It was rumored that the first connection New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin had with the outside world after Katrina travelled on a WiFi-connected Vonage VOIP telephone linked through the dedicated folks at DirectNIC.com, who stayed on line throughout it all.
Now, Nagin's announced an initiative to cover the entire city with WiFi, starting with the Central Business District and the French Quarter. Be nice if they could fix Old Glory first, though.
But, the economic advantages of free Internet everywhere are not difficult to see... and not impractical. Sure wish the folks around here would look at free WiFi as a way to apply CPR to what's left of downtown Milwaukie, instead of bemoaning the juggernaut that is Wal-Mart.
UPDATE: BellSouth has yanked the offer to allow the City of New Orleans to temporarily use a BellSouth building to aid in the recovery, allegedly because of the WiFi project. If you're a BellSouth shareholder, you may wish to express your views here; the web form for comments for everyone else is over there.