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This item originally appeared in the September 23, 2004 issue of The Tech Talk.


News Editor

Approximately 225 student evacuees from Xavier University in New Orleans arrived at 4 a.m. Sept. 15 after traveling in buses for 14 hours. They returned to New Orleans 31 hours later.

Tech President Dr. Dan Reneau, said the president of Xavier called and asked for assistance as Hurricane Ivan approached.

"We were delighted to have the students here," Reneau said. "I hope we've made a pleasant experience in what could have been a nightmare for them."

Dickie Crawford, dean of student life, said the top priority when the students arrived was to get them to their beds.

"Housing worked on getting them to bed, and the police escorted them," Crawford said.

Crawford said there were more female than male students evacuated to Tech. The female students were housed in Harper Residence Hall, on campus, as well as in the Baptist Collegiate Ministry and Association of Catholic Tech Students' buildings. Male students were housed on the eighth floor of Caruthers Residence Hall.

The evacuees seemed uninterested in sleeping, however. Groups were seen in the Student Center having breakfast as early as 8:30. Some staying at the Baptist Collegiate Ministry were seen earlier than that.

West Bayne, a sophomore mechanical engineering major, was on his way to work when he noticed the students.

"I passed by at 6:45 a.m. and saw folks in there playing ping-pong. At first I couldn't figure out what was going on, and then I remembered [the evacuees]," Bayne said.

Jim King, vice-president of student affairs, was there to meet the buses when they arrived.

He said the people of student services, building services and physical plant "scurried around" to move the 60 beds and mattresses used to accommodate the students.

"It's all part of good samaritanism, community service," King said. "We've served in this capacity before."

King also said the housing administration was present, as well as the Student Government Association and a few resident assistants.

Kimberly Ludwig, SGA president and a senior business management and entrepreneurship major, also met the buses, which were laden with Xavier evacuees.

Ludwig stayed on campus helping the students until 6:45 a.m., when she went home for a few minutes until she returned at 7:30.

The SGA had advance preparation for the event. Ludwig said an e-mail was sent to the members asking them to be prepared to be at campus in the middle of the night.

"It was like, 'There's going to be a phone call; then you have 30 minutes to get here,'" Ludwig said of the e-mail message.

The evacuees were given meal cards with a declining balance so they could eat on campus. They would later pay for the meals themselves. Reneau said there was no charge to Tech on the students' behalf.

"The cost was more in the time of the people involved on the project," Reneau said. "That was more of a giving thing."

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