For the sake of discussion, let’s move the argument about what to do with the Charity Hospital building beyond the possibility of it returning as a hospital and consider some other ideas. It remains a wonderful, sturdy building with great possibilities. Some thoughts, in descending order:
3. Make it a medical residential and office complex.
• Economic growth for the neighborhood (which is a given for all three of these suggestions)
• Because it would provide housing, there would be 24-hour day- and nightlife within the neighborhood.
• Possible FEMA dollars
• Project could be ripe for private development.
2. Make it a parish office building.
To understand this idea advanced by retiring Civil Sheriff Paul Valteau, you need to understand that because the city of New Orleans and Orleans Parish share the same boundaries, there are two types of government, city and parish. City Hall is the seat of city government. Parish government includes many of the judicial and clerical functions plus the school board. Valteau says that Orleans is the only parish without a parish government building.
• Combination of services under one roof
• Project would free up prime property now being used by the civil court building next to City Hall.
• Valteau thinks FEMA funding would be available.
1. Make it the new City Hall.
Although modern in architecture, the present City Hall is a bit rundown and has never won many hearts in a city known for its elegant buildings. The Nagin administration’s failed attempt to have City Hall move into the Chevron Building was at least an acknowledgment that a new place is needed.
• Building is large enough to house many of the offices now occupying rented space outside of City Hall.
• Art deco design could make a good architectural statement.
• There is public green space for gatherings or demonstrations, as is appropriate for the seat of government.
• Site of the current City Hall could be open for new development .
• Possible FEMA funding
• Revenue from sale of present City Hall site
As a new administration prepares to take office, now is the time to look for new ideas. Your thoughts? And wouldn’t it be wonderful if, in its second life, Charity Hospital would provide some emergency care for brining life to our recovery?
Krewe: The Early New Orleans Carnival – Comus to Zulu by Errol Laborde is available at all area bookstores. Books can also be ordered via e- mail at email@example.com or (504) 895-2266.
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