May 5, 2006

Good Morning:

Each of us in the Tulane community has experienced and survived the worst natural disaster ever to befall an American city and university. The emergency plan we refined and practiced prior to Katrina served us well.

However, there were many lessons we learned from Hurricane Katrina. For instance, I always operated under the assumption that I should ride out any storm on campus; the old “captain never abandons the ship” mentality was my guide. However, after being trapped on campus for days after Katrina with very little ability to communicate with my senior staff I realized the most effective way for me to direct the recovery of the university would be to establish a senior leadership recovery team, led by me, in Houston prior to a storm’s landfall.

Also, in the past it was highly recommended that each department formulate their own emergency plan. But only departments whose activities directly impacted human and facility safety were required to do so. While this policy ensured the safety of our students, faculty and staff as well as our major facilities, we learned that many employees did not know how to prepare their workspace for a hurricane or their responsibilities after the storm passed. Now plans for every university department are mandatory and are due at the end of this month.

Before Katrina, our hurricane plan dictated one strategy for Category 1 and 2 hurricanes and another for Category 3, 4 and 5. Our revised plan will make no distinction in how the university will respond to different categories of storms.

There are several more changes to our hurricane preparation with which you should familiarize yourself. The revised plan will be available at the beginning of June on Tulane's emergency web site

This hurricane season will undoubtedly be an anxious one for many of us. However, I know if we follow our battle-tested, and now improved, plan we will be able to keep our university and each other safe.

Have a great Jazz Fest weekend,


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