Advocates for the preservation of historic Big Charity hospital in New Orleans complained Tuesday they were blocked from participating in a legislative tour of the hurricane shuttered facility. The tour was posted on the Legislature’s Web site as a public meeting. Foundation for Historic Louisiana Executive Vice Chairwoman Sandra Stokes said she and two architects were denied access by LSU, which has jurisdiction over Charity.
LSU plans to abandon Charity and build a new modern teaching hospital. The preservationists want to renovate the Art Deco building and keep intact the historic neighborhood that would be razed to build the new facility.
An LSU System Vice President Charles Zewe said participation in the tour was limited at the request of the legislative delegation chairman. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Fannin, D-Jonesboro, denied any role in the decision. He said LSU decided based on health risks and safety issues.