Midmorning on Thursday (Aug. 30): The remnants of Hurricane Isaac have moved to the west and north of New Orleans. The air is damp; the storm has passed. Tulane University students on the uptown campus are strolling the sidewalks with friends, happy to be in the fresh air.
Tulane first-year students Wendy Merz and Casey Lynch emerge from Sharp Hall toward McAlister Way on their way to the Lavin-Bernick Center to charge their phones and call their mothers. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)
“The students were fantastic during the storm,” said Tulane President Scott Cowen. “They saw it as a big adventure. Their attitudes helped us [the administrators] keep going. And the students bonded like crazy.”
As Cowen cruised the campus on a golf cart that he drove himself, students stopped him to say hello. Cowen had the latest information on the hours Bruff Commons
, the dining hall, would be open to serve meals. He told them that the Lavin-Bernick Center was open for charging cell phones and laptops and when the Reily Student Recreation Center would reopen to the general student population (from 1 to 7 p.m.).
First-year students and Sharp Hall roommates Wendy Merz and Casey Lynch agreed, “We did some bonding.”
International students Qing Liu and Jing Hua, from China, said their resident adviser cooked potatoes and soup, and they played cards while they were confined in their residence hall. “It was our first hurricane party,” they giggled, not appearing fazed by the experience.
Tuesday night and into early Wednesday morning, during the height of the storm, many students slept in hallways on mattresses dragged from their rooms. The main complaint was that it was hot and stuffy.
Like many students, Jacob Berkelhamer, a sophomore and resident of Mayer Hall, used the down time during the storm to read. He read Catch 22
, not required reading, but a book he wanted to revisit. Julia Turkevich, another second-year student who lives in Mayer, started reading assignments from the three classes she attended on Monday before the storm hit.
“The anticipation is worse than the actual storm,” said Turkevich. “It’s definitely more exaggerated in the news.”