I started at Tulane this fall. Then I got run off by a little hurricane that y'all might remember, so I may have a different perspective than you.
Trust me, I know it's a good school. I'm not saying people shouldn't go there. But the school did take a huge financial hit (they lost a ton of revenue and still had to pay everybody). The restructuring was in some ways overdue, but others (cutting entire departments because they were non-elite rather than trying to improve them?) were financially forced. I'm curious, which Cat 3 hurricanes (and when) did it survive before Katrina? Because after the levees failed so spectacularly this time around, there's no way the city stands up to a major hurricane (or possibly any hurricane at all?) this fall if it's unlucky enough to get hit again. In case you hadn't heard, the "fix the levees" plan isn't going along that well. Look, if the city doesn't get hit by hurricanes, yeah, everything will be fine. If it does... well to start with, forced exile and cancelled semesters are no fun... but beyond that...
I'm sorry, I don't mean to be a kill-joy. It's a good school, and on other threads I've actually advised people to go to Tulane over some of their other options, but I think it's important to go into this with your eyes wide open and recognize that there is a risk attached to going there.
Of course there is risk. That is true anywhere you go. I'm not worried about another Hurricane nor do I think anyone else should be. The historical information you asked for is below. While all the stated events occured after the founding of Tulane University (1835), the first event predates the law school by about 10 yrs. All the information came from the NOAA website. I only included storms that were described as having caused significant flooding or had wind speeds > 110 mph. Personally, I like the odds these data present. On average a hurricane that causes major distruction in the greater New Orleans area occurs about every 31 yrs; the shortest interval between such events is 13 yrs. IMHO Tulane will be fine for at least the next 3 yrs, but as you point out: anything could happen.
October 6-7, 1837: Racer's Storm hit Matamoros, Mexico before recurving northeast and striking Louisiana coast just east of Cameron; moved east across Gulf coast before heading across North Carolina and then out into the Atlantic. Storm caused a surge of 8 feet of water above high tide on Lake Pontchartrain.
New Orleans experienced a "gale" on the 5th and 6th, destroying chimneys, awnings, and many area roofs. The City Exchange on Lewis Street, which was under construction at the time, suffered much damage. The original wooden Bayou St. John lighthouse, the first built by the U.S. Government outside the original 13 colonies, was swept into obscurity. All wharves along the Mississippi coast were washed away with the tide. The storm caused widespread flooding and considerable damage to shipping; all boats, including 4 steamboats, perished in the storm.Lower portions of New Orleans were submerged. Many of the buildings were damaged or carried away by the tide.
Crops were seriously damaged along both sides of the Mississippi, particularly sugarcane and cotton. Six lives were lost.
June 2-3rd, 1871: A tropical cyclone that struck Galveston also made an impact on Louisiana. New Orleans was flooded, giving the appearance of a "submerged city" after the storm.
August 18-20th, 1888. This hurricane was considered the "severest and most extensive" to hit Louisiana since the Racer's Storm of 1837. It affected much of northern Gulf coast. In New Orleans, all electric light, telegraph, and phone wires went down that Sunday night. By Monday morning, the storm was at its height. Ninety mile an hour winds rampaged through the city. Almost the entire city was submerged.
August 14th, 1901: Hurricane forms northeast of Puerto Rico and moves west through Southern Florida and northwest through the Gulf of Mexico before hitting Grand Isle on the 14th. The 5-min average winds reached 56 m.p.h. at Port Eads before the anemometer blew away.River stages at New Orleans rose to a level of 7 feet during the storm, producing much flooding. Levee breaks around New Orleans flooded the city.
Buras reported 4 feet of water in town. The only building not destroyed at Port Eads was the lighthouse! Total Louisiana damages exceeded $1 million. Ten lives were lost.
September 19th, 1947: Hurricane force winds first reached the Mississippi and Louisiana shores at 6 a.m. and New Orleans at 8 a.m.. Gusts to 125 m.p.h. were estimated at Moisant International Airport (now Louis Armstrong International) (highest gust measured was 112 m.p.h.)
and the pressure fell to 28.57". The map to the left shows the storm making landfall at 6:30 a.m. CST on on the 19th. Hurricane force winds reached as far inland as Melville by 4 p.m.. A fifteen foot storm surge overcame the Bay St. Louis seawall. Ostrica saw an 11.5 foot surge and Shell Beach experienced an 11.2 foot storm surge. Water was 6 feet deep in Jefferson Parish. The air fields at Moisant were under 2 feet of water,
closing the airport during its second year of operation. This storm demonstrated the dire need for tidal protection levees for New Orleans. Much of the city was flooded, and $100 million in damage was produced.
The storm claimed 51 victims, 12 in Louisiana.
September 9-10th, 1965 (Betsy): Hurricane Betsy, moving unusually fast through the Gulf at forward speeds of 22 mph, came ashore Grand Isle as a major hurricane. Winds gusted to 125 mph and the pressure fell to 28.75" at New Orleans.
The sea level pressure there dropped to 28.00" at Grand Isle and Houma. Port Eads gauged winds to 136 mph. A 10 foot storm surge was produced causing New Orleans its worst flooding in decades...
but they were lucky compared to Grand Isle, which saw a 15.7 foot surge on its northern coast and wind gusts to 160 m.p.h.. Wind gusting to 100 mph covered Southeast Louisiana. Winds of hurricane force spread as far west as Lafayette and as far inland as St. Landry parish. Even Alexandria and Monroe saw winds in excess of 60 mph.