to modernize air traffic control, and in 2003 he traveled to Sierra Leone and Liberia to report on the role of technology in United Nations peacekeeping.David joined Baseline prior to the launch of the magazine in 2001 and helped define popular elements of the magazine such as Gotcha!, which offers cautionary tales about technology pitfalls and how to avoid them.
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