Louisiana Division/City Archives   New Orleans Public Library

Image of the Month
January 2012

Joseph Schnetzer (1880-1945) captured this photograph of Charity Hospital shortly after the topmost piece of its steel framework was set into place. One week later construction workers completed the building's skeleton, but it would be another sixteen months before the facility was ready to accept its first patients. For the next sixty-six years "Big Charity" would serve the healthcare needs of a large segment of the New Orleans populace. The flooding after Hurricane Katrina, however, closed its doors in 2005. The new University Medical Center, now under construction a few blocks away, is expected to be ready to accept patients in 2014. The fate of the old hospital building has yet to be determined.

The photograph also shows, in the foreground, St. Katherine's Church. That structure dated back to 1846 when it opened as the original St. Joseph's Church. After the new St. Joseph's opened in the 1890s, the old building was redesignated as St. Katherine's and redirected toward serving the city's African-American Catholics. Over the years, though, the building fell into disrepair and was finally demolished in 1966. Loyola University's plan to erect a School of Dentistry on the site did not come to fruition and, several years later, Tulane University used it for a parking facility for its Medical Center. That use continues today.

Click the image to see a larger version.

Click HERE to visit our old (1996-2007) Images of the Month Gallery archives.

Back to Home