The Dean of the Loyola College of Law in New Orleans, Madeleine Landrieu, last week sent out this message to the Loyola Alumni and friends recalling assistance that came to New Orleans from the Texas legal community following Hurricane Katrina.
As you may recall, in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures in New Orleans, the University of Houston and its Law Center opened their arms and classrooms to our students and faculty, allowing us to preserve that academic semester. Twenty-seven members of our law faculty relocated to Houston after the storm and taught 317 of our law students at the University of Houston Law Center, allowing our 3L’s to graduate on time! This past week was not easy. Emotions were high as we marked the 12th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and watched the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. Our thoughts and prayers are with our neighbors in Houston and the surrounding areas as they begin their long road to recovery. Here at the College of Law at Loyola University New Orleans we feel a special bond with many friends there.
In her book, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law: A History, Professor Isabel Medina documents the days and months following Hurricane Katrina, when the University of Houston Law Center was there for us. We remember this time in our history with gratitude. To read more in Loyola University New Orleans College of Law: A History, click here. Professor Medina is our Ferris Family Distinguished Professor of Law.
Last Saturday, as the water was still rising in Houston, I spoke to Dean Leonard Baynes at the University of Houston’s Law Center to remind him of this time in our shared histories and assure him of our prayers and support. I am pleased to let you all know that he and the deans of South Texas and Southern Methodist University law schools have reported that their people--students, staff, and faculty--have, by and large, come through Harvey safe and relatively unscathed. I am also pleased to report that their facilities are in good shape. Each school intends to re-open next Tuesday for classes. This is good news, for sure.
I want all of you--particularly the Loyola Law classes of 2006, 2007, and 2008--to know that the law faculty and I are in touch with our UH colleagues and are offering assistance as they re-open and turn their attention to meeting the needs of their community. As explained by Rob Verchick, Loyola College of Law Professor and holder of our Gauthier-St. Martin Chair in Environmental Law, in his book Facing Catastrophe: Environmental Action for a Post-Katrina World, we learned in Hurricane Katrina that the effects of disasters are borne disproportionately by people of color, the poor, and women. Our law clinic professors are in touch with their colleagues in Houston to ensure that legal services are available to all those in need.
Each of us can do our part, and our Jesuit teachings call upon us to do no less. I encourage you to work with the LSBA, your local bar associations, and your local legal service providers to render any assistance you can. At times of disasters, lawyers are needed more than ever.
Be well and stay safe over the holiday weekend.