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Cleaning up debris at Tulane after Katrina. (Source: Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images)

Stormy Reflections From Scott Cowen

by Barrie Hardymon
Sep 1, 2008

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Barrie Hardymon

Constant communication was one of the lessons that Tulane University president Scott Cowen learned after Hurricane Katrina — and he began to blog on the schools website, calling it "The Scott Report." His last dispatch to students and faculty at Tulane came last night from Nashville — but on Saturday, he was in his Tulane office, reflecting on Katrina as Hurricane Gustav bore down.

It is August 29th, 2008 and we have now officially closed the university. For the moment, I am sitting in my office listening to music (Michael White's Blue Crescent) and writing, which I often do when I need to be at peace. Given today's date and the possibility of Gustav, it is hard not to reflect back to this day three years ago when Katrina made landfall. Since we are so painfully aware of the events of Katrina, I will not recount them again other than to say that it was a defining moment for those who went through it. The faculty, staff and students proved themselves to be true heroes and all Tulanians rallied to assist the university in whatever way they could. I am proud to say that three years later we are a stronger and better university, despite what happened to us. I can never adequately express my feelings to all Tulanians who came to our aid in the aftermath of Katrina but I consider myself blessed to be part of such a special community both at Tulane and in New Orleans. Fortunately, the core of this team is still in place—ready and willing to work together no matter what the challenge.

We'll talk with Scott Cowen today, about how the lessons of Katrina helped him this time around — if you have questions, post 'em here.

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