The Daughters of Charity who opened Hotel Dieu would be startled to see the sleek lines and steel and glass of University Medical Center, the descendant of the hospital they opened in 1859 to serve slaves and seamen.
The nuns, who began operating Charity Hospital in 1834, opened their own modest three-story brick building near Charity. Hotel Dieu was the only hospital that stayed open during the Civil War. The hospital was as beloved to locals as Charity, and the Daughters of Charity operated Hotel Dieu until 1992 when the sisters sold to it to the state in a secret and controversial deal to help reinforce medical care at Charity Hospital. The hospital was renamed University Hospital and operated in conjunction with Charity until Hurricane Katrina hit. After the storm, Charity Hospital was closed and University reopened as Interim LSU Public Hospital, becoming LSU’s main teaching hospital and operated the only Level 1 Trauma Center.
In 2013, the interim hospital joined with Touro and Children’s Hospital as LCMC Health system and became a private, rather than public, hospital. The University Medical Center, a $1.1 billion, state-of-the art hospital along Canal Street, opened in 2015. The University Medical Center New Orleans still houses the region’s academic medical center and the area’s only Level 1 Trauma Center.