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Big Charity - The Death of America's Oldest Hospital

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Posted on: December 12 2015 | Posted in: Upcoming Events


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Dec 12, 2015 at 8:00 PM



Founded as a hospital for the poor, Charity Hospital began in 1736 as just a small cottage built on the goodwill of a dying French merchant. Ran by the nuns of The Daughters of Charity and serving the city of New Orleans for close to 300 years, it gradually transformed into an enormous public institution – into Big Charity – and a longstanding symbol of compassion, a seemingly eternal place of safety and a beacon of hope in the community. Today the towering art deco building, closed abruptly after Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005, stands empty, and the community continues to suffer devastating consequences from its absence.
This documentary film includes never-before-seen footage and exclusive interviews to tell the story of Charity Hospital, from its roots to its controversial closing in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. From the firsthand accounts of healthcare providers and hospital employees who withstood the storm inside the hospital, to interviews with key players involved in the closing of Charity, Big Charity shares the untold, true story around its demise and sheds new light on the sacrifices made for the sake of progress.


Big Charity was produced by a small, tight-knit team of three emerging filmmakers from disparate backgrounds. A muralist, a musician, and a writer, they came from D.C., Georgia, and North Carolina, and converged in New Orleans with a shared passion for storytelling. The project’s inception came during Alex’s time as director of a Boys & Girls Club in the Iberville, New Orleans’ largest housing development, where he became enamored with the empty Charity Hospital nearby and its significance to the community there. Wanting to understand what it meant to the city that each had adopted as their own, they sought to know Charity through others’ stories. This is their first feature-length documentary.

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