Yeah, I Went There
Today I received a report from a girl who was in New Orleans. She called me from her hotel room in the French Quarter to give me a detailed update the status of New Orleans. (I try to get at least one person call me from New Orleans every few days). My friend told me her house uptown was a “total loss” and most of her stuff was unsalvageable. I solemnly tried to console her, when the tone of her voice surprised me. She said, “it’s so happy down here, people are out drinking, enjoying the French Quarter and there is just so much life. I can’t wait to come back.” In a fit of confusion, I asked her how she was feeling. Her optimistic tone enlightened me. She spoke of how many restaurants and hotels are open, how there are just armies of workers fixing campus, and how things are lively in the Quarter. She said that our experience at Tulane would be unscathed. Today, she witnessed an enormous loss; but her spirits conveyed a sense a pleasant optimism.
I think this brings up a very interesting point; one which I will illustrate with my experiences over the past few days. I attended a town hall meeting at USC, where the intelligent and eloquent Dr. Cherry spoke about her firsthand expeience at Tulane. She also answered tough questions, and admitted areas in which things were goinrg to be difficult, and areas in which they still didn’t have answers. There's no doubt about what the main issues are. There's no doubt that we are going to have a few obstacles to overcome. But the Tulane Administration has no doubt that we will.
The theme that I took out from Dr. Cherry’s speech was exactly the same as the theme in my conversation with my friend who is in New Orleans. The theme is, “New Orleans will NOT be the same for a few years. However, Tulane will live on and grow, both academically and socially. The worries seem to be unfounded, and the hard evidence is pointing in a positive direction” From an academic standpoint, I have learned that Tulane has a tremendous commitment to maintaining its academic integrity. Consequently, Tulane IS going to bounce back from this as a greater academic institution. Yeah, you heard me. I’m going to suggest that Tulane will not just come back, but they will move up in the ranks, significantly. First of all, Tulane has managed to sustain all of its world renowned professors. In fact, this “break” has given them the opportunity to do more research, write/publish more, and design better curricula. One of the main factors that I miss about Tulane is, in fact, the wonderful professors. Maybe some of you enjoy professors at your new schools, but I absolutely miss many from my Tulane past. I think these professors will come back significantly more equipped to teach the material. Moreover, I know they will also return energized about the opportunity to bring Tulane back. The professors can singlehandedly improve the quality of our education. Additionally, Tulane is not going to lower their admission standards. Currently, applications are up from this time last year. Yes, I know what you are thinking. Will all of those people who are applying actually attend Tulane? No way. But when Tulane reopens, these prospective students will have a chance to see it all for themselves. I think Tulane’s commitment to reconstruction will comfort many prospective students’ fears and convince the many skeptical freshmen to attend. Tulane is encouraging prospective students just to apply. This way, they can woo them the same way they wooed us, by showing us the beautiful campus and giving them a taste of the culture. This segways in my next argument- how the city culture will come back.
Simply put, the city is already coming back fast. In very little time, things will appear the same, to the naked eye. The areas that you have experienced at one time or another in your Tulane life are virtually restored. Yes, there is going to be permanent damage here and there, but according to every report that I’ve received; most of the restaurants and music halls are open or planning to reopen in a matter of weeks. Hotels will be open in a month. Many people are permanently living uptown again. My biggest concern of all is the off-campus housing situation. Stay tuned for a post on this, as Tulane plans to make announcements in the next 2 weeks. However, let me calm your fears and say they are aware of the issues and they are seriously working on it. Yes, many places will need significant repair that will take a long time, but Tulane has a plan of action and a large team working every day on this. Just give it some time for this sticky situation to be solved.
Now, I was going to write all about how the social life will come back too, but I’m getting tired, so I’ll just touch on it. The social life isn’t about whether F&M’s comes back, or Ms. Mae’s. It’s about the people. At Tulane, we enjoy our social interaction because of the people. I can’t reiterate enough how much I love the unique blend of students that come to Tulane. Where I am attending school they do have some great people, and I’ve made some great friends. However, nothing compares to my Tulane family.
We’ll be back.