Huge Surge in Applications to Black Universities in New Orleans

It has been more than three years since Hurricane Katrina struck the city of New Orleans. But now there are signs that black higher education in the city is regaining the stature it held before the storm.

Nowhere is this more apparent than at Dillard University. After the hurricane some of the buildings on the Dillard campus had floodwaters eight feet high. Three dormitories on campus burned to the ground. Estimates of the total damage were placed at $400 million.

This past fall there were only 867 students on campus compared to about 2,100 before the hurricane. But the good news is that the university received 2,497 applications for freshman admissions this year, a 110 percent increase from a year ago.

At Xavier University there were 444 students in the freshman class the year after the storm. This year 778 first-year students enrolled. The university has received more than 2,500 applications for the class that will enter this fall. Total enrollments at Xavier this semester are about 3,100, about 75 percent of the level that existed before Hurricane Katrina.