On August 25, 2005, students at Tulane University left their new college campus amidst the freshman orientation program at the request of the university’s administration. In the automated fashion that children evacuate a schoolhouse during a fire drill, students either returned to their hometowns to spend some unexpected time with friends and family, or traveled to other regional college campuses in hopes of finding a back-to-school celebration. They were told that a storm was coming, but not to be alarmed – it was a routine occurrence for students to be temporarily evacuated from Tulane’s campus in the wake of an approaching hurricane. As experience had suggested, the students were told that the evacuation was merely one of a precautionary nature, and that just as all of the hurricanes in the past decade had done, this one would either completely miss New Orleans or become mere wind and rainfall by the time it hit. As Tulane students typically equate these “precautionary evacuations” to a second spring break, the student body understandingly welcomed the evacuation as an opportunity to squeeze in one last party weekend before classes began. While the weekend was sure to have been filled with much fun and drink, Monday proved to be quite the sobering experience.

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