While most students look forward to going home for a break at the end of the semester, “going home” has much different connotations for 52 visiting students and a professor at Fairfield who were displaced from their New Orleans schools as the result of Hurricane Katrina.

“I’m so excited to go back,” said Bianca Loffredo, a senior who will return to Loyola New Orleans in January. “I miss my friends terribly.”

Many of the 52, both full-time and part-time, students are from the Connecticut area, although some, such as Loffredo, who is from Ecuador, are international or from out of state. They come from a number of New Orleans colleges and universities including Tulane and Loyola.

On Aug. 31, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) issued a statement that said “each of our [Jesuit] schools has agreed to admit Loyola students as visiting students for the fall semester, with the expectation that they would return to Loyola in the spring semester.” Fairfield had the same agreement with Tulane.

“I am very grateful that Fairfield took me in and gave me a place to live for this semester,” Loffredo said.

New Orleans colleges and universities are set to open to students in January for the spring semester. However at some schools, such as The University of New Orleans, not all areas of campus are accessible due to hurricane damage, according to the school’s website.

“As their visiting semester comes to an end, it is important for the students to determine whether they will return to their New Orleans colleges or seek other educational experiences,” said Judy Dobai, associate academic vice president for Enrollment Managment.

“We hope, for the health and rebuilding of these college communities, that the majority of students will choose to return to New Orleans this spring,” she added.

Loffredo and Aaron Melchizedek, a student from Tulane, acknowledge that the city will be different, but are looking forward to returning.

“I’m not really nervous about going back to New Orleans,” said Melchizedek. “I know it won’t be the same city that it was, but it will still have the same character it once had, and I am excited about being down there for the rebuilding of the city.”

Loffredo agreed.

“I know the city is still going to be a mess and maybe even a little more dangerous than before, but I’m still dying to get back and hope that things will go as smoothly as possible,” she said.

According to an article in the Washington post, many displaced students, especially freshman, are finding themselves so much at home that they are reluctant to return to their New Orleans schools.

This was not the case for Loffredo. Although she felt the cafeteria food at Fairfield was much better than at Loyola, she has not “made acquaintances with anybody here.”

“It made me think that people here aren’t as friendly as down south,” Loffredo said, adding that she is used to “Southern hospitality.”

Melchizedek felt differently.

“I would like to stay in touch with some of the people I have met up here,” he said. “A lot of them have been really enjoyable classmates.”

Dobai said that only a handful of students have looked into remaining at Fairfield after this semester. They have been advised to follow the regular admissions process if they wish to do so, as they were not required to submit transcripts or applications in September.

“I would like to thank everyone who has helped me out at Fairfield and made my stay as enjoyable as it has been,” said Melchizedek. “I will remember it fondly.”

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