DALLAS -- Lester Ricard smiles while he's around his Tulane
football teammates as he tries to remain hopeful despite the
uncertainty that Hurricane Katrina has brought.
Ricard, Tulane's quarterback, isn't sure about the possibilities
of attending classes this semester or whether his team will even
play this season.
But most importantly, Ricard is waiting to hear from his
great-uncle, Edward Lee of New Orleans. Two of his other teammates
also have relatives who haven't been located in the aftermath of
"If everybody's family is OK, then we'll be OK," said Ricard.
He's among some 90 Tulane students, including the school's
football team, who arrived in Dallas as guests of Southern
Methodist University early Wednesday after being displaced for a
SMU and Tulane, both Conference USA schools, had been set to
play each other near Dallas on Sept. 24.
Ultimately, Tulane officials will have to decide on whether the
school will be able to function, and even play this season. But
there isn't a timeline for that.
"We're still absorbing everything that did happen," said
athletic director Rick Dickson. "The worst national disaster in
our country's history and you're part of it."
Many students have gone from sleeping on the floor to resting on
air mattresses to staying at a hotel near SMU, Dickson said.
Initially, about 400 Tulane students were evacuated from New
Orleans to Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss. But when
Katrina's remnants hit Mississippi and knocked out power, a
contingent left for Texas.
For now, sports officials are working to find venues where the
team can play. They've been in talks with officials in Houston and
Shreveport, La., Dickson said.
Coaches are trying to set a regimen for their athletes, hoping
to provide a sense of stability.
Students lifted weights Thursday morning and then shopped for
the clothes, shoes, and other essentials they needed.
Later, about 100 members of the Tulane football team and
traveling party were at the Jacksonville Jaguars-Dallas Cowboys
preseason game as guests of the Cowboys on Thursday night.
Although the players are still settling into their new
accommodations, they've been talking about how to help those back
home who were devastated by the storm.
"They know how fortunate they are," said coach Chris Scelfo.