On Sunday, August 29, 2021, the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, another devastating Hurricane named Ida swept through the coast of Louisiana. It is considered to be one of the strongest Hurricanes to make landfall since 1956 tying with Hurricane Laura. The storm intensified very quickly, barely giving enough time for Louisiana Natives and College Students to prepare. For several students, this Hurricane had a bigger impact than expected and for others this was their first experience with a Hurricane.
Immediately, Southern University took action concerning the wellbeing of their students. All students received emails for constant updates on campus closures, dining hall updates, city curfews, and more. The F.G. Clark Center also opened as a shelter for the East Baton Rouge Parish. Southern University returns to normal operations, Tuesday, September 7, 2021, but what does this mean for students?
The talk around campus and on social media after the storm brought up several topics. The differences in students were clearly shown. Many people who had never lived through a hurricane spoke of the winds and the sounds of the hurricane and how they never wanted to live through one again. As for other students, who did not evacuate said everything was normal except for the exceptionally long wait for power to be restored. Overall everyone is just ready for things to return to normal, and according to many students who were on campus, Ida won’t be stopping them,
Shakalia Simon, Sophomore, Texas Native, evacuated as soon as possible. The two neighboring states have been known to suffer together through natural disasters such as hurricanes and tropical storms. Although Ms. Simon has lived through several floods, the lack of knowledge of what Ida had in store provoked a feeling of fear in her. “I’m just not ready to live through another flood, let alone living through it by myself. I had to go home.” As for the remainder of the school year, she feels everything will return to normal…” well as normal as things can get with a pandemic still going on.” Shakalia feels this is just a minor setback for a major comeback.
Baton Rouge Native, Rayegan Abdullah, Sophomore Nursing Major had a different outlook being that she experienced the storm head-on. The family had to adapt in tremendous ways. Ms. Abdullah reflects on the hurricane and how it has affected her and her family as well as the rest of the school year, “ The hurricane took the power out of my house for almost a week. Me, my mom and my pregnant sister had to stay in my uncle's apartment. None of our food in the fridge was salvaged so we had to constantly buy new food and groceries to cool basically every day. I think the hurricane has already affected the school year tremendously. People still don’t have power and the people who stay in Louisiana won’t recover for a while which puts everyone behind in school and makes it harder for everyone to have the resources they need to be successful.”
The storm brung several different views, as we have students from all over with different ways of living. However, the school year must continue and we look forward to seeing how the school adapts and works through this time of devastation.