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A College Town Back on Its Feet

OPINION features excerpts of pieces by columnists from the Op-Ed page and other sections of The New York Times. All columns from the last seven days are available at nytimes.com; Op-Ed pieces (by columnists and outside contributors), plus Editorials and Letters to the Editor, are at nytimes.com/opinion. Please let us know what you think of OPINION at upfront@scholastic.com.

Before Hurricane Katrina, it was no secret that New Orleans's good-time reputation was part of what drew students to this precariously situated college town: You could get a quality education and still let the good times roll. But the destruction from Katrina raised the question: Would college life in New Orleans ever be the same? After all, who would want to spend their college years studying amid the ruins? Let Kathleen Darce, a sophomore at the University of New Orleans, answer that question: "I feel I'm contributing by being here," she says. "There's a sense of pride and unity in the university and the city." As for having fun, Darce says: "People still go out to the French Quarter and everything. We haven't lost it." While all New Orleans colleges have lost students, the expected enrollment numbers for this fall go far beyond initial expectations. That's because many students think this city, at this moment, will give them an education like nowhere else in the world. They, in turn, feel they have much to give to New Orleans.

—Susan Saulny [9/6/06]