Tulane Reopening for Spring Semester

Five months after Hurricane Katrina forced it to close its doors for a semester, Tulane University will reopen for classes Tuesday.

Nearly 90 percent of Tulane's 6,700 undergraduates are returning, the university said, including more than 80 percent of freshmen.

In addition to its own students, Tulane will welcome Xavier and Dillard students, whose universities were severely damaged by Katrina.

Peter Young, a Tulane junior who is the president of the student body, said he has looked forward to the return of classes since Katrina struck.

"From the moment I got off the plane when I got home after I evacuated," he said, "I wanted to be right back at school."

Young, who is majoring in government, spent his semester away from campus in Washington, D.C., interning for a congressman.

Major Renovations

Katrina caused Tulane $200 million in damage. To pay for the renovation costs, the university has eliminated 230 faculty positions and 250 staff jobs, in addition to dropping some athletic and academic programs. It has added 30 courses related to Katrina.

Adrienne Bowler, a Tulane junior who stayed in the New Orleans area after the hurricane to volunteer as an EMT, said she was impressed by how much Tulane has fixed up the campus thus far.

"It looks much better than it did," said Bowler, who is majoring in sociology and environmental studies. "I remember when I first came in September, I really think didn't that we would be back in January, and I am so impressed with the work that the school has done."