The Spirit of Charity Foundation

Charity Hospital Timeline

The location, the structure, and the name may have changed but the mission has remained the same, supporting and facilitating healthcare for the people of New Orleans when they need it the most. We are proud to be the 2nd oldest continuing operating hospital in the United States.

May 10, 1736 – Charity Hospital was founded by a grant from Jean Louis, a French sailor and shipbuilder, who died in New Orleans the year before. His last will and testament was to finance a hospital for the indigent in the colony of New Orleans from his estate. Hospital of Saint John or L’Hôpital des Pauvres de la Charité (Hospital for the Poor) opened at Chartres and Bienville Streets beginning the 2nd oldest continuing public hospital in the United States.

1743 – The hospital quickly outgrew its original facility and was moved to the edge of the Colony to Basin Street. This building was nearly destroyed by a hurricane. Only the kitchen and storehouse were left standing to serve as a six-bed hospital.

1785 – The San Carlos Hospital was built in the same location in honor of King Charles III of Spain. Fire destroyed the 24-bed hospital twenty-four years later. Patients were moved to the City Hall, the Cabildo; then a residence in the Faubourg – Marigny and later to the De La Vergne Plantation until a new hospital was built.

1815 – Five years after fire destroyed San Carlos Hospital, a fourth Charity Hospital was built on Canal Street where The Roosevelt New Orleans Hotel is currently located.

1832 – The fifth building was built on Common Street (Tulane Avenue) between Howard Street (LaSalle Street) on the edge of the Faubourg St. Marie. The Daughters of Charity assumed control, then later named it Hotel Dieu in 1859. They would run the hospital for the next century.

1939 – By the 20th century, the demand for indigent medical services exceeded capacity and a sixth Charity Hospital was built at Tulane Avenue becoming the second largest hospital in the United States at the time with 2,680 beds.

1970 – The Louisiana Department of Health and Human Resources (DHH) took control of Charity.

1972 – Hotel Dieu, which was first opened by the Daughters of Charity in 1859 and which operated in different locations over the years, moved to a new building at 2021 Perdido Street. The hospital was renamed University Hospital in 1992, when the building was sold to the State. With Charity Hospital, it became part of the Medical Center of Louisiana New Orleans system.

1991 – Charity Hospital was transferred to the Louisiana Health Care Authority (LHCA)

1993 – The Spirit of Charity Foundation was established.

1997 – Charity Hospital was transferred to the Louisiana State University system.

2005 – Hurricane Katrina forces Charity Hospital to close its doors after sustaining severe flood damage. A temporary clinic named the Spirit of Charity was established at the New Orleans Convention Center. It was later relocated to the New Orleans Centre adjacent to the Super Dome.

2006 – University Hospital re-opened after Hurricane Katrina as Interim LSU Public Hospital with 156 beds.

2013 – Management of Interim LSU Hospital changed to LCMC Health, a not-for-profit health system.

2015 – University Medical Center New Orleans opens in a $1.2 billion facility.

2018 – The Spirit of Charity Innovation District strategic plan was created by the Greater New Orleans Foundation and partners. UMCNO is a cornerstone of the new top-tier healthcare district for the region.

Defining Quality

  • Joint Commission National Quality Approval Award
    The Gold Seal of Approval® is a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to providing safe and effective patient care.
  • American College of Surgeons: Verified Trauma Center
    The Norman E. McSwain, Jr, MD, Spirit of Charity Trauma Center only verified Level 1 Trauma Center in South Louisiana.
  • City Business - Best Places to Work
    The Comprehensive Pulmonary Hypertension Center (CPHC) at University Medical Center New Orleans was awarded top-tier accreditation from the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA).
  • PHA Center of Comprehensive Care Award
    University Medical Center New Orleans is an Advanced Primary Stroke Center with a full stroke team on call 24/7 to immediately care for patients with stroke symptoms.
  • American Heart Association and American Stroke Association Primary Stroke Center
  • Commission on Cancer Accedited Program logo
    The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association award recognizes the hospital’s commitment and success ensuring that stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.
  • Commission on Cancer Accedited Program logo
    University Medical Center has been designated an Antimicrobial Stewardship Center of Excellence by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (ISDA).