NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans East is closer to getting a full-service hospital nearly a decade after the storm.
On Monday a cooperative endeavor agreement was signed, making Touro Infirmary the primary operator of the facility. The same evening dozens of people attended a job fair hoping to work at the new medical center.
"It's been nine years since New Orleans East has had a full-service hospital to service the community," said New Orleans Hospital CEO Mario Garner.
Backhoes demolishing an abandoned past -- that is what the site of the former Methodist Hospital looked like a year ago. Now the upgraded New Orleans East Hospital is nearly complete, and in just a few weeks, it will finally open its doors to patients.
"They've been talking about it in the east, about the hospital going further, having it right there where they can go," said Wilbert Montegut.
The New Orleans East resident joined other job seekers inside Apostolic Outreach Church on Lake Forest Boulevard. They're hoping to land a job at the new medical facility.
"$173 million worth of construction," said Garner to a listening crowd of job applicants. The 80-bed hospital is looking to initially fill 120 positions.
"Medical and non-medical," said Job1 Director Nadiyah Morris. "We're looking at RNs, also non-medical staff, to staff the cafeteria, janitors. It runs the gambit."
Besides creating jobs, this medical facility means much needed services to about 70,000 New Orleans East residents who have lived without a full-service hospital since Katrina.
"Re-establish ourselves with the foundation that Methodist Hospital had pre-Katrina with the superior service model where we'll be able to build a loyal patient model here in the east," said Garner.
With the hospital's opening just around the corner, Montegut hopes it turns into something more than just a conveniently located medical facility.
"I need a job. What else can I say?" Montegut said. "I'm glad it's opening."
The city says the hospital is slated to officially take in its first patient in June. A soft open is scheduled for May.
If you missed the job fair, click here for information on employment opportunities.