Tulane University has opened a new health center inside the former Ruth’s Chris Steak House on North Broad Street. Up to 1,500 patients can receive care at the center every month — with or without insurance.
Tulane officials joined city leaders and major donors at a ribbon-cutting celebration opening the health center. Among the crowd were patients of the New Orleans clinic system. One was Stan Taylor, who has been getting health care through the Covenant House near the French Quarter since 2006. The new center is three times larger, and offers even more services.
“They can do a lot of things in-house now as opposed to sending them out for outsourcing," Taylor said. "For instance, lab work. I think that’s hugely important now that I can have lab work done here as opposed to going to another facility to get that done.”
The daughter of New Orleans’ legendary trumpeter Al Hirt was also on hand. Rebecca Hirt Dickerson says she was referred by a friend to the Covenant House clinic after she’d been injured, and her husband lost his job and health care and then passed away.
“I was very depressed, and I was almost, well I was — absolutely, I guess — I was unable to function.”
She says the staff helped her with her medical and mental-health care, and she’s excited about what the expanded services at the new center mean to the whole city.
“I think that there are going to be more places like this that are going to really help. And we have a huge population that really needs the help, which I think makes a tremendous difference. And since we really need it and we’re a perfect place for it, I say ‘Come on. Come on.’ ”
The center also offers space for community events, exercise and computer classes, and social services.