Sunday, January 31, 2010

Money in Hand

The Times-Picayune takes a look, in both its news and editorial departments, at the hospitals situation post-arbitration.

This note wrapped up the end of the news article:

Some New Orleans mayoral and council candidates, meanwhile, say they support giving the state site to the VA, with the state rebuilding within Charity.

The question is whether any of those candidates, if elected, would actually vote to deny financing, street closures or relevant permits for the hospitals.

Having attended a few mayoral candidate meet-and-greets, I can say that frontrunner Mitch Landrieu stated explicitly one night at Le Phare that he does not support putting LSU's hospital back in the former Charity Hospital.  I thought he was about to salivate as he literally wagged his fingers as he noted the "two BILLION dollars" the new medical facilities in Lower Mid-City would bring to the city.

Republican longshot Rob Couhig, in an appearance at Elizabeth's, stated that he was supportive of the medical complex for its economic impact, but he was not married to a specific site.

Sunset in the Footprint

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Knights of Pythias

This residence at 219 S. Miro St. was once home to Smith W. Green, who, around 1908, was Supreme Chancellor of the Knights of Pythias of North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. In addition to authoring major works on Pythian history and ritual, Green was integral in the construction of the Colored Pythian Temple, which still stands at 234 Loyola Avenue.

Purple Yellow Green

Friday, January 29, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Construction in the Footprint

S. Galvez street, a tree-lined boulevard, splits the two halves of the Footprint (the propsed VA site toward the lake and the proposed LSU site toward the river).  The street has been under construction as of late, with much of its length torn up for replacement.  Interestingly, S. Galvez is one of the few roadways within the overall footprint that is slated, at least in most renderings, to remain in place after the proposed hospitals would be built.

Some businesses, like Durand's Tuxedo's, have already moved away.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


James P. McNamara, who heads the Greater New Orleans Biosciences Economic Development District had a message for the project's critics.

"It ends the debate. We now know where the hospital is going to be located," he proclaimed. "It's done. It's finished."

It does?  We do?  It is?  Since when?

I think the debate now continues even more robustly than before.  

As I stated earlier today, the federal arbitration win by the State of Louisiana can be read as a victory for LSU and locating the "joint" medical centers in Lower Mid-City.  It's somewhat more feasible because of the influx of cash, although not anywhere nearly fully feasible.  But at the same time it begs the question even more loudly: why not just take the windfall and, in conjunction with other funds "in the pot," get going on revitalizing Charity itself?  Under that approach, work could begin tomorrow.

There's a way forward that doesn't require the use of nearly as much expropriation as the current plan will require.  And LSU and various parties seem hellbent on avoiding that path.

Charity Arbitration - The Numbers Are In

The State of Louisiana gets an award of $474.7 million (higher than expected) for damage to the structure during Hurricane Katrina.

This number was crucial to the nature of the fight for Lower Mid-City.  The extra funding gives LSU a leg up in its push to build a new hospital - although it's not even half of the total cost involved.

(Crossposted from LIB)

UPDATE: SaveCharity notes expertly that the numbers actually put LSU in quite the box.

UPDATE II: Another voice sounds off in CityBusiness:

The $474.8 million approved today combined with $300 million already appropriated by the Legislature nearly funds the estimated $900 million needed to renovate Charity Hospital, said Jack Davis, president of Smart Growth for Louisiana and a board member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

“Reusing Charity Hospital would allow the project to begin right away,” Davis said. “But if the state moves forward with plans for the new $1.2 billion hospital they still have to raise $400 million. And most people agree that raising anything on the bond market right now is going to be extremely difficult and could take several more years.”

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Picketing Tomorrow

The Committee to Reopen Charity Hospital is slated to picket the LSU administration building tomorrow, just outside the footprint:

Monday, January 11, 2010

VA Footprint - Important Public Input Notice

The Preservation Resource Center provides an overview of the public input process that unfolds over the next month regarding the VA medical center site.  Public comment is welcome and will determine whether the VA project will have any "significant impact" on Lower Mid-City, which could necessitate additional studies.

Here's the (facebook) link.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Reborn - On the Eve of Destruction

Here's a shot of the structure across the street from Outer Banks that I mentioned back in November.

The brush was cleared away from the part residence/part commercial space, and the entire structure was painted.  It's been one of the few concrete signs of development in the Footprint, with its uncertain future, since I've been keeping an eye on the area.