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Students evacuating to Jackson State UniversityFloodwaters covering Brown FieldPresident Cowen stands in Katrina floodwaters talking to residents in a boat

August 27, 2005

New student orientation is shortened because a major hurricane named Katrina is threatening the Greater New Orleans area. Tulane President Scott Cowen welcomes students to Tulane and then tells them they will be evacuated. Tulane's campuses go into emergency mode.

Message to the Tulane community: August 27, 2005 - 6 p.m.

The university is now closed due to the approach of Hurricane Katrina. University operations are expected to resume on Wednesday, August 31 and faculty and staff will return to work on that date. Students please note that classes will resume on Thursday, September 1.

Essential employees should remain in contact with their supervisors for their work schedules.

The university initiated its residential student evacuation plan this afternoon and is transporting those students remaining on campus to Jackson State University. There will be a final opportunity for students to be transported to Jackson State tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. Buses will leave from the Reily Center.

For the most up-to-date Tulane information, please continue to call the Alert Line at 1-877-862-8080 or 1-504-862-8080 and to monitor this website.

Our next update will be at 11 a.m. on Sunday, August 28.

August 29, 2005

Katrina comes ashore at 5 a.m. just 30 miles east of the city. President Cowen and a handful of emergency personnel ride out the storm on the St. Charles Avenue campus.

Message to the Tulane community: August 29, 1 p.m.

The worst of Hurricane Katrina has now passed through New Orleans and we will shortly begin the process of assessing the condition of our campuses.

The emergency team located on the uptown campus has been in frequent contact with the university's team at Jackson State University. The approximately 400 students who are located there and are accompanied by university officials, are doing well and are safe. Anyone seeking information about these students may call (601) 979-1964.

In the next 24 hours we expect to finalize our plans regarding the resumption of university operations.

As previously announced, classes will begin no earlier than Wednesday, Sept. 7.

Employees, students and parents should continue to regularly monitor this website and the Alert Line— 1-877-862-8080 or 1-504-862-8080.

As of this date the university's main website and the university's email system are not in operation and are not expected to be functional for another 24-48 hours.

August 30, 2005

Several breaks in the city's levee system inundate the city with as much as 10 feet of water. "And then all hell broke loose," says President Cowen. "We lost power, water pressure and all communications."

Message to the Tulane community: August 30, 11:45 a.m.

Dear Tulane Faculty, Staff, Students and Friends:

As you all know by now, New Orleans and the surrounding parishes were severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina. The physical damage to the area, including Tulane’s campuses, was extensive.

Unfortunately, conditions in the city continue to deteriorate, making it virtually impossible to begin recovery efforts. On a very positive note, in Tulane’s case, we are very thankful that all of our people are safe, including all the students and staff who evacuated to Jackson, Mississippi.

We have started the process of assessing the condition of our campus facilities and determining how long it will take us to reopen. This assessment process will take days because many of the answers will be determined by how quickly the city and its services become operational. The situation is further complicated by the fact that there is no power in the city, water levels continue to rise, all city roads are blocked, and the vast majority of our workforce had to leave the parish as part of the mandatory evacuation order. It is unclear at this time when people will be allowed to return to the city.

Given the uncertainties, we cannot determine at this time when employees and students should return to campus. We will do the best we can to keep you appraised of our situation and progress.

Also, I want to remind you that the university’s main website is not operating at this time and we do not know when we will be able to bring it back on-line. Due to this, the Tulane email system is not functioning. However, this website ( will continue to have the most up-to-date information about university operations and the Tulane Alert Line at 1-877-862-8080 and 1-504-862-8080 will also have the most current information available. These communication vehicles are the best source of information about Tulane since phone and cell service are unreliable.

I realize that you have many more questions than we have answers at this time. However, I’m sure you understand the complexity and difficulty of the situation we face. Nonetheless, we are determined to move forward as quickly as possible and make Tulane University an even stronger and healthier institution. We have been in New Orleans for 171 years and we look forward to another century in this great city.

Scott S. Cowen


Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000