Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

September 2, 2005

Hurricane Microcosm

Filed under: — Different River @ 6:01 pm

This was just a pun based on the name of Tulane University, but what’s actually happening to the University is much more interesting, as a microcosm of hurricane fallout — of a type different from what’s been portrayed on the news.

First, about 400 students who were on campus at the time (and some staff) were evacuated to Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi — which was then hit by the hurricane also. But it wasn’t hit as badly as southern Louisiana, and all the Tulane people are safe. I hear from other (non-university) sources that Jackson was without power for two whole days (they’ve got it back now), so it wasn’t exactly a picnic, but they’re all safe. They are now being bussed to Atlanta and Dallas from which they are supposed to be able to get home — presumably those whose homes are outside the Louisiana/Mississippi /Alabama destruction zone.

The Fall Semester at Tulane was supposed to start this coming Tuesday, September 6. It won’t. Before the hurricane hit, they delayed the opening to September 7. It won’t start then either. They are making alternative arrangements to open somewhere else, or make some other arrangements. The university leadership stayed on campus until yesterday, when they evacuated to Houston. Who knows; maybe they’ll move the whole university.

This is all from their web site — they have replaced the main web site at www.tulane.edu with a blog, at which Tulane University President Scott Cowen is posting updates. The rest of the University’s internet services are shut down — the web sites, the e-mail systems, even (it seems) the nameservers. I can’t get in touch with the one person I know who lives in New Orleans, since he has a Tulane e-mail account (and of course the phones are probably not working either). I hope he and his family are safe and out of town.

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