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11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Charity Hospital and the Adjacent Neighborhood

Year Listed: 2008
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Threat: Poor Public Policy, Development, Deterioration

 

Significance

Once a prestigious center of medical training and a beacon for public health care, Charity Hospital now faces an uncertain future.  Surrounded by flood waters when Hurricane Katrina shattered the levees around New Orleans, the Art Deco icon has been shuttered and vacant for nearly three years.  Despite its legendary role in serving hundreds of thousands of uninsured patients and the critical need for medical facilities in New Orleans, this historic building continues to languish and remains vulnerable to demolition.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the basement of Charity Hospital suffered water damage and some of the electrical and mechanical systems were damaged or destroyed.  After the water receded, the medical community, the military and a number of volunteers pumped out the flooded basement, cleaned up the debris, and restored electrical power to make the building usable again, but the doors to the hospital were permanently locked when the building was deemed unsafe and unusable by the Louisiana State University (LSU) Medical System.