Squandered Heritage Vintage

Message from the Neighbors surround the VA Hospital Proposal

Community Meeting

Thursday Jan 31st 6:30 pm

St. Joseph Church Rebuild Center – 803 Gravier St (behind chuch)

Come and discuss the NEPA Draft Environmental Assessment for the VA

Come and discuss your concerns about the project. Tell us what you want to see for the surrounding areas? What are you worried about? Design? Traffic? Security? Do you want your house moved? We are drafting a community comments letter telling the VA what the community wants. Bring your questions and comments on the attached questionaire.

Why you should be concerned if:

You live in the footprint:

0 Respectful and timely communication with VA, City and State

0 Larger negotiating power for your home

0 Do you want to move your house

0 Salvaging materials from your house

You live in the surrounding area:

0 Respectful and timely communication with VA, City and State

0 Being a part of the design of the hospital

0 What is the impact of construction on your house(truck routes, noise, pile driving, etc)

0 Financial compensation for construction damage to your property

0 Community Benefits for those remaining (fix streets, fix drainage, etc)

0 Crime, parking and quality of life issues that may result from living near a large hospital complex

You live in New Orleans

0 Hold government accountable

0 Make the process transparent

0 Insist that the destruction of a NO Historic District is handled in a respectful manner

0 Insist that government treat its citizens with respect

What is NEPA? The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is a United States environmental law that was signed into law on January 1, 1970 by U.S. President Richard Nixon. NEPA came into existence following widespread protests against the government’s destruction of neighborhoods, historic and cultural sites, and the natural environment while building Interstate highways during the 1950s and 1960s. Today, the law applies to federal agencies and the programs they fund. Essentially it requires that, prior to taking any “major” or “significant” action, the federal agency must consider the environmental impacts of that action. Environmental Impact Statements (EISes) and Environmental Assessments (EAs) are written and publicly released as part of the decision making process. The EIS or EA explore reasonable alternatives to a proposed action, and the possible consequences of those actions. (source: Wikipedia)

For more info see


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About Karen Gadbois

Karen Gadbois co-founded The Lens. She now covers New Orleans government issues and writes about land use. With television reporter Lee Zurik she exposed widespread misuse of city recovery funds and led to guilty pleas in federal court. Her work attracted some of journalism's highest honors, including a Peabody Award, an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award and a gold medal from Investigative Reporters and Editors. She can be reached at (504) 606-6013.

  • BillygoatPark

    The ENTIRE footprint of both proposed hospitals is within the Mid-City National Historic District.

    On November 28th, 2007, the Times-Picayune ran the story “N.O. seals deal to assemble land for VA hospital.” The story is most illuminating.

  • BillygoatPark

    Oops! What I meant to say is that nearly all of the proposed footprint lies within the national historic district. There are about three blocks, lying between S. Derbigny and S. Claiborne, that are outside the official boundaries.

    Official maps of the Mid-City Historic District boundaries may be found through the National register of Historic Places Datebase, available online through the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism at

    If anyone is considering having their home moved from the proposed hospital footprint to a nearby portion of MidCity, demand elevation and flood data. The proposed hospital footprint did NOT flood in the great May 3rd flood of 1978 but the area between Broad and Jeff Davis Parkway has a history of severe rain-related flooding.

  • bobbi

    Thanks to all who showed up on a rainy night during Mardi Gras. We had a great meeting with about 45 people in attendance. We had a lot of new faces of people that are concerned about their neighborhood. Thanks Karen for posting this!

  • BillgoatPark

    Thank you for the update, Bobbi.

    Thank you, Karen, for posting the meeting notice.

    It is vitally important for people both inside and outside the affected neighborhood to understand just what is at stake. Peoples’ lives are being profoundly affected as they struggle to rebuild their homes and lives only to learn through the media that their neighborhood is to be seized and demolished so that the city and state can present the medical centers with clear-cut land as an enticement to build in a particular footprint. Attempts by residents and concerned citizens to be included in the planning process or to garner information from official sources have all-too-often been exercises in futility.

    Eminent domain is here. What is happening in Mid-City will soon be able to happen anywhere in this city unless there is a demand for all levels of governemnt and all the contratctors and consulting firms in their employ to be accessible, transparent and accountable as they embark upon major redevelopment projects involving eminent domain.

    Yes, build the hospitals! But treat the affected community fairly. A significant part of that fairness would be for the VA to conduct a thorough environmental and historic review. As it stands, the VA intends to issue a Finding of No Significant Impact.