New Orleans Public Hospital Re-opens 10 Years After Katrina
New Orleans, LA - Ten years after the levees and floodwalls broke during Hurricane Katrina and flooded New Orleans, the city finally has a full-scale public hospital again.
The new 2.3 million-square-foot University Medical Center New Orleans opened Saturday morning, built with $1.1 billion of federal, state and private rebuilding money. Ambulances and medical staff began the transfer of 131 patients into the new hospital for its first day of operations. Orchestrating the move required closing down streets as ambulances take patients into the facility.
In addition, the system's 2,000-strong staff of doctors, specialists, nurses and office workers will move in too.
Since Katrina's floodwaters devastated the city in 2005, medical services have been scattered. The opening of the UMC complex — an artfully designed state-of-the-art hospital — signals a return to top-notch medical care.
The hospital will serve anyone, whether they can pay or not, it has promised.
The UMC complex is the successor to the towering 1930s-era Charity Hospital, a 1-million-square-foot Art Deco downtown institution much loved in New Orleans. In tandem with the UMC campus, a new adjacent U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospital is slated to open next year.
The move to not reopen Charity — over the objections of many — and build a new hospital district was anything but easy. City, federal and state officials forced hundreds of homeowners and businesses to relocate from neighborhoods founded by a mix of European immigrants — Jews, Germans and Eastern Europeans — and African-Americans. Angry protests, allegations of wrongdoing, lawsuits and evictions ensued. Continue>
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