One of the things that Tulane demands of its students is an evacuation plan. Since we live a goodly distance from there, our original plan was for him to use their arrangement with Jackson State University, expecting it would only be for a couple of days.
But when the word came down yesterday that classes would end at noon today and wouldn’t resume until Thursday, it seemed that forcing Jeff to camp out in the gym for at least five nights wasn’t right, so I disconnected from a rather chaotic conference call (as they say, it’s an ill wind that blows no good) to concentrate on making flight arrangements. I quickly figured out that we were going to pay full fare, and decided to use Southwest because Jeff already has a raft of frequent flyer credits with them (not enough for a free trip, though). Since I knew he had classes until noon, I picked a 3pm flight.
And then I thought about it a bit more and thought he might be able to miss his last class today, so I tried to call his instructor (and here I thought I wasn’t going to be a helicopter parent). The phone was answered “Room 313” — his instructor wasn’t there, but other grad students were, and their advice was not to worry about the class. So I called Southwest and moved him to a 2pm flight.
After lunch, I finally connected with Jeff (he’d been in class while I was making the arrangements). He was happy to come home instead of going to Jackson State, but he asked if I could get him on an even earlier flight — he was willing to blow off Spanish as well as Statistics. So I got back on the phone with Southwest and made the change (by this point, I was glad that I was dealing with them and not, say, United — no extra fees for talking to a human, nor for changing flights).
Tulane had set up free shuttles to the airport, but, unsurprisingly, the 6am shuttle (first of the day) was full, so he couldn’t get on. Equally unsurprisingly, there were taxis nearby who were more than willing to take students to the airport — and plenty of students to share them. So he took a taxi (good decision) and was through security before 7am, and in San Jose by 3 (despite some confusion in Las Vegas).
And when he checked his mail, he found that his Statistics class had been cancelled, and that his Spanish teacher was not going to count today as an official absence. Somehow, I was not surprised. Nor was he.
Now we wait to see if he can, indeed, return on Wednesday as planned — some of the models show Gustav as slowing down, which might delay things. I hope not, though — if the storm moves quickly, it’s likely to be less intense, which is a Good Thing all around.
Happy third anniversary of Katrina. Stay safe.