The state of Florida, unlike Louisiana, has been repeatedlypounded by hurricanes this year, and it seemed that the latesthurricane, Ivan, was going to add insult to injury.
Ivan, a category four hurricane, was by far the mostunpredictable to track. Weather forecasters could not determine ifIvan was going to make hit landfall in Florida, Alabama, orLouisiana. Little was known except for the fact that Ivan wasscheduled due to hit the Gulf Coast hard and was sure to causemassive damage.
In New Orleans, Mayor Ray Nagin, and other officials from thearea, discussed the possibilities of shutting down the city andasking residents to evacuate. Dillard also took the sameprecautions.
The university made travel arrangements for students whootherwise had nowhere to go and provided shelter and transportationfor them.
Nick Harris, assistant vice president of business services,accompanied two busloads of Dillard students, approximately 60students, to Centenary College in Shreveport. “It was a blessing,”said Harris, the Centenary College replied within ten minutes afterhis secretary called.
“I couldn’t have been more appreciative. They opened upeverything for us. Sedexho prepared food for us; it was a pleasantexperience,” he added.
Grambling University was another school that Dillard consideredas possible refuge.
To the surprise of many students, Hurricanes Ivan wasn’t athreat to Dillard or the New Orleans area. Since prices for planetickets and bus tickets are increased at the last minute, manystudents were upset. Tickets were too expensive.
Romiesha Tucker, a junior business major from Chicago, wanted tostay in New Orleans and face the storm, but she was forced toleave. “I understand that the university had to take precautions,but I wish we had the option to stay. I live in the Elysian Fieldsapartment,” she said.
TuckerRomiesha, likeand other students are, is concerned thatDillard may take time from Christmas break. She saids, “Dillardneeds to take one for the team, set aside days within the schoolyear for hurricane season and leave the breaks alone.”
Fortunately, Romiesha Tucker was able to get a ride with friendsto Dallas, Texas.
Andrae Allen, a freshmaen psychology major wasn’t as lucky. Hehad to fly from New Orleans to Omaha, Ne. (look up the appropriateAP abbreviation for Nebraska and his plane ticket was expensive.AllenAndrae paid $550 to go home for the evacuation. “It [Theevacuation] was for our safety, but I think Dillard should pay forplane tickets,” and “Dillard could have gave us advance notice,”said Andrae.
New Orleans barely felt the effects of Hurricane Ivan, whichmade many students regret leaving the New Orleans area. Students dounderstand, however, that Dillard’s first priority is to keep themsafe, and the university followed the necessary precautions to doso.
Nataushia Kinnerman, a junior from California, was one of the60sixty students that went to Centenary College. She said thatdespite the fact that she and the other students slept on floormats, their experience was a pleasant one, and turned out to bebetter than she expected.
Overall, students understand that Dillard’s first priority wasto keep them safe; so far Dillard has taken the precautions to doso and in the future will better the efforts.