BellSouth still dealing with storms’ challenges

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 10, 2005

NEW ORLEANS — As the hurricane season draws to a close, BellSouth’s Louisiana team continues its efforts to restore service in the most severely impacted areas – New Orleans, St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes, and Lake Charles.

“This was a season like no other for BellSouth in Louisiana – and the damage Hurricane Katrina dealt to New Orleans was unprecedented,” said Bill Oliver, President of BellSouth’s Louisiana operations.

“Virtually every community in Louisiana was affected in one way or another, either by feeling the impact of one – or both – of the storms or by accommodating evacuees, businesses that had relocated or government agencies associated with the recovery process.”

Oliver said BellSouth technicians from every part of the state have been loaned to the most devastated areas. Managing personnel and resources is a large job and one that has to be handled very carefully.

“Not only did we have to assign additional personnel and resources to Southeastern Louisiana and to the Lake Charles area, but we also had to accommodate the tremendous growth that occurred in other parts of the state,” he said. “Baton Rouge virtually doubled in size as evacuees, businesses and government agencies relocated thee. We needed to increase network capacity quickly to accommodate this growth.”

Oliver said BellSouths’ long history of service in the South has given the company a lot of experience in dealing with hurricanes.

“However, the subsequent flooding in New Orleans was unprecedented, and as a result BellSouth has identified approximately 140,000 lines in New Orleans which were under water for several weeks and are expected to be displaced for an extended period of time.”