Tulane students participate in Hurricane Laura relief effort

Domenic Mesa, Contributing Reporter

Photo by Domenic Mesa

Tulane students from Green Wave Residence Hall volunteered at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Oct 2. Through HandsOn New Orleans, these students were able to aid Hurricane Laura evacuees by locating resources that would be beneficial for them. Many students assisted evacuees by distributing food, clothing, reading material, personal hygiene kits and other essentials. 

Hurricane Laura made landfall on the Louisiana coast on Aug. 27 as one of the most devastating hurricanes that the region has experienced this decade. The area most affected by the Category 4 hurricane was Lake Charles, Louisiana. Many Lake Charles residents evacuated to Houston, Texas or New Orleans. The New Orleans’ government has provided free housing to over 10,000 evacuees by placing them in uninhabited hotels that have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. 

New Orleans has utilized the Convention Center in downtown New Orleans as a method of providing resources to the evacuees. The Mayor’s Office listed the many services provided as: “prescription assistance, tele-health services, mental & behavioral health referrals, crisis counseling, baby/children’s supplies, breastfeeding support/formula, WIC services, [and] donated clothing.” Shuttle services are also being provided to those who do not have means of transportation. 

 “We are volunteering … to help them get back on their feet,” Sophia Glazer, a sophomore at Tulane and president of Green Wave Hall, said when asked about students’ role in the relief effort. “We want people to know that students are engaged in the volunteer efforts in the city.” 

The Convention Center requires adherence to strict masking and social distancing guidelines. Evacuees and volunteers are not allowed into the building without a mask. 

Volunteers from various backgrounds were present in the Convention Center assisting with the relief effort. Joan Hinnenkamp, a retired nurse, distributed children’s books and toys to families that filtered through the relief center. 

Why am I here? Because it’s important,” Hinnenkamp said. “It’s devastating. Their lives may never be the same. It’s very important to give back to these people.”

The Convention Center will continue to provide resources to evacuees through October. HandsOn NOLA is offering more volunteer opportunities to students that may be interested. You can learn more about these opportunities here.