Like the entire city of New Orleans, the University of New Orleans chemistry department -- of which I am a member -- was blown away by Hurricane Katrina. Most of the faculty and students evacuated the city ahead of the storm. This is a routine for most New Orleans residents during hurricane season. Some of the faculty, particularly the more senior ones, became complacent over the years and decided to ride out the storm. The local media has a lot to do with this irrational decision. I never saw an interview with a resident who left the city in an ordinary fashion 50-60 hours ahead of a storm. You could only hear heroic stories from the few who "rode out a storm" with a 6-pack, "hunkered down," experienced the power of Nature, etc.Anyway, several of our faculty members have been through a terrible ordeal until they were finally airlifted to...

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