NEW ORLEANS — Baptist ministers plan to open a health clinic in the Lower 9th Ward on the site of a former Roman Catholic boys’ school that moved to another part of the city after Hurricane Katrina.
Holy Cross School has sold and donated a portion of its former campus to New Orleans Baptist Ministries, which plans to open a health clinic there by the end of the year.
“The health clinic is really, really needed in the Lower 9,” said Charles DiGange, the headmaster of the Holy Cross school. He said it would be “a good fit for the neighborhood.”
The Lower 9th Ward was wiped out when floodwalls protecting it collapsed during Katrina’s assault on Aug. 29, 2005, causing widespread flooding and death in the neighborhood that has struggled to recover.
The Holy Cross School was founded in 1859 and moved to the Gentilly neighborhood after Katrina.
Several ideas had been floated about what could be placed on the site of the 15-acre campus. There were ideas to use it for high-rise condominiums, shopping and mixed-income housing.
A venture led by Green Coast Enterprises, a local sustainable building firm, to take over the site fell apart in January when the developers were unable to secure financing. The group had planned to build affordable housing for teachers and a full-service supermarket on site. The grocery store was to be owned and operated by a company whose principals include New Orleans-born actor Wendell Pierce and his childhood friend, management consultant Troy Henry.
Under the new deal, New Orleans Baptist Ministries will start the health clinic, which will provide the full range of primary and preventative care to people of all ages.