Charity Hospital, New Orleans Louisiana

August 30, 2009


Originally uploaded by M Styborski

I shot this in April of 2006, when hope still shone on Charity Hospital like a beacon. At the time I didn’t do anything with it, but I remembered thinking that the surrounding clouds looked like a portent of dire warning if ever there was one. Fancy that. Now this photograph has decided it wants to speak, to scream in agony with a voice that could pierce the ears of the deaf. I am only too happy to lend it my stage.

It has become painfully clear to me now that there is no hope for Charity. LSU wants a shiny new sprawling medical complex and they don’t care what historic landmarks or neighborhoods or communities stand in their way. It’s been four years since Hurricane Katrina gave LSU and the State of Louisiana the Golden Opportunity to lock the doors on Charity. Since then it has languished, decaying day by day like the health of the citizens of New Orleans.

Mayor Nagin is a clueless, ineffective caricature of leadership, concerned more with lining his pockets than the well-being of this city. Governor Jindal is on the money train with his cronies and frat brothers at LSU, even though they have failed multiple times to find financing for their boondoggle. President Obama certainly could care less, otherwise he would have sliced us off a tasty hunk of that Stimulus Cheese to help solve the problem. So what can we do?

Let’s die.

Winter is coming and this gives us all a great opportunity to catch pneumonia and die. And when it’s time for all of us to go, let’s use our last breaths to crawl to the locked and boarded cyclone fence that surrounds Charity and shuffle off this mortal coil in mass protest. That’ll show ’em! Piles of corpses surrounding the building, cough drops and throat lozenges clogging the sewers like so many discarded Mardi Gras doubloons and Moon Pies, rivers of phlegm and mucous running down Tulane Avenue to the river, and in each of our hands a can of LSU brand Chicken Soup with the handwritten message, “It’s not working.” Is that what it would take for someone in Baton Rouge to finally wake up and do something?

Unless of course, that’s exactly what they’re waiting for…


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