I finally found something that pointed me in the right direction. These two posts mentioned how CI uses the @ in the database module might be causing that issue.
php return 500 error but no error log
CodeIgniter project loads blank webpage
I disabled auto-loading the database module and the site works. Now I just have to figure out the database error I was getting that might be causing CI to fail. I'll update this answer once I figure it out.
Update: I checked the account/password and access for the database everything was working. The issue was the php mysql driver was not installed. This is my first time really using an Ubuntu system and I thought that the mysql driver would be installed with the default php package, which I was incorrect about.
After installing php5-mysqlnd and enabling the database library in CI's autoload everything works properly now. The fact that I was not getting any errors is really making me consider changing frameworks.