Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Charity Hospital Redux II

George Riehl, Rendering of Weiss Dreyfous Seiferth Design for Charity Hospital, as photographed by F.A. McDaniels of New Orleans, n.d. Weiss, Dreyfous Seiferth Collection (Gift of George Riehl), Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

The Foundation for Historical Louisiana, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Louisiana Landmarks Society have identified Charity Hospital as an endangered building.

As reported in two August posts, the Foundation for Historical Louisiana as charged by House Concurrent Resolution 89 of the 2006 Legislative Session, commissioned an extensive analysis of the viability of Charity Hospital to provide 21st-century medical care to the region. International architectural firm RMJM Hillier conducted the feasibility study and reported its fervent belief that Weiss Dreyfous and Seiferth's Charity Hospital could be renovated more quickly and more economically than a new LSU/VA Medical campus could be constructed on the Regional Planning Commission (RPC) site.

Where is the RPC site? It is an extensive 71-acre area of Mid-City New Orleans -- bounded by South Claiborne and Rocheblave, and Canal Street and Tulane Avenue -- and includes 250 homes and small businesses. The National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Preservation Resource Center have put together a flickr set of affected properties. To see them, click here. The site includes important modernist buildings SOM's Pan-American Life Insurance (1951) and Charles Colbert's Olivetti Showroom (1966). Where buildings are concerned, people are concerned: The story of the Mid-City homeowners reminds me of the historic Wimawalas reported earlier this year.

The New Orleans Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the New Orleans Committee to Reopen Charity Hospital, Louisiana ACORN, United Teachers of New Orleans, and C/3 Hands Off Iberville are sponsoring A Call to Action on Friday, November 21st at 12:30 pm in front of City Hall, at Perdido Street and Loyola Avenue.

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