Over the past five years, the word “footprint” has taken on negative connotations in New Orleans. After Katrina, many claimed the footprint of the city would have to be reduced and some neighborhoods eliminated. More recently, the footprint of the new LSU/VA hospital complex has threatened to crush many historic buildings in the Mid-City area, including the Deutsches Haus at 200 South Galvez.
The building was first constructed in 1911 to house the Galvez Exchange of the Cumberland Telephone and Telegraph Company, and in 1928 several German organizations consolidated and purchased the building from Southern Bell. It finally closed at midnight on Saturday, October 23, the final day of its 2010 Oktoberfest celebration.
There were 16 German-style beers on tap and a wide variety of authentic German food.
All the typical Oktoberfest sites were there: Schnapps-girls wearing dirndls, lots of dudes in lederhosen, and polka.
The new hospital complex is set to replace Charity Hospital, which was damaged in Katrina. The building was cleaned to medical standards by the military and determined to be structurally sound by an architectural firm, but LSU claims that the building was completely destroyed and prefers to construct a new complex. SaveCharityHospital.com has an excellent breakdown of the footprint and an alternative that would expand on the old Charity Hospital building.
The Deutsches Haus has been more than just an Oktoberfest location. They act as a community center, providing space for groups like the Crescent City Homebrewers and other organizations. They also support UNO students who study abroad via the UNO, Center Austria.
The Deutsches Haus will reopen in December at a temporary location in Metairie. They also displayed a proposal for a very attractive-looking building to replace the building on S. Galvez.