Hurricane Ida forces college students to evacuate


Photo by Tommy Gao

Long Island Expressway in New York City is shut down as Hurricane Ida rolls through New York on Sept. 1.

On Aug. 29, the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Ida reached the shores of New Orleans as a category four storm with winds reaching speeds of 150 miles per hour. The hurricane set records as the second deadliest storm to hit the state. 

Before making its way to New Orleans, Hurricane Ida briefly crossed through Cuba where it destroyed homes and vegetation as a category one storm. The storm had winds of 80 miles per hour and caused an estimated $100 million in damage. Fueled by the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Ida rapidly intensified and hit New Orleans harder than expected by meteorologists. It left approximately one million residents of Louisiana without power, and reached a death toll of 82. 

Universities in New Orleans and the surrounding area shut down classes in preparation for the storm. Tulane University initially shutdown classes until Sept. 13 with a plan to be virtual until Oct. 6. However, the school has since revised their plan and will resume in-person classes on Sept. 27, two weeks earlier than expected. Similarly, Louisiana State University canceled classes through Sept. 6. 

No one thought too much of it [Hurricane Ida] at first but it escalated so fast causing everyone to panic. Thankfully, I was able to evacuate with no problems.

— Jonathan Rosenstein

In addition to canceling classes, Tulane administrators evacuated students to Houston in the aftermath of the storm, in order to repair damage to the campus. However, some students, especially those living off campus, chose to evacuate before the storm hit. Tulane senior Jonathan Rosenstein [this writer’s brother] and his friends made the decision to leave New Orleans on Aug. 28. “No one thought too much of it [Hurricane Ida] at first but it escalated so fast causing everyone to panic. Thankfully, I was able to evacuate with no problems,” Rosenstein said. 

For LSU President William F. Tate IV, the main priority after the storm was encouraging students to stay evacuated rather than rush back to campus. The campus experienced minor damages to facilities. “We’re asking you not to rush back to campus,” president Tate said to students on Aug. 30.

Louisiana universities were not the only schools forced to shut down in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. Ida’s path took the storm up the East Coast and caused the closure of schools like Xavier University. For other schools like New York University, classes remained in-person, however, faculty and staff acknowledged that students may face a challenge in getting to school. 

Hurricanes are a common occurrence in Louisiana. Hurricane Ida was one of multiple storms faced by the state this year. As seniors here apply to schools in Louisiana, they have been considering the prospect of going to a university that experiences intense storms. “Tulane University and Louisiana as a whole have shown their resilience when facing natural disasters. Although it is slightly frightening, I feel confident in both the school and the community and will still be applying.” senior Shelby Cantor said.