With the exception of Dillard University, colleges around New Orleans are reopening this week. But classes wont be the same as before Katrina.
Many classes will be held in trailers and hotel conference rooms while they continue to repair of hundreds of millions of dollars of campus damage, and overall enrollment is considerably lower than before the storm. They have laid off hundreds of faculty and staff to try to meet budgets.
Some neighborhoods around Tulane and Loyola are relatively vibrant, but Xavier, the country's only historically black and Roman Catholic college, is in an area of mostly abandoned homes and stores. Dillard, near the London Avenue Canal breach, was so badly damaged that it will not reopen there until at least next fall. Even then, it will almost certainly be an island of life in a sea of empty neighborhoods.
Nonetheless, having college students back in town will be one more sign that New Orleans is on the road to recovery.
I hope that the returning students are aware of the situation down here. If they think that they can return the the same old lifestyle, they are horribly mistaken. However, if one is willing to make a few sacrafices and have a pioneer spirit with an eye for opportunities, then New Orleans is the best place a student can be.