Sources for News Coverage of Hurricane Katrina’s Fifth Anniversary

July 15, 2010

Mike Strecker
Phone: (504) 865-5210

Hurricane Katrina and the resulting levee breaches inflicted more than $650 million in damages and losses to Tulane, closing the university for an entire semester and dispersing 13,000 students and 7,000 faculty and staff throughout the country. The website tells the story of Tulane’s Katrina experience and the sources below can give a firsthand account of Tulane and New Orleans’ remarkable recovery from the country’s worst natural disaster.
Scott Cowen, president Tulane University, 504-865-5210,
As one of New Orleans’ leading citizens, Dr. Cowen can discuss Tulane University’s remarkable recovery from Hurricane Katrina, which led to his being named one of the nation’s top five college presidents by TIME magazine. He can also discuss Tulane’s vital role in the recovery of New Orleans, specifically in the areas of education, medical care and economic development.
Yvette Jones, executive vice president for university relations and development, 504-865-5259,

Second in command at Tulane during the chaotic days following Katrina, Ms. Jones can discuss the physical rebuilding of the university after the storm, including wrangling with insurance companies and FEMA for reimbursement of the more than $650 million in damages and losses suffered by Tulane as a result of the storm and levee breaches. Ms. Jones can also discuss Tulane’s role in rebuilding New Orleans’ biomedical corridor.

Karen DeSalvo, vice dean for Community Affairs and Health Policy at Tulane University School of Medicine, 504-988-7518,

Dr. DeSalvo is available to discuss how Hurricane Katrina led to dramatic and lasting changes in health care delivery in New Orleans. She helped start the Tulane University Community Health Center at Covenant House, which has grown into eight community healthcare sites that provide high quality medical care to more than 13,000 uninsured patients throughout the city.

Eboni Price-Haywood, assistant professor of medicine at Tulane University School of Medicine and medical director, Tulane Community Health Center at Covenant House 504-988-1514,

Dr. Price-Haywood can discuss the challenges and opportunities facing low-income and uninsured patients in New Orleans after the Hurricane Katrina. She can talk about how primary care has changed since the storm as patients have migrated to neighborhood clinics.She can also speak about the unique mental health challenges facing patients in the months and years after the storm.

Scott Bernhard, director of Tulane City Center and the Jean and Saul A. Mintz Associate Professor of Architecture, 504-862-8789 

Professor Bernhard, can discuss Tulane University’s work in the physical rebuilding of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Through Tulane’s City Center, architecture students have designed and built more than 50 projects ranging from single-family homes in the Ninth Ward to neighborhood markets and a variety of urban renewal projects.

Shannon Jones, executive director of the Scott S. Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives, 504-274-3688

Ms. Jones can discuss preK-12 public education in New Orleans and the efforts of the Cowen Institute, an action-oriented think tank, to transform a school system that had been failing its students for decades before Katrina. She can explain how the reforms recommended by the Cowen Institute are making long-lasting changes in New Orleans public education.

Earl Retif, university registrar and vice president for Enrollment Management, 504-865-5586,

Mr. Retif can discuss the challenges faced by Tulane following the severe disruptions of the 2005 academic year by Hurricane Katrina. Following the storm Retif had the task of keeping application and enrollment numbers up. Retif and his staff brought prospective students, parents and high school guidance counselors to campus and traveled the country to get the message out that Tulane and New Orleans were back. By 2008, these efforts led to a record level of undergraduate applications – 34,125 students applying for 1,400 first-year places. In 2009 that record was shattered with nearly 40,000 applications.

Dr. Lee Hamm, executive vice dean, Tulane University School of Medicine, and chair of Internal Medicine, 504-988-7800

Dr. Hamm was involved in the massive effort to rescue and airlift patients from Tulane Medical Center following Hurricane Katrina as the hospital faced power outages and rising floodwaters. He can talk about hospital disaster preparedness and lessons learned from the storm. He can also discuss how medical education has changed in New Orleans since the storm.

Rick Dickson, Director of Athletics, 504-865-5569,

When the Tulane community evacuated New Orleans, President Scott Cowen asked the Green Wave athletics teams "to carry the torch, be the face and represent the name" of the university as they continued to compete from five different universities in Louisiana and Texas in Fall 2005. Rick Dickson can talk about the odyssey of the student-athletes in that semester (for example, the football team played 11 weekly games at 11 different stadiums), as well as the process of rebuilding the athletics program post-Katrina.


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