Lasting from Aug. 26 through Sept. 4, Hurricane Ida was identified as the second-most destructive and deadly hurricane ever recorded to hit the state of Louisiana.
Before making landfall at 150mph, residents of Louisiana were warned to evacuate their homes immediately. Weather experts deemed the hurricane as “life-threatening” and compared Ida to 2005 Hurricane Katrina that ultimately killed over 1,800 people.
As a Category 4 hurricane, Ida reached New Orleans but downgraded to a Category 1 storm as it traveled inland. Ida left severe damage to buildings, trees and powerlines not only in Louisiana, but also along the east coast up to New York. Thousands of civilians, including students at Tulane University and family members of Ursuline students and faculty, remain unable to return to campus and their homes.
Class of 2021 Ursuline alum and current Tulane freshman Brooke Horowitz is one of many Tulane students who evacuated before Ida hit.
“We had no idea how bad the hurricane was going to be until the day before it hit and by then, if you had not left, it was too late,” Horowitz said.
Considering the amount of damage and lack of power in New Orleans after the hurricane, Tulane students were evacuated to Houston. From there, they were able to fly home or find a temporary place to stay. Horowitz was thankful to have flown home safely to her family in Dallas before airports became packed due to mandatory evacuations.
The city of New Orleans experienced severe damage to its power grid, leaving Tulane students unable to continue their classes virtually. Oct. 7 is the projected date that Tulane students will be able to return to campus. An additional two weeks of online classes will take place prior.
Horowitz said, “Tulane was overall very lucky considering that most major damage from the hurricane was further West.”
While affecting the lives of Tulane students, Ida has also affected students and faculty, including Ms. Brown, Ursuline Academy’s Dean of Students.
“Growing up in South Louisiana, you get used to hurricanes and how to prepare for them; however, Ida was the worst to hit Houma, where I am from and where my family lives now,” Brown said.
Brown’s family, including her parents, sister, brother-in-law and their two children, were able to evacuate safely and travel to stay with her in the meantime. However, packing up and leaving their home not knowing whether it would still be standing when they returned was frightening. They packed all their sentimental items and drove to Texas.
“They also came with their dogs and hamster so you can imagine that drive!” Brown said.
Brown considers herself very lucky to be able to provide her family with a home to stay in and receive support from the Ursuline community.
“I have always known that the Ursuline community was a special one, but I have been blown away in the last couple of weeks. Our technology department lent out hot spares to my niece and nephew, who are 12 and 13 years old and now able to do some learning from my house using Khan Academy and other platforms. Mrs. Brewer in the bookstore donated school supplies and books, so they do some English and writing work as well,” she said.
While receiving constant updates from close friends who stayed in Houma, Brown’s family members still know very little about when they will be able to return to their home. As of now, many surrounding areas remain without power and gas lines. As soon as her family’s neighborhoods restore power, her family will be able to go back home and hopefully resume their normal lives.