Friday, January 12, 2007

Hurricane Katrina. It has not been fun being associated with one of the most powerful and destructive hurricanes ever to hit the U.S. At first it was kinda cool to have the same name as a hurricane. Katrina wasn't doing a whole lot, just skipping across southern Florida and causing the usual flooding and high winds. When Hurricane Katrina headed for Louisiana, things got a bit more exciting. However, streaming a local New Orleans news station on my computer the morning Hurricane Katrina hit, I quickly learned that this storm was more than anyone bargained for.

A day or two later, my phone number was mistakenly given out on the air at a press conference. I went to the store for 1 hour and when I got back I had 137 voicemail messages! My phone continued to ring off the hook and through speaking with some of the callers, I was able to find out the source of the press conference. I then began work to contact them and ask them to please stop airing the press conference where the incorrect number is given out. I was also able (after a couple of days) to find out the number that they meant to give out at the press conference so I changed my voicemail message and put that number on there. I also transcribed all the messages that people left and forwarded them on to the appropriate agency. Most of the callers were medical professionals wondering how they could be of help. A few of the calls were people wanting to take in people who had been displaced by the hurricane. Of course, there were some calls from frustrated people wondering why more wasn't being done to help the victims.

Here it is, a year and a half later and I still see calls on my phone bill from the 504 area code. Once in awhile I'll see the Houston, Texas area code on there as well which makes sense, as that's where a lot of the displaced residents headed. Thank goodness the Katrina name has been retired so that name will never be used for another hurricane.

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