Building Charity Hospital, Architect Leon Weiss

Leon C. Weiss was a well-known Louisiana architect whose firm Weiss, Dreyfous and Seiferth designed many significant public buildings and other structures throughout Louisiana.

Governor Huey P. Long commissioned Weiss, one of Long's campaign contributors, to design the State Capitol Building, the Governor's Mansion, and several Louisiana State University campus buildings. Under the administration of Long's successor, Governor Richard Leche, Weiss received the contract to design Charity Hospital and many others public buildings. Weiss' connection with the Long machine led to his conviction for public corruption.

When it opened in 1939, the new Charity Hospital was the second largest hospital in the United States. Costing more than $12.5 million dollars, the 20 story building once maintained 3,490 beds. Weiss's building remains, but it has not re-opened since the 2005 floodwaters following Hurricane Katrina.

Images

Tearing down the Old Charity Hospital, late 1930s

Tearing down the Old Charity Hospital, late 1930s

Demolishing the Old Charity Hospital to make way for the new $12.5 million dollar structure. Courtesy of Louisiana Division/City Archives, New Orleans Public Library View File Details Page

Tunnel and Foundation of the New Charity Hospital

Tunnel and Foundation of the New Charity Hospital

WPA workers laying the foundation and making the tunnel on LaSalle Street. Courtesy of Louisiana Division/City Archives, New Orleans Public Library View File Details Page

Tunnel, beneath Lasalle Street

Tunnel, beneath Lasalle Street

WPA workers completing the tunnel connecting Hutchinson Memorial to Charity Hospital. The passage way is approximately 150 ft. long and 10 ft., and it was used to connect the LSU medical school and the hospital. Courtesy of Louisiana Division/City Archives, New Orleans Public Library View File Details Page

Charity Hospital, 1939

Charity Hospital, 1939

This was the sixth and final building housing the hospital since its colonial origins. It remained in use until the levee failures following Hurricane Katrina. Courtesy of Louisiana Division/City Archives, New Orleans Public Library View File Details Page

Charity Hospital

Charity Hospital

The world's second largest hospital when it opened in 1939. Courtesy of Louisiana Division/City Archives, New Orleans Public Library View File Details Page

Keeny Hall, Louisiana Tech University

Keeny Hall, Louisiana Tech University

One of the many buildings designed by Weiss. Image: Louisiana Tech University View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Caroline R. Courtney & Hira Rashid, “Building Charity Hospital, Architect Leon Weiss,” New Orleans Historical, accessed July 26, 2017, http://neworleanshistorical.org/items/show/272.

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