Something that some folks may not know about me: after high school (so long ago, in 1986), I didn’t want to just move on to Clemson University. At that time, it just seemed that all of the people I knew from my high school in Anderson, SC (15 miles south of Clemson) were going there, so I was afraid it would just be high school writ large. No, I wanted broader horizons. I received a nice package of grants and loans from Tulane University in New Orleans, and that is where I went for my first year and a half of college. I have a lot of fond memories from there:
– The horrid freshman dorm. Fourth floor, Sharp Hall.
– Marginal improvement the next year, second floor, Butler Hall
– Sunday morning brunch in Bruff Commons (not good food, but pleasant at the time)
– Broadcasting the Global Folk Show on Sunday mornings on WTUL-FM
– Video production with TUVAC, producing a weekly issues discussion show for public access TV
– The massive toy-gun shootout that ranged the length and breadth of McAlister Auditorium
– Seeing Andreas Vollenweider, Bruce Hornsby, Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Hunter S. Thompson (the latter completely drunk out of his mind) at McAlister Auditorium
– Plum Street Snowball stand. That wasn’t a sno-cone, that was heaven.
– Audubon Park Zoo, right across St. Charles from Tulane
– Mardi Gras. Good gods, Mardi Gras.
– All the great music at the clubs: Beausoleil, File’ Cajun Band, The Godfathers…
– Fridays afternoons on the Quad. The Song Dogs, Harry Connick, Jr., Winter Hours, The Radiators…
– Working as a dispatcher/student marshal for Tulane Police. I saw every inch of that campus, and then some, and met some great people.
– Cafe du Monde, Dixie Beer, barbecued crawfish (suck the head and pinch the tail, y’all!), muffalettas, and po’boys
And now? Most, if not all of that is under water. Officially, Tulane University has said they won’t start classes until September 21, but I saw one blog that had a tip from a Tulane employee speculating that it may be next year before they can start classes again.
They’ll rebuild. There is no doubt in my mind. It won’t be the same, but that’s OK. Everything changes, and I’m sure very little was still the same from the last time I set foot in the city seventeen years ago. But I do believe they will come back, in time.
That’s in the future. For the present, there are millions of people that need help. They need your help. Stop what you’re doing and think: what if you had to leave, right now? What would you take? What would you leave behind? Where would you go? What if what you thought you could come back to was gone, obliterated?
Think about that. Then click on one of these links. Even if it’s just a few dollars, every little bit will help. The American Red Cross donation page (site is very slow). Americares donation page (small but very effective charity). Humane Society of the United States donation page (mounting a rescue effort for pets and caregivers). Or select some other charity that you prefer, but seriously: do something.