Tulane students share Hurricane Ida preparations

Mackenzie Bookamer, News Editor

On Aug. 31, Tulane University announced that all remaining students in New Orleans — whether living on or off campus — would be evacuated to Houston. Prior to this announcement, students had the choice of whether or not they wanted to self-evacuate. Below outlines a survey conducted on Aug. 30 of 223 Tulane University students who responded to a form asking about the details of their preparation for Hurricane Ida. 

tulane students outside lbc
Students who stayed on campus congregate in front of the LBC the day before departing for Houston. (Mackenzie Bookamer)

Statistics

Of the 223 students who responded, 16% were freshmen, 38% were sophomores, 22% were juniors and 24% were seniors. 58% of respondents live on campus.

Seventy-five percent of the students surveyed chose to evacuate New Orleans prior to Hurricane Ida’s landfall. 

Breaking it down by the year of the student showed:

  • Forty-four percent of freshmen evacuated
  • Sixty-eight percent of sophomores evacuated
  • Ninety percent of juniors evacuated
  • Ninety-two percent of seniors evacuated

Freshmen had the highest proportion of students staying on campus, whereas seniors had the lowest proportion of students who stayed in New Orleans. 

Breaking it down by if the student lived on or off campus shows:

  • Fifty-eight percent of on-campus students evacuated
  • Ninety-eight percent of off-campus students evacuated
  • Forty-five percent of evacuated students live on campus
  • Ninety-six percent of students who stayed on campus live on campus

Student Responses

Below are some student responses from the form. 

Name: Julia Hanisee (they/them/theirs)

Year: Freshman

Live on or off campus: On campus

Evacuated or stayed: Evacuated 

Reasoning: Initially, I evacuated just to take extra precautions. The news wasn’t saying the storm was going to be as bad as it was when I evacuated, so my reasoning to evacuate was primarily that I didn’t want to be alone in my dorm room during my first natural disaster, my parents wanted me to be away from New Orleans, and most of my friends were evacuating as well, so I thought it would be the smart thing to do. During the storm, though, I had to evacuate again as we thought the house I was staying at was going to flood.

Place of evacuation: Mandenville, LA

———–

Name: Megan Roche (she/her/hers)

Year: Freshman

Live on or off campus: On campus

Evacuated or stayed: Evacuated

Reasoning: My mom was really worried about my safety, and I would rather go home than have to evacuate to Birmingham.

Place of evacuation: St. Louis, Missouri

———–

Name: Kotoha Kudo (she/her/hers)

Year: Freshman

Live on or off campus: On campus

Evacuated or stayed: Stayed

Reasoning: Home was too far away and staying with Tulane seemed like the best idea for electricity and running water.

———–

Name: Kayla Willis (she/her/hers)

Year: Freshman

Live on or off campus: On campus

Evacuated or stayed: Stayed

Reasoning: The price mongering before Ida hit was outrageous, and I didn’t want to risk getting caught in the storm in an airplane.

———–

Name: Sarah Ma (she/her/hers)

Year: Sophomore

Live on or off campus: On campus

Evacuated or stayed: Stayed

Reasoning: I stayed because I trusted Tulane’s resources the most to keep me safe during the hurricane. I felt that if evacuation was actually necessary, Tulane would say and I wouldn’t have to deal with the travel plans. 

———–

Name: Sawyer Liner (he/him/his)

Year: Sophomore

Live on or off campus: On campus

Evacuated or stayed: Stayed

Reasoning: I thought the storm would be manageable, it was too late by the time I figured out it wasn’t

———–

Name: Lea Saslekova (she/her/hers)

Year: Sophomore

Live on or off campus: On campus

Evacuated or stayed: Stayed

Reasoning:There wasn’t that much time for my family and I to plan for me to leave. Ultimately we decided that it would make more sense to ride this one out and that if I were staying in New Orleans, Tulane was one of the best places to be because of our privilege (ability to afford strong generators, have TEMS and TUPD on hand, distribute food) and access to resources. It was important to leave flights for people who needed it more and I wanted to be able to stay and volunteer after the hurricane if possible.

———–

Name: Eshan Damle (he/him/his)

Year: Sophomore

Live on or off campus: On campus

Evacuated or stayed: Stayed

Reasoning: Was planning to evacuate, but chose to stay due to worries about bad road conditions, chaos at the airport, and flight delays/cancellations. I figured it would be better to stay on campus in my dorm (Weatherhead) than be trapped at the airport or even worse, the road. I’m glad I stayed as most of my friends stayed and I was able to help take care of the minimal impacts we did see in our building. I’m also hoping to help with cleanup/recovery once the all-clear is given.

———–

Name: Ellery Tripp (she/her/hers)

Year: Sophomore

Live on or off campus: On campus

Evacuated or stayed: Evacuated

Reasoning: On Friday, this hurricane threat felt worse than any we had had last year during my freshman year, and I was getting really worried seeing the news. I talked to family and my grandparents, who live in Texas, who said they’d feel much more comfortable if I would evacuate and stay with them, rather than shelter in New Orleans.

Place of evacuation: Dallas, TX

———–

Name: Christina Braun (she/her/hers)

Year: Sophomore

Live on or off campus: On campus

Evacuated or stayed: Evacuated

Reasoning:My family is from the New Orleans area, and friends in Houston kindly offered to shelter us. At first I just went home to be with them and help with preparations. We were planning on staying, but when the hurricane changed course, we packed the car and told our friends we’d take them up on their offer. I believe we were some of the last families to make it out of Louisiana.

Place of evacuation: Houston, TX

———–

Name: Kris Smith (she/her/hers)

Year: Sophomore

Live on or off campus: On campus

Evacuated or stayed: Evacuated

Reasoning: Evacuating was a last minute decision. My family and I all realized the severity of the storm, and my family was frustrated with the fact that Tulane hadn’t evacuated on campus students yet. We decided I needed to fly home ASAP, so we bought plane tickets Friday night.

Place of evacuation: Birmingham, AL

———–

Name: Garrett Gilliom (he/him/his)

Year: Junior

Live on or off campus: Off campus

Evacuated or stayed: Evacuated

Reasoning:Was originally going to stay but changed my mind once word of how bad it could get got around. Figured I needed a break from Tulane/should see my family for the first time in ~3 months too, so I took the opportunity to get out of town. I also just wanted to ensure my own safety.

Place of evacuation: Columbus, OH

———–

Name: Justin Hartley (they/them/theirs)

Year: Junior

Live on or off campus: Off campus

Evacuated or stayed: Evacuated

Reasoning:A friend and I evacuated to Houston after seeing the masses of people leaving the city in the days before the storm and hearing the evacuation plans of other students.

Place of evacuation: Houston, TX

———–

Name: Gemma Koeberl (she/her/hers)

Year: Junior

Live on or off campus: Off campus

Evacuated or stayed: Stayed

Reasoning: Didn’t realize how bad the storm was going to be until it was too late to evacuate. Felt that it would be inconvenient to evacuate for a category 2 storm and then it ended up being much worse than anyone thought it was going to be on Friday. 

———–

Name: Elizabeth Grim (she/her/hers)

Year: Senior

Live on or off campus: On campus

Evacuated or stayed: Stayed

Reasoning: I’m an RA for freshmen and had many who stayed so I felt a little bit like I had a responsibility to stay for them, but mostly I just felt like campus was the safest and least anxiety-inducing plan for me. I think trying to evac and worrying about everything from afar would been much worse for me. Very fortunate that campus is so safe. 

———–

Name: Meagan Shinker (she/her/hers)

Year: Senior

Live on or off campus: Off campus

Evacuated or stayed: Evacuated

Reasoning: My house has a generator, so I may have been alright to stay, but once the storm was projected as a cat 4 I wanted to get out to avoid the winds. If there was an emergency, I knew we would be stuck alone inside until the storm passes.

Place of evacuation: Tuscaloosa, AL

———–

Name: Sara Wallman (she/her/hers)

Year: Senior

Live on or off campus: Off campus

Evacuated or stayed: Evacuated

Reasoning: Once I heard it was going to be a cat 4, i didnt wanna risk anything. After living through Katrina, Hurricanes really scary so my logic was that I would rather over react and leave than run the risk of being stuck.

Place of evacuation: Tuscaloosa, AL

The most represented evacuation city was Houston, with many others evacuating to Alabama or Florida. Many students who stayed on campus cited that they trusted the resources Tulane had and felt safe in the uptown area. Many students who evacuated did so in an overabundance of caution and did not want to be trapped in New Orleans. 

While Tulane students had the ability to evacuate New Orleans, many natives were not afforded this same luxury. To help those who are still in New Orleans dealing with the ramifications of Hurricane Ida, consider donating to organizations on the ground in New Orleans like the one here.