Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Watershed Moment?

Today, a full 41 organizations joined together to announce a call on civic and state leaders to transparently evaluate the competing hospital proposals in a public setting.

More specifically:


1. Governor Jindal to order an independent, comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of the two hospital plans.

2. The City Planning Commission and the City Council to hold public hearings on these critical planning issues.

3. The City Planning Commission and the City Council to include the hospitals in the current master-planning process.

There is no reason not to rally around this effort. Whether you're pro-Charity, pro-LSU, or agnostic, everybody can agree that the time has come to honestly compare the plans side-by-side.

It was heartening to see a diverse group of community organizations come together for something constructive given the gridlock that has become characteristic of pretty much all other civic issues.

[These may take a few seconds to load for you. Also, I apologize for the imperfections; I only had a regular digital camera to work with, people.]

Check out Broadmoor's LaToya Cantrell:

Press Conference 3/25 from Eli Ackerman on Vimeo.

And Charles Allen from Holy Cross:

Press Conference 3/25 from Eli Ackerman on Vimeo.

Here's a list of those organizations and I know that more have joined on since:

●American Planning Association
●Broadmoor Improvement Association
●Charity Hospital School of Nursing Alumni Association
●Foundation for Historical Louisiana
●New Orleans Committee to Reopen Charity Hospital
●Coliseum Square Association
●Doctors for Charity Hospital
●National Trust for Historic Preservation
●Squandered Heritage
●Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association
●Smart Growth for Louisiana
●Preservation Resource Center
●Louisiana ACORN
●Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association
●Louisiana Landmarks Society
●GNO Affordable Housing Action Center
●Holy Cross Neighborhood Association
●New Creation Christian Church
●Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation
●Lower Mid-City Residents and Business Owners Affected by the LSU/VA Hospitals
●The Renaissance Project
●Vieux CarrĂ© Property Owners, Residents and Associates
●Southern Christian Leadership Conference Louisiana Women’s Division
●French Quarter Citizens, Inc.
●Lantern Light Inc.
●Irish Channel Neighborhood Association
●Louisiana Justice Institute
●Lafayette Square Association
●Lower Ninth Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development
●Mid-City Neighborhood Organization
●New Orleans Pax Christi
●Partners for Livable Communities
●C3/Hands Off Iberville
●Phoenix of New Orleans
●Restaurant Opportunity Center of New Orleans
●Social Justice Committee of the First Unitarian Universalist Church
●The Townscape Institute
●The Urban Conservancy
●United Teachers of New Orleans
●Advocates for Environmental Human Rights
●Historic Faubourg Treme Association

Black, brown, and white. Uptown and downtown. Religious groups and neighborhood organizations. Professional associations and organized labor. Preservationists and activists.

It's all here.

One of the other speakers today was Dr. Sissy Sartor M.D, who also got a letter to the editor published in the Times-Picayune:

Re: "Unhealthy attitude infects LSU, " Other Opinions, March 20. Does LSU really care about returning health care to the New Orleans area? Unfortunately, I fear the answer may be no.

As James Gill so succinctly suggests, LSU officials have viewed the aftermath of Katrina as an opportunity to push forward their desire for domination in the local medical school internecine struggles. This desire seems to have suspended their good judgment in favor of propaganda and obfuscation.

At a health care forum in Jefferson Parish Wednesday night, Alan Levine, Secretary of Health and Hospitals said in surprised exasperation that we are no further along with this issue than three years ago.

Let me make a radical suggestion: Remove LSU from the management of the state charity hospital system and put it in the hands of a nonpartisan team.

We need a team that really cares about health care, not the money, not the power, but health care provision for those who so dearly need it.

Sissy Sartor, M.D.

New Orleans


Now if we could just get our City Council and our CPC on board...


Anonymous said...

Definitely a good thing to have this debate in public. LSU's position does not make sense to me. We have all seen rehabs on structures that were much less sound than Charity. To destroy an entire neighborhood makes no sense to me.

Ricardo said...

This subject came up at the March meeting of the DeSaix Area Neighborhood Association. We were asking Juan LaFonta to intercede where possible to move this issue along expeditiously.
Although no vote was taken on the matter there definitely was no consensus that LSU should have all the votes in this decision.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Larry "Holier Than Thou" Hollier, Chancellor of LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans is being called out. This is our community and we are not have a dictator tell us what to do.
Nagin, Blakely and White take note.

E said...

"Hollier than Thou"

That's pretty good. You might see me recycle that before all is said and done.

Richard P. said...

This is asinine. Where is it etched in stone that LSU is either going to build a new building or renovate the old Charity Hospital building? Where? How exactly is LSU obligated to do anything? Here they are presenting something that could be a solid plus for the area but instead all these people are just continually throwing obstacles at them. It's amazing that LSU has not yet declared "to the heck with this...we will locate everything in Baton Rouge where we will be happily welcomed instead of treated like the enemy." How many residences and truly historic structures are on the river side of Galvez (where the LSU facility is supposed to be) as opposed to the lake side where the VA facility is going to be? Why aren't all these people raising a ruckus toward the Veterans Administration? Aren't there actually more residences on the site where the VA facility is going to be? And, yes, sure, how exactly long and how much would the cost be of a project to renovate the old Charity Hospital building and make it into something that will function and last through the majority of the 21st century and be a place where the patients who can choose they want to go for treatment would actually want to go? Heck, no doubt it's possible. Almost anything is IF you have the money to spend on it. But cheaper and quicker? Highly dubious on that. And isn't the old Charity Hospital building considered a National Historic Landmark, which means that there are lots of restrictions as to what you can do if you renovate it? New Orleans' interests would be much better served by everyone getting behind what LSU is saying that they want to do. Even if they did, the significant hurdles and opposition, as in people who don't want LSU to do anything at all, is still very significant.