Scholar Story: Marie
New Orleans, LA

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The night before Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Marie Scantlebury found herself holed up in a hotel room in Jackson, Miss. Marie was in the process of completing a Masters of Business Administration at Tulane University in New Orleans. She had left her small apartment in a frenzy, annoyed at the inconvenience, waiting until the last minute to escape the storm. Marie had taken with her hardly any possessions – a laptop computer, homework, and some dirty laundry – expecting to return to campus the next day. She never imagined the devastation that the hurricane would cause.

Like the rest of the city, Tulane was completely shut down after the hurricane. Flooding, fallen trees, and wind damaged eighty-seven university buildings, causing the displacement of nearly 100,000 students. Marie had to head to her mother’s in Illinois, leaving everything behind.

Students at Tulane were encouraged to continue their fall semester either online or at another university; Marie continued classes at the University of Chicago. Thanks to help from her schools, from a few professors, and from Scholarship America’s Disaster Relief Fund and other scholarships, Marie was able to spend a year there, return to Tulane in 2006, and finish her MBA on time without extra debt.

Today, Marie is the director of Community Impact with the United Way of St. Charles in Luling, Louisiana, just twenty miles outside of New Orleans.

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