Times Picayune - September 2, 2008 President Richard Moe's letter to the editor

Restoring historic Charity would be a win-win


Re: "Fixing Charity is the faster, cheaper option, study says: But state supporting brand-new hospital," Metro, Aug. 21.

The report from one of the nation's leading architectural and engineering firms found that Charity Hospital is not only structurally sound and able to be re-used as a 21st century medical facility, its transformation could be completed sooner and at less cost to taxpayers than constructing a new hospital from scratch.

When you add in the fact that reusing Big Charity could spare the demolition of hundreds of homes in the historic Mid-City neighborhood, while also finding a vibrant and much-needed use for an art deco landmark that now sits empty, this report comes as close to a win-win opportunity as any we have seen.

Indeed, perhaps the greatest obstacle to reusing Charity is simply a disbelief on the part of the public and some elected officials that Charity -- which had been in less-than-ideal shape for years before Katrina -- could in fact be re-made as a modern medical facility serving patients from all backgrounds and income levels.

I would advise anyone with doubts to take a look at the report itself (available at www.fhl.org ) to see for themselves that Charity would be transformed into a state-of-the-art medical facility, on par with any hospital in the nation. I was pleased that Senator Vitter expressed immediate support for the study's conclusions.

When the National Trust for Historic Preservation placed Charity Hospital and its adjacent neighborhood on our 2008 list of America 's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, the future of this iconic landmark and its surrounding neighborhood seemed uncertain.

Now, thanks to this eye-opening report, we have a roadmap to save Charity, preserve a historic neighborhood, save money, and return health care to New Orleans sooner than previously thought possible

Richard Moe


National Trust for Historic Preservation

Washington, D.C.  


The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places.