The 1939 Charity Hospital building served the healthcare needs of generations of the city’s poor. However, its basement flooded during hurricane Katrina, and for the past eight years the building has remained vacant.
WWNO’s Listening Post collected audio from its two regular recording locations — at Norman Mayer Library in Gentilly and HeadQuarters Barbershop on Broad Street — to hear what people had to say about the redevelopment of Charity Hospital and the surrounding area. The Listening Post asked people these questions:
Mayor Mitch Landrieu applied for $100 million in state construction funds on Friday to redevelop the former Charity Hospital building. Renovating the building would cost around $300 million, and revitalize a moribund stretch of downtown.
It is highly unlikely that Governor Bobby Jindal and state legislators will give Mayor Landrieu the full $100 million next year. He asked for $100 million this year as well. He got $13 million.
New Orleanians who attended recent public meetings on the 2014 city budget had a lot of complaints, but none came up so frequently as the city’s crumbling streets. With constant construction on the city’s major commercial arteries, residents of smaller streets wondered when the city planned to get around to them.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s 2014 capital budget may finally offer some relief. Of the $247 million dedicated to capital projects in the proposal, more than half is slated for minor street repairs.
Standing on Canal Street, Pres Kabacoff describes his ideas to redevelop downtown New Orleans. The parking lot across the street would become a new mall to rival Lakeside Shopping Center. The old Charity Hospital, in the background, would be the home to City Hall, Civil District Court and a neuroscience research center.
Developer Pres Kabacoff says he is a man on a mission to transform downtown. If the city center can be revitalized, he says, and the river can be connected to the lake, it would transform the entire city of New Orleans.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has begun his annual round of community meetings to set budget priorities for the coming year. Some suggestions range from fixing streets to using the shuttered Charity Hospital as a new City Hall.