January 10, 2006
Five months after Hurricane Katrina caused at least $200 million in damages and closed its doors for a semester, Tulane University will re-open for classes on Jan. 17. Approximately 88 percent of Tulane students are expected to return to the nationally renowned New Orleans institution.
First-year students, some of whom only spent a few hours on Tulane's campus in late August before being forced by Hurricane Katrina to evacuate, will begin moving into residence halls on Jan. 12.
"We have always taught history at Tulane; now we are going to make it," Tulane President Scott Cowen said. "As the largest private employer in Orleans Parish as well as the largest importer of brain power, our students, faculty and staff will take the lead in rebuilding our great city."
Cowen, who is also a member of Mayor Ray Nagin's Bring New Orleans Back Commission, estimates that the population of New Orleans will increase by 10 percent as the Tulane community of students, faculty and staff return.
In addition to its own students, Tulane will also welcome Xavier and Dillard students, whose universities were severely damaged by Katrina. A number of Xavier and Dillard students will attend classes at Tulane and share Tulane's libraries and recreational facilities. The arrangement is part of a consortium formed between Tulane, Dillard, Loyola and Xavier universities in the wake of Katrina.
"If any good can come from Katrina, it is going to be this partnership, which we hope will serve as a national model for co-operation between private institutions and historically black universities," Cowen said. Grammy-winning jazz great Wynton Marsalis, with help from his father Ellis Marsalis, will help kick off the re-opening of Tulane with a special talk and performance at 7 p.m. on Jan. 16 at Tulane's McAlister Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public but seating is limited. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.
After moving in on Jan. 12, first-year students and their parents will gather in McAlister Auditorium and be officially welcomed back to campus by Cowen. The last time students were assembled there it was to hear Cowen welcome them to Tulane and then tell them to evacuate.
"I plan to tell them to stick around a lot longer this time," Cowen said. Returning students will be able to take advantage of a full slate of orientation activities including tours of the campus and city, a jazz brunch, receptions, concerts, sporting events, a job fair, religious services and more.
Students also will be given plenty of volunteer opportunities to help rebuild New Orleans and learn more about the hurricane disaster through approximately 30 Katrina-related courses.
The semester will culminate with the university's commencement on May 13. Two days later the "Lagniappe Semester" will begin, offering tuition-free classes for students who paid for full-time fall and spring Tulane tuition.
Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 firstname.lastname@example.org