"The last thing we wanted was the people engaging in the recovery to be hungry."

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In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, an empty Tulane University opened its doors to the men and women working around the clock to help New Orleans recover.

The massive power outage that plunged the city into darkness for more than a week brought thousands of linemen and contractors to the already overwhelmed area. With students gone, Tulane administrators saw an opportunity to contribute to the recovery efforts with hot meals.

"We thought, 'heck, let's make sure they're able to get meals too,'" Patrick Norton, Tulane Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, recalled to Southern Living. "The city was without power, and food was in short supply. The last thing we wanted was the people engaging in the recovery to be hungry."

Through Tulane's Dining Room at the Commons, the university has fed approximately 1,500 linemen and contractors from all over the country.  

"Our SE Louisiana community is so special, and I'm thankful to everyone who is coming together to help us get back on our feet," Tulane University president Mike Fitts wrote on Instagram alongside photos (above) of hungry linemen enjoying a hot meal. "A huge Roll Wave to all of you!"

Tulane also filled its adjoining student center with 200 air mattresses so people could enjoy a night of airconditioned sleep. And, when Children's Hospital New Orleans experienced an issue with their laundry facilities, the university invited them to do their laundry on campus.

Norton said it's all about community.

"We help when we can," he explained. "We're trying to be accommodating as we can with resources we have."