Last night, our Broadway Campus got power! (And I did the epic “we’ve got electricity dance” that I invented after Katrina.) This is one step on a long road, but it is the hope we very much needed. If you are tempted to come back, please be patient. We need time to fix any minor damage we’ve found and ensure that we have proper security and staffing before we can reopen any buildings.
Students, some of you may now be anxious to get going as quickly as possible. But remember that others reading this (including students, staff and faculty) will be very worried that we will start before they have a home to live in and electricity. And so we clean and prepare the campus, wait for more progress, and think about ways that members of our extraordinary community will help each other. We will be polling all of you to determine Ida’s full impact, but I know that some of you have lost everything you own and will need help getting clothes and books. (And also know that we are actively fundraising from our out-of-town alumni for the Student Hardship Fund.
Right now, we stick to our plan of classes beginning September 13th, and hopefully on-campus instruction (with a great deal of flexibility) on September 20th. And we will open campus housing as soon as we safely can. But again, don’t buy plane tickets yet – we promise to give you at least seven days’ notice to make those more affordable. I am gaining more confidence in our progress, but we will know more every day.
A few more updates. We had technical difficulties with our internet access and servers, but we now have the website back up and running so you can access our systems.
For students who live in the residence halls on the Broadway campus, we will be in touch with you directly about how quickly we can take you back, but anyone safely away from town should stay there. The city itself has serious constraints on resources, including gas shortages. But we will work hard to take in some residential students who stayed nearby and need power.
For all of you who are sweating it out nearby, we will work to quickly get you access to air conditioning and power at Broadway, and meantime there are also increasing numbers of emergency services around the city. NOLA.com is maintaining a list of what’s open, including locations of cooling centers and places to get free meals and water.
We also pray for those hit by this terrible storm long after it left Louisiana, particularly New York and New Jersey last night.