Evacuees find homes at U

Most of the 30 students who transferred to the University are originally from Minnesota.

Jamie VanGeest

Thousands of students have fled Louisiana because of Hurricane Katrina, rather than staying in the South, and some are choosing to continue their education at the University of Minnesota.

Maddie Lammers

Maddie Lammers walked through Coffman Union proudly wearing her green Tulane University T-shirt in a school full of maroon and gold.

A week ago Lammers was a senior at Tulane University in New Orleans, but now she is going to the Carlson School of Management to finish her degree in finance.

Lammers is one of 30 students who transferred to the University after Hurricane Katrina, said Wayne Sigler, the Office of Admissions director. Most of these students are originally from Minnesota, he said.

“A lot of my friends from Tulane are very frustrated; all they wanted to do was start the school year,” said Lammers

The first time Lammers thought about evacuating Louisiana was while she was sunbathing at her friend’s pool.

At the time, Lammers didn’t take the coming storm seriously because she wasn’t even sure the hurricane was going to hit New Orleans.

This was her fourth hurricane warning since she started school three years ago at Tulane University.

By the next day, Lammers and two of her sorority sisters packed into a Jeep Cherokee and evacuated to Houston, Texas to stay a friend’s house.

There, Lammers joined 19 fellow college students taken in by her friend’s family after the hurricane hit.

Lammers had to leave most of her possessions in Louisiana. The Wednesday after Katrina hit, while flying to St. Paul to stay with her parents, Lammers’ plane flew over Lake Pontchartrain and the eastern suburbs of New Orleans.

Lake Pontchartrain, which is usually full of boats, was completely placid, said Lammers.

“The lake was eerily calm, that was the moment the hurricane really hit me,” said Lammers.

She said she feels lucky that Tulane University wasn’t damaged as badly as nearby Loyola University.

Lammers will stay with her mom in St. Paul and hopes to go back to Tulane University to finish her senior year.

Lammers encourages anyone at the University to help the victims of Katrina by donating time or money. One of her friends from Tulane started volunteering for the Red Cross after the hurricane.

Ryan Alberg

Ryan Alberg, a first-year student at Tulane University, is now a freshman at the University of Minnesota.

He arrived the Friday before classes started at Tulane, and was evacuated the next day.

“By the time Tulane ordered a mandatory evacuation, I had just moved into my room,” said Alberg, who is originally from Shoreview, Minn.

Because Tulane first-year students arrived earlier on campus than upperclassmen so they could move into the residence halls, most of the people evacuated were incoming freshman.

Alberg only had enough time to bring four outfits and his laptop before he boarded a bus to Jackson University in Jackson, Mississippi.

During the hurricane, he waited in the gym of Jackson University. Alberg took the time to get to know his fellow Tulane classmates and played cards.

The incoming class of Tulane University was comfortable in Jackson until they lost power and ran out of food and water.

“That was the point when a lot of the students were upset,” said Alberg.

After that, the students were evacuated to Georgia Tech in Atlanta. Then, Alberg took a plane back to Minneapolis.

Alberg will take classes at the University of Minnesota and then transfer back to Tulane University for the spring semester.

He wants to go back to New Orleans and earn undergraduate degrees in history and political science.

Even though Alberg had to leave most of his possessions in New Orleans, some of his fellow classmates weren’t as lucky.

“One guy I knew had his house completely destroyed and a lot of others’ houses were flooded,” said Alberg.

One of his friends even took a map and pointed out all of the places where people he knew had houses that were flooded in Louisiana.

Schools doing their part

The University of Minnesota Law School has admitted two students from Louisiana so far and has had 35 inquiries.

The school is only taking second and third-year students, but Joan Howland, the Law School’s associate dean, thinks it is critical to help those students.

“We realize that second and third-year students need to take the bar and we want to keep them on track,” said Howland.

Besides receiving assistance with getting used to the University, these students at the Law School have been given free textbooks.