Louisiana Division/City Archives   New Orleans Public Library

Image of the Month
July 2010

A new Veterans Administration Hospital in New Orleans was an obvious post-World War II need. By mid-1946 the city and the VA had decided on a site just behind the existing Charity Hospital complex. That property belonged to New Orleans Public Service Inc. NOPSI's gas plant, where artificial gas had been manufactured from 1835 until natural gas became universal on September 8, 1928, was in the process of demolition when this photograph was taken. The larger circular elements are remnants of the gas holding tanks that had dominated the "back of town" skyline for almost a century (the smallest of the circles was a tar well). Construction of the VA Hospital did not begin until late in 1949; the facility was dedicated on November 23, 1952.

Other points of interest in the photograph:

  • the Charity Hospital Nursing School to the left of the VA site
  • Charity's power plant, steam laundry, and other support facilities (note the smokestack) to the right of the VA site
  • South Claiborne Avenue, with trees on the neutral ground, before construction of the overpass
  • St. Katherine's Church across Tulane Avenue from Charity Hospital
  • the old Criminal Court Building (near the upper right hand corner of the photograph), now the site of the Main Library.

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