When it comes to the redevelopment of Charity Hospital, it’s happening.

This building is a landmark that embodies a deep history filtered through many generations. One building unites us with so many stories.

In the prime of its usage racism and segregation existed, but ironically this beautiful structure unites us. A brilliant Art Deco-style hospital tower was first established in 1736 by a French shipbuilder whose dying wish was to fund a hospital for the poor. The structure at 1532 Tulane was commissioned by Gov. Huey P. Long and built in 1939.

The administration was taken over by the Sisters of Charity, a group of Catholic nurses but the exact date for this is unverified. Known as a hospital where LSU and Tulane University students could receive medical training, Charity often became a conversation of commonality and still does today.

Many were born at Charity; it’s almost impossible to count the generations. The city’s most disenfranchised received medical and or mental treatment at one time or another and the legend of Charity being the leading trauma center globally cannot be overstated.

During this time of economic uncertainty, redevelopment of this treasure gives us the opportunity to show off like we’ve done many times before. Redevelopment of this huge project gives us the opportunity to restart our economic recovery.

This massive million-square-foot, 81-year-old masterpiece has lain dormant since Hurricane Katrina and is filled with environmental, asbestos, lead and mold abatement. Projects to remediate these detriments will take at least one year. We have citizens who are currently carrying DEQ certifications and they are ready and eager to begin working on this most important project.

Our culturally unique environment has challenges, yet we must embrace culturally unique training practices. We should not outsource trainers and workers because we have a prepared workforce among the ranks of our citizens.

Historically, we are masters of resiliency. It’s our responsibility morally and economically to train, hire and redistribute wealth in house. The average environmental worker earns $15 to $35 hourly.

Let's strategize before the future conversations are about missed opportunities; please let Charity initiate our rebirth.

FRANK JOHNSON

chief creative officer

LaPlace