Word from Tulane UniversityOctober 21, 2005
To the Editor:
Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf South two days before the beginning of classes at Tulane. The faculty, students, and staff evacuated to hotels, shelters, and dormitories near the region, expecting to return home within a few days. After the extent of the damage became apparent, we scattered to places all over the country and are currently in the process of setting up temporary living and working arrangements.
The help that we have received in these efforts from the mathematics community has been wonderful, and on behalf of the mathematics department I would like to thank all of the departments, organizations, and individuals who have been instrumental in helping us. Many departments have offered office space to displaced Tulane faculty members; I know of no department which refused such a request.
In many cases the help that we received went well beyond assisting us in our professional lives. Colleagues were instrumental in helping some us find appropriate schools for our children, in finding apartments, and in the many other tasks involved in establishing a, more or less, normal life. These were acts of genuine kindness, for which we are profoundly grateful. The mathematics community extended help for our students as well. A number of departments have admitted our graduate students for the semester.
At a time of such chaos and confusion, our ability to have some sort of professional life has importance to us far beyond the actual value of whatever mathematical work we produce. As we are disconnected from familiar places and routines, we can go to talks, have discussions with friends and colleagues, while waiting to return home: all the things that we do daily at Tulane.
If anyone reading this wishes to contact a Tulane mathematician, many members of the department have registered on the Tulane Survivor Network, which can be found at www.tulane.edu, where their temporary phone numbers and e-mail addresses can be found. Members of the department have also established a discussion group at groups.google.com/group/TulaneMath, where you can learn more about the status of our department.
--Morris Kalka, Chair, Department of Mathematics, Tulane University; firstname.lastname@example.org.