New hospital expected to be an economic engine for N.O. East

When demolition was underway of the old Methodist Hospital two years ago, Mayor Mitch Landrieu called it "physical proof" of what was to come.

Today, health care is restored to New Orleans East.

"This particular place is a place not only where life begins, but where life is saved," Landrieu said.

After $130 million in renovations, the New Orleans East Hospital is open for business. It's an 80-bed, state-of-the-art facility.

"We have over 150 staff committed to quality health care" said hospital CEO Mario Garner. "We have a very comprehensive roster of medical physicians. We are also here and ready to serve our patients."

The hospital began taking patients in July as it waited for accreditation, which would allow the hospital to receive Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement for services.

"I'm happy to report to you that as of yesterday, this hospital has full accreditation and is ready to roll," Landrieu said.

Many hope the hospital will be the economic engine to revive New Orleans East.

"It gives stability to the community," said Councilman James Gray. "People feel confident that they have emergency medical services nearby, and that allows other businesses to come."

Walmart and Lowes are already open nearby, and some believe the hospital will encourage others to open soon. Landrieu said it's about building a community.

The new hospital is being dubbed the anchor in a community that has desperately needed health care since Katrina.