Charity Hospital of New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana
The Charity Hospital of New Orleans, Louisiana, located in the downtown medical district of the city, was the fourth hospital of that name, built in 1937 by the New Orleans architectural firm of Weiss, Dreyfous and Seiferth. With its waiting rooms, wings and central tower the Hospital accommodated one million square feet of program space. Since its establishment as a medical institution in 1736, the New Orleans Charity Hospital continually served for 279 years as the only hospital in the city of New Orleans and the parishes of southwestern Louisiana that was dedicated to the treatment of indigent and low-income patients. This ended in 2005 due to damages suffered from Hurricane Katrina. The original Charity Hospital, L’Hôpital des Pauvres de la Charité, was completed in 1737 from funds secured from the will of former French merchant turned sailor Jean Louis (only Bellevue Hospital in New York City has a longer institutional history in the USA, being founded one month earlier in 1736). Poorly funded and destroyed by storms, the hospital was rebuilt, and in 1832-1833 a new building designed by architect H. Hemphill contained 45 wards with 400 beds. With overcrowding during the early Great Depression, Charity’s Board of Administrators requested funds for a new hospital building from the Public Works Administration, which became the new Charity Hospital of New Orleans in 1937.
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