NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Weeks after Hurricane Katrina slammed New Orleans and worsened the medical plight of the city's poor, then-Gov. Kathleen Blanco said the publicly run Charity Hospital would not reopen, even though the military had scrubbed the building to medical-ready standards, the retired Army general who oversaw the work said.That retired Army General is Russ Honore, the 3-star who came to New Orleans and told reporters to not "get stuck on stupid".
More than that, a second general officer remembers the political decision.
When the 82nd Airborne Division arrived in the ravaged city in early September 2005, Charity was identified as key. It was in the center of town and provided a lot of people care, said the division's commander, Gen. William Caldwell.That's the Army's All-American division. An elite airborne division ready immediately for world-wide deployment.
About 150 soldiers and a team of medical professionals worked to get the hospital running, Caldwell said.So, that's now two General Officers who remember the decision. The 82d got it up and running, the politicos shut it down.
Meanwhile, a German military team's pumps sucked water out of the basement. Air sampling found no contamination — a concern, considering the flooding and bodies in the flooded morgue, Caldwell said.
Caldwell recalled telling Honore the hospital was nearly ready to receive patients. "We were actually thinking of having a ribbon-cutting ceremony, give a thumbs up and turn it over to the health care professionals," Caldwell said.
But then, Caldwell said a decision came to stop the cleanup.
Typical. Blanco was a disaster for Louisiana, on so many levels.
Hat tip to Mostly Cajun.