Charity Hospital has been a lifeline to New Orleans residents since 1736 when it was founded with a grant from a French sailor, Jean Louis, who died in New Orleans.
The hospital was first located at the corner of Chartres and Bienville streets. It moved several times until its fifth facility was built in 1832 on Common Street in the American St. Mary district. The hospital remained at the spot for more than 100 years. The Daughters of Charity took over management of the hospital in 1834 and ran it until 1996. During their tenure, the hospital, working with Louisiana State University and Tulane University, became known for its research and teaching.
By 1933, Charity was crumbling. Through political wrangling with the federal Public Works Administration, Gov. Huey P. Long managed to get an art deco masterpiece to the people constructed on Tulane Avenue. The 20-story, 2,680 bed Charity Hospital opened in 1940, and at the time, it was the second-largest hospital in the United States. Charity, along with University Hospital and associated clinics, cared for 86 percent of the city’s poor citizens before Hurricane Katrina. The hospital, the second oldest in the country, was closed for Katrina and never reopened. In 2015, the $1.1 billion University Medical Center opened on Canal Street.