August 27, 2010

Good Morning:

Today and Saturday I will join nearly 2,000 of you as we commemorate the fifth anniversary of Katrina by taking part in the Day of Service and Outreach Tulane.

In some ways August 29, 2005, feels like just yesterday, in others it seems like another lifetime. This is just one example of the mixed emotions I think many of us are experiencing as we approach this landmark anniversary. The grim images on the news recounting the horrors of Katrina and the breached levees bring back haunting memories of those dark days that will never be erased from my mind and heart. And yet I have never been more optimistic about the future of our university and city.

Reconciling these two reactions to the anniversary is something with which we all struggle. I am hoping that the special multi-media exhibition, opening Tuesday, August 31, on the first floor of the Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life, will help. This exhibition, constructed from the photos, newspapers, videos, memories and sacrifices of so many of you, will chronicle the story of Tulane's Hurricane Katrina experience.

With conflicting emotions that include wounds that won’t heal and opportunities that have brought undreamed of hope, I can only recall the words from one of my first messages to the university community in the hours after the storm. “It is difficult to describe what this situation feels like for those involved. It is surreal and unfathomable; yet, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Our focus is on the light and not the darkness.”

Five years later we are still focused on that light, and it is getting brighter each day.


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