According to the Channel 4 piece, Jim McNamara, the head of the unelected board that oversees the BioDistrict, saw the site differently:
"...it’s moving very nicely"
He and Senator Karen Carter Peterson continue to string out a misconception: a sense that the hospitals proposed for Lower Mid-City are essential for creating jobs, for helping local small businesses.
Locating the hospitals in a far smaller, more reasonable, less destructive footprint would likely have produced just as many jobs in the end. That's an important point to keep in mind. The either/or sentiment that's been drilled into the public consciousness is bogus - keeping blocks and blocks of historic neighborhood intact would not have stopped or limited job creation. If Karen Carter Peterson wanted to help small businesses, she wouldn't be sitting back while the LSU/VA project displaces many small businesses like Boudreaux's Tire and Auto, Ellgee Uniforms, Broadmoor Auto Parts, Weiser Security, Durand's Tuxedos, Robert Rogers' lawncare business, Canal Street Guest House, the Driving School, Outer Banks Bar, Sam Jupiter, Jr.'s barbershop, Headquarters Salon, Platinum 3000 Bar, Lee's Seafood, Dutel, Southern Electronics, Cesar's Autobody, the JOB Center, and Humble Rumble Productions (to name a few)...and destroys the buildings they operate(d) in.
McNamara's talk of walkable neighborhoods, while unobjectionable in a vacuum, again seems problematic in the context of a piece on the LSU/VA hospitals. The proposed hospital sites were incredibly hostile to the idea of a walkable neighborhood. Any walkability that ultimately results stems directly from the loss of an entire neighborhood and a failure to revitalize a historic neighborhood that was already in very close proximity to enormous existing buildings in the CBD that are now sitting vacant and do not have any identified tenants or uses.