With buildings reduced to soggy ruin just a few blocks away, Zipa's data center -- built by Enron in its expansionist heyday -- still operates, powered by a 750 kilowatt diesel generator and connected to the rest of the world by a fiber optic connection buried deep underneath New Orleans' flooded streets.
That makes the employees of Zipa and sister company Direct NIC, which is just upstairs, some of the only flood victims in New Orleans with the ability to communicate with the outside world.
Zipa has a webcam in their data center, on the tenth floor of a downtown office building, and they're streaming photos on the web.
"We are still up and running," says data center manager Michael Brunson, "We have people on site and they are doing well. Even if they need a bath."
Read more over at Wired, then check out the blog of Zipa's "crisis manager," Michael Barnett. Here's a sample, posted several hours ago:
In case anyone in national security is reading this, get the word to President Bush that we need the military in here NOW. The Active Duty Armed Forces. Mr. President, we are losing this city. I don't care what you're hearing on the news. The city is being lost. It is the law of the jungle down here. The command and control structure here is barely functioning. I'm not sure it's anyone's fault -- I'm not sure it could be any other way at this point. We need the kind of logistical support and infrastructure only the Active Duty military can provide. The hospitals are in dire straights. The police barely have any capabilities at this point. The National Guard is doing their best, but the situation is not being contained.
Can you believe this is happening in America? Deeply disturbing stuff. You'll be profoundly moved to pray.
The photo gallery is here.