Lately, the VA Hospital Footprint is growing increasingly bleak as more and more homes are demolished and moved off the site. As that process comes to a close, what lessons can we take from the experience and apply to the UMC Footprint below S. Galvez Street?
Our chief concern is for the treatment of residents of the UMC/LSU Footprint, the area bounded by Tulane, S. Galvez, Canal, and S. Claiborne. Several people still live in the VA Hospital Footprint, and after several of them had to file local and federal lawsuits to obtain just compensation and avoid having their utilities cut off prematurely, it's important that residents on the other side get treated fairly and justly.
The State of Louisiana needs to do a much better job of reaching out to residents and informing them of what's going on around them. It also needs to provide them with offers that constitute just compensation from the start - and, while it's too late in many cases, expropriation should be an absolute last resort.
It must be remembered that these residents are facing mistreatment due to the State of Louisiana's failure to consider reusing Charity Hospital in any meaningful way.
Meanwhile, that building continues to sit vacant, like a neglected member of the family, a hollow space looming in the CBD.
We're also concerned about the housing stock in the UMC Footprint. While the City of New Orleans heroically moved the houses off the VA Footprint, there are no plans to move houses off the UMC/LSU Footprint (at least at this point). Not only is that unwise in a historic preservation sense, it's indicative of a terrible plan and it's simply a waste.
Finally, we're concerned that even after the Mayor has raised concerns about the design in the UMC/LSU Footprint, the design is not yet guaranteed to be improved when it is implemented. What about the Goody Clancy study? What about the street grid? What about the acres of unnecessary parking lot that is somehow worth forcing people from their homes?
Given all of these concerns, we call on citizens to contact their local, state, and federal representatives to let them know about the situation in Lower Mid-City.