Hurricane IDA / Nicholas

17 October – After repairing a broken wire (Thanks David Sewell!) IEEE-USA’s MOVE team provided internet service at the Vietnamese RC church in Houma Louisiana. This very active church provided great assistance with setup, made us food, and provided translators to assist volunteers in working with their members.

Today is Grayson Randall’s last day on this disaster response. Tomorrow morning he and Jay Diepenbrock will taking MOVE-1 back to Raleigh over 2 days. MOVE-2, driven by David Sewell and supported by Chris Farrell, will continue to operate in Southern Louisiana for another couple of weeks.

Although much of the power is restored and communications continue to improve, the Red Cross continues to have people sign up for disaster relief assistance, even after 7 weeks since Hurricane Ida landfall.


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Thank you for your support.


16 October – Today the team returned to Golden Meadows, Louisiana where they supplied internet to relief workers. Local community members are still registering for disaster support. Another 12 hour day. Tomorrow they are scheduled to head to Houma La.

15 October – MOVE-2 spent another day of delivering internet. Power and communications are continuing to get better at the sites we visit. Today, MOVE-1 was assigned close by. Kathy Hayashi spent the day with MOVE-1 and the teams got together at the end of the day.

13 October – The MOVE-2 team returned to Grand Isle, Louisiana today. After 7 weeks, the island is still full of workers restoring services.

11 October – IEEE-USA’s MOVE-2 continues to support daily with internet and sometimes power. Today Kathy Hayashi, IEEE Region 6 director elect, joined the team to learn more about the MOVE program see the operation first-hand.

10 October – IEEE-USA’s MOVE-2 disaster relief vehicle supported another Red Cross resource center today. The MOVE team continues its to support daily with internet and sometimes power. Today, Kathy Hayashi, IEEE Region 6 director-elect, joined the team to learn more about the MOVE program. Great opportunity for her to see MOVE-2 in operation.

The team also provided internet at the Lions club in Montegut Louisiana. Wonderful community response to assist those impacted by the hurricane.

9 October – Today, IEEE-USA’s MOVE-2 team went to Grand Isle, Louisiana and provided internet to disaster relief volunteers. It is about 6 weeks since Hurricane Ida made landfall and Grand Isle is still closed to the public.
Relief workers are assisting residents with disaster recovery programs as well as feeding hot meals to anyone that needs one. A tremendous number of people working to restore Grand Isle back to its new normal. It was rumored that up to 80% of the buildings in Grand Isle were destroyed.

8 October – Work continued from yesterday – same location and same team. IEEE-USA’s MOVE team provided power and internet for Red Cross volunteers to register people for disaster relief services while operating from a tent in a parking lot.

Tomorrow will be a long day as they back to Grand Isle where catastrophic damage occurred.

7 October – Today, IEEE-USA’s MOVE-2 team was at the United Houma Nation Headquarters. They are the largest tribe in Louisiana. Like other days, the team supplied both power and communications so the Red Cross could register residents impacted by the hurricanes while working under a tent in a parking lot.

6 October – Repeat of last many days. Get up, drive to a location, deliver services, drive home. Typical day is about 13 hours. Today, IEEE-USA’s MOVE-2 team delivered communications to a small church in Galliano. They were impressed in how many church members turned out to help. Many stories of families that lost everything. Line was around the building in 90+ degree weather. Damage is everywhere they looked. The Red Cross registered families for disaster assistance all day. We are Glad IEEE-USA’s MOVE team could help make this possible!

5 October – Today we provided internet at a Volunteer Fire Station. The Red Cross registered over 200 families today with the assistance of our internet. We worked in the truck and adjusted some network configuration. We also setup our printer on the network. Grayson and David had a long talk with the Fire Chief. A true “Cajun” who shared many stories about the Cajun people and life on the Mississippi Delta. Fascinating!

Happy IEEE Day!

4 October – On Sunday, Jay and Alan took MOVE-1 to a new location, Bell Chasse in Plaquemines Parish. They set up WiFi Internet access for the Red Cross recovery team at Morningside Missionary Baptist Church so the team could work with clients there.

Today they set up at Beacon Light Baptist Church in Gray, LA, near Houma. The church building suffered roof damage, but was serving their community in spite of it by hosting the recovery team and also distributing supplies. The combined crowd created lines of both cars and people, with the line of cars spilling out the driveway and into the main street. The Red Cross team processed 423 contacts, and opened 107 cases.

It was a successful day for the Red Cross, but ended up not so well for Jay and Alan, as the truck shredded an engine belt on the way back to Baton Rouge. A tow was not available until Tuesday morning, but repairs are now underway.

Meanwhile, the MOVE-2 team encountered a closed road on our route to the Red Cross event. They were forced to back track and find an alternate route. Made it to the event on time, but used all of their time buffer. This was a relatively main road and they did not expect to find it blocked off. The team found significant damage in this area. Red Cross sends the MOVE trucks to badly damaged areas that have limited or no communication and power. At the event, they supplied internet as well as power for all the laptops and personal devices of the Red Cross volunteers.

3 October – The MOVE-2 team spent another day of supplying internet. Today it rained so hard the satellite link shutdown for a short period of time. The team continued to operate on the LTE router without interruption. The Red Cross registered over 200 families today for disaster relief assistance. The pictures today do not begin to show the damage that occurred from hurricane Ida here in Louisiana. The MOVE volunteers drive several hours every day to different towns. Everywhere they go they see blue tarps protecting homes from additional damage. Many homes are destroyed, many commercial buildings are damaged or destroyed. Power companies are still bringing power back on in many areas, many traffic lights inoperable, piles of trash in front of nearly every home. Although the national news cycle has moved on, the lives of these residents have been changed forever. It will be years for them to get back to a new normal.

2 October – Jay and Alan relocated MOVE-1 to Lockport (Lafourche Parish) to support case workers who were set up in City Hall. The crowd was huge, with the line across the parking lot and down the street. The team was told that some people had started lining up at 5 AM for the 10 AM opening. Five hundred thirty-two clients were contacted, and 200 cases were opened. Due to the large number of people contacted at this site, the team expects to be back there again.

Meanwhile, the MOVE-2 team was in Marrero Louisiana where they provided both both power and internet services to the Red Cross.

1 October – Alan and Jay drove MOVE-1 back to the gym at Estelle Playground for a second day of case work there. As is typical for this deployment.

Everything worked well, and the staff expressed their appreciation for our support. The Red Cross was a little short of staff, so opened cases for 54 families, registered another 82 to come back at a later date. Friday took the team back to Houma, this time to the Administrative Building of the United Houma Nation.

The building had been damaged and gutted, so pop up canopies were set up to assist clients. The building had power, but the MOVE team supplied additional power from the truck. Although not a huge crowd, the traffic was steady all day. The team also took some time to compare signal levels between some alternate network access devices. The staff opened 51 new cases, and made 87 contacts.

Grayson Randall and David Sewell in MOVE-2 had a very busy site at the Town Hall in Golden Meadow, with about 200 clients. The MOVE-1 team arranged to meet them on the way back from Houma to pass on a DST too kit that they had requested. This gave the teams the opportunity to meet outside at a Mexican takeout restaurant before returning to Baton Rouge (and them to New Orleans).

30 September – Today, the MOVE-2 team supported operations in Dulac, Louisiana. The hosting church provided meals and resources while many of those impacted signed up for disaster relief services. The church had just had the power restored but cell service was extremely poor. MOVE-2 supplied internet to the entire Red Cross team through our satellite service. The internet was used to enter registration data of those impacted into a cloud system.

Tomorrow we will be in Golden Meadow at another resource event. MOVE-1 is also supporting similar resource events in other towns.

28 September – MOVE-2 is in New Orleans Louisiana. After a 2 day drive, David H Sewell and Grayson Randall had an uneventful trip and some great Cajun food for dinner. Thanks to Lee Mari, a DST lead from Red Cross in Eastern NC greeted the team and took them out for dinner.

Tomorrow the team is scheduled to leave very early in the morning to support an event in Grand Isle, La. This area was devastated after Hurricane Ida. The MOVE-2 team will be providing internet communications for first responders working with those impacted.

MOVE-1 has been supplying internet at these events for days. Now with MOVE-2 deployed… IEEE can help increase the number of events supported… therefore increasing the number of families that can be assisted.

27 September – Yesterday, the Initial MOVE team took a much needed break. But, today, they were back to work. The MOVE-1 returned to the church in Houma (where they had been last Thursday). There’s water everywhere even in normal times, so one travels over a lot of bridges. In the meantime, the new MOVE-2 truck left Durham, NC on it’s first IEEE deployment to support the ongoing efforts. This will enable MOVE to support two case work sites at a time starting on Wednesday.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) the team will head to Grand Isle, which is as far South as you can get without getting your feet wet in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a four hour drive from Baton Rouge one way.

26 September – IEEE-USA’s MOVE-2 vehicle will be deploying to southern Louisiana on Monday, 27 September to assist the MOVE-1 team’s continuing field operations in southern Louisiana.

25 September – Alan and Jay took MOVE-1 to set up at Estelle Playground, in Marerro, LA, in Jefferson Parish South of New Orleans. The Red Cross team greeted clients in the gymnasium in the park, opening cases for about 90 client families of 170 seen. Power was available in the building, but again there was no Internet access, so MOVE-1 provided it.

The day went smoothly, with many clients serviced, until it was time to pack up and go back to Baton Rouge. Alan discovered that we had a flat tire on the truck, due to a stray machine bolt. This was Saturday at 5 PM, not the best time to be stranded out in the boondocks of Louisiana. Fortunately our support team found the name of a tire repair shop that was not too far away and was willing to send people to repair or replace the tire. Fortunately a patch was sufficient, and the MOVE team was back on the road, albeit a little later than planned. Another late night out.

24 September – Jay and Alan piloted MOVE-1 through New Orleans on Friday toward Port Sulphur, the farthest Southern point in the deployment so far. We passed some damage en route, though it was not as evident as it had been in the previous days. The area is sparsely populated, past the refineries, flooded fields, and some other interesting scenery.

The Red Cross recovery team set up in a mobile home behind a local church, with Internet access provided by MOVE-1’s satellite dish system. The cellular signal was so weak out in this area that even AT&T’s FirstNet system didn’t work. The Red Cross saw about 80 client families, and plans to return this week to interview more that could not be accommodated that day. Returning home to Baton Rouge proved to be an adventure, due to Interstate and local road closures, low clearance tunnels, and navigating through narrow residential streets in New Orleans. Finding dinner was also difficult, as most of the restaurants on the route had already closed for the night, if they had been open at all.

23 September – On Thursday, Alan and Jay traveled with MOVE-1 to Houma, LA, the parish seat of Terrebonne Parish.  It’s Southwest of New Orleans (on the way to Wednesday’s destination of Dulac).  There was again a lot of destruction to be seen en route.

The Red Cross case workers set up at a church to interview clients to determine their needs, and served approximately 80 clients before having to close the doors and turn people away. Although the host church had electricity, they had no Internet service, so Jay and Alan supplied it using MOVE-1’s satellite dish system (The team may return next week to service additional clients).

After another long day, the team headed back to Baton Rouge. The options for dinner were pretty limited, as many restaurants had closed early. Finding fuel for the truck also presented a challenge.

22 September – MOVE team has been busy. Jay and Alan traveled to Dulac in Terrebonne Parish, way South of Baton Rouge and New Orleans, where the Red Cross interviewed clients to assess their needs and provide assistance. They were set up at a local church, which was also distributing relief supplies.

19 September – The MOVE-1 truck and team, Jay and Alan, have departed for Louisiana again today in response to hurricanes Nicholas and Ida.

11 September – MOVE’s Hurricane Ida deployment has been completed. The team is in Atlanta tonight and will arrive in Durham tomorrow.

8 September – Providing communications and power is not always glamorous. Alan Brown’s activities today (13 hours and approximately 200 miles) included the following tasks at 5 locations:

  • Staff Shelter at Graceworks Baptist Church in Prairieville, LA
    • Install printer & laptop; move it all after they change their minds
    • Deliver supplies from Baton Rouge headquarters warehouse
  • Client Shelter at Lamar Dixon Gym in Gonzales, LA
    • Deliver supplies from Baton Rouge headquarters warehouse
  • Kitchen at Ascension Baptist Church in Gonzales, LA
    • DST wellness check: replaced radio batteries & answered Excel questions
  • Client Shelter at Amelia Rec. Center in Amelia, LA
    • Install printer; re-wire their computer table.
  • Kitchen at Bayou Vista Baptist Church in Morgan City, LA
    • DST wellness check: repaired radios & answered various questions

7 September – Today, the team went back to the Hammond kitchen to deliver two gasoline generators to provide the power, freeing up the truck for other assignments. After returning to headquarters in Baton Rouge, Alan made a sortie to Alexandria to pick up a load of laptops, and Jay worked on wiping laptops and phones for re-issue to the Red Cross staff, which now total over 800 on this operation. He also helped users with various computer problems.

6 September – Jay and Alan took the MOVE-1 truck to the Hammond Kitchen, which had not had any power in the room assigned to the Red Cross kitchen leadership for four days. They used the generator on the truck to provide power for laptops, a printer, and network gear so the staff could manage the kitchen, which is now preparing 7000 meals per day.

5 September – Jay and Alan Split up today

Jay had half the day off. Jay and Dana then took off to a warehouse 4 miles away from the Red Cross Baton Rouge headquarters to setup Internet communications, laptops, printers, etc.

Alan and Thomas chased way down to Morgan City, LA. We performed a DST survey of an elementary school gymnasium that will be used as a staff shelter. Then installed Kitchen #3 at Bayou Vista Baptist Church with Internet communications, printer, laptop, cell phones, radio base station & antenna, and yard radios. Then installed power strips with 36 outlets at Berwick Client shelter for charging client devices.

Tonight they vacated their luxury cubicles in the Red Cross chapter office (HQ) building and checked into a hotel, a big step up!

Volleyball Pole Antenna

2 September – Alan and Jay traveled to three field kitchen sites today to deliver and set up laptops, networking and radio equipment, printers, and cell phones to support the kitchens. Alan came up with a novel method of supporting a radio antenna on an old volleyball pole (engineers solve problems!). They saw many traffic lights and businesses still out, downed utility poles, and damage to houses, signs, and buildings. Local reports say it will be weeks before some areas have power restored. Cell phone service is still out in many areas. Gas lines are still long at the few stations that have gasoline (and power).

1 September – Jay and Alan each drove box trucks to Alexandria, LA (2.5 hours each way) today to pick up a large shipment of Disaster Services Technology (DST) equipment to support the operation, since FedEx is not servicing Baton Rouge yet.  Thursday they will travel to two new kitchen sites to set up computers, printers, VHF radios, and cell phones for communicating with the food distribution teams.

The power is beginning to be restored to New Orleans and Baton Rouge, though there are still traffic lights out and power lines across roads in places.  Fuel availability remains very limited.  The first commercial airline flights are expected to service New Orleans Louis Armstrong airport on Thursday.

31 August – Today, Alan and Jay set up cell phones and laptops for issuance to Red Cross personnel serving the clients out of the Baton Rouge chapter office. The team also traveled to New Orleans to pick up two rental box trucks to be used to pick up and deliver equipment, since commercial shipping service in the area is limited. Gas is hard to find and the team visited four stations with a long line to fill the car with gas for the trip. The trip was further slowed down by many dark traffic lights. Large areas still flooded with water and the team saw a lot of roof and tree damage during their travels. Some residents were told that the power may not be back on for weeks.

30 August (11:10 PM EDT) – The damage and conditions in Baton Rouge from Hurricane Ida were not as severe as expected, and the prior Ground Stop was lifted Monday morning, so the team (Alan Brown and Jay Diepenbrock) were given permission to travel there from Texarkana, TX. The weather was sunny most of the way, and convoys of Army and electric company vehicles were seen en route.

The power was out starting about six miles from the Red Cross chapter office in Baton Rouge, causing slow, heavy traffic (traffic lights were almost all dark) and long lines at the few stations that had gasoline available (no electricity, so no pumps). Some damage was evident, but not as much as expected.

Unfortunately, the lack of power also affected the available lodging options. The Holiday Inn had no power, so the team was reassigned to a staff shelter at a Baptist church, which as it turned out, also had no power. They were then faced with the choice of sleeping on the truck (quiet, but with no bathroom) or in a cubicle in the chapter office. They chose the latter (hoping that their neighbors didn’t snore). They enjoyed a gourmet chili heater meal (think MREs – meals-ready-to-eat), set up their new digs, and tried to get some sleep.

Tomorrow they will get their work assignment. In addition to the entire city of New Orleans having no power, they were told that three of the local parishes (think counties) have complete communications blackouts, AT&T has no service, etc., so hopefully MOVE can help.

30 August – The MOVE team is on their way to Baton Rouge, LA to assist with recovery efforts. They should arrive later this afternoon. One million people in Louisiana are without power at this time (power could be out 6 weeks for some).

29 August (12:55 PM EDT) – NOAA Doppler radar imagery indicates that the eye of Ida made landfall along the southeastern coast of Louisiana near Port Fourchon around 11:55 AM CDT (1655 UTC). Data from an Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft and Doppler radar data indicate that Ida‘s maximum sustained winds at landfall were estimated to be 150mph (240 km/h).

29 August (11:00 AM EDT) – Hurricane IDA is an extremely dangerous category 4 (150 mph sustained winds) and expected to make landfall in southeastern Louisiana within the next few hours. IEEE-USA’s MOVE-1 Truck has been deployed and is headed to pre-position in Texarkana.


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You Can Help

MOVE is funded by donations like yours. Your support is greatly appreciated. Please consider helping the MOVE Community Outreach program by donating to the cause.

Thank you for your support!