The New Year has Tulane Law student Ellen Bloom looking back, just a little.
What is she most grateful for at the moment? The meal train, of course!
Let’s explain. Bloom is the rare student who was pregnant in law school – it just doesn’t happen too often because of the academic pressures – and the third-year law student gave birth to Baby Jack just before fall exams.
So when her Tulane Law friends set up a meal train, “they were incredible,” said Bloom, who was glad for the steady delicious dishes that arrived every day for her and her husband, Danny McCullough. “The meal train saved us - you don’t realize how important pre-made meals are until you have a newborn!”
Okay, she actually is most grateful for Baby Jack, but that meal train was a close second.
Bloom, part of the Tulane Law class of 2024, was nine months pregnant late in the fall semester and Baby Jack arrived on Nov. 17. That put her in the tough spot of having to miss some classes, sort out an exam schedule and study while baby was sleeping. The entire Tulane Law community made everything easy for her, she said.
There was Dean of Students Abigail Gaunt (“I cannot say enough about how much she helped me plan for Jack’s arrival”) and Professor James Duggan, her Advanced Legal Research Professor (“a truly wonderful man – made sure I had all the tools in my toolbox to perform as well as possible for his practical and objective exam”) to Assistant Director of International Legal Programs Mallory Asp, who also is expecting her second child (“she gave me great advice about how to advocate for myself and what I wanted in a birth plan”).
Then there were her classmates who arrived with notes from classes she missed just after Baby Jack was born, who helped her with outlines and who, graciously, during their own study periods, delivered pre-made dinners and homemade cookies as part of the meal train. One classmate even knit Jack a hat (“shoutout to Brianna Hanson”).
“They had their own exams to study for and were cooking for us,” she said. “Over the holidays they continued to check on me and have recently started coming over to meet the baby,” said Bloom. “My friend Ruth Ann just visited me and Baby Jack for a stroll in City Park and brought him a homemade, monogrammed blanket!”
“Tulane Law is unique in its togetherness. Every classmate is a friend – every administrator treats you like family,” said Bloom.
Her future employer, Hall Booth Smith (HBS) in New York also surprised her. “They didn't blink an eye when they found out I was pregnant during my 2L summer stay,” said Bloom. “I could not be more grateful. I feel very fortunate to be able to work for them after graduation.”
For now, Bloom is looking forward to her last semester – navigating that with a brand-new baby – and to graduation. Given that her pregnancy spanned two semesters, Bloom and her classmates have made a non-official decision for Baby Jack. “We think he should get an honorary law degree given that he sat through two semesters of lectures and six exams!”