Community Voices

Over the last century, Charity Hospital has become more than the city's largest and most critical medical facility – it has become a cultural landmark and an icon of our collective memory. Lower Mid-City is an historic neighborhood, with many 19th-century Victorian homes showcasing classic New Orleans architecture but it too is more than just a section of the city with buildings from a long time ago - it's a community of neighbors. The debate over the hospital proposal that would abandon Charity Hospital and demolish Lower Mid-City isn't just about policy, it's about people. This is a collection of their stories, memories, reflections, and demands.

"Where I took my first breath of life" - Musician and Community Leader Gregg Stafford

Gregg Stafford is the beloved New Orleans trumpet player, community leader and co-founder of the Black Men of Labor social aid and pleasure club. Here Mr. Stafford talks about the importance of Charity Hospital in his own life, and the life of his City of New Orleans. Charity is "where I took my first breath of life," he says. "We're trying to rebuild the city and a lot of people need Charity Hospital to reopen." See the full video here.

 

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"Charity is a central part of the community" - New Orleans Author Tom Piazza

Tom Piazza is the New Orleans-based author of City of Refuge and a writer for the upcoming HBO series Treme. His book Why New Orleans Matters, written immediately after Hurricane Katrina, received the 2006 Humanities Book of the Year Award from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. Here Mr. Piazza speaks from about the importance of Charity Hospital from the porch of a Lower Mid-City home. "Charity is a central part of the community," he says. "New Orleans seems to be based, in large measure, on a respect for and an understanding of the past. If you lose that, you lose a lot of what makes the city what it is." See the full video here.

 

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"The hospital looked good...they banned us from the building" Dr. Kiersta Kurtz-Burke

Dr. Kiersta Kurtz-Burke and her personal story of being trapped at Charity Hospital during Katrina with over 1200 patients until being evacuated 6 days later. Dr. Kurtz-Burke was associated with Charity Hospital for 10 years and cared for patients in Charity Hospital during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. "The hospital looked really good," Dr. Kurtz-Burke remembers, but LSU officials "banned us from the building." Dr. Kurtz-Burke and thousands of co-workers were banned from the hospital, many lost their jobs, and all lost the opportunity to care for patients of New Orleans at Charity Hospital.

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"I love this house" - Veteran and New Orleans Native Wallace Thurman

Wallace Thurman is a military veteran and homeowner who will lose the home he was born in to the wrecking ball if the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Louisiana State University go forward with a plan to use the Mid-City neighborhood for the site of their new hospitals. These hospitals would needlessly destroy the historic neighborhood around Charity Hospital where residents have been rebuilding and restoring their community since Hurricane Katrina. Learn more at http://www.preservationnation.org/savemidcity

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"It's depressing. It's... Criminal." Homeowner Kevin Krause

Kevin Krause came to New Orleans as an Americorps volunteer following Hurricane Katrina, and ended up moving there -- and rehabilitating a home in Mid-City. If the VA and LSU go forward with a plan to use the Mid-City neighborhood for the site of their new hospitals, his home will be torn down. These hospitals would needlessly destroy the historic neighborhood around Charity Hospital where residents have been rebuilding and restoring their community since Hurricane Katrina. Learn more at http://www.preservationnation.org/savemidcity

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"How Would You Feel?" - New Orleans Resident Diana Monely

Diana Monely has worked for the city of New Orleans for 30 years and lived in her Mid-City home for 35, but now will lose her house if the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Louisiana State University go forward with a plan to use the Mid-City neighborhood for the site of their new hospitals. These hospitals would needlessly destroy the historic neighborhood around Charity Hospital where residents have been rebuilding and restoring their community since Hurricane Katrina. Learn more at http://www.preservationnation.org/savemidcity

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"It Doesn't Make Any Sense to Me" - Homeowner Roberta "Bobbi" Rogers

A year and a half after receiving $45,000 in preservation grants from the state of Louisiana, Bobbi Rogers is faced with having her home demolished... by the state of Louisiana. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Louisiana State University plan to use the Mid-City neighborhood for the site of their new hospitals, needlessly destroying the historic neighborhood around Charity Hospital where residents have been rebuilding and restoring their community since Hurricane Katrina. Learn more at http://www.preservationnation.org/savemidcity

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"We're going to fight to the last" - Lower Mid City Homeowners Larry & Barbara Dillon

Since they returned after Hurricane Katrina, Barbara Dillon and her husband Larry have struggled to renovate their house. Now, they may lose the home they've worked to save if the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Louisiana State University go forward with a plan to use the Mid-City neighborhood for the site of their new hospitals. These hospitals would needlessly destroy the historic neighborhood around Charity Hospital where residents have been rebuilding and restoring their community since Hurricane Katrina. Learn more at http://www.preservationnation.org/savemidcity

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"Where are we going to go?" - New Orleans native and recent returnee Howard Allen

New Orleans Native Howard Allen just returned to his hometown in April, and now may displaced again if the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Louisiana State University go forward with a plan to use the Mid-City neighborhood for the site of their new hospitals. These hospitals would needlessly destroy the historic neighborhood around Charity Hospital where residents have been rebuilding and restoring their community since Hurricane Katrina. Learn more at http://www.preservationnation.org/savemidcity

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