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Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

NEWORLEANS- To say the old Lindy Boggs - Mercy Hospital in Mid-City is an eyesore would be an understatement for those who pass by the corner of Jeff Davis and Bienville every day.

Ashley Haspel says she recently noticed a fresh coat of graffiti on the blighted and abandoned building.

'It's horrible,' she said. 'You turn on to the bayou from Orleans Avenue or anywhere else, the beautiful bayou and you look up and it takes your breath away.'

Scott Norris lives a block away from the Hurricane Katrina shuttered medical center. 'It just seems crazy to think that almost 10 years later, they still haven't done anything,' he said.

Rebecca Otte an environmental planner with the Regional Planning Commission says there is finally a plan to clean up the environmental problems, now holding back redevelopment of the site. Investigators found asbestos in the building and underground fuel storage tanks.

'The underground storage tanks hopefully will be removed by the end of the year,' said Otte. 'The asbestos will take a little bit longer, we hope to start that process by the end of the year.'

Neighbors have long complained about the condition of the old hospital campus. They now want to know why the environmental problems have been left to fester there, going on nine years after Katrina.

'If it is that serious of an issue, you need to get something done about it,' said Norris. 'For the city's sake, for the residents sake in this area, it should be more than just an environmental problem and an eyesore.'

The St. Margaret's Foundation purchased the property in 2010 and built a nursing home on the site. It plans to reuse the old hospital building. Funding for the clean-up is expected to come from state and federal environmental agencies and a loan from the city. This story was produced in partnership with the midcitymessenger.com .

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