In the roughly two weeks I've been gone, the overall picture of the prospects for the Footprint have changed.
While it's unfortunate that Louisiana and the nation are suffering through a period of economic uncertainty, that black cloud may have silver lining as it relates to the people and the historic architecture of the neighborhood.
In this week's edition of The Louisiana Weekly, Christopher Tidmore takes an in-depth look at the politics and players involved in the controversy and makes a rather significant finding. The headline of the lengthy feature article sums up the new atmosphere that surrounds the project:
"Delays, Cost Overruns May Save Neighborhood"
Here's the introduction to the piece:
What had seemed impossible only a month ago, suddenly entered the realm of reality over the last week. The news that the new LSU Medical Center would take at least another six months over its original estimated opening date, and cost millions more than was originally proposed for its construction left some senior state officials wondering if the demolition of a historic, 19th-century neighborhood in Mid-City was the best answer.
The article goes on to outline the grim fiscal realities that may ultimately save the neighborhood - the parts that weren't already demolished.
It's unfortunate that dedicated medical care has not yet been restored to the community as anticipated. But the new fiscal climate makes even more apparent what many, myself included, have been arguing all along: a more limited footprint and the inclusion of the existing Charity facility in the plans is the faster, cheaper, and more responsible way forward.
Sandra Stokes of the Foundation for Historical Louisiana does a great job of outlining the details of those arguments in the body of the Tidmore article linked above. Be sure to read the whole thing.