‘He never wavered’

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April 14, 2014 8:45 AM

Paul Barron

Law professor Paul Barron filled many roles at President Cowen’s request during and after Hurricane Katrina, including the job of university marshal during the Tulane Commencement Ceremony. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

Editor’s Note: In this series of articles, colleagues and friends of Tulane University President Scott Cowen write a remembrance of their work with him. Law professor Paul Barron recalls the traumatic period after Hurricane Katrina, when he took on the additional roles of interim provost, university marshal and chief information officer.

I am sure that many of the people who provide memories of Scott Cowen’s presidency relate to Hurricane Katrina. I was privileged to work closely with the Tulane team as we resurrected Tulane and New Orleans.

Clearly, Scott was at the forefront of that work.

When all of us worried about whether we would succeed, Scott never wavered in telling us over and over that he was not worried that we would do so.

When we had returned to New Orleans, he confided to me that he, too, was worried that we would succeed, even though he never showed that.

I think that this was the hallmark of a true leader. He convinced me and the rest of us that his vision was ours. For me, he taught me many things in the time I worked with him, but the lessons during Katrina were the greatest.

I am very lucky to have worked for Scott, to be his colleague, to be his mentor, and most importantly, to be his friend. These memories will stay with me forever.