Remembering Katrina

I can’t believe its been 5 years since Katrina struck Louisiana. I remember it as clear as if it were yesterday. Although we live in Baton Rouge, my cousins had just moved to New Orleans. They moved in on the 27th and evacuated to Houston on the 28th. But that’s another story.

Over night, Baton Rouge became a city almost twice its size. Evacuees stayed with friends, family, hotels, or shelters. Traffic in the city came to a crawl. When TV coverage in New Orleans focused on people at the Superdome, rumors about rioting in downtown Baton Rouge spread like wild-fire. LSU even closed down one day early because of the rumors.

But the most haunting memory for me remains the sounds of ambulance sirens and helicopters swirling about, bringing in the injured and sick to the Pete Maravich Assembly Center (or PMAC), the LSU basketball arena, which had become the largest acute care field hospital ever created in US history for Katrina, and then Rita.  While I grew used to these sounds when I was a grad student in Los Angeles, my new home city was devoid of this audio backdrop.  These sounds, the hospital, the need for volunteers persisted for months long after the storms had past. These reminders of the storm’s human toll has never left me.

Was this a natural disaster or a man-made catastrophe? For me, this was a human tragedy whose impact cannot be forgotten.

I will always remember this day.


Chris Castle and others: News from the Goolag: What kind of shakedown can we expect from “Google Music”? Free beer for everyone!

Here is a great article by Chris Castle on how two different companies understand (or not) and value (or not) the product of creative artists. I’ve excerpted my favorite passage here, but you should definitely read the whole thing!

“Choosing music to do it in merely suggests that they may actually enjoy getting their asses kicked by Apple. Because the fundamental difference between Apple and Google is that Apple respects copyright, values its relationships with the creative community, and bends over backwards to cooperate with artists and film makers. This is the message that is loud and clear when you go to an Apple event. We get you, we like you, we respect what you do, please stay.

Google is the polar opposite. Google’s message to artists is that we don’t respect you, we definitely don’t want to pay you, and we will litigate you into the ground by selling our stock and raising more litigation money than you could ever dream of spending. And Google will have its shills in the press and academia criticize the recording industry for a $16 million litigation budget when Google spend $100 million litigating one case (Viacom v. YouTube). Google will sell advertising on pirate sites and lie about it, Google will take everything that is not nailed down, and Google will offer the biggest companies shut up money to make them go away. And by the way, Google has no interest in preserving our business and would very much like it if your trade organizations all were ground up into little pieces so Google could then move on to scaring the bejeezus out of individual artists.”

— Chris Castle

via Music • Technology • Policy — Chris Castle and others: News from the Goolag: What kind of shakedown can we expect from “Google Music”? Free beer for everyone!.

Report: Games boost economy

For the past 6 years, we’ve been trying to convince our university, the state and the public that video game development is a viable and important part of a diversified economic development portfolio. After helping the state set up tax credits, after establishing an interdisciplinary undergraduate minor in digital media, and after establishing a research cluster in digital media, we now have a report that only confirms what we have always known. | News | Report: Games boost economy — Baton Rouge, LA.