Today I had orientation!

I couldn’t decide between a t-shirt that said, “Be my friend” or a cute jersey-knit dress with a sash tie…

I opted for the jersey dress and took a picture of myself on the way to the bus. Yes, I take a bus. Yes, I had to use the self-timer mode. SJP would have offered to take it but she can’t move her elbows or hands, and she can’t move her eyeballs or talk. So she just watched while I positioned the camera on the counter and waited for the ten-second countdown. School, here I come.

Orientation was fantastic, and I met all the MSW/MPH people.

We also met the faculty and campus police, the librarians, the spiritual resource person, the work-study coordinator and a bazillion other campus organizations, then ate a red-beans-and-rice lunch with our orientation groups and adviser. It was all just perfect until we got a collective text in the middle of the afternoon telling us school was canceled and we had to evacuate by noon tomorrow.

Obviously THIS year, school, for me, is like a dangling carrot. Or, more accurately, a dangling slice of chocolate decadence cake from Whole Foods. It’s always one scoop away…

Ironically, the text came as we were discussing emergency preparedness with the campus officer, so we got all the latest information straight from the source. Apparently, Tulane has its own weather team contracted to provided updates in cases like this, and Louisiana has a state-wide plan to begin emergency evacuations 60 hours from predicted landfall. Thanks to Katrina, they said the days of “Well by-golly, I lived through Betsy and Camille, I’m just gonna ride this one out,” are over. The governor has already declared a pre-state of emergency, and 150 of the 700 busses needed to evacuate New Orleans are already here. If nothing else, they sure learned to evacuate.

Tulane has evacuated twice before—once for Ivan, which veered at the last minute, and once for Katrina. The year Katrina hit, 1500 freshman had moved in at 9am, and by 7pm they had all been evacuated—750 students went home, and the other 700 were bussed to Jackson State.

Most people ran out and bought water and non-perishable food items. I ran to the bookstore and bought Tulane clothes, then to the mall for some MAC eye shadow in case I never see either of them again. We all have our priorities.

I spent the rest of the afternoon re-packing the boxes I just unpacked and moving everything else away from windows and up off the floor (just in case this mandatory vacation turns into a four-and-a-half month effort to get back).

SJP agreed to stay and watch for looters while I’m gone. I am sort of devastated about my first day of school being canceled and really worried about things like having to sit the semester out or transfer to another school if we actually get a direct hit, but I’m trying to be an adult about it and keep things in perspective.

School is scheduled to re-open on Thursday, provided we have a school. In the meantime, I’ll be at Grampy’s agonizing over the 10 pairs of shoes and 12 purses that got left behind.




13 thoughts on “Orienta-uh-Evacuation”

  1. i cant believe your off again and i didnt see you when you were in the area (by my fault and poor scheduling to boot)

    however, i guess i will have to continue to live vicariously thru you and your experiences and build a friendship thru blogs and prayers- hehe

    you take care

    our blog is http://snoverfam.blogspot.com/

    although i am not good updating as well as i would like, must be that young lil guy in my life


    still love your writing


  2. nevermind on my status comment to you – i can obviously understand why the frowny face at this point. This sucks Brooke – but i’m glad you are getting out safely before mayhem sets in.


  3. I hope your shoes and purses make it! oh and SJP I hope if it does hit she makes it out alive too!! in the meantime enjoy FL and your grampy’s house!! :)


  4. This brings back the memory of our random meeting in Houston at the Red Cross. I’m glad you’re out of the city and hope you can return Thursday without any complications!


  5. I know- it seems so weird that three years ago my bags were packed and waiting by the door so I could get into the city and help, and today I am shoving everything into my car to get out, and even stranger that it is on the anniversary of Katrina itself, which is what brought me here in the first place…


  6. Hey Brooke, my dad goes down after the hurricanes and assesses the damages for businesses as an insurance adjuster. He told me to tell you that if you do get a direct hit – like Katrina – your stuff will be gone. I told him that you’re like on the 2nd or 3rd floor and he said that it may not get wet…so, I just wanted to tell you that so that you knew…I’m sure you already new that!
    Just be careful, Brooke! Hopefully SJP knows it too and can keep watch over your stuff – even if it does mean getting wet!


  7. you are bringing up memories i have of living out of the mercedes for 4, count ’em, 4 hurricanes in FL when i lived on the beach and the fire trucks drove around shouting on loud speakers that it was now or never to evacuate and the firemen knocked on my door to be sure i knew that they were NOT coming back in to rescue me after the storm blew my house to smithereens! oh, the fun of living out of a cardboard box, cooler with melting ice, sweaty but sweet golden retriever in the backseat and crying every 2 hours for the lack of companionship in a strange city having a 4 back to back hurricanes i survived it all, made great friends and lived on to have great adventures. my experienced advice to you is – stop watching the weather channel!!! it will make you crazy starting weeks ahead of the storms they love to hype you up and then disappoint when the storms blow out or even more insulting, veer off in another direction….love ya and miss ya


  8. it’s all part of your charm, my vagabond friend…my mom says hi and she loves ya and she’s praying for you. We moved your bed and all your furniture up to the nice place of my house…anytime you need it back, come and get it. Hey, I’m sleeping in your bed tonight. In all seriousness, at least your cedar chest and bookshelf will be dry. :)


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