September 15, 2015
“It’s all about the people, making sure there’s not a single person who cannot evacuate when they want to, with as little discomfort as possible, along with their pets,” says Justin Alsterberg (L ’07), a member of the executive committee of Evacuteer.org, the organization behind Evacuspots, where people can gather for evacuation if they need transportation.
Photo by Cheryl Gerber
When Detroit native Justin Alsterberg decided to head to Tulane Law School, he thought it would be fun to study in New Orleans. Less than a month after moving to the Crescent City, however, he had his first hurricane evacuation experience, loading his car with several law school friends who did not have transportation of their own. They drove through the night to Houston to avoid Hurricane Ivan.
Now, Alsterberg (L '07) is a partner at Quinn & Alsterberg in New Orleans, a city he wouldn’t think of leaving.
“I’m a New Orleanian,” he says. “This is my home. I will always have a place here. I’ve been all over the country for my work. The food, the culture, the architecture … when I started law school here, I didn’t know how unique a city this is in America.”
Since 2011, Alsterberg has served on the executive committee of Evacuteer.org, a nonprofit organization that has erected distinctive sculptures at 17 Evacuspots, clearly marked areas around the city where people can gather if they need transportation during an evacuation. The transportation is free.
“There’s a sense of community here, regardless of what part of the city you’re from," he said. "No one should be left behind.”
As a member of the executive committee, Alsterberg agrees to stay in New Orleans to work up until 12 hours before a hurricane’s landfall.
Year-round, he provides pro bono legal services and assists in special fundraising projects for Evacuteer. Through the Love, Write, Light project, Evacuteer.org is seeking $75,000 in donations to provide lighting for the Evacuspot sculptures.
Steve Gleason, a Tulane alumnus and former New Orleans Saints player with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), contributed this “Dear New Orleans” short film in collaboration with Dear World, Team Gleason and Evacuteer.org as part of the effort to raise funds to light the city’s Evacuspots.
Hurricane season extends through Nov. 30.
Note: A version of this story originally appeared in Tulane University's New Wave.