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Antwan Harris / Eyewitness News
Email: aharris@wwltv.com | Twitter: @antwanharris

NEWORLEANS-- Karl Warner, facilities manager at New Orleans East Hospital, is more thankful for his job every day.

He watched a piece of family history get destroyed by Katrina almost a decade ago.

It was the same place he met his wife, Debbie, and his father helped build the original hospital.

'I took over and it was destroyed, on my watch, so that was really tough,' Karl said.

Now he walks the halls of the multimillion-dollar facility serving in the same capacity as he once did.

The hospital has since been restored to a state-of-the-art medical miracle of its own, but the path to bring services back to New Orleans East has not been a walk in the park for CEO Mario Garner.

'Working through the various steps to get to where we are today has a been a task that has been long and arduous but very fulfilling,' Garner said.

New Orleans East once held the highest population in the city, but was reduced to nearly a quarter of that after Katrina.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu's office has since worked to bring back major retail, business and a hospital to the east.

Debbie, a New Orleans East native, said coming back home to work was something she and Karl had hoped for since leaving.

'It has been an amazing journey for both of us. This building is a part of us. It is like our family.'

The hospital is open, with the emergency room up and running. They are still waiting for their accreditation and hope to have that in late August.

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