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Law Community, Dean Commemorate Katrina with Day of Service

September 02, 2010

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Despite a pop-up thunderstorm late in the day last Friday (Aug. 27), Tulane Law School faculty and staff joined another 1,500 Tulane volunteers to lend helping hands to the New Orleans community in observance of Hurricane Katrina’s fifth anniversary.

Friday was “Wave of Green” service day for Tulane employees, who headed to City Park for landscaping and fix-up duties, or to Frenchmen Street in New Orleans’ Seventh Ward, where Habitat for Humanity is constructing five homes.

Joining a cadre of Tulane faculty and staff members working at the Habitat site was Tulane Law School Dean David Meyer. While new to New Orleans, Dean Meyer said the day was a wonderful opportunity for him to see what makes the city and the University so genuinely special.

“Staff and students are drawn to Tulane by a love for this city and a desire to make a difference,” Meyer observed. “Whether through our clinics, our first-in-the-nation pro bono program, or pounding nails in volunteer outings like this, service to the community is a defining feature of the Tulane experience.”

Professor Martin Davies, as well as staff members Michelle Certoma and Karen Duhé, joined the dean in rebuilding—some by paintbrush, others by hammer or circular saw, yet all present for the same reasons.

Likewise, Professors Keith Werhan and Robert Westley weathered the rain at City Park, where one team painted playground structures in the Storyland area and another group pulled weeds, planted trees and put down fresh mulch near the park’s Popp Fountain.

Prior to the volunteers’ departure from campus on Friday, Tulane University President Scott Cowen emailed his signature “Tulane Talk” to the community.  An excerpt follows.

“With conflicting emotions that include wounds that won’t heal and opportunities that have brought undreamed of hope, I can only recall the words from one of my first messages to the university community in the hours after the storm. ‘ It is difficult to describe what this situation feels like for those involved. It is surreal and unfathomable; yet, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Our focus is on the light and not the darkness.’

“Five years later we are still focused on that light, and it is getting brighter each day.”

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