Like many Americans, I spent much of September glued to the TV, watching weather reports and cable news coverage of Hurricane Katrina. Los Angeles and New York are home to so much of the post industry, but cities such as New Orleans also have ties to our community. Turbo Squid (www.turbosquid.com) is a New Orleans-based vendor of 3D products, as well as an online host to a forum for pros looking to share and exchange ideas. The company and 16 of its employees are based in the heart of the city, and were greatly affected by the recent hurricane and its resulting flooding.
Alex Forst, marketing manager for Turbo Squid, joined the company earlier this summer but spent most of its latter part in motion, traveling to Baton Rouge, Lafayette and eventually Houston, all in the name of survival. I spoke with him via cell phone not long after he and his wife evacuated Houston in an effort to avoid Hurricane Rita. And for a guy who had been on the road now for weeks, he was holding up better than one might expect.
According to Forst, Turbo Squid decided to evacuate prior to Katrina. Many assumed the city would be hit by a force similar to that of Hurricane Ivan, and that it would take a week or so to get back into their 15th floor offices. But, by the time Forst says he arrived in Houston, post Katrina, he realized they would not be returning anytime soon.
They were able to recover their servers after the storm hit and their site is being hosted in Miami, allowing the company to continue to do business. Orders that were being fulfilled from New Orleans are, for the time being, being filled by suppliers. And overall, Forst says customers may have only experienced a two-week delay.
Turbo Squid founders Matt and Andy Wisdom, says Forst, "are committed to going back to New Orleans as soon as it?s inhabitable.
"It's important to let the community know that, while we are facing challenges, we are still here. And I think things are going pretty well, considering."
And as for the city, Forst says, "New Orleans is dependent on its people, and I hope many of them return to give it the 'jazz' it once had."