After Katrina: Temporary relocation

Since my last entry, all the faculty members of the chemistry department at University of New Orleans (UNO) have been found. The department established an alternative e-mail network to deliver information to faculty and students about UNO issues. Our associate chair, Ray Sweany, and Scott Whittenburg, who recently assumed a position in the UNO administration, have been working in Baton Rouge in the effort to rebuild the university. Both are exhibiting extraordinary leadership under very difficul

By | September 10, 2005

Since my last entry, all the faculty members of the chemistry department at University of New Orleans (UNO) have been found. The department established an alternative e-mail network to deliver information to faculty and students about UNO issues. Our associate chair, Ray Sweany, and Scott Whittenburg, who recently assumed a position in the UNO administration, have been working in Baton Rouge in the effort to rebuild the university. Both are exhibiting extraordinary leadership under very difficult circumstances. It will never be forgotten. The university is struggling to pay the faculty, stuff, and graduate students their salaries and stipends. Employees and students who usually pick up checks, rather than being paid through direct deposit, did not receive their paychecks on August 31st. Some of them must be contacting the Red Cross by now. The payroll department is attempting to get back on its feet with the help of Louisiana State University. One day, we will ask, what happened to all the contingency plans that were in place if a hurricane forced the university to operate from a remote location? University employees have been assured by the UNO administration that they have jobs and they will be paid. The question is, when? As far as my personal situation I consider myself lucky, actually very lucky. I will shortly assume a position of program officer (rotator) at the National Science Foundation in Arlington, VA. My primary objective will be to help my fellows in Louisiana to restore their research programs. My teenage kids (high school senior and sophomore) are already back in school in McLean, VA. They've started smiling again and soon will regain the behavior of normal teens! We received such a warm welcome from the local Jewish community in Falls Church, VA. It is truly beyond words. It showed us how important it is to be a part of a community. I think we knew but did not really understand the concept until these last two weeks. I will be relocating my research group to the DC area next week where we could continue our research even when away from home. We had great results over the summer that we are dying to publish, so stay tuned.

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