Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
The Daily Gazette sat down for a chat with Glenavin White ’07, who recently came to Swarthmore from New Orleans.
DG: Where are you from?
GW: I go to school at Loyola university New Orleans, which is a small Jesuit-run liberal arts school which sits right next to Tulane on St. Charles Avenue. I’m originally from North Carolina, but my family and I have lived in New Orleans for ten years now, so school is close to home.
DG: How has the hurricane affected you?
GW: Well, I’m here now, which is turning out to be an unexpected bright-side. Everyone here has been wonderful to me, students and faculty. My classes are exciting, and I feel at home already.
On the less bright side I am separated from my family for the first time and they are separated from each other. My dad is a doctor and his hospital is the only one in New Orleans which is up and running (since it’s built on high ground and has a well), so he had to go back to the hospital to work. He’s having to live at the hospital since our house isn’t habitable. My mom can’t stay at the hospital with him, so she is still up in North Carolina staying with her mother.
The water on my street was about six and a half feet deep. The water inside my house only came up about three and a half feet, since the house is raised, but everything on the first floor is ruined. This doesn’t bother me so much, except for a few things which have emotional meaning for me, like my mom’s piano. I’m also worried about some people I knew more casually around town, who I now have no way of getting in touch with to know if they’re OK.
I don’t really know much about the general situation in the city. I have been intentionally avoiding the news and focusing on studying so that I don’t get too upset. New Orleans is my city and I love it. It breaks my heart to think that it may never be the place it was again. Even if we’re able to rebuild it completely I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to escape the reminders of such a terrible humanitarian tragedy.
The few pictures which I’ve seen of the city are really hitting home. The burger place in the picture from the Sept. 8th issue of the Phoenix is only about a block and a half from my house, it’s called Ted’s Frostop, and I used to walk there for lunch with my friends.
DG: Why’d you choose to come to Swarthmore?
GW: Swarthmore is known for its academics and for fostering independent thought and learning, which would make it a great place to go under any circumstances. It’s also a small liberal arts school, like Loyola, whereas most of the colleges opening up were state schools and other much larger places. I had actually wanted to apply here as a freshman, but wasn’t able to get my application in. I got here the evening of last Tuesday and started going to classes the next day, it was very hectic.
DG: Where are you staying and what are you studying?
GW: I’m staying in Roberts and I’m studying philosophy and history.
DG: How have things been so far?
GW: Things have been wonderful! All the people I’ve met have been really nice, and my classes are lots of fun.
DG: What do you think of Sharples food? How does it compare to Loyola’s?
GW: The food at Sharples is good. They have a lot more selection than Loyola. I miss Loyola’s vegan grill though.
DG: What kind of extracurriculars are you interested in?
GW: Well, I’ve gone to one of the meetings of the classics club, and that was a lot of fun. Once I get more settled in and have my make up work done I’d like to try to get involved in some of the campus activism I’ve seen around, like trying to do something about the genocide in Darfur. I’d also like to start going to some of the movies and series that various groups are showing, particularly my favorite sci-fi show “Firefly”.
DG: What are your favorite movies?
GW: That would be kind of hard to say, I love movies in general. The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen is definitely one of my favorites.
DG: Any final comments?
GW: Not really, just thanks to everyone for the opportunity to come here and for giving me such a warm welcome.