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NEWORLEANS - Friday marked a huge milestone for New Orleans East residents, who have been calling for a hospital for years.

City officials broke ground on a highly anticipated hospital more than seven years after Hurricane Katrina left the East without one.

Katrina heavily damaged Pendelton Memorial Methodist Hospital off of Read Boulevard.

It's been vacant since then, leaving few healthcare options and no major hospital in that area.

In November, the state bond commission approved $98 million dollars in bonds, which was the final piece of financing needed to get the hospital built.

Demolition of the old hospital started in fall 2012, and the groundbreaking for the new one was supposed to take place just before Christmas.

But it was postponed after a crane operator died while working on the site.

It was rescheduled for Friday.

The $130 million hospital will have 80 beds.

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