October 4, 2002

Good Morning,

The last two weeks certainly have been hectic with Lili and Isidore. Fortunately, our people and campuses came through both storms safe and sound. We, as a community, owe a debt of gratitude to a group of dedicated people known as the Emergency Operating Group and many others in key service areas, for working tirelessly around the clock through these storms to make sure that everyone was safe and the campuses continued to function. I sincerely appreciate their hard work, sense of responsibility, and goodwill in times of crisis.

I also want to thank the scores of people in the administrative offices who fielded the hundreds of questions from callers, mostly parents of undergraduates, about the storms. Many of these were from people who were highly emotional and required extensive and sometimes lengthy reassurances. For the most part, these individuals were calling from across the country and were reacting to weather reports they heard on the national news. Unfortunately, these reports did not always accurately reflect what was actually happening in the New Orleans area. As always, I am very proud that the Tulane community handled itself with its normal grace and understanding during this stressful time.

As a final note on the hurricanes, a few people have asked me how the university tracks and monitors storms. Tulane subscribes to a highly professional weather monitoring service called Impact Weather.

Whenever bad weather of any kind is forecast for our area, we receive regular, detailed e-mails describing the forecasted conditions. When posed with a threatening storm, we supplement these e-mail reports with around-the-clock phone conversations with Impact Weather staff meteorologists. As an example, we were in direct contact with Impact Weather for at least 4 to 5 days before Lili and Isidore were on anyone else's personal radar screen. Even though we know that weather forecasting is not a perfect science, these meteorologists have proven to be remarkably accurate in their forecasts. We supplement the information we get from our private service with information from the city and other professional resources.

It is important for you to realize that we do not rely on the national network or cable news for any weather information in our vicinity, as we have found that these broadcasts are not necessarily accurate, but are oftentimes reported in a way that makes their broadcasts more exciting. We only follow the local news to see if it deviates significantly from what we are hearing from our other resources. In making a decision about closure, we are always guided by what action is in the best interest of our 12,000 students and 5,700 employees, given all the information available to us.

Enough about hurricanes--go have a relaxing, dry and safe weekend,


Office of the President Emeritus, 1555 Poydras St, Suite 700, New Orleans, LA 70112 504-274-3638