Transcript of President Cowen’s Audio Message – September 12, 2005

Dear Tulanians and Friends,

It has now been two weeks since I witnessed firsthand the wrath of Hurricane Katrina, which has forever changed the lives of all of us who are proud to call ourselves New Orleanians. Even though I am a transplant to New Orleans, my love for the city and anguish for what has happened has no bounds.

It is virtually impossible for me to adequately capture in words how I feel for those impacted by the hurricane. Never in my life could I have ever imagined witnessing such a tragedy, much less being part of it.

My feelings these last two weeks have ranged from disbelief and denial to anger and sadness. Yet, a dear friend of mine recently reminded me of the wise words of the philosopher Nietzsche who once commented that what does not destroy me makes me stronger. Out of this tragedy we will be stronger, we will be wiser, and we will do whatever it takes to replace despair with hope; acquiescence with action; disorientation with focus.

Those of us honored to represent this university believe the best way we can serve our university, our city and those impacted by Katrina is to rebuild our lives as effectively and as quickly as we can. This weekend approximately 30 of us moved into temporary residential housing. Today we moved into
temporary office space at 1700 West Loop South in Houston, Texas.

Physically, we may be in Houston but our hearts and minds are in New Orleans as we work feverishly to return to the city–the sooner, the better. Every day we become more optimistic that we will be back on campus and in our homes well in advance of our formal spring semester opening.

Your patience, understanding and expression of generosity during these difficult times are what sustain us. We will not let our university, our city or you down, this I promise.

Beginning this week I will personally communicate with you at the end of the day on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. However, we anticipate giving you informational updates on a regular basis and you should continue to monitor this website accordingly.