Students brave the storm at Loyola

CHERIE LEJEUNE and CHERIE LEJEUNE

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With an impending Category-1 storm, Hurricane Isaac, headed straight for New Orleans, 634 Loyola students chose to ride out the storm in their residence halls instead of seeking shelter elsewhere, Residential Life said.

Then when Residential Life enacted a lockdown policy with no one allowed to leave the buildings during the storm for two days, things got interesting.

The Loyola University Police reports from the storm showed several alcohol and drug violations during the lock-down.

For over 36 hours, students, including English sophomore and Buddig resident Amanda Lyons, watched the swaying trees and torrential rain from their windows, hoping those windows wouldn’t start leaking.

“My main concern became my roommate’s window,” Lyons said. “When we moved in, we noticed a huge crack along the wall above it. We put a towel on the floor and stuffed the window frame with paper towels that I would switch out every few hours. Trust me, the combination made the room stink.”

Approximately 170 rooms experienced water intrusion from the storm, leaving carpeting soaked and walls damaged, said Beebe. Flooding and leakage was a top concern for Residential Life, forcing certain residents to relocate.

“We were told to pack an overnight bag and find a friend’s room in another building,” said Dylan Jones, undecided freshman and Buddig resident. “I moved to Biever for the week.”

The move didn’t bother Jones, but because of it, he witnessed the fighting and partying in Biever that ensued.

“There was a dance party on the sixth floor of Biever, and then at one point a fight broke out in a room between sixth floor residents and third floor residents. It was completely ridiculous, absurd. I was awkwardly standing at this dorm party, and then this guy gets a huge gash in his eye,” Jones said.

The days stuck inside weren’t easy, as Lyons and Jones recall. Boredom resulted in partying and partying resulted in trouble.

Jones recalls seeing the cops get involved, when residents got busted for illegal substances.

“At one point, I was hanging out in the lobby and this police officer was walking out of the building holding these evidence bags, I guess you’d call them,” said Jones. “There was some kind of pellet gun in one of them and a Sprite bottle that probably was alcohol in the other one.”

If students were acting out, it wasn’t because they were going hungry. Loyola’s Sodexo workers provided students with bagged lunches, even cooking up a warm meal of red beans and rice in the Orleans Room on Wednesday night, said resident assistant Olia Friedrichs.

Power, on the other hand, was a luxury that was quickly lost as Isaac made its landfall. According to Friedrichs, Biever residents got a little crafty.

“The generators kicked on in the halls right away. People were pulling their power strips into the hallways so they could use the plugs. They’d pull their fridges towards their doors and plug them in, too,” she said.

No power meant no air conditioning, and the residence halls grew very hot.

“Most people didn’t spend time in their rooms because it got stuffy without being able to open the windows,” Friedrichs said.

Jones and Lyons agree that boredom might have been the toughest obstacle of all to overcome. Lyons says she passed the time watching movies while Residential Life tried to entertain students with floor programs like Biever Hall’s scavenger hunt and Carrollton Hall’s talent show.

But mostly, it became an opportunity to bond with fellow students.

“When everyone was losing power, we would hang out in the hallways,” Shad Stout, music industry junior and Carrollton resident, said. “There were people coming out of their rooms that never would’ve normally. I met so many new people and got to know my floor better. It became this community experience.”

Friedrichs considered this a goal of Residential Life.

“We tried to make it like summer camp,” Friedrichs said. “From day one, Monday, we said, ‘We’re going to call this Camp Biever.’ We made friendship bracelets, we made “I Survived” t-shirts. It was tough being stuck inside, but we all made the best of it.”

Cherie Lejeune can be reached at [email protected]

 

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