By: Emma Magit — Correspondent
Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana as a high Category 4 hurricane on August 29, 2021. While most residents of Louisiana know how to prepare for storms of this magnitude, the students at Tulane University were not prepared for the impending storm.
Tulane University, a private research university in New Orleans, Louisiana, often has to handle strong tropical storms during the months of June through November. However, most storms are not as catastrophic as the recent Hurricane Ida. The storm started as a tropical storm and quickly escalated to a Category 4 hurricane.
Former SHS student, Julia Magit, a current sophomore at Tulane, says she wasn’t sure how bad the storm was going to be and was uncertain if she should evacuate. At the time, New Orleans was not under a mandatory evacuation. “My roommates were very adamant about evacuating but I wasn’t very sure,” she said.
Amy Magit, Julia’s mother, says after going through many storms during Julia’s freshman year, she did not think that this storm was going to be so bad. “When I first learned that a hurricane was heading towards the Gulf, I remained relatively calm. I figured this one wouldn’t be so bad just like the other ones weren’t so bad,” she said.
Magit says that she saw many students packing their bags in a hurry to evacuate as more news about the storm was disseminated. “When I saw everyone else packing up, I realized that I too should be departing for safety from the catastrophic storm heading directly towards New Orleans,” she said.
Magit says some of her friends were not as fortunate as she and were not able to quickly evacuate prior to the closure of the airport. Magit says she was impressed how university officials respond. “The administration was excellent in providing support for those students who were not able to evacuate on such short notice. Eight of my friends who were unable to evacuate remained in the dorms during the hurricane. Tulane made sure that they had food, water, and safe accommodations.”
Jordan Nesser, a friend of Magit’s who stayed on campus during the storm, says it was very scary but the administration did everything they could to keep students safe. “The power in the dorms went out and the buildings were running on generators. We were advised to stay in the hallways away from windows as many windows were breaking. Soon after, we were sent to one of the dining halls where we had better shelter,” she said.
Amy Magit says that she was very pleased with how Tulane dealt with the hardships of the storm. “I was very impressed with how Tulane, and specifically President Mike Fitts, stepped up to the plate and evacuated thousands of students on over thirty busses to Houston following the storm. The university kept us fully informed through emails, especially regarding the closure of the school for weeks while power was out in the city,” she said.
Magit says that long-term effects on the city are still present. “Everything is backed up in the city. I heard from one of my professors yesterday that trash pickup is still disrupted and the trash piles on the streets leave a horrible smell in the city right now,” she said.
Magit says the students are moving back into the dorms on Friday, September 24th and she is going to help get the city back to its best potential. “I am signed up for outreach programs where you can go out into the community and help rebuild and clean up the city,” she said.