The dorms at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge had mostly emptied Sunday afternoon as Hurricane Ida swept through the state.
But rookie Adrianne Bajon, 18, and a small group of friends, unable to evacuate for lack of gasoline, remained behind. As they crouched down, the small group of about seven students played Uno, watched “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” and documented all they could on TikTok.
The videos posted by Bajon, a computer science and software engineering graduate, have racked up millions of views.
“I was like, ‘Wow. I got a lot of views on that one.’ People wanted updates so I was posting funny and funny videos of me and my roommates. I want everyone to know that everything is fine, “Bajon said.
Bajon isn’t the only student sharing his experiences on TikTok. Since Ida made landfall on Sunday, students from across Louisiana have shared their experiences sheltering at their colleges and universities on the platform.
At the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, students posted TikToks of themselves dancing in the rain. At Tulane University in New Orleans, students shared a video of broken windows. At LSU, the students shared videos of themselves playing rapper “Rick and Morty” by rapper Soulja Boy to make the storm go away – a meme popularized on the app.
Students who spoke to NBC News said finding ways to laugh helped them cope with the reality of what was happening outside their windows.
Ida poured rain and caused flooding throughout the region. Just over a million homes and businesses went without power statewide as of Monday afternoon, including across the parish of New Orleans and Orleans, and 911 lines were down in southeastern Louisiana.
At least one death has been reported in Louisiana, that of a 60-year-old man whose house was hit by a fallen tree.
Governor John Bel Edwards said on NBC’s “TODAY” Monday that the damage is “truly catastrophic” in southeast Louisiana and officials believe the death toll could rise “dramatically.”
Ida weakened in a tropical storm Monday and was crossing the Mississippi, knocking over trees and power lines.
Bajon said she had not spoken to her parents, who live about 20 minutes east of Denham Springs, since Sunday afternoon after the power outage. She said she believed their phones were dead and they didn’t have cell service.
“I haven’t been able to speak to my parents since it happened,” Bajon said. “That’s what worries me, because I want to check them. I couldn’t check them, and I can’t drive there, because I have zero miles on my car because all the gas is gone, so I’m just waiting now. “
Some students said LSU and Tulane initially lost power, but the generators have since been turned on, allowing them to use Wi-Fi and charge their phones.
Tulane freshman Jake Moubry, 18, posted a TikTok of a ration bag given to him by the school, recalling how New York University students went viral on the last year for sharing meals served to them in quarantine.
“It wasn’t, like, funny or a joke.… It was, like, something that I was trying to shed light on a situation that wasn’t the best, but it sure could be a lot worse.” , did he declare. .
In his video, which has been viewed over 53,000 times, Moubry shows some of the food given to him by Tulane, including a giant loaf of sourdough bread, two bags of Doritos, apples, beef ravioli. Chef Boyardee and Snickers bars.
A comment on Moubry’s video noted how bizarre it was to see his experience on social media.
“Natural disasters are so much more interesting these days,” the commentary read.
A dozen other Tulane students showed off the rations on TikTok. Moubry said that while some of the videos sounded sarcastic, the school looked after the students who stayed sheltered there very well.
“I’m really grateful to have been here of all places for the storm,” said Moubry.
Shortly after Moubry spoke to NBC News, Tulane University announced Monday evening that it would evacuate the remaining students in Texas to repair damage caused by Ida. Tulane University said in a statement on Twitter that the students will be accommodated and fed until they can return home. Classes will resume online on September 13.