Colin Slater left New Orleans after Katrina, returns for basketball
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When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, more than a million people were displaced, many of whom never returned to the city they once called home.
Freshman Colin Slater was one of these displaced residents. Despite being away for 11 years, his love for the city led him back home as he pursues his college basketball career at Tulane as a guard for Green Wave men’s basketball.
After losing their house and possessions in Katrina, 7-year-old Slater and his family settled in Fresno, California. The temporary move turned permanent, and Slater had to adjust to life 2,000 miles away from home.
“The culture shock was different because I was used to being around a little bit more minorities,” Slater said. “So it really was an adjustment period, and it was really hard.”
Even after starting a new life in Fresno, Slater never forgot about his family or his old life in New Orleans.
“[New Orleans] was really family-oriented,” Slater said. “We lived next door to all of our cousins, so I was used to having family close and being around family every single day.”
Slater knew that he wanted to return to New Orleans at some point. While at Immanuel High School, Slater was an honor roll student, led his basketball team to two league championships and was named conference MVP. He was recruited by Tulsa, Hawaii and Fresno State, but his plan was always to play at Tulane.
“When I lived [in New Orleans], my mother worked [at Tulane] … and just being around campus, it really stuck with me as I left,” Slater said. “Before Tulane even considered me an option I was saying ‘yeah, Tulane’s my number one, that’s where I want to go.'”
Slater finished his freshman season for Tulane this year, logging 390 minutes on the court and 120 points. He has loved being able to represent the school he grew up rooting for.
“It’s a dream come true for me. I can’t stress that enough,” Slater said. “I’m so happy to be back here, and being able to play at Tulane too, so it’s kind of surreal.”