Thursday, July 14, 2011

"We wanna build what we wanna be and not go back to the past."

What a silly statement.  That was Dr. Karen DeSalvo's comment on the proposed UMC at yesterday's UMC Board meeting on behalf of Mayor Landrieu.

As usual, this very un-New Orleans comment either reflects the Mayor's failure to grasp the concept of creating an entirely modern hospital facility inside the sound shell of an existing structure or, more likely, his willful attempt to kill the back-to-Charity move because of some unstated motive that's driving him to be so aggressive.  It certainly can't be driven by a push for jobs - because many jobs would be created either way.  Perhaps it's a desire for actual control of the Charity building...several months ago, a BioDistrict board meeting did reveal that the City had told the BioDistrict to back off from its interest in the giant structure on Tulane Avenue.

The DeSalvo statement is a bit disingenuous, too, because it implies that somehow the facility's form of care and range of services provided would not be any different from those provided before the storm at Charity Hospital just because of the location.   It's been very clear that UMC backers, especially in all their Houston and Birmingham envy, are calling for a different model when it comes to "what's inside" the UMC complex.

Finally, for someone who loves to talk about all the innovation in New Orleans in the post-storm era, it's sad to see the Mayor so gung ho about supporting a very old-school, 1950s-style, scorched earth, "urban renewal" push in Lower Mid-City.  The continued state-led destruction of the buildings and neighborhood there touched off in fall of 2010 and has been one of the least innovative things to unfold in the wake of the storm.  The outdated urban renewal model has been proven destructive and short-sighted time and time again.

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