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Updated: 31 min 49 sec ago

2021 Graduation Bucket List

Thu, 03/04/2021 - 09:00

Ahhh the Fly. You've been a million times, but make sure you plan one final trip. 
Alright, Class of 2021, I know your senior year has been... weird. Graduating in the time of the Rona will be something you'll remember forever. But even with it's challenges, you can still have an awesome last few months of college! That's exactly where this blogs comes in. Many of you will be sticking around for a little while longer to complete one of Tulane's graduate programs. A large group will also join the local work force here in town or get involved with volunteer and service organizations. But for many of you, your days in NOLA are numbered, and it's time to start saying your goodbyes to what has most likely become your favorite city in the world.

So in consideration of the last couple of months you have here, I give you my list of bucket list items to check off before you split town. I tried to pick some feasible, affordable, and pandemic-friendly things to do—so go out and enjoy this town one last time! Soon you'll know exactly what they are singin' about when they say "do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?" 
Here we go! 

Go see see some live music at The Broadside. Live music is just starting to come back to town and with all this great weather, there are some fab outdoor venues to catch it at. My favorite place is the Broadside — it's a large outdoor venue right next to the Broad Movie Theater. I caught Big Sam's Funky Nation there last week. If you want the quintessential NOLA music experience, see if you can get tickets to an upcoming Soul Rebels show there. Schedule is here. Here is a great list of outdoor live music spots around town. 

Bacchanal (source
Spend a Sunday evening at Bacchanal in the Bywater. Grab a group of friends and get a table sometime early-ish (around 7:00). They sell wine by the bottle, there is always a great little band, and you can order food from their amazing menu. You'll wonder why you didn't come here every Sunday. It's another pandemic-friendly spot and they now accept table reservations on Resy. 

Fly Day Afternoon. Head to the Riverbend Daq Shack before and be sure to bring lots of blankets. I know this seems like a no-brainer to spend an evening at The Fly, but stick around for the sunset with your crew. It will make you never want to leave as you watch the tug boats and barges mosey their way upriver. Be sure to mingle for the last time with the hipsters balancing on their slacks, the frat boys playing cornhole, the drum circles, and the locals just taking in the perfect NOLA spring evening. Bonus—bring some boiled crawfish for a true Louisiana experience.
The Drifter (source

Hotel Pool Hop at the Ace or the Drifter. Grab a small crew, pick a hotel pool and crash it for the afternoon. The Roosevelt, The Drifter, and Bourbon Orleans all have great pools, but if you want my top recommendation, go hit up the Ace Hotel in the CBD. This is rooftop pooling at it's finest and right now they have live DJs on Wednesday afternoons. Also, take the streetcar there. It's easy to forget how awesome the streetcar is if you haven't ridden it for awhile. This list is a great one for all hotel pools. Caveat — some you might have to sneak into and some might have new Covid restrictions that won't allow for non-guests to use the pool. The Drifter, for example, takes pool reservations now. 

Hit up City Park for a day. This has got to be one of the most underrated parks in America. Do the sculpture garden at NOMA, then grab a picnic lunch and eat it on the Great Lawn. Also check out the mini golf course, City Putt and the highly underrated succulent garden inside of the Botanical Gardens. End your day by hiking the little trail in the Couturie Forest to one of the only hills in NOLA and come out overlooking the lake. Then, head out to catch the sunset over Bayou St. John with some po-boys to-go from Parkway. A beautiful day in a perfect park. For other great outdoor spots in NOLA, check out this blog I wrote.


Hike the Jean Lafitte nature trail in the Barataria Preserve. This is around 30 minutes away from NOLA on the West Bank, and is a great little hike over boardwalks through the cypress swamp. You're guaranteed to see a bunch of gators and other wildlife and you'll end the hike on a raised platform overlooking the vast wetlands that surround our city. It's easier than a swamp tour and free, too.
Now THIS is camping! (source
Spend a day (or few) at Fontainebleau State Park. I went here for the first time over winter break and it was so cool! Just a quick 45 minute drive over to the North Shore will land you in this incredible state park. Great beaches, neat nature (neature?) trails and an overall great place to spend a sunny afternoon with friends. On the way back, cruise the Mandeville Lakefront at sunset. It's like St. Charles Ave on the lake! There's lots of great places to stop for dinner in Mandeville, too, before making the drive back south. By the way, Tulane Rec has you covered to knock this one off your bucket list. If you want to really take this to the next level, you can now go glamping there!  You can actually book some really cool (and affordable) tents at a number the the Louisiana State Parks including Fontainebleau. I'd also recommend checking out the tiny houses in Longleaf Piney Resort around two hours away in Mississippi. 
Walk Magazine from downtown to Uptown on a Saturday afternoon. It will take you a full morning but you'll be glad you did. So many great shops, restaurants, and little things you probably never noticed before. Start down by Felicity and Mag, and walk all the way up to State Street. Stop in the places you've always seen but have never been to. Buy some t-shirts that you can only buy here in NOLA. Storyville, Parish Ink, and Dirty Coast are great spots to do this, but also buy shirts from your favorite places. You'll look pretty fly wearing that Bulldog t-shirt in NYC this fall. I am not sure if Ms. Mae's sells shirts, but if so, buy me one.


Crescent Park - one of my favorite places in the city. 
Ride the Algiers Ferry. This will give you the best view of town from the other side of the river. The ride is free and only takes a few minutes, and then you'll have time to meander the West Bank levee. The best time to go is at sunset. Then you can head back to the city and start a night out in the Quarter. Another option is to check out the Crescent Park. You can access it at the entrance near the end of the French Market. Some of the best views of the city can be had from here. Be sure to grab some Pizza Delicious with your friends before you walk over to this fine park. From there, you can bike over to Studio Be (see next!)

Studio Be (source
See Some Art - Three of my top picks: Studio Be, Ogden and NOMA. You've probably seen Brandan "B-Mike" Odums' art all over town. It's inspiring, thought-provoking, and absolutely stunning. Head down to his gallery in the Bywater to see an incredible collection of his work. On the opposite side of the city, the New Orleans Museum of Art has such an incredible collection of world famous artists from Monet to Degas. They always have great traveling exhibits, as well. Lastly, on Thursdays from 6-8 pm, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art has free live music for locals — a great time to check out the galleries and hear some local tunes.
Faubourg Brewery (formerly Dixie) has so much outdoor space! (source)

Hit up Zony Mash and any of the many New Orleans Breweries. The local brewery scene has exploded in the last few years and these open-air and oftentimes outdoor venues are perfect for a few beers with friends. Last week I checked out Zony Mash Beer Project for the first time and I highly recommend. Food trucks, boiled crawfish, great beer, and a live brass band. Other great breweries: Second Line Brewery, Faubourg Brewery (formerly Dixie), Urban South, Port Orleans and Parleaux Beer Lab. 
Lafitte Greenway is just really neat! And a fun way to bike downtown. (source)

Bike the Lafitte Greenway: One of my favorite recent additions to NOLA, this is a great way to see the city. You can get there easily from campus: head out the back of campus to Nashville St to Norman Francis and you're there. It's in my top five best outdoor places in the city. Once on the Greenway, there is so much to see if you head the downtown direction. It will land you right on the edge of the French Quarter where you can.... 
Be a tourist in the French Quarter for a day: Get your palm read. Listen to live music on Royal Street. Eat beignets. Heck, even do a ghost tour. Literally just do all the things that tourists do. There is a reason why they do them — it's classic NOLA. Bike the Greenway in the morning, arrive in the Quarter for lunch and spend an awesome afternoon in one of America's best neighborhoods. This also landed on my previous blog for things to do in NOLA for cheap. 
Kayaking in Manchac! A true "only in Louisiana" experience. (source)
Do some paddling, kayaking or stand up paddle boarding. For a fun and easy place to do this, check out Bayou Saint John. There, you can enjoy a little piece of the Sportsman’s Paradise right here in the Big Easy. Bayou Paddlesports is a great option to paddle up the bayou to Orleans Ave and down to Robert E Lee Blvd to experience the city from a new perspective. The route sweeps through residential areas with an array of architectural styles from French Colonial to lavish modern manses. Or enjoy the sights and sounds of cultural events from the serenity of the bayou. You can also take it to the next level by paddling through the Manchac swamp on a kayak. Paddle on your own private kayak and see alligators, unique birds, and beautiful cypress trees. Kayak tours get you up close and personal with the incredible local wildlife. Again, Tulane Rec has you covered for this one! Thank you to my colleagues Tysha and Claudia for these great tips.
Find an organization you can support, even after you leave NOLA. This suggestion came in from my friend Sam Klein. If there is an organization or group you got involved with here through public service, stay involved with it after you leave town. It will keep you connected to NOLA in a great way and you can check back in and volunteer on your future trips back to town. Give to them on Give NOLA Day and stay plugged in so that you can volunteer your time either remotely or when you're back in town for a visit. Great example? Strong City or Youth Run NOLA, both led by Tulane alumni. 

Write a few thank you notes. If you really connected with a faculty or staff member on campus, let them know how much you appreciated the time they gave you over the last few years. If you interacted every day with someone who works at The Commons, leave them a note to let them know how much you loved getting to know them. A note of gratitude can go a long way. Let someone who impacted your life at Tulane know how much they mean to you. Take it a step further by asking your favorite professor or mentor out to lunch before Graduation. They love that kind of stuff!


Wander. Get lost. Explore. Visit a new neighborhood. Take photos. Make the worlds best "last week in NOLA" album ever. Just take advantage of every last bit of quirkiness, beauty, and mystery this city has to offer. We sometimes get trapped in the Tulane bubble as many college kids in cities do, and for those fortunate enough to get to stay here after college, you'll begin to discover the countless things that we locals get to experience in a post-college world. Take some time to experience as much of this as you can in these last few months if you have the unfortunate task of moving outta town.

Go forth and explore. Best of luck, seniors. 

My friends at Zoey Mash last week. So fun! 


NOLA from the Algiers Ferry (photo courtesy of myNewOrleans.com)







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Eight Emails Better Left Unsent

Mon, 03/01/2021 - 09:00
I know, I know. Trying to ascertain if a college or university is a good fit for you is a lot different these days. In the absence of real life college visits, college fairs, info sessions and the like, at this point you're reliant on the virtual offerings that colleges and universities are putting out right now. Tune in to as many as you can! On top of those virtual experiences, now's also a time when we're all using email more than we usually do.

Speaking of emails, I read a lot of emails. A lot lot. Like, thousands per week. Our admission team enjoys hearing from students with your questions, your interest in Tulane and your follow-up emails; however, there are eight kinds of emails that admission officers around the country generally bemoan. In the time of coronavirus, I thought it would be a great service to you, the applicant, and to us admission officers to give you all a few tips on emails that you should not send, or at least be very wary of sending. So, here is a list of eight emails to not send to your admission officer. Hope this helps you all as you enter the application process. Selfishly, I know it will help me!



1) Take the time to communicate effectively with your admission counselor. I know it seems like a no-brainer, but "i" is a lot different than "I". When emailing with your admission counselor, take the time to write thoughtful, error-free messages. I suggest sitting down at a computer to do these. Don't treat these like text messages. In my years of getting emails from students, I can officially confirm that the two most challenging words for 17-year-olds to get right are "deferred" and "piqued." Also, here's a pro tip: always start your email to an admission staff member with "Dear Mr. or Ms. so-n-so." Then, see how they reply. I'll reply with "Sincerely, Jeff" and that's your cue that it's cool to address me as Jeff. Always take the lead from the admission rep for how formally they want to be addressed. I like to keep it casual, others may be more formal.



2) This hasn't been as much of a problem in recent years, but please do create a professional email address to communicate with colleges. Listen, I know the times they are a-changin' and things that used to be illegal are now not. That said, where this comes more into play is your social media presence. Be careful with your Tweets, Snaps, Instas, and TikToks. I honestly don't check them (we don't have the time troll you, nor do we want to) but remember, all it takes is someone else pressing two buttons and a screenshot is sent to me of you doing something dumb. This happens every single year and is the most frequent reason we rescind admission at Tulane. It's pretty simple—be a good person on social media (and in life, too). Just be smart, compassionate and good to each other. Think that this would never happen to you? I bet those Harvard students thought the same thing.


3) I really do love replying to your emails, but it gets hard when we get very vague or broad questions that become difficult to respond to. For questions that are not really easy to find out by reading our website, I'd love for you to chat with our incredible team of student interns. They are great and talking to students is literally their job! You can visit our website and click that green box in the lower right corner to chat (M-F from 8-5.) Or, connect with our amazing team of ambassadors who you can reach here. You should definitely have these kinds of broad questions, but since we do get such a high volume of emails, don't feel the need to email an admission rep just for the sake of emailing us. I read this great story on CNBC that says emails should be kept to five sentences or less and if you have broad or long-winded questions, it's best to pick up the phone and call. During our social isolation, admission officers and student ambassadors would love to set up FaceTimes or Zoom calls with you. It's the best way to get long lists of questions answered.

On a related note, I'd like to dispel a myth: emailing us plays no role in your admission to Tulane. We don't count the number of times you email us; don't feel pressured to reach out with a question unless you genuinely have one. I once got an email that started "my counselor says I need to email you to demonstrate my interest in Tulane, so I am doing it here." Don't feel like you have to email us if you don't need to, especially with the broad and vague questions. Instead, give us a call or reach out to our students as they truly are our best resource.


4) Oh man, okay. Great questions, really! But again, see above on this one. For the most part, you can get the answer to every single one of these questions on our website. We want you to ask us questions, but we also expect that you do your own research as well. There is so much information out there on Tulane, and on school sites in general- use it! When you list out 24 questions on an email to me, it just is not the best use of our time.


5) I get an email like this every single week, without fail. Don't cut and paste! We can tell! Especially when just the name and school are different. Take the time to send individual emails to each school, even if they say the same thing. We want to know you have taken the time to contact us personally with your questions, especially if you are expressing your interest in our school.




6) This one obviously comes from a time when campus is open for visitors, but, come on! Admission officers have lives, too. I always chuckle when I get requests to meet up on the weekends. I love my job but I like to use my weekends to get out and enjoy NOLA. If you are visiting during our Saturday tour, we'll always have one admission rep on duty to meet and answer your questions. We also offer a great alumni interview program that you can participate in if you apply EA or ED to Tulane.


7) Admittedly, we really don't know who the emails we get come from. But there are some times when it's just painfully obvious that a parent has written an email posing as their student. Sometimes there are easy clues like a parent's work signature or an email address that is SmithFamily@aol.com. It's okay to email me as a parent, it happens all the time! No need to fake it as your kid. I've blogged about this once before. Let them take charge of this process, even if they make a few mistakes along the way. I can't remember a time in life when a 17-year-old used the phrase "please advise."


8) Choose only one person to direct your email to. We are all here to help, but when we all get one email it's hard to know who is going to reply and ends up just duplicating everyone's work. You can always address your emails to someone and CC anyone you think needs to be in the loop.

Oh and one more thing. Please stop emailing to ask for free shirts. Please. Please.


Don't worry, all of the above are fabricated emails I made. But, they represent real email situations that happen all the time.  If you've emailed one of the above to an admission rep in the past, don't fret. No big deal. I just want to make sure you put your best foot forward when you apply, and I also want to make the very hectic and very busy lives of college admission staff members a little bit easier. I know it's not easy in this time of isolation, but hopefully these tips on how to best connect with admission reps in this virtual world we are all living in will be helpful.

I'm never one to only look on the negative side and tell you what not to do, so here are my tips for great questions to ask!

Hope this helps. Email me if you have any questions about it (seriously)!




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Our Six Favorite New Orleans Coffee Shops

Fri, 02/19/2021 - 11:12

 Oh man, this cold snap we are going through is really upping my hot coffee intake! With that in mind, what better time to feature our favorite cozy New Orleans coffee shops. I have a few of my own personal favorites on this list and I also surveyed our student admission interns and staff for their top picks as well. Grab your reusable cup (or wait, don't...Covid) and check them all out!  


French Truck: "French Truck gives me great vibes, the workers are so nice, and the yellow building just makes you want to smile! The coffee and tea are great quality and don't have crazy prices!" Thank Y'Vonne, '23, for this pick. Honestly, French Truck has basically become the Starbucks of NOLA as they are popping up all over town- they now have nine locations all over New Orleans (and one in Memphis!) The most popular location for Tulane students is probably on Dryades Street not far from campus. My personal favorite location is the brand new one that just opened up on the Lafitte Greenway. They allow dogs so Vincent and I love it! 

Hi Volt: This one comes from TikTok sensation Owen: "I just recently moved to the LGD after 10 years Uptown, and HiVolt is by my new place. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the inside is modern but warm with cool light fixtures and a long bar. The food was top notch and their chai was one of the best I’ve had in a while. I got the breakfast burrito and the French Connection and need to go back soon!" I am in 100% agreement with Owen, as we usually are. HiVolt has these muffins that are massive and incredible - immediately go try one.  


Rook: Didi, '21 (see also: our Homecoming Queen) added this Freret Street gem to our list: "Located less than a mile from campus on Freret, Rook is a super convenient walk. The café is extremely cozy with a small couch area in the back and board games throughout. All the drinks are delicious and (as the name of the shop implies) named after chess pieces/moves. My personal favorites are their holy grail (espresso with honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg) or serenity (lavender lemonade)." 

Fair Grinds: My colleague Makenzie suggested this awesome spot. "Fair Grinds is located in the heart of Mid-City right next to the Fair Grounds and Race Course where Jazz Fest is held yearly. It is a creaky little two-story with pealing paint and so much charm sitting next to 1,000 Figs, a fabulous Mediterranean place and just across from the Café Degas. Not only is the coffee delicious but it is a mission driven enterprise, and all proceeds go directly to support community organizations in central and south Louisiana. With fresh made bagels and scones it is a great place to study or relax with a book."

Cherry Espresso: This one comes from Val: "Located in a renovated old firehouse in the middle of the West Riverside uptown neighborhood, this eclectic place roasts their own coffee that tasted wonderfully unusual. The baked goods and lunch items are also amazing. There are small tables in a quaint courtyard and on the sidewalk so you can choose indoor or outdoor. The baristas are friendly and laidback. Cherry has a loyal following that includes Tulane’s Provost!"   

Baldwin and Co: Okay, full disclosure here: this place hasn't even opened yet, but I just get such a good vibe from their mission. From the looks of it, this independently-owned bookstore and coffee shop will provide some great services for its local St. Roch / 7th Ward Community. Baldwin & Co. will not only have books and coffee, but also a podcast recording studio, local cards and gifts and will regularly host local authors. Their mission is centered around a progressive and inclusive growth mindset. Check it out when it opens on Feb. 20th!   


There's our list! The Hullaballoo featured a few more of their favorites in this weeks issue. Go forth and caffeinate! 


Photo sources: French Truck, Cherry, Fair Grinds, hi Volt, Baldwin & Co., Rook







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Ten Cool Classes

Wed, 02/10/2021 - 09:43

Well... you're living through history these days! (source)
W
e're a few weeks into our spring term and while it's certainly another unconventional semester, one thing will always be true: there are some really cool academic experiences to be had at Tulane. To get a little more specific, I thought it would be neat to feature Ten Cool Classes being taught at Tulane this spring semester. Shout out to Maddie Rich and Myron Shaffer from our Academic Advising Center who complied this really great list for us. Enjoy! 


ECON 3970-02: Economics of the Safety Net 

The Covid-19 pandemic has put significant pressure on the U.S. social safety net. This new course focuses on food and nutrition assistance programs and will help you understand: What are the different types of safety net programs, and how many people do they serve? How do safety net programs respond during economic downturns? What weaknesses has Covid-19 revealed about the existing safety net programs? How does economics influence the design of safety net programs? Does participation in food and nutrition assistance programs improve food security and health outcomes? *Pre-requisite: ECON 1010


No shortage of music here in NOLA! (source)

MUSC 1900: Music in New Orleans

This course is intended as an introductory survey of New Orleans music, including jazz, brass band, Mardi Gras Indian, rhythm and blues, funk, and hip-hop, through an intensive exposure to existing research, field trips, and occasional visits from local researchers and musicians. Musical socialization — the role of young people in extending the city's musical traditions — will be a running theme throughout the course and will connect the course materials to the optional service learning project. 

ENLS 3010-03: Writing about Race 

This section of ENLS 3010 Writing Intensive: Writing about Race explores texts about race and racism that emerge from the US and African Diasporic contexts. Concerning topics ranging from the eighteenth century to the present, it engages work by scholars, poets, artists, and activists rooted in various traditions. Debates around gender, sexuality, incarceration, settler colonialism, medicine, and space are among the key themes that will take center stage throughout the assigned materials. This is a discussion-based course. In addition to active participation, student assignments will include presentations, discussion facilitations, abstracts, writing exercises, bibliographies, and a research paper. *Pre-requisite: ENGL 1010 or 1011  


Subject matter in Germ-3510 (source)

GERM 3510: German Culture and Civilization: East Germany

The focus of this course is the representation of East German culture and the construction of identity. Through an interdisciplinary examination of a range of literary and historical texts, film and other visual arts, students will gain insight into the social, historical and political context of Germany behind the Mauer. Students examine both the minutiae of everyday life as well as the broader cultural and historical framework in order to understand and critically approach East German identity and the nature of life behind the wall, as well as the impact of the DDR and the Wende on the culture of contemporary Germany. Class taught in English. 


ASTA 3910: Made in China: Material Culture & Crafts Production of Premodern China

Our life is full of products made in China. Known as “the World‘s Factory,” China is not only the main manufacturer in the age of globalization, but also plays a leading role in crafts production during the premodern era. This class investigates the material culture of Chin before the age of mechanical reproduction. Each week, we will focus on a specific medium, including ceramics jade, lacquer, silk, gold, and silver. We will examine the production, circulation, transmission, and reception of artworks made by different materials to reconstruct the social life of things against the historical background. Special attention will be given production technology and the entanglement between people and objects.


CMPS 1100: Foundations of Programming

This is an introductory, practice-oriented course on computer programming. Students design, implement, test and debug programs for computational problems drawn from various fields using Python programming language, while working individually and in groups under guidance of peer teachers. This course emphasizes program design process, object-oriented software development approach, and development of practical programming skills that translate to programming in other modern languages.


Film Production on campus (source

DMPC 1110: Intro to Film Production

The course addresses what it means to be a director, writer, cinematographer, editor, composer, designer, and more, and how those definitions frame creative work, including the relationship of production cultures to consumers and markets. It considers how creative industries establish business models governing content production and distribution.


ITAL 3330: Italian Identity through Literature and Film

This interdisciplinary course, taught in English, examines representations of Italian identity in literature, cinema, and the mass media: what does it mean to be Italian? What constitutes the Italian "national character?" The materials for this course span a variety of media, from classics of neorealist cinema and commedia all'italiana, to recent movies and film series; from anthropological treatises like Giacomo Leopardi's essay on Italian national identity, to the contemporary satire of Italian society by comedians like Corrado Guzzanti, Paola Cortellesi, and others. We will explore themes like the representation of the Italian family; dialects and regional differences; politics and crime; emigration, and more.  


Your service learning partner in CENG-1180, featuring Tulane alumnae! (source

CENG 1180: Global Impacts and Opportunities in Chemical Engineering 

This course will connect core chemical engineering concepts to real-world applications—showcasing the global impact that chemical engineers have on our planet and the grand challenges that they are working to address. Topics include energy generation and renewability, advances in medicine, innovative food production, revolutionary materials, and pollution prevention and sustainability. Students will learn through relevant readings, discussions, tours of local businesses, hands-on projects, and guest lectures from leaders in the field. The course incorporates an optional 20-hour service-learning component. Students participating in service-learning should be enrolled in the co-requisite section CENG 1890.  

Service-learning teams will partner with one of two participating community partners.  

1) Glass Half Full: a community-run glass recycling organization co-founded by Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering alumnus Franziska Trautman (above). The goal is to recycle glass into sand to create usable products for New Orleans. Students working with Glass Half Full will work on one of two projects 1) formulation of an asphalt mixture using glass-sand for the purpose of filling potholes or 2) developing a streamlined drop-off and pick-up route for glass recycling collection. 

2) Home by Hand: strategically uses affordable housing development, neighborhood beautification, resilience & flood remediation tools, and family asset-building activities to spur the revitalization of New Orleans neighborhoods. Students working with Home by Hand will create and buildout a custom internal construction management tool to eliminate the need for costly third-party software.  


CLAS 2811: Hate Speech and Politics in the Ancient World 

The use of hateful, abusive, and insinuating speech by contemporary politicians and the media is not a novel phenomenon. Forms of verbal attack commonly encountered today have precedents in ancient Greek and Roman writings, and in this course we will examine the diverse forms and uses of hate speech and invective in the ancient Greek and Roman worlds. Throughout an emphasis will be placed on comparing ancient and contemporary hate speech in order to investigate similarities and differences in terms of speakers, targets, audiences, topics, rhetorical techniques, and cultural and historical contexts. In general, course participants are encouraged to reflect on the cultural assumptions and biases at work in hate speech, how it is used by political actors, and the relationships between rhetoric, persuasion, and truth.

One of the many historic moments in Civil Rights history that took place right here in NOLA (source)

AFRS 3300-04: Sociology of Black Resistance

This course explores historical African American resistance in the United States from a critical, Black sociological perspective. This course centers the African American plight beginning with the TransAtlantic Slave Trade to the present. Students learn to recognize and critically think about patterns of power and diverse African American responses to discrimination, and cycles of punitive actions they face as a result and within the context of colonialism, race construction, and the legal system.



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12 Black-Owned NOLA Businesses to Check Out

Fri, 02/05/2021 - 10:54
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One of my favorite coffee shops in NOLA! (source)
I
n honor of Black History Month, today's blog features some of the many incredible Black-owned businesses here in NOLA. Whether you are a current student here or visiting in the future, New Orleans has many Black-owned restaurants, shops, companies, and community-based organizations that you should definitely add to your NOLA bucket list. By doing so, you are helping to support local vendors and adding invaluable support to our economy, culture and spirit here in town. Small businesses need all the support they can get right now and all of the restaurants on this list offer take out.

In today's blog, I've also teamed up with Antonio Milton to get his insight. Antonio was one of our all-star student admission interns here in the Office of Admission but left us to start his journey at Tulane School of Law. He got an early start by taking advantage of our 3 + 3 Joint Degree Program. And breaking news: he was just named the first Black editor-in-chief of the Tulane Law Review! When he's not learning about torts and contracts, these are some of his favorite spots to check out. I've added a bunch of mine as well! You can also check out the hundreds of other minority-owned business at Soul of New Orleans as well as this comprehensive guide for black tourism in New Orleans over at Welcome New Orleans.
Today's blog co-creator. Congrats on your big moves, Antonio! 

Without further ado here are...

12 Black-Owned NOLA Businesses
Let's start with Antonio's favorite restaurants:

Made from shipping containers! How cool. (source
J's Creole Wingery:  J's Creole Wings is located within one of two brightly colored, repurposed shipping containers on N Claiborne Ave. They take "thinking outside of the box" to a whole new level with creative flavors like sriracha lemon pepper! While the shop is small, they have a nicely lit outside patio with additional seating. Fun Fact: the owner of this spot was on a season of Big Brother a few years ago!

Neyow's Creole Cafe: The best creole food in a good location, right by Bayou St. John, a couple blocks away from Parkway Bakery and Tavern. Neyow's serves up a variety of creole classics, and offer great chargrilled oysters. My usual order from here is the red beans plate with fried chicken, and it never fails to disappoint as it's my favorite fried chicken in NOLA.

Morrow'sAn infusion of New Orleans cuisine and Korean food is hard to beat when done as well as it is at Morrow's!

I mean, if it's on Bey's list, it should be on yours too! (source)
The Munch Factory: I first tried out the Munch Factory last fall after Jay-Z and Beyonce raved about the food on Instagram and Twitter. Being from Louisiana, I take gumbo very seriously, and the Munch Factory's gumbo just might be my favorite I've tasted in the city. The founders are natives of the Gentilly neighborhood, and they have opened a second location at the Joseph M. Bartholomew Municipal Golf Course.

Deja Vieux Food Truck Park: A food truck park only a few blocks from some of the breweries and other restaurants on Tchoupitoulas Street that has live music, public events, and a variety of food trucks on weekends. I recommend Johnny's Jamaican Grill food truck which is a regular there. Their jerk chicken is currently my favorite in the city.

Bennachin- This French Quarter area West-African cuisine spot offers some of the African food I've ever had. My favorite dish here is the bennachin, which is an African jambalaya served with jollof rice and spinach. This place also has numerous vegan and vegetarian dishes, as well as many dishes for patrons super into meaty dishes.

Thank you, Antonio! Here are a few of my personal favorites:

Chef Nina Compton brings her St. Lucian flavors to NOLA (source)
Bywater American Bistro: Last year, Chef Nina Compton was adorned with the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the South and boy, oh, boy is it well deserved. Chef Nina opened her second restaurant, Bywater American Bistro and it quickly became one of my favorite restaurants in all of NOLA. I went last month for New Year's eve to eat dinner in a Yurt. Yes, a yurt! My personal favorite is the fried gulf oysters, the blue crab dip and, for your entrée, the duck. Prepare to be amazed!
Seriously! My husband and I ate dinner in a yurt at Bywater American Bistro. It was so cool. 

Backatown Coffee Parlour: If you are looking for a very cool place to get a cup of coffee and get some studying done, this place could be your jam. It's located just off the French Quarter on Basin Street in the Treme, one of the oldest African American neighborhoods in the USA. It's the perfect spot to post up all day doing work or just swing in for a quick coffee as you explore one of the most historic parts of New Orleans. 
Leah's Kitchen: You can support a black-owned restaurant as soon as you step off the airplane at the airport! Leah Chase was one of the most iconic New Orleans chefs and was known around the world as the Queen of Creole Cuisine. She passed away last year and her legacy lives on in her restaurants here in New Orleans. Stop in Leah's Kitchen at the new MSY to get a true taste for the best Creole cooking your mouth will ever taste. 
Once you've gotten your fill of amazing cuisine, it's time to move on to a sampling of black-owned shops and galleries.
So much great stuff to buy at Commandment! (source
The Commandment Concept Shop: One goal I made for myself this holiday season was to do all my shopping locally. If you are into local, then anything on Magazine Street is right up your alley. I stumbled upon the Commandment Concept Shop and loved everything I saw inside. Great clothing, pottery and general gift-giving perfection. 
Bmike's show at Tulane is his first solo show in a museum. (source)
Studio Be: If you have not checked out this incredible space in the Bywater, add it to the top of your weekend plans list. Studio Be is the brainchild of Brandan 'Bmike' Odums and is 35,000 square feet of art centralized around the stories of everyday New Orleanians. If you can't make the trip downtown, you're in luck. Bmike's art can be seen all over town in various murals.
Ashe Cultural Arts Center: The center is a 18,200-square-foot, multi-use facility located on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard in the heart of the historic Central City neighborhood of New Orleans. It truly is multi-use space as it creates and supports programs, activities and creative works emphasizing the contributions of people of African descent. The center provides opportunities for art presentations, community development, artist support and the creation of partnerships and collaborations that amplify outreach and support efforts.

There you have it—12 great places to eat, shop and take in some art and culture. Make it a goal this Black History Month to try one of these places and then make time every month to visit the minority-owned businesses that make New Orleans such a diverse and culturally rich place to call home.


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Junior Tips Part I: Start Here

Mon, 01/18/2021 - 09:00
For most high school juniors across the country and the world, January signifies two things: the beginning of the second semester and the unofficial start of "The Process." Don't let that stress you out too much, though. Now's a good time to just reserve a little bit of mental space for getting acclimated with this crazy process of college admission. I've posted a great webinar geared at juniors and so today, your goal is to spend a little bit of time thinking about what matters most to you when it comes to college. Does that sound a little too theoretical? Don't worry, I've got you covered. Here are five big-picture questions to start asking yourself.

Which schools am I already interested in? You probably have a few schools that are somewhere on your radar, even if it's way out on the edge. Maybe these are places your older friends attend, or a school your favorite teacher went to, or just somewhere you've kinda daydreamed about. Now is a good time to find out more about these schools. Start receiving information from these schools by finding their mailing list pages and signing up. Schools put a lot of time and thought into how they brand themselves and by joining some mailing lists, you can start to get a sense of what type of student best fits in at each school. I humbly suggest you join our mailing list here. Once you're on it, it gives us the green light to share Tulane's story with you. Plus, it lets the Office of Admission know that we're potentially on your radar. It also takes around four seconds.
What size school is right for me? For some students, the idea of being at a giant school with 35,000 undergrads seems ideal. For others, a campus that is smaller than their own high school is a better fit. Getting a sense of how big of a campus you are looking for will allow you to develop a list of schools that are in that range. Looking for a school that will give you the best of the big and small? I think I know a great spot that falls right around 8,000 undergrads. 
Where do I want to go to school? Big city? Small town? Rural? A few miles from home or a few hundred miles from home? A school's location is going to play a pretty big role in the four years you spend there. Some students picture that quintessential college town: Ann Arbor, Davis or Chapel Hill. Some want small-town liberal arts school vibes. And others crave that big city vibe: New York City, Boston, Miami, or New Orleans. Where do you see yourself continuing your formative years? 
What type of school is the best fit for me? The way to parse this out is to do some research on liberal arts colleges versus research universities. Keep in mind, plenty of research goes down at liberal arts colleges. The liberal arts are an imperative part of any major research university, so those names can kind of be a bit of a misnomer. That said, the vibe you'll get at a small liberal arts college is quite different from that of a large-scale research university. The main difference between the two is that liberal arts colleges tend to be smaller and more undergraduate-focused while research universities tend to have the gamut of graduate and professional schools: law, medicine, etc. Kahn Academy has a great video detailing the differences between the two. Some other things to consider: are you thinking about one of the service academies or a music conservatory? Don't narrow it down too much at this point, but keep the type of school in your mind. Some students might be best served at a local community college for two years before transferring to a four-year institution. Some may know that a big state school is right where they belong. 
How much can my family afford? Take this one lightly, for now. For starters, never rule out a school because of its sticker price. With schools like Tulane, you're often going to see total cost of attendance numbers starting with 7s. Don't let that scare you off. Take some time to explore each school's Net Price Calculator to get a better sense of what your family might actually be paying. For example, if you come from a low-income family and are admitted to an Ivy League school, the vast majority of them are going to cover all of your financial need in order for you to enroll. This is also a good time to consider the benefits of public schools versus private schools versus community colleges. 
And here are some things that I'd recommend you NOT consider at this point in the process:
Put down the US News rankings and worry not about brand name reputation. There are roughly 2,600 universities and colleges around the USA. The best advice I can give you? None of them are bad schools. Some of them just might be bad fits for you. Cast a wide net at this point in the process.  
Don't stress too much about majors at this point. The reality is that around 70% of college students change their major at least once. And, get this, every school in America is going to claim that they have "one of the best programs" for X major (as in... Tulane has one of the best Psychology programs in the country! One of the 2,000 best!). Now, if you are certain that aerospace engineering or music therapy is in your future, by all means research schools based on those hyper-specific majors. But for the other 99% of you, don't put a tremendous amount of emphasis on your academic programming quite yet.

Don't worry about what you think will look great on your college application. I mean it. I even wrote a whole blog about this. With the way 2020 treated us, this has never been more true. 
Don't stress about visiting. It's a pandemic after all. One side effect of 2020 has been the wealth of virtual information schools and colleges have put on their websites. Check it out!
And there you have it—a few questions to ask yourself at this point in the process. There are a billion search engines that can help you answer these questions and narrow down your list. I like the Princeton Review's but that is just one among many. Now might also be a good time to make an appointment with your school counselor who likely has a wealth of information about this process. 
As you head into second semester and into the summer, I'll post a few more updates for how you can take this process one step at a time. You're going to be great! 





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How to Stay Admitted

Tue, 01/12/2021 - 11:24
If you have recently been admitted to a school under their Early Action or Early Decision plan... congrats! Now, prepare yourself for the most dad blog I've written: How to stay admitted to that college or university.

Let me start off by saying that colleges are never looking for reasons to rescind your admission. Literally the last thing we want to do is have to tell you that you are no longer a welcome part of the class of 2025. It wreaks havoc on you and throws our numbers and projections off. Plus, it just sucks to have to do. As such, today's blog is going to offer you the six most common reasons why colleges have to pull the plug on your admission, and how to avoid having that happen to you. Yes, my Dad Hat is on while I write this, but I am genuinely offering you this blog to help prevent any of these things from even happening in the first place. I know, I know, you're dragging your feet to even read this blog, but do it anyways.

But first... you might be wondering what the above photo from Survivor has to do with any of this. As we've all been living in a Netflix world, I finally bit the bullet and took Owen's advice to watch his obsession, Survivor, which now has two seasons up on Netflix. I never paid this show much attention over it's last 40 (!!) seasons, but after watching season 28 on Netflix, I SEE WHAT THE HYPE IS ABOUT! Wow did I binge that season last week. Give it a watch. Now, I want you to make the good choices that will get you through your spring semester so you can survive till the end. Basically what I am saying is; be awesome, make Jeff Probst proud, all the way through the final tribal council/your senior year.
I present you, six ways to have your admission rescinded:

1: You make major changes to your class schedule. The schedule you applied and were admitted with is the one we expect you to carry through with. Yes, we understand changes need to be made and if you have to make a change in your schedule for one reason or another, we can oftentimes accommodate it. Before you make a major schedule change, reach out to your admission rep to get their approval. We know each situation is unique and want to be as accommodating as possible. But, if we get a copy of your final transcript and the AP Calc and AP Physics classes you took in first semester have been replaced with free period and extended lunch, we're going to have questions for you. Likelihood of admission being rescinded: Low. 

2: You let loose, socially, in your second semester. There are a lot of fun things that happen in second semester. Sporting events, prom, senior trips, graduation, etc. I am not in any place to tell you to how to make good choices at these events, but... I'll just say to be careful. Some colleges can be pretty strict if you get suspended for showing up five White Claws deep to graduation. By now, you know the difference between a good decision and a bad one, but sometimes the bad decisions get made without you putting the thought into it that you should have, and we can understand that. Just be smart and know you'll have plenty of time to be social in college. Don't miss your opportunity to make it there in the first place. Likelihood of admission being rescinded: Medium. 

3: You take a nosedive in grades. The grades we admitted you with are the grades we expect you to finish senior year with. I'll be the first to admit that I got a healthy case of senioritis when I was a senior. I also understand that at some point, especially after all of this college admission mania, you are going to feel burnt out. That said, if any rational person can look at your second semester senior year grades and say "these look remarkably different from your previous semesters," you might be in danger. I get a lot of emails from students saying "how bad can my grades dip? Asking for a friend," or "hypothetically, if someone gets X grade, what would the repercussions be?" etc. There is no magic number and every single case is different. But when all is said and done, we're looking for consistency into the end of the year. In the words of my buddy and college counselor Brennan Barnard, "enjoy the final weeks of high school, take a breather, lighten up—but don’t give up." If you are an international student, some schools will want an explanation if your final IB scores are far off from your predicted.

Consider this last point: you want to be respectful of your teachers who spent countless hours writing you letters of recommendation that helped you gain admission in the first place. If you're skipping class or falling behind with these teachers that are putting a lot of work in to planning your curriculum and writing your letters, well, it's just not a good look. Likelihood of admission being rescinded: Medium. 

4: You do some jackassery at our orientation. One of the more frequent reasons we'll rescind your admission is if you do #2 above, but on our campus before classes start. Keep in mind that you aren't technically an enrolled student until the first day of class. So if you are heading to a one-night summer orientation program at your college, or are coming for an admitted student fly-in, or are a Spring Scholar at Tulane and spending your fall abroad or elsewhere, keep in mind any majorly bad decisions you make during those events could be a big time cause for concern for colleges. I know it's temping to want to go wild with a group of your future classmates, but trust me, one decision on one night of orientation can have way bigger ramifications than if you just take things easy and ease into things, socially speaking. I've blogged about this before. It's also bad for your personal reputation; it is super easy to become "that guy" during your summer orientation. This is especially important during the pandemic- as a visiting or prospective student, you should take a school's COVID-19 restrictions very very seriously. At Tulane, for example, we do not allow any prospective students or visitors to enter any of our campus buildings. Likelihood of admission being rescinded: Medium - High.


5: We discover any dishonesty on your application. For the first time this year, Tulane allowed applicants to self-report scores on their application. We are trusting that you will quadruple check those scores before submitting them to us, as we will be making an admission decision based on the scores that you report. If there is any discrepancy between your self-reported scores and the actual official scores we'll request from the ACT or College Board, we'd likely rescind your admission. Same goes for any other form of academic dishonesty or discrepancies. Of all the parts of your application that you check and re-check, the self-reported score should be the most important part. Likelihood of admission being rescinded: High.

6: You act like a jerk on social media. So you might think the most frequent reason we rescind admission here at Tulane would be getting a D in APUSH or getting caught drunk at Prom. Well, you'd be wrong. The thing that we have the most zero tolerance for is when you act like a real jerk to someone on social media. Any form of cyber-bullying, making fun of classmates or teachers on your TikTok or any kind of cruelty in the virtual world is a surefire way to have your admission rescinded. How you behave when you think no one else is watching tells a lot about your character, and if we get word that you've been cruel to someone else, expect to make alternative future plans. Those Harvard kids had to. We're never going to go through your social media to find things to get you in trouble for. 100% of the time, we'll get screenshots of hurtful things that have been said on social media sent to us. The good news is, this one is really easy to avoid: just be a nice person in life, and also online. Likelihood of admission being rescinded: Very high.  

Here's the deal—you're 18. You're going to make some mistakes along the way, and that is OK. My advice to you is that if any of the above happen to you, get ahead of the problem and be proactive with your school counselor for advice on what your next steps should be. College admission offices tend to be thoughtful and compassionate places and we also know each student's experience is a unique and different. 99% of the time, if any of the above happen to you, what we'll do first is reach out to your school counselor to get their take and see if they maintain their support for your admission. We'll also ask you for your take on it as well. Then we'll make a thoughtful decision moving forward. Bottom line: students who are proactive in this kind of stuff are often seen much more favorably by admission offices.

So, now you know. Most of this stuff is easy: don't let your grades take a huge hit, ask yourself if a bad decision you are about to make is worth it, and then... just be nice. Trust me, you're going to do great.

Now go get 'em at the immunity challenge!! I mean... in the second semester.


Jeff Probst is proud of you!





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I've Been Deferred. Now What?

Tue, 12/15/2020 - 11:00

December 17th is almost upon us. If you've applied to Tulane for our Early Action round, you'll be getting a decision from us in the next few days. For many of you, that decision may be: "The Admission Committee has chosen to defer final action on your application until our regular review period this spring." You're probably asking yourself: "What now?" So, here are my steps for helping you through this process.

Step one: read this post that I wrote last year.

Step two: what does being deferred mean? In essence, being deferred means that we need more time before making a final decision on whether or not to admit you. Your application will come back to the admission committee in the early spring and will go through the same review it went through in Early Action, but this time you will be up against other deferred applicants, as well as the Regular Decision pool. There are two major factors that will come into play from here on out: one is within your control and the other is not. 

The first factor, the one outside of your control, is the way the rest of the applicant pool shapes up. If the regular pool is much larger and stronger than we expect, it will be more of a challenge for deferred students to be admitted. Adding to that complexity is how our "yield" looks for students admitted Early Action. That's admission-speak for how many students say "yes" to our offer of admission. If our deposits come in stronger than in the past, it will be more challenging for deferred students to be admitted. As you can see, some of this comes down to numbers. It's completely out of your control, so try not to let this part stress you out.

I think it is also worth mentioning that Tulane saw a 11% increase in early applications this year. Bottom line, we could fill up multiple freshman classes with students who are academically qualified to attend Tulane. We could fill up multiple freshman classes just with students who would be great fits here and genuinely want to be at Tulane. The problem is we can't admit all of them. We've admitted almost 4,500 fewer students than at this point three years ago. This is not something that we are celebrating, it's simply the reality of how competitive Tulane has become.

That brings me to the second factor that comes into play now that you have been deferred, and this is the one that is within your power. There are a number of things that you can do to strengthen your application to Tulane, and a few things you shouldn't do. Here are my Dos and Don'ts for deferred students:

DO: Complete the continued interest form on your Green Wave Portal. This is the most important way to let us know you are still interested in attending Tulane.  It will be nearly impossible to be admitted to Tulane if you do not complete this form. We know your plans sometimes change, your list might shift going into the spring semester of senior year, etc. We'd like to only consider those students we know still have a genuine interest in enrolling here.
DON'T: Over-contact your admission counselor. Don't feel pressured to, but later in the winter or spring, you are welcome to contact your admission counselor and let them know you are still interested in Tulane. Take winter break to think about it and formulate a plan going forward. Then, sometime in early 2021, let them know that you have been deferred and that you remain strongly interested in Tulane. One email to your counselor over the course of the spring semester can help, especially if you have some bigger news for us. Refrain from a monthly email update. Major profile in your local paper's community section? Send it in. Promoted to secretary of the National Honor Society? No need to send; we already have a nice list of your extracurricular activities you sent us when you applied. 
DO: Send in new updates. If you have fall grades or found a way to take the SAT or ACT (still optional, of course!) these should be be self-reported by the student- no need to get your school counselor involved. Simply send it to submit@tulane.edu or upload on your GWP.
Also, be honest. If you'll enroll at Tulane if you are admitted, tell us, but only if that is the truth. 
DON'T: Email your admission counselor over Tulane's winter break (Dec. 18th to January 4th.) During Winter Break, if you have anything urgent, the interns@tulane.edu email is checked every day. Just like you, we really need a break! So does everyone after 2020. For the time being: breathe, reset, enjoy your holiday break and in a few weeks, follow the steps above.
DO: Consider switching your application to ED II. This is for deferred EA applicants only (and for first time applicants.) You can get more info here. The deadline is January 8th which gives you all winter break to decide with your family if ED II is right for you. Keep in mind that if you are relying on a merit scholarship to enroll at Tulane, ED II might not be the best option as the merit aid pool is limited in this round (but need-based aid remains the same for every admitted student.) One other point that I think is worth mentioning is that this year, the majority of ED II applicants will only be getting the following decisions: admit, admitted as a spring scholar, or denied admission. We felt it was not in our applicant's best interest to put an ED II student on our waitlist, thereby drawing out this process. If you are denied admission ED II, you can move along to other schools and put the focus on other regular decision applications.

DO: Send us an essay about why you are interested in enrolling at Tulane, if you have not already done so. See the Why Tulane? prompt on the application for admission. Tell us why you would be a great fit here, and why Tulane is a great fit for you. Do some research. Many times, we defer students who are academically qualified to be admitted, but we are unsure of their interest level. So reach out and let us know.

DON'T: Feel pressured to come down and visit. We're in the middle of a pandemic, after all. If you feel the need to come down to check out campus, you are definitely welcome to do so, however if this is not possible (for financial or any other reasons) do not fret. We understand most people cannot make it down to visit right now, especially if you are not admitted yet. Filling out the "I'm still interested" form carries the same weight as visiting.

DO: Be patient. Understand you may not hear from us before April 1st. We are working to get a decision to you as quickly as possible, but in some cases it may not be until late March. We're sifting through thousands of applicants and are giving each one the time it deserves.

DON'T: Compare yourself to others. Calling the admission office or emailing your counselor to inquire why "Diane and Jack who have lower scores and lower grades and fewer extracurricular activities were admitted but I was not" will never, ever help your cause to be admitted at Tulane. We don't compare students to each other directly when they apply, and are always looking to build a diverse and well-rounded class of students. You may not be aware of what is in other students' recommendations, essays, etc., or what we are specifically looking for. It will not do you any good to mention other students. If there is a very specific question about this, your high school counselor can direct those questions to us. We especially do not appreciate "Tommy and Gina used Tulane as a safety school and aren't even that interested in attending but I am!" Parents, this one's for you and ICYMI, a got a whole video for ya
 
DON'T: Lose your cool. We know this is a stressful time and we know that you may be very excited about Tulane and disappointed to not be admitted. But keep in mind that you still want to maintain your composure and maturity while communicating with the office of admission. Dramatic emails or calls will get you nowhere.

DO: Understand how competitive this all is. Last year, Tulane admitted fewer than 11% of the students who applied to Tulane. Application to schools like Tulane are competitive, and we have far fewer spots in the class available than we have students who want to be a part in the class. So keep your head up and know that, in the end, whatever is meant to be will be. 

Hope this helps you deferred students out there. Best of luck!

Tulane on a Dime III: What to Do for Cheap!

Thu, 12/10/2020 - 15:50

Welcome back to part three of our blog series dedicated to enjoying NOLA without breaking the bank. Today's final installment is dedicated to experiencing and enjoying all of the great free and cheap things to do around town. This is a pandemic-centric list, as the majority of our free festivals (of which we have more than days of the school year!) are obviously on hold for now. This list also is for any staff member at Tulane who is about to get a much deserved two week vacation! Pop on that Out of Office, turn off those email notifications (really) and spend two weeks doing some of the activities on this list. 


Honestly, the Train Garden is just so cute a and neat. (source)
City Park Sculpture Garden and Botanical Gardens: Honestly, one of the most underrated places in New Orleans is our botanical gardens! This recommendation comes from both Y'vonne ('23) and Rula (admission counselor): "A snoball and walk in City Park is the perfect New Orleans day! Hang with friends and have great conversation and enjoy the amazing New Orleans weather." The sculpture garden is free and just had a huge expansion. Not far from the gardens is City Putt ($10 for mini golf)  and with the Botanical Garden at just $10 and the free sculpture garden, the park is so big you can spend the whole day. Don't miss the train section of the botanical gardens, my personal favorite. 

Find me a more magical lobby! (source)

Christmas Hotel Lobby Hop: A very seasonal addition to this list, lobby-hopping in December is one of my favorite free activities. The lobbies of the grand hotels here in NOLA convert to incredible winter wonderlands and halls of lights throughout the month of December. I've done some research and it seems that most of the lobbies are still fully decorated this year, but they are restricting the number of folks allowed in at a time and are of course requiring masks. The two can't miss lobbies are the Roosevelt and the Ritz Carotlon. Here's a pretty comprehensive list


Just the sight of her will put your mind at ease! (source

Relax under the Tree of Life: Need a moment of Zen after the dumpster fire of 2020? The Tree of Life in Audubon Park is your spot. Whether your planning a holiday picnic or maybe just a moment of peace and meditation, tree, planted in 1740, is the prefect place to relax, observe nature and maybe even take some time to plan your New Year's resolutions. 

Buy some succulents. Strange tip to have on this list, sure. But let me tell you what- if you have not visited Sunrise Trading in Kenner, well boy oh boy are you in for a treat. Situated on two acres and utilizing ten greenhouses, this is a place where you'll feel you've stepped into another planet. If you like plants or just want something you freshen up your dorm room or house, take the drive out to Kenner and you'll see why I love this price. All of their plants are sold at wholesale so you won't be breaking the bank to scoop up some succulents. 

Enjoy NOLA's amazing outdoor spaces. I'm currently writing this blog with my windows wide open as its a beautiful 70 degree day here in NOLA, so enjoying the great outdoors around town is pretty easy these days. In fact, we just filmed a great video featuring our six favorite outdoor spots. From our front yard, Audubon Park, to cross-town along Crescent Park, New Orleans has some of the finest urban parks and outdoor spaces anywhere in the USA and enjoying them doesn't cost a cent. 

Free Museums! Thanks to the Helis Foundation, Louisiana residents (and I think college students) can visit a number of our local museums for free. Check out the Contemporary Arts Center on Sunday, the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Botanical Garden on Wednesday, and Ogden Museum of Southern Art on Thursday.


Photos just do not do it justice! 

Take the St. Charles Streetcar to view the Christmas lights. Another seasonal addition to our list, Saint Charles Ave. is really lit this year (sorry.) Perhaps because viewing Christmas lights is a pandemic-friendly activity, but it seems to me that the families on St. Charles have really gone all-out this year. What better way to take it all in then an evening ride on the streetcar. It's only $1.25 and you'll get to see the my personal favorite house at St. Charles and Cadiz street. It just.... incredible. 

Audubon Appreciation Days: Every Wednesday, Orleans Parish residents with one proof of residency get free admission with up to four guests to Audubon attractions. The Appreciation Days rotate each week from the Aquarium, Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, Zoo, and Planetarium at the Louisiana Nature Center. You can view the schedule here and thanks to Lela ('22) for this tip!


I took this photo on Royall Street last year during the holidays.
I love some French Quarter Christmas Decorations! 

Take a stroll on Royal Street. Arguably one of America's best streets (although it usually plays third fiddle to St. Charles and Bourbon here in NOLA,) Royal Street shines the brightest during the Holiday Season. Start your stroll on Canal street with the expensive “fancy pants” galleries, and see as you walk further into the quarter the galleries become more eccentric and bohemian. Lots of art, no purchase required. Thanks to admission rep Max Manasevit for this great addition to our list. It also happens to be one of my must-do activates on my Two Days in NOLA blog.
French Quarter Beignets. Another student rec, this one's from Tara ('22). Grab a sack of beignets from Cafe du Monde (for just $3!) and eat them on the steps of Jackson square or on the pavilion overlooking the Mississippi River. Pair this tip with the one above by taking the streetcar to the French Quarter and walking from Royal Street to Cafe Du Monde. Spend a great afternoon enjoying the view, listening to jazz waft in the air, and watching the massive ships float on down the river. This is a classic, must-do experience for tourists and locals alike. 
Studio Be (source)
Studio Be. You'll be able to catch some of Brandon "BMike" Odum's amazing artwork in public spaces around town, but a few hours spent at his 35,000 square foot Bywater gallery is a must. It's the best way to connect with New Orleans in an intimate and art-centric way, says Alex ('21). BMike's art is thought provoking, sobering, beautiful, and powerful all at once. 

Crate dig at Peaches Records It's free if you don't buy anything! You also can't put a price on talking with the owner, Shirani Rea, about New Orleans' music scene says our admission writer (who is also the incredible editor of this blog!) Ali DeFazio. 


Some of the best views in the city are on the Algiers Ferry! (source)  
Take a ride on the ferry to Algiers.
My colleague Becky shared this one with me: "Growing up in New Orleans, this was always a fun way to spend time. It was free when I was a kid, but now it's $2 well spent. Algiers is a fun place to explore and the ferry ride itself offers amazing views of the city." Once you've made it to the West Bank, explore old Algiers and the cute neighborhoods in this underrated part of NOLA. 
New Orleans has over 140 public murals! (source)
View our public murals: You might have noticed a LOT more public art and murals around town. That's thanks to a new 2019 that made the permit to paint a public mural only $50 in New Orleans. You can view grand and gorgeous street art all around this city. I have found these two lists to be the most comprehensive guides to seeing all the incredible public art around NOLA. We've even got a few Banksy's!
Visit our local art markets. I stumbled across this epic list of all of NOLA's best art and food markets. You can spend an entire weekend shopping and eating locally at these markets. Plus, they are great places to get some holiday shopping done. There are so many talented artists here in New Orleans, and oftentimes these markets are the only place they sell their works. Check them out! 

$2 Tuesdays at the Broad Theatre. Ali's back with this rec: "This theatre plays cool indie flicks plus blockbusters. The outdoor theatre plays movies for just $2 on Tuesdays - the best budget movie in the city. I saw the new Aubrey Plaza movie, Black Bear, there this week and had a blast. The Broad's popcorn is also the most supreme, butteriest, deliciousness popcorn ever." I was here last week for the NOLA Film Fest and their outdoor theater is just the perfect pandemic spot to check out a flick!  

Stroll down Magazine St.: No better place in NOLA to window shop and check out some of the best local shopping on any street in America. Admission rep Bailey says "Magazine St is lined with colorful houses that are fun to look at as you're walking around. There are cute boutiques, art/jewelry stores, and thrift shops to check out too!" Shopping local is also super important this holiday and last year I did 100% of my holiday shopping on Magazine street alone! 


Hopefully this list (and our previous two posts about food and shopping) can provide anyone on any budget an opportunity to enjoy all the remarkable, unique and delicious things that New Orleans serves up. Back to my fellow staff at Tulane- read this great article about having a restorative winter break. Part of it suggests making a plan for your leisure time. Welp, you've got that plan! Go forth, have a great break and see you next year!


Six Tips for a Great Dean's Honor Scholarship

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 08:15
President Fitts displays his DHS project For this blog, I went straight to the best source on all things DHS. Leila Labens, our Director of Strategic Recruitment, is taking over today to give you her best tips for a great DHS project. And she would know- she leads the committee that selects the finalists before they head to the Deans of each school. Let's do this!
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Leila Labens, today's guest blogger It’s early December which means it’s one of my favorite part of the admission cycle – seeing the wonderful, brilliant, creative, expressive DHS projects come through the door (mostly figuratively, but sometimes literally). I’ve participated in the committee that gives the first review on all of the projects for a number of years and I wanted to share some tips on putting together a strong project.

Don’t get too caught up on “the box.” The actual box does not need to be part of the project. It can be but doesn’t have to be. So, if you can’t move past an idea that is strictly square in shape or message, I encourage you to “think outside of the box.” (Sorry, I couldn’t resist). 
Don’t completely ignore “the box.” I know- I just told you don’t get hung up on it BUT you should also have some reference to a square or box or something somewhere in your submission. Think figuratively (the box that defines you). Think big (the square façade of a building). Think tiny (pixels that make up a larger picture). Think logically (the mathematical area of the box as part of a larger equation that proves why you should get the scholarship). Think historically (an American history rap that mentions famous boxes throughout time- square stages where famous addresses were delivered, chests/boxes of tea in Boston Harbor, voting booth check boxes…) Think literally (hundreds of post-its that turn into an incredible flip storybook).
Express yourself. Take this as an opportunity to tell us about yourself. Maybe incorporate an artistic passion, or a skill for computer programming. You could use this as a chance to show off your ability to write an incredible screen play or as a vehicle to show your drive for service and your community. Help us know more about your without making the project completely about yourself. Think of this as a “humble brag,” a way to introduce yourself beyond just pictures documenting your accomplishments. 
Include some semblance of something academic. After all, this is the Dean’s Honor Scholarship- meaning some very bright members of the Tulane faculty and community (ahem, Deans) will be selecting the final recipients. This doesn’t mean you can’t be creative, humorous, or have fun while working on your project. Just remember to show off some of your impressive brain power in the process.
Put some time into it. After seeing hundreds of projects, it can become obvious which ones were thrown together in a hurry to meet our deadline. Have a plan in mind and give yourself enough time to submit a well thought out and seamlessly produced project.
Be proud of it. If you aren’t excited about your submission and didn’t enjoy working on it, the multiple reviewers may not be thrilled by it either. Do something that you would be excited to show your classmates, family, and friends.
One last technical point: if you opt to put something together online, make sure you are using a platform or host site that can be accessed by different computers across different networks.
We always get plenty of video submissions, so here are some of the best of those:
Gabriella Runnels 
Evan Doomes from Louisiana 


Rebekah Oviatt from Washington 
Now get to boxin!

Admission Anxiety - And Ten Steps to Reduce It

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 10:00

Alright gang, EA and ED application deadlines have passed. It's all out of your control, and now, the waiting begins. Congrats to all of our Early Decision admits who found out last week! In case you missed it, we had a great webinar last week called "You've Applied, Now What?" You can catch a recording of it here.

Speaking of being admitted to Tulane, Early Action decisions will be posted for most students the week of December 14th. No need to keep checking the mailbox or portal until then. Hopefully, knowing exactly when you'll hear back will reduce anxiety and stress a little bit.

Speaking of anxiety... that's what today's blog is all about. I am a firm believer in speaking openly and candidly about our mental health. I’ll be the first to admit it; a few years back, I had some serious anxiety. For you high school students, I suspect this feeling is not totally foreign, especially around this time of year as you await your incoming admission decisions. For me, I couldn’t shake the stress. To be honest, it was nearly debilitating.

Then it all changed.

Everyone has different ways of managing stress and anxiety. I know it seems somewhat dramatic to say, but for me, there was one main thing I can credit my anxiety-reduction to: meditation. I was a naysayer forever — I thought meditation was silly, too hippy-dippy, not for me. I was also certain that I didn't have the attention span for it. And then, I tried it. And... it worked. I am not saying it wiped out my anxiety, but there is no doubt it's had a profound impact on my life.

It has worked so much for me that I want to share some of my tips for reducing anxiety in your hyperactive high school lives.  It’s my hope that by doing a few of the things below, you can start to see some positive changes and maybe manage this crazy stressful and anxiety-inducing time of the year.

source 
1) Meditate. All I'm saying is to try it. You have nothing to lose. Even just ten minutes a day. Remember, they call meditation a “practice” for a reason; you’re not going to master it the first time you try it. Or even the first ten times. But keep at it for a few weeks. I promise you, you’ll see remarkable results, just like going to the gym. I use Calm when I meditate and I can't recommend it enough — it's one of the highest rated apps of all time. Try the 7 Days of Calm free trial. I know others love Headspace. Think you're too bro for meditation? Well, Marines, pro-athletes, CEOs, and millions of Americans have introduced meditation into their daily life. This stuff is the real deal. My challenge to you: do it every morning for six weeks and email me if you complete this task. 

2) Don’t post all your college application decisions on social media. If you get into a school, that is great! No need to blast it all over social media, even though I know you are super pumped. As you get in, many of your classmates will not. Consider keeping your results off social media and you'll be inadvertently helping those around you. Once you select a school to enroll in, by all means post about it. But in the crazy ED/EA season, it goes a long way to show some humility. Yes, I know, I know, the idea of posting a video of you getting in on your TikTok is really enticing. I guess my suggestion might be, sure, film it and share it with your family and best friends (and maybe even your admission counselor!), but just be considerate of others. Those videos are so heartwarming to watch, but I get the sense the craze is getting slightly played out. 

3) Let Thanksgiving be a college-free zone. Everyone is going to ask where you applied, where you got in, where you want to go. Set some ground rules with the family.  Mom and Dad, you might have to lead this charge by sending this blog out to the extended fam before they arrive, if they are coming in this year (which I guess they're not supposed to?). Let this be a time with your family to decompress, truly enjoy each other's company, and leave all that college-talk for some other time. There's not much that can be changed now, so getting into stressful conversations over the turkey won't help anyone. Go play some football instead.

4) You can't control your thoughts. But you can control which ones you listen to. Here is something I learned about the concept of mindfulness from this great book I read called The Untethered Soul. Basically, your brain is like your college roommate. It’s going to be nagging you, reminding you of things, giving you its opinion in an endless narrative. The most important thing to remember is this: you can choose what you listen to. Imagine if all the negative or anxious thoughts you have came from an actual person; they'd kinda be a real annoying jerk who you'd never listen to in real life. After all, if you could control your brain’s thoughts, you’d only think positive things, right? As soon as you start thinking, “I’ll never get into this school," "I am going to bomb my calc test," just remember — you don’t have to listen to negativity. Just like that annoying roommate, you don't have to listen to it.

5) Take note of how much time you're spending on your phone. Moment tracks the amount of time you spend on your phone and WOW is this an eye opener. Most smart phones can also give you data on the amount of time you're staring at that screen. The data from studies linking phone addiction to anxiety and depression is eye-popping. This pandemic has made us more addicted to our phones than ever before and it's not good. Next tip on this list will help you cut down on your doom-scrolling: 

6) Don’t charge your phone right next to your bed. When you are on your phone right before bed, the stimulation from the phone keeps you awake and also keeps your mind racing. Instead, read a book (I just finished Born a Crime... best book I've read in five years). Study for a test. Do something besides sit in bed and stare at your phone. If you have to look at your phone before bed, adjust the Night Shift on your phone before you do so. This takes out the colors that make it hard on your eyes in the evening. Right as you wake up, don't grab your phone and check TikTok or Instagram. Just let yourself wake up. What good will it do to read aggravating political news before bed? Or wake up to look at someone else's filtered vacation photos? I made a big change recently and started charging my phone in the kitchen rather than the bedside table at night. I boldly suggest you try this. My second challenge to you: do it for six weeks and email me if you complete this task. 

7) Take it a step further and take a break from social media altogether. This one is tough, I know. Especially in the world we live in. It's remarkable how much anxiety it can give you when you are consistently comparing your life to your classmates and experiencing FOMO. One small step I recommend is getting rid of the Facebook app (parents) on your phone and only checking when you happen to be on your computer. Or student, pick one to commit to: Insta Story OR TikTok, not both. As it turns out, you're not missing as much as you think you are. Case in point — the people who don't use social media are always cooler than me and never seem to have any anxiety about not being on it. I've blogged about this before. Social media is you comparing your worst moments to everyone else's best moments. Last year, I finally did it: I got rid of Facebook. I am one year free of that monster and I have never been happier. You too can get rid of it! 
8) Learn to respond, not react. This is one that is going to take some time and won't happen overnight. But by practicing some mindfulness and maybe a little meditation, you'll get there. Simply put, reacting is the knee-jerk reaction to a situation. Responding is taking a breath, mulling it over, and then replying. Next time someone emails you something obnoxious, instead of immediately reacting with an equally obnoxious email, sit on it — even sleep on it — and write a well thought-out response. You'll be glad you did. Great example: if you get deferred or denied from a school, don't react. Respond. You'd be shocked how many students and parents send me expletive-laden emails when they are not admitted to Tulane. That is called a reaction.

9) Be patient with others. I was in the doctor's office last week with a mom and her baby. The baby would NOT stop crying. Everyone was glaring at the mom with a "shut that kid up" look on their face. Now, think of it this way — who is the only person in that office who wants that baby to stop crying more than you? Right. The mom. So be patient. I bet that baby will stop crying a whole lot sooner if the other people on the flight gave the mom a few compassionate looks of patience. Patience with others (your school counselor, for example) can lead to a remarkable amount of anxiety reduction of your own.

10) Exercise. But like, REALLY, exercise. One of the absolute best ways to reduce your anxiety is to get a really good workout in. Not just a casual jog, but something where you really push yourself. Take a boot-camp class, maybe even a spin class, but do something that pushes you harder than usual. If you're a freshman at Tulane, your first spin class is on me! Or go try Joe for his infamous ABT class at Riley. Or do my 45 YouTube workout! Vincent makes a lot of appearances.  

If you had told me a few years ago that I'd be writing a blog encouraging you to meditate, I'd think you had lost your mind! But here I am doing exactly that. Like I've said before, everything will be alright in the end. If it’s not alright, it’s not the end. You'll get in somewhere, you'll go somewhere. You'll do fine in school and the drama with your friends will come and go. This goes back to deciding what you listen to in your brain. It's not always going to be perfect, but you can be assured, eventually things have a way of working themselves out. I am not saying all will be completely stress-free all the time, but over the course of the next few months, if you try a few of the tips above, you might just experience reduced anxiety in life, even at a time when you'd expect it to be higher than ever.

Good luck out there! And have a happy, delicious and hopefully college-talk-free Thanksgiving.








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