Restoration Efforts at Historically Black Southern University in New Orleans Proceeding at a Snail’s Pace

In the previous issue of the JBHE Weekly Bulletin, we reported that the Carnegie Corporation issued grants of $6 million to help in the recovery of Dillard and Xavier universities, two historically black educational institutions that were seriously damaged by floodwaters after Hurricane Katrina struck the city in August 2005.

But very little has been done to restore the campus of Southern University in New Orleans, a predominantly black state-operated educational institution. Water-soaked books remain on the shelves of the university’s library. Classes are still held in a city of 45 trailers situated miles north of the campus. Officials at the university fear that white state legislators in Baton Rouge are dragging their feet and delaying restoration in the hope that the university can be permanently closed.

Despite the slow progress in restoring the campus, university officials report that enrollments are up 14 percent this fall.