Phone networks struggle in Hurricane Katrina's wake
Telephone companies struggled to restore service and measure the damage to their networks in Louisiana and Mississippi on Tuesday after Hurricane Katrina cut power and triggered severe flooding.
A spokesman for BellSouth Corp., the largest local telephone company in the region, said while the company estimated about 53,000 lines were out in the two states, the actual numbers were likely to be higher.
Cingular Wireless and Sprint Nextel Corp. said cellular service in the area had been affected as well.
All three companies said power losses were the main threat to further service failures, but that flooding was hampering their efforts to reach network equipment.
Entergy Corp. reported more than a million customers without power in Louisiana and Mississippi, and warned customers to expect a long and difficult restoration that could take weeks.
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin told television station WWL that 80 percent of the city was under water, and authorities declared martial law in some areas.