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WDSU-TV Acts as Lifeline During Hurricane Katrina (WDSU-TV)

Topic: Disaster Relief and Recovery

When the devastation of Hurricane Katrina shook the residents of Louisiana, WDSU-TV in New Orleans, La., took serious measures to ensure their community was as prepared as possible for future storms. When Hurricane Gustav made its way to the Gulf Coast, the station knew what to do. In preparation for the storm and in its aftermath, the station went commercial free with their coverage. President and General Manager, Joel Vilmenay, made the call because he still has staff working for him who has been there since Katrina hit three years ago and they have memories still fresh in their minds. One of the decisions WDSU made post Katrina was to permanently establish a bureau in Baton Rouge which acts as a secondary position for the station if it is needed. Still, as a precaution, the station rebuilt its transmitter platform at 27 feet above sea level to protect it from flood damage, equipped with a generator and fuel to run it for just over two weeks without the help of outside power. They also provided their staff with satellite phones, text-capable cell phones, spare tires, first-aid kits, food and water.


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