"'In selecting these sites, the VA and LSU have made a serious error,' Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, said in a statement after the announcement here. 'They chose the alternatives that will not only be the most time-consuming, costly and complex to implement, but will needlessly destroy a historic neighborhood where residents are struggling to rebuild their community in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.'
The National Trust for Historic Preservation estimates that there are about 165 historic structures that will go down if the hospitals are built - a compendium of New Orleans architecture, with shotgun houses predominating. Although the government report says the 'majority' of the area is vacant, or parking lots, the trust's New Orleans field director, Walter Gallas, said at a hearing in June: 'To deny the significance of such a massive level of neighborhood destruction would be inconceivable.'
Officials at the news conference said steps would be taken to mitigate the loss, including moving some houses in the way of the proposed development. But they suggested that the city's higher priority was to begin rebuilding the economy with a high-impact project."