Online UpdateUniversity Becomes Haven for Hurricane Evacuees

From Staff Reports
LSU Reveille
Loiusiana State University

Military helicopters have been ferrying those who did not escape Hurricane Katrina’s wrath to campus since late last night.

Around 11 p.m. the first helicopter touched down on the Bernie Moore Track Stadium, which has been converted into a makeshift helipad.

Helicopters have been flying in and out of campus routinely today, bringing people rescued from rooftops in New Orleans to the University.

The University is working hand in hand with the Red Cross, the Department of Health and Hospitals and other disaster relief programs to offer medical care to evacuees.

The Maddox Fieldhouse is being used as a temporary hospital with about 350 patients and their caregivers, according to Bob Johannesson, communications coordinator for DHH.

The Pete Maravich Assembly Center has been turned into a medical triage and staging area – as of today, the number of people processed through the PMAC is “in the thousands,” Johannesson said.

“Nobody is being turned away,” said Kristen Meyer, DHH spokesperson. “If people can’t be treated here by us, we transfer them to a facility that can.”

Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals have been brought in from around the state to help meet the needs of Katrina’s victims.

Because of the increased emergency traffic around these areas of campus, officials are asking the community to avoid travel on Nicholson Drive. North Stadium Drive will be closed to traffic indefinitely.

SCHOOL WOES

The University announced Tuesday that classes have been cancelled until Sept. 6 in response to the University’s new-found role as a safe haven for the thousands evacuating New Orleans and the surrounding areas ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Officials have also postponed the LSU football season opener against the North Texas University, which was scheduled for Saturday.

In the wake of Katrina’s destruction, officials have asked faculty members to be lenient with the collection of assignments and student absences.

The recent suggested dates for scheduling make-up classes on Saturdays have been also cancelled.

“At this point we’re not suggesting that classes be rescheduled on Saturdays,” said Frank Cartledge, vice provost for academic affairs. “That was the plan when we thought the University was going to re-open for Tuesday.”

There is a current plan underway.

“We do have a specific plan, but we need to run it by the deans first and get it approved as to how the semester will go,” Cartledge said.

The proposed calendar for the rest of the 2005-06 school year is being analyzed by academic affairs officials.

“We don’t have an official word yet on [class rescheduling],” said Patty Beste, associate registrar. “We do have a proposed calendar that everyone is looking at right now.”

The Office of Academic Affairs has chosen to not make their planned calendar public.

“We are not revealing the current plan because we’ve already put out things we’ve had to change,” Cartledge said. “So we think its best we wait.”

The plan will hopefully be made permanent and public by tomorrow, Beste said.

DINING HALLS OFFERING FOOD

Students with families that have evacuated the New Orleans area can take their families to both Pentagon and Highland Dining Halls, which are accepting meal plans, Paw Points, Tiger Cash, cash and checks. Students are encouraged to present their student IDs.

Normal food service resumed today on campus.

Both Pentagon and Highland Dining Halls are open today, Aug. 30, with continuous service from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

LSU Dining is offering catering services to both the temporary hospital at the Maddox Fieldhouse and the medical triage at the PMAC, said Aprille Wright, LSU Dining marketing director.

For LSU Dining hours of operation go to the LSU Dining Web site. It can be accessed through the LSU homepage. Click on “LSU A-Z” and then “LSU Dining” and then “Labor Day Holiday Dining Hours of Operation.”

Those in the area who are not family members of LSU students are encouraged to go to the Baptist Student Center, 3800 Highland Road. The BCM can be reached at 343-0408. The LSU Dining Office can be reached at 578-6642.

STUDENT VOLUNTEERS

Student Government will be manning a 24-hour hotline, answering questions about where to volunteer and how to donate money, supplies and housing. The hotline will go live after 5 p.m. Wednesday.

CAMPUS CLEAN-UP

Clean-up on campus began Monday morning, despite the continuing winds and rain. Paul Favaloro, director of resources for facility services, said there were a few downed trees and minor structural damage but the campus sustained power through the duration of the storm.

A 20 by 40 foot section of the Life Science Building lost part of its roof covering and debris and trees were scattered in the streets and sidewalks.

“We faired very well in this tragic moment,” Favaloro said. “Now we’re going to have to help those in most need and accommodate the students.”

POLICE STRUGGLING

In their struggle to meet both the new demands placed on their shoulders and to maintain their normal functions, University police officers are becoming more and more strained as their days off are cancelled and their shifts doubled.

“Everyone is in emergency mode,” said LSUPD Major Ricky Adams.

TIMES-PICAYUNE RELOCATES

The Times-Picayune, New Orleans’ major newspaper, relocated to Baton Rouge yesterday after being forced out of their downtown offices Tuesday morning.

LSU’s Journalism Building has become their makeshift newsroom. The paper has not produced a printed copy for two days, instead relying on their Web site to send out information.

WWL-TV Channel 4 and ABC WGNO have also relocated to the Baton Rouge area from New Orleans. WWL-TV is broadcasting live from the Tiger TV studios in Hodges Hall.

CHRIST THE KING A WORSHIP CENTER

After the daily mass today at Christ the King, “D” Burbank, a New Orleans resident and evacuee, broke into a uplifting rendition of “Amazing Grace,” and many others in the congregation joined in with her.

Burbank said she was not worried about material losses.

“That’s why we’re here, it’s what we’re praying for,” Burbank said. “The sanctity of life, that’s all there is.”

Burbank said she is organizing a gathering tonight at 8 p.m., focused around community and music at Christ the King.

Most of the people worshipping at the services this morning were from New Orleans, including students and their parents.