Hurricane Ida Update

August 31, 2021

I am communicating with you today from campus, having just completed our first staff meeting following Hurricane Ida. I hope every member of the Southeastern family is safe and that your own family members are safe as well.

I know many of you will not be able to access this message because of the widespread loss of electrical power across southeast Louisiana. But regardless of when you are able to read this, I wanted to provide an update on the status of campus and offer some thoughts about next steps in our recovery.

Hurricane Ida packed quite a punch here with Hammond being on the immediate east side of the storm as it passed close to this area as a Category 2 hurricane. Extreme winds and torrential rains blasted the city and campus for hours, resulting in an extraordinary number of trees being downed. Several buildings were hit by falling trees and numerous roadways on and off campus were blocked.

Almost 100 residential students who could not safely return to their homes were sheltered at the University Center during the storm. They were accompanied by numerous staff who ensured the students were safe and comfortable throughout the storm.

Following Ida’s passage and when it was deemed safe for staff to venture out, initial efforts have been focused on clearing roads of trees and debris. The next interim goal is the removal of all trees that struck buildings, and we expect that will be accomplished today.

Campus staff are also making inspections of all buildings and facilities to provide a detailed assessment of damage. Preliminary reports suggest that, while there are a few buildings that sustained some damage, none of our main campus facilities suffered significant damage.

Restoration of electric service across the region and on campus specifically is likely to take a week or more, with some outlying areas potentially being without electric power for weeks.

As frustrating and disruptive as a storm like Ida can be, we are resilient and will recover. Campus will remain closed at least through this week. Please stay safe, and I will continue to provide updates as new information is available.

John L. Crain