Help Save New Orleans’ Charity Hospital and the Adjacent Mid-City Historic Neighborhood

Posted on: November 4th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 43 Comments

Back in May, we listed Charity Hospital and its adjacent Mid-City neighborhood to our annual list of America's 11 Most Endangered Places. The threat is has become even more imminent, and we we need your help. Voice your concerns now to change a potentially disastrous course -- one that would leave this major New Orleans landmark to an uncertain fate, abandon an already-struggling downtown, and destroy at least 18 square blocks of a historic neighborhood.

New Orleans is poised to lose Charity Hospital and the VA Medical Center. The relocation plans of these two institutions call for the needless demolition of more than 165 historic homes  -- at least 18 square blocks -- within the lower Mid-City National Register District. Bulldozing this historic neighborhood would not only betray the residents of New Orleans, who are working so hard to rebuild their communities, but could easily be avoided. The rehabilitation of iconic Charity Hospital, and a nearby alternative site for the VA, would avoid the demolition of even a single historic property.

Please act now to help us prevent the needless destruction of historic and cultural resources triggered by ill-advised and short-sighted planning.

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43 Responses

  1. Thomas Hofer

    November 5, 2008

    Yesterday, I received printed letters whcih I then E-mailed to Governor Jindal, the HHs secretary, and the VA. So i am in on this aleady. I was able to do this in the middle of the election results.

  2. Deborah Oppenheim

    November 5, 2008

    Keep New Orleans a historic city and reBuild the needed medical corridor in the industrial site that welcomes the VA hospital and within 1 mile (mid-City area) of the existing Charity Hospital, LSU and Tulane medical facilities without destroying people’s homes and businesses. Making good decisions can benefit everyone and let’s work for a win/win outcome.

    Deborah Oppenheim

  3. Pam Weiser

    November 5, 2008

    Why destroy 165 historic homes and numerous historic buildings when we don’t know if this city can support such an endeavor? There are more practical and feasible alternatives that would preserve this historic section of our city.

  4. James C. Farrelly Jr

    November 5, 2008


  5. John Koonce

    November 5, 2008

    I believe this beautiful city has had enough distruction of some very old and historical areas. That was “Mother Nature” we can’t control that. What you are wanting do is just not needed. Does the city of New Orleans have no better area for a VA Hospital? Does New Orleans really have an overwhelming need for a VA Hospital? Leave this historical area alone!

  6. Frank Panepinto

    November 5, 2008

    We need to preserve our homes and commercial buildings as much as possible.

    Our architecture tells a story of who we are and how this city evolved. Charity Hospital and the Veteran Hospital are land marks that have been view by many visitors as well as patients. These building are and should be considered what the uniqueness’ of New Orleans is. Remodel the buildings! Do not tear them down.

  7. Chuck Remington

    November 5, 2008

    As a businessman and frequent visitor to New Orleans, I am aware that present plans are to build a new VA building on a site presently occupied by historic buildings and homes. New Orleans has forever been known for it’s one of a kind in culture and it’s numerous historical sites. Why do you think visitors flock to visit this city year after year. Although hurricanes
    devasted this site, it could not and did not devalue the historical value of
    some of the buildings and homes. Why would any rational thinking want to turn this particular area into an asphalt jungle, when there are other alternative sites available. Please reconsider your options.

  8. Art Brugier

    November 5, 2008

    If we open the door to the sensless destruction of these landmarks, where will it end, and who’s homes or buildings will be next.

  9. Irma Parone

    November 5, 2008

    Please reconsider this decision. Once they are gone, they are gone forever. Our company, as well as others in the area have been through so much. We ask for your support, and strong consideration. There must be other options that would make much less of an impact on the culture, and appeal to the tourist community. There must be many many other options. We are grateful for your consideration.

  10. Jenny Pollard

    November 5, 2008

    There has to be an alternative location that can be used for this project that would not effect the historic landmarks of the city.
    I am writing to ask you to please reconsider and look into other options.

  11. Alex Villazan

    November 5, 2008

    I live in Miami Florida, my first visit to New Orleans was business related. I was fascinated with the city’s history. I have since visited New Orleans many times. I intend to visit with my entire family next time. I want to show my children, parents and siblings, the impact their Spanish Heritage had on this beautiful city. New Orleans is Louisiana; thus Louisiana is America. Please preserve this city’s historic districts as they stand.

  12. marshall gerson

    November 5, 2008

    Please don’t turn New Orleans into just another glass and concrete city. We have the opportunity to save an historic structure, save the state BILLIONS of taxpayers’ money, and get the doors open in half the time. Aren’t these what politicians should be doing?

  13. Cathy Scarbrough

    November 6, 2008

    Please don’t turn New Orleans into just another glass and concrete city.

    We have the opportunity to save an historic structure, save the state BILLIONS of taxpayers’ money, and get the doors open in half the time.

    Aren’t these what politicians should be doing?

  14. Jacqui Wolfendale

    November 6, 2008

    Has New Orleans not suffered enough with hurricane Katrina? Please do not take the integrity of what remains and what has been rebuilt. Please reconsider tearing down these historic landmarks for it’s these landmarks that are a symbolization of this wonderful city.

  15. Victor M. Guembes, CHS

    November 6, 2008

    It might be a good idea but it certainly shows poor judgement. History is something we all have to be proud of and it can not be replaced with nothing more than preservation, admiration and respect. I’m pretty sure there has to be many other designated areas to be consider for a new project. However, it dozens of hurricanes are to destroy the city again, we are in the moral and historical responsibility to build it up again. This will show the strenght of the people of New Orleans, the determination and conviction to preserve what our ancestors were proud of, and that politics should not interfere but support what America is made of, proud of our history! Please reconsider the destruction of landmarks, and the tremendous negative impact it will generate, because when it is gone, it’ll be gone forever.

  16. Guy Skodmin

    November 6, 2008

    I have visited New Orleans each year since the devistating hurricane that crippled the infrastructure and lives of thousands. While I have seen much progress there their is so much more that needs to be done. Prodjects such as these show the determination and will to rebuild.

  17. Patricia Jessee

    November 6, 2008

    Please do not push this decision to destroy Mid City, Charity Hospital etc.
    The financial woe’s and the changing poitical scene will cause more chaos’and unrest. New Olreans can with provide make what is there work with less money while building their pride and saving these landmarks.
    Goverment cannot make up for all the shortfalls since 2005 when it came to helping the city’s soul- unique because of the gumbo mix of people- and now they must be listened too – they speak from the heart and with the most knowledge of how these decisions will affect all concerned. The fact that NOLA citizens have not had complete helathcare available in their city since Katrina is absurd. Charity, a hospital that I and fellow Artist Emery Clark spent many months treating the childrens 18 wards and hallway complex as well as the Psychiatric floor- to well designed color treatments, eductaional murals, and supergraphics to aid aptients families in finding there way. The hospital won an award that year- and can again. It served people in crisis- rich or poor. It will be a challenge but one worth facing.
    Then there is the continuing problem of the levee’s and the off shore degredation which allows the free flow of hurricanes…

  18. Bob Taggart

    November 6, 2008

    As a frequent visitor to New Orleans, eight to ten times this past year alone, I find it necessary to ask that the providence of this historic area be re-considered. There are numerous homes, buildings and businesses that will be lost forever if the current plan for the area moves forward. It seems odd that with all the destruction that Mother Nature has served up in this city that anyone would seriously consider razing yet another section of the city. Especially loosing such a Historic and diverse area.

    There are other sites that can be used for the needs of the VA Hospital, some as close as a mile from this neighborhood. No-one can argue that a new VA facility will be a great and needed resource for the city and the state, however once the historic area is gone it is gone forever. Reconsider the plans, save the homes, the buildings, and our businesses, relocate the VA Hospital plans to another site!

  19. Tim Bernard

    November 6, 2008

    Being a native of Louisiana and having lived in New Orleans for a few years I can not imagine it has come to this. The hospital is a necessity. New Orleans has suffered enough. Please reconsider your plans.

  20. Jackeline Alonso Urdaneta

    November 6, 2008

    Save history for our children. Save the building.

  21. Tyler Forrest

    November 6, 2008

    I myself am not from New Orleans; however I travel there at a minimum of once each year. There are few places in the country one can visit and experience such a dramatic culture as in New Orleans. The city is breath-taking, the crowds are diverse and the culture is like no other.

    My home town has been struggling for years to revitalize our downtown district. We have few historic landmarks, buildings and sites, envy locations that do, and would love to have all the assets of New Orleans in our own backyard.

    The unneccessary destruction of historic property baffles me. I think that to wipe any historical architecture, much less 18 blocks would certainly be regretted in later years. I also would urge the powers that be to strongly consider before taking further action. New Orleans is one of the most beautiful cities in the states and to partially destroy that would be a tragedy.

  22. Tangie Waller

    November 6, 2008

    My family and I visit New Orleans at least once a year to attend the Essence Festival. One of the things we enjoy most as tourist is New Orleans is a historical area which roots stretch really deep. We love the old buildings, houses, people, cajun foods, etc.. Something things are made to stay the same, New orleans are one of them. Please reconsider destroying something we all love just the way it is!!

  23. Vivian Manes

    November 6, 2008

    Study shows restoration of Charity, more cost effective and will be available sooner than other plans. We must do the right thing and restore, reopen Charity.

  24. Brian Hamernick

    November 6, 2008

    Although I am not a resident of New Orleans, I do travel there frequently for business, and for pleasure trips with my family. What is of the most interests in my travels are the historic sites, the architecture and the culture of the people in the area.

    It simply amazes me when I see historic landmarks fall into ruin, or are destroyed, because someone had an idea that something new and flourescent should be built. Can’t we preserve, remodel and restructure instead of destroying our precious historical sites.

    I don’t have any desire to come to New Orleans to see “new” buildings and asphalt.

  25. Ralph McDonald II

    November 6, 2008

    Why would you do this! There is so much available property and Charity is special architecturally! Use Lyndy Boggs Hospital… think about it the Vets could go out to the blvd. and bayou!

    Stop the stupidity and GREED!

    I was conceived in this neighborhood. It is our legacy, so much architecture to save!
    It made it this far in time, now save it!

  26. Jennifer Dewey

    November 6, 2008

    I lived in New Orleans for nearly 14 years of my adult life… the pain and loss for the many who continue the struggle to rebuild their lives and homes is palpable. Please find a way to work together to maintain the historical structures, for an outcome which builds up the people rather than continually knocking them down. As we all know… land is scarce in New Orleans… renovate, rebuild, restore the historic buildings to suit your needs!!! Put that $1.5mil into the school system and children if it’s burning a hole in someone’s pocket… that would truly be a wise investment with a lifetime of positive returns!

  27. Aubrey McCann

    November 6, 2008

    I am from Los Angeles.Your city is remarkable and unique.
    Your historical buildings are such a value to your city and
    Please reconsider these plans.

  28. Carolyn Castleman

    November 6, 2008

    Having graduated from Charity Hospital School of Nursing 50 years ago I value the history of Charity Hospital and surrounding areas. Knowing the economic crisis of these times will impact the decision of whether or not Charity will be saved I ask that this issue be put on the back burner for now in order to allow better economic times to restore, rebuild and preserve one of the primary historical areas of New Orleans especially the iconic Charity Hospital
    Keep New Orleans unique…………and more than just the French Quarters.

  29. Gregory kerr

    November 7, 2008

    I hope someone realizes what a bad decesion this is before it’s to late. Once it’s gone we can never get it back, the city can not lose it’s identity one building or neighborhood at a time. We should be restoring and investing back into these very important historical areas not tearing them down!

  30. Eric Grey

    November 7, 2008

    Please restore this area rather than wipe it out.

  31. Jennifer Dorcelet

    November 7, 2008

    I really believe this is a bad decision. I am from New York City. Your city is remarkable and unique. I visit New Orleans just for your historical buildings. They are such a value to your city and culture.
    Please reconsider these plans.

  32. Mike Burke

    November 7, 2008

    Ther are many, many, area’s in New Orleans that would be better suited for this type of project, area’s that would not involve destruction of historical buildings. New Orleans has suffered enough natural disiasters….spare the city a man-made disaster.

  33. Mike Rice

    November 7, 2008

    Tourists like me come to your beautiful city for the main reason of enjoying the rich history of New Orleans. Please keep this area intact.

  34. Kathy Johnson

    November 7, 2008

    I am from Portland Oregon and visit your wonderful city frequently. Please preserve this rich history. Enough is destroyed by Mother Nature. Don’t add to it.

  35. Preserving Mid City « Professor Zero

    November 8, 2008

    […] Mid City Jump to Comments Please read the latest on New Orleans demolitions and donate if you can. At the link just given is information […]

  36. Jennifer T. Moore

    November 10, 2008

    November 10,2008

    I am from the Big N.O. I went to Charity’s School of Surgical Technology,
    and worked at Tulane-Lakeside for twenty-four years prior to Katrina.
    It was a great place for many,those that could pay and those that could not. Pleas bring it back. Thank you.

  37. Jennifer T. Moore

    November 10, 2008

    November 10,2008

    I am from the Big N.O. I went to Charity’s School of Surgical Technology.
    It was a great place for training, for those that could pay and those that coulc not. Please bring it back for the so many that need it. Thanks

  38. Joe Bryak

    November 11, 2008

    Surely you wheelers and dealers can make more money without utterly destroying what remains of old New Orleans. If it’s a waste of time to appeal to what should be your consciences, let me say that if you continue to lay waste to the city you will hold title to a wasteland. Does that reach you? You will own malls and condos in a city that no one wishes to visit or live in any more. There already is a Cleveland, a Mall of America, a Disneyland, in fact, several. But there is only one New Orleans. Continue wrecking it and you will own 100% of nothing worth seeing, visiting, knowing or owning. Greed is one thing, but utter ruination is something else again. Think!–Joe Bryak

  39. Carol Bovaird

    November 12, 2008

    There is a guesthouse build in 1820’s that has been in continuous operation. It, among other beautiful architectures, would be torn down for the new hospital facilities. Let’s revitalize and restore the beauty of New Orleans and put more health centers in neighborhoods accessible to poor and underserved. A balance between innovative state of the arts new hospital and preservation of the unique charm of N.O. needs to be achieved.

  40. Mark LeBlanc

    November 13, 2008

    Why not consider the present site of the old Charity Hospital? To disrupt the lives of all the homeowners and businesses in this Mid-City area just doesn’t make sense. Many of these homeowners and business owners just rebuilt from Katrina because they have faith in the City. The businesses in this area employ many people and will likely consider leaving the New Orleans area out of the lack of respect shown to them, business decisions based on dollars and cents, and general disgust.

  41. New Orleans 1979, Charity / LSU and VA hospitals issue, new construction vs. preservation and re-use « jlp/ New Orleans

    November 26, 2008

    […] the Charity Hospital  and adjacent mid-city neighborhood have been listed on the National Trust’s, […]

  42. Justin

    November 26, 2008

    i am not for New Orleans but this makes me sick. why whould you tare down charity Hospital. i gusse people do not have brains.

  43. Joann Terranova

    December 4, 2008

    I think destorying these building and houses in the MidCity section of New Orleans is crazy. The politians and everyone one that is envolved needs to reconsider their decision and find an alternative site for the VA and LSU medical centers.