Missy Frazelle found her dorm room, met her roommate, began unpacking — then began evacuating. The Arcadia High School graduate spent only a few hours at Tulane University in the heart of New Orleans on Saturday before she heard a resident assistant screaming in the hall.
"Leave all your stuff! You need to get out by 6!" she said she remembers the woman yelling.
At a hastily called meeting for all students, Tulane President Scott Cowen told students that Hurricane Katrina was bearing down on New Orleans and they had to evacuate.
Those without transportation and housing were offered bus rides to Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss., said Frazelle, 18.
Before leaving her dorm room, Frazelle and her roommate put their belongings on high shelves in their first-floor room, just in case there might be some flooding.
Classes at the private university, which has withstood the elements since it was founded in 1834, were scheduled to begin Wednesday.
Tulane’s Web site, www.tulane.edu, has been reduced to a low-tech Web page with brief updates. "Nearly all of our students have been relocated to their home communities or other safe locations under our supervision," according to the posting.
Frazelle and her father booked the first flight out Sunday morning. Frazelle packed a travel bag for what she thought would be a short trip home. She left most of her belongings in Tulane and assumes it’s all a loss.
By then, less than a day before landfall, people began getting edgy. Nearly everyone in the city was trying to get out. Interstate 10 was a parking lot.
Travelers were tired and upset, she said. Lines at the airport stretched for hours.
But they got out before flights were grounded.
Since she’s been back in Arizona, Frazelle has been trying to keep up with events in New Orleans and Tulane.
She said she was uncertain if she will ever return to Tulane.
She said, "It’s really up the air, because I don’t know if the school will be the same after everything — or even if there will be a school."