It is that time of year here at the Sully Mansion bed and breakfast when we host many prospective Tulane and Loyola students. They come from across the country with their parents to tour the college, get a sense of the city and decide if they can see themselves here for four years. It is a high pressure time for these young people and we watch a variety of parent/child dynamics unfold as they approach this big milestone. Breakfast talk is filled with college comparable rankings, course offerings and financial aid packages. The recession has impacted the
college search process and we find very few make the long distance trip until their child has been accepted and then it is a frantic four weeks to weigh the options. They head off after breakfast with their maps in their hands and questions in their heads. We have been doing this long enough to know that inevitably they will come back in the afternoon with the parents aglow with a proud smile and the daughter/son sporting a new t-shirt bearing the name of the college of their choice. Unless nothing but Harvard will do- it is impossible to resist the seduction of New Orleans in the spring. It is a visceral reaction; the campus is beautiful, the students welcoming, the professors engaging and the financial aid office receptive. Did we mention the smell of jasmine permeating the campus or the ornate mansions viewed by streetcar from the inn to the campus, or the lilt of a saxophone heard off the quad pulsing with a New Orleans beat? Sometimes in the end choosing the school is like falling in love, you may have this long check list of attributes but sometimes you just take one look, the list flies out the window and you are a goner, and that’s not all bad.