MIKE SMITH, Remington College – Baton Rouge Campus President:
“I was Campus President at the New Orleans Campus at the time. Everyone told each other goodbye for the weekend, not realizing that many of us wouldn’t see each other again.
At the time, Remington College – New Orleans Campus had two buildings situated about two miles apart. The medical building was spared, but the main building that housed our IT programs had extensive damage. We had about 600 students when Katrina hit us.
Of the 50+ employees at the New Orleans Campus, 10 were able to transfer to Baton Rouge. Since that time, six of us are still here. Several former employees I’m still in touch with have stayed in New Orleans, but I think about 40 percent have moved out of the area.
Katrina was absolutely a life-changing experience for all of us, and one we’ll never forget. But I’m happy to report that I do see progress today in the city of New Orleans and surrounding areas. As many of us have witnessed firsthand, New Orleans is resilient and is coming back stronger than ever.”
“Katrina affected Mobile peripherally. Lots of trees were downed, and many houses were affected. Roads were flooded as well, which often happens in downtown Mobile especially.
The Mobile Campus didn’t have any damage, fortunately, but many of my folks had roof and other water problems they had to contend with, all of which took its toll, of course.
The major effect on Mobile was getting power restored, which took from one day to upwards of three weeks, depending on where you lived. Cleanup was the big issue, but it was accomplished pretty quickly.”
JOANN BOUDREAUX, Remington College – Lafayette Campus President:
“We didn’t have any structural damage at the Lafayette Campus, but we did have major issues with telephone systems for months after Katrina.
Many displaced folks flocked to Lafayette for housing. Our city’s population doubled in size due to the influx of people. It was a difficult time for our employees and students, because so many of us had friends, relatives – or both – living with us. I also vividly recall that the stores couldn’t keep up with the supply and demand, and traffic was horrible.
Lafayette had to adjust to the increase of people. We at the Campus accommodated as many Remington College – New Orleans students as possible. And the Career College Association (CCA) issued a $30,000 scholarship check to Lafayette Campus to assist students who were affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita; 48 of our students were awarded equal portions of those scholarship funds.
Today, Lafayette is back to normal. Some displaced folks made Lafayette their new home, while others moved on to larger cities like Houston, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia. Now, when meteorologists predict a hurricane entering the Gulf, people start packing their belongings, no question. No one wants to stay behind.”