For two or three days, J. Patrick Brown wasn’t sure if his whole family had made it out of New Orleans safely. They had decided to stay behind when Hurricane Katrina hit, to care for an ailing relative. Stuck inside without television or Internet access, they relied on him to call them from his college in Maine with updates on what was happening in the city.
When the city’s levees broke, he finally persuaded them to get out as quickly as they could. Not long after, the cell towers went down, and they lost contact.