Monday, June 08, 2009

On the threat that LSU will abandon New Orleans

I think it's dishonorable and immoral but I also think it's inaccurate.

See here.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I recall this being mentioned at the very beginning of the whole Charity issue.

It rarely has been mentioned since by critics.

Personally, I don't think they should tear down the Galvez neighborhood, but I also don't think we should return to Charity.

Really, this is a result of our city leadership and municipal philosophy. Which is what we should be talking about.

Anonymous said...

If they were indeed to do that there is no doubt that Baton Rouge would quickly lay down the red carpet to expedite things instead of throwing obstacles at them and would be overjoyed at the opportunity to further cement the notion that Baton Rouge people have that they are now the top city in the state and that New Orleans is washed up and insignificant while their city is growing. Jefferson Parish likewise if they were to get in the picture would be throwing the red carpet down to either LSU or the VA instead of protesting. How did the LSU medical school and the 1939 Charity Hospital building get to be in New Orleans in the first place? It was Huey Long's and his successors' doing. Who was prime mover behind the Superdome? John McKeithen. The city has been so lucky for the efforts of outsiders, two north Louisiana governors, who did tremendous things for it while the city's own leadership has done so little (and that's why things are so, well, "quaint"). So we're to continue to campaign against development and at the least act as an irritant (LSU may or may not be able to relocate the medical schoo, etc. but still is this any way to appreciate a major employer in this city where so little has been going on since the 1970's when oil and gas was more of a presence?) to those proposing it? What is New Orleans, really, doing to earn its place of importance among cities? How possible or likely is it that LSU would relocate the medical school? Who knows? But the possibility should still be taken into account. Why risk it? Just like the possibility that if LSU cannot build the new planned new building that New Orleans could end up with nothing at all, no re-establishment of operations at the 1939 building or anything? Why risk it? This is pure foolishness. I fear that one day a lot of people will wake up and experience the smack of cold reality when there's no development, nothing going on at all and ask themselves seriously why they didn't fight as hard *for* this project as they seem to be determined to be fighting against it?

Jeffrey said...

I really do think that this is, essentially, the last argument LSU has. I really find Tucker's (brief) argument very compelling--that if they can't finance the funding of a hospital, then they sure as hell can't finance replacing all of the HSC in addition, should they leave. And that is before everyone acknowledges that it would be really hard to get the best medical researchers, doctors, teachers, and students to move to Baton Rouge.

While I find this somewhat comforting, I am also increasingly anxious because I feel like we are approach the brink of the cliff in a really high-stakes game of brinkmanship. As Lower Mid-City becomes increasingly contentious and the financing to build a hospital from the ground up becomes more and more of an impossibility, the only possible alternatives are going to be a) force LSU back into Charity; b) lsu leaving; or c) not build a new hospital at all.

Aside from the merits of the latter--I've heard from a number of public health professionals who think that building community primary care clinics would be better than one new hospital (I disagree, because you lose much of the economic development and research funding aspects of the hospital)--those two, all-or-nothing options are intense. The only way LSU gets forced back into Charity is a combination of funding and politics: if FEMA sticks to its guns and only pays LSU for rebuilding Charity, and where Jindal, Kennedy, and Tucker (among others) would have to marshal the political will to push on LSU (how weird is that?). While the FEMA piece is not too far-fetched (and could be a tool used by Napolitano and Obama to pay for a hospital in Charity without saying as much), I am really worried that Jindal and Kennedy's critique of LSU's business plan is a plan not to support a hospital in the Charity facade, but a plan to undermine the whole hospital. They are no friends of public health (Jindal and W-16, anyone?), but they are pro-economic development, so maybe they can be advocates on that account.

Even if I am way off the mark, I really hope this works, E!

BTW--I don't think the VA is going anywhere. That is the least convincing aspect of their argument.

Jeffrey said...

Carter's bill on 50-cent cig tax for healthcare (aka GNOBEDD?) just got past House Committee:
http://www.nola.com/news/index.ssf/2009/06/tobacco_tax_passes_house_commi.html

Puddinhead said...

Just to point out (as others have already done), but all the bitching and moaning over LSU and "Lower Mid City" (whatever the hell that is supposed to be) is terribly interesting in that there appears to be NO outcry over the VA siting, which actually sits on the portion of the selected parcel that ALMOST has a legitimate claim to having once been a viable mainly residential area. But I don't expect logic to intrude when we're all swept up by "fight the power" fever. I second the second Anonymous' comments--we New Orleanians seem compelled to treat anyone in a position to foster economic development in the city with contempt. As though we haven't figured out (as many who were considered "radicals" in previous decades have) that instead of funneling our compassion for the less fortunate into fights to "preserve" huge swaths of the city as subsidized housing, for example, we'd be more compassionate and effective if we worked to foster economic development and an educated workforce such that there would eventually be a LOT FEWER "less fortunates" in the first place.

By the way....this may be the first time I've ever heard Jim Tucker referred to a "compelling". LOL

Anonymous said...

Is there anyone among the powers-who-are who will decide this who has said anything about re-establishing operations at the 1939 building? Anyone? David Vitter doesn't count because 1.) all he can do is block things from the federal level and 2.) it's doubtful that he would be really serious in saying anything about LSU using the 1939 building since what he really cares about is taking care of the interests of Ochsner et al. and whether or not the 1939 building gets used or there is any new hospital or whatever anywhere is probably of little consequence to him as long as it doesn't present too much competition for the private hospitals. It's very, very far-fetched that LSU would go back to using the 1939 building unless they were somehow forced to and then even then one could be certain that they would be very unhappy about it and in such a scenario it's very doubtful that they would want to spend much on refurbishing it or any more than they would absolutely have to. Ergo, there'll probably be thriving Eathling settlements on Mars long before LSU invests heavily into attempting to make the 1939 Charity Hospital building into something special and totally up-to-date (if indeed that really can be done). But basically, the notion that somehow LSU could be forced to do something that they seem very much to want not to do and they have been working for years to disengage from the 1939 building seems, well, far beyond ludicrous. There might be a network of clinics, there might be some of use of the private hospitals for training and/or use of University Hospital. So they stay in New Orleans with the medical school, etc. if this happens -- but even so New Orleans ends up fairly empty-handed. And who knows? Maybe someday, somehow the opportunity for them to start to transfer facilities to Baton Rouge will present itself (whatever became of the buildings of Jimmy Swaggart's bible college near Bluebonnet) and they will gladly jump on it with the Baton Rouge contingent happy to do whatever they can to help make things happen.

Puddinhead said...

Anonymous, it's like the Save Charity crowd thinks they're in a high stakes poker game and they're willing to keep betting up their pair of 10s because they just KNOW the opponent won't draw that inside straight. The problem is they keep forgetting whose deck of cards they're using. The opponent is The House...and The House always wins.

Anonymous said...

It seems that the preservationist crowd is betting on the bill sponsored by Jim Tucker (a great friend of the city and of the working class?) that would change the governing board of the new hospital meaning there would be investment pumped into the 1939 building along with the abandonment of any plans for a new hospital. The preservationist crowd needs to understand what they're dealing with: a conservative, pro-business Republican governor (not really a strong friend of New Orleans at all) and a pretty like-minded state house speaker. New Orleans will get a flat zero if it's not in the name of economic development for the whole metro area. Even though both of them say that they support the plans for the new facility their bias is probably for nothing at all. The very last thing one can imagine them wanting to do would be to be pouring funds into the Longs' Charity Hosptial building and especially using the same traditional model of dispensing medical care to the indigent. It's probably a fair bet that what will eventually emerge, if anything at all does, will be a smaller facility (200 beds?) roughly on a par with the LSU hospital in Shreveport that DOES work as a treatment for both indigent and well-insured patients but still a new facility as both the governor and the house speaker say that they favor. The comparison of the cost of a smaller but new facility against the cost of refurbishing the 1939 building may be what's most relevant here.

Windom Earle said...

The money FEMA has offered so far is not nearly enough to fund the renovation of Old Charity.

This little detail seems to fall by the wayside in what passes for a debate on this issue.

Anonymous said...

Bingo! Any renovation of the 1939 that would make it into something that could work decently well like what LSU wants as a facility catering not just to the indigent patient population WILL be costly, WILL take a long time and be difficult.

Puddinhead said...

Just out of curiosity...if we were all magically transported back to the New Orleans of the 1940s, would there be as much effort being expended by the Save Charity crowd to preserve the historic Storyville structures, then being razed? To make room for the Iberville housing development?

adrastos said...

Baton Rouge interests made a concerted attempt to keep LSU Med School when it relocated there immediately post-K. I wouldn't be surprised to see them to make another run at it some time soon if they aren't already doing so right now.