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National Trust Fights VA Proposal to Demolish Historic Mid-City Area and Charity Hospital in New Orleans
Historic Preservation Blog from PreservationDirectory.com - National Trust, VA Proposal to Demolish Historic Mid-City Area, Charity Hospital, New Orleans, Public Policy, Foundation for Historical Louisiana
Contributed By: The National Trust for Historic Preservation's Department of Public Policy
Email The Author: pr@nthp.org
Website: http://nthp.org

In response to site selection announcements by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Louisiana State University (LSU) for their proposed new hospitals in New Orleans' Mid-City neighborhood, the National Trust for Historic Preservation strongly urged the VA to work with the incoming Obama Administration to explore the alternative sites that would restore needed health care facilities faster and at less cost, while preserving much more of the historic Mid-City neighborhood from demolition. At the same time, the Trust noted that the VA's decision is based on the desire to co-locate with an LSU medical facility — whose projected $1.2 billion funding is far from assured. "In selecting these sites, the VA and LSU have made a serious error. They chose the alternatives that will not only be the most time-consuming, costly, and complex, to implement, but will needlessly destroy a historic neighborhood where residents are struggling to rebuild their community in the wake of Hurricane Katrina" said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "The VA and LSU had other options, yet they chose the most difficult and destructive route to delivering health care to the region's veterans and a medical teaching facility to the community. We strongly urge the VA and LSU to reconsider, and take another look at other less harmful alternatives on the table."

"We placed Charity Hospital and the adjacent Mid-City neighborhood on our list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places this year due to the threat these decisions pose to this historic neighborhood," Moe noted. "We believe that homeowners who have returned to New Orleans post-Katrina to rebuild their homes and their community should not lose their homes when other viable alternatives would be faster and more cost-effective in accomplishing the VA's and LSU's goals."

"The sites selected by the VA and LSU would demolish fifteen square blocks within the Mid-City National Register Historic District, including some 165 historic structures, most of them homes, to make way for the new hospitals," said Walter Gallas, director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's New Orleans Field Office. "This is a lose-lose situation all around."

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, working with its partner the Foundation for Historical Louisiana (FHL) and local neighborhood groups, has identified other alternatives for siting the medical facilities. For more details on the Trust’s alternative siting plans, go to http://www.preservationnation.org/about-us/press-room/pressreleases/2008/VA-Hostpital-Announcement.html.

Reprinted by permission of the Public Policy Department of the National Trust

 


Keywords: National Trust, VA Proposal to Demolish Historic Mid-City Area, Charity Hospital, New Orleans, Public Policy, Foundation for Historical Louisiana

Posted: January 6, 2009
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