School started last week, and the campus is once again swarming with students. I’m always glad to see them, but now more than ever.
The re-opening of the universities in January of 2006 was the single most positive moment in the recovery of New Orleans. Unfortunately we haven’t had many other moments like that since.
The last four semesters were hard, because they were non-stop. There’s a cycle to the academic year, a rhythm that students and teachers get to know. But the last four semesters broke that rhythm.
I don’t teach, so it didn’t affect me directly. But it seemed people were focused on survival. Then, when the summer break came, they were focused on getting the hell away from campus for a while.
Now the faculty are back, and the students are back, and the campus is thrumming with life again, and this school year promises to be the closest approximation to normal we’ve had yet.
The recovery of the universities by no means guarantees the recovery of the city. The campus is surrounded by ruins. My home is amongst those ruins. Every day I go from the ruins to that little bubble of stability, and I wonder: What is the true role of the academy in such a scenario?