ignorance and arrogance
It still blows my mind how LSU is toying with health care in New Orleans almost 4 years later. They tried to play the Federal bluff using Katrina to strong arm a new hospital out of the morass. Meanwhile indigent health care continues to languish in southeast Louisiana. Did it ever occur to LSU to simply pick up the phone and ask another successful medical complex (UAB, MD Anderson, Vanderbilt, et al.) how they accomplished their goals? Cause it seems like they are floundering in a lethal combination of ignorance and arrogance…
I don’t believe that deflecting critique by calling New Orleanians idiots and backwards and reluctant to change is broad enough smoke and mirrors to jam LSU’s agenda through the process. And the argument that he doesn’t care to find out the “unique” communication style of south Louisianians (case in point his bewilderment to the use of the term “krewe”), by dismissing it as not worthy of his time does nothing to endear folks to LSU’s cause. You know the old saying “When in Rome”…
James Gill: LSU trying hard to save city from itself
Times-Picayune June 02, 2009 4:59PM
Pearls before swine is putting it mildly. The sparkling intellects of LSU offer New Orleans a lifeline, but the populace is too stupid and backward to be roused from its torpor. Time is running out to get the rabble in line. So says LSU President John Lombardi, who nevertheless remains determined to save New Orleans from itself.
Lombardi is just the man for the job, being, as he is fond of pointing out, from the efficient north. Lombardi got on his hind legs in New Orleans last week to rally the LSU troops in support of the “major academic medical center” proposed for a vast tract in Mid-City. Lombardi’s plans to win over the doubters evidently do not include a charm offensive. He has “never met a place like this, ” where people speak in a “code” he neither understands nor wishes to understand. He doesn’t know from “krewe.” The city does not contain “as many sensible people” as he had hoped — sensible people, of course, being those who agree with him. New Orleans is “on the edge” and Lombardi is offering it one “last opportunity to be a competitive, high-powered American city.” But he is up against idiots who want to “preserve old New Orleans in amber, ” and force LSU to revamp and reopen the old Charity Hospital. It is imperative that the issue be “settled this year, ” and the “Legislature needs to get out of our way.”
Lombardi has all the answers, and he has no patience with lesser intellects. He may well be correct that his medical complex would not only provide care for the uninsured, but bring in the paying patients, re-establishing New Orleans as a major training center and creating good jobs out the wazoo. Right now New Orleans is losing out to Houston, Birmingham and even, an aghast Lombardi told his audience, Arkansas. But if the medical-complex proposal does provide what Lombardi calls a chance “to transform” a city he despises, LSU is hardly the ideal institution to take the lead.
Smug and supercilious academics are always hard to love, all the more so if they don’t talk straight. Hardly a week goes by without a story in the paper about the arrest of some wretch who submitted a fraudulent FEMA claim after Katrina. Try to pocket an illicit couple of grand and the feds will haul you off pronto. LSU, of course, would never do that. It doesn’t deal in such small sums. For a few hundred million, however, it will let its superior imagination run riot. In seeking the full replacement cost of $492 million for Charity, LSU provided an account of the storm damage that was wildly exaggerated. Doctors and military personnel who worked at the hospital immediately after the storm have testified that the hospital had been readied for re-use within weeks, and have produced photographs to prove it. But LSU told a tale of terminal destruction in hopes of grabbing the maximum loot. FEMA was smart enough to see through the misrepresentation, setting fair compensation at $150 million.
Far from being embarrassed by its duplicity, LSU still hopes to get the full $492 million on appeal. Lombardi told his audience that the feds “owe” the state that much and that it is “the critical linchpin point amount.” Does that mean the medical complex won’t happen unless LSU can pull the wool over FEMA’s eyes? That must be a challenge even for the geniuses who run LSU.
It may not be enough anyway, for LSU will still need to borrow at least $400 million, and state Treasurer John Kennedy said last week that bond underwriters will laugh LSU out of the room when they see its business plan for the medical complex. Kennedy uttered those unkind words just hours before Lombardi addressed the troops, assuring them that the business plan had, in fact, been “validated by every smart consultant in the western world.” You’d have to be as dumb as Lombardi thinks we are to believe that. Gov. Bobby Jindal isn’t. The LSU plan, he declared Monday, is inadequate.”