Judge asked to stop New Orleans hospital projects

By CAIN BURDEAU – Associated Press Writer

NEW ORLEANS

Preservationists say the construction of two hospitals to replace ones damaged by Hurricane Katrina would wipe out a historic New Orleans neighborhood, and they want a federal judge to block the projects.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation on Tuesday asked U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon to stop the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and state and city officials from acquiring homes and businesses in 25 blocks where the two hospitals are planned to be built.

The hospital expansions into the Lower Mid-City district, where structures date back to the 1800s, are a flash-point in post-Katrina New Orleans. Developers and preservationists are pitted against each other. Both sides have argued that the future of New Orleans is at stake.

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