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New Orleans officially opens its VA medical center

An inside look of the new facility

The Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System officially opened the New Orleans Veterans Affairs Medical Center today, November 18. In celebration of the new facility, the city of New Orleans and Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System held a ribbon cutting ceremony.

“For a decade, many of you worked and adjusted to ensure that veterans of Southeast Louisiana can see their medical center rise from the floods of 2005, and together we have preserved,” said Fernando Rivera, director of the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System, at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

The new medical center is located on 2400 Canal Street, adjacent to the University medical center. The 1.6 million square-foot VA medical center took over ten years to complete, costing over $1 billion.

Both The University Medical Center, and New Orleans VA Medical Center were designed by global firm NBBJ.

During the ceremony, Mayor Mitch Landrieu congratulated the city on its dedication to the nation’s Veterans. In 2015, New Orleans was the first state to end chronic veteran homelessness.

“You can take it to the bank that city of New Orleans and this metropolitan region is going to win the health competition to make sure we treat veterans better than anywhere else in the United States America,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said.

While the VA center is open, some parts will remain under construction until the 2017 year. According to the Advocate, The center’s outpatient center is not set to open until mid-December. The medical center is expected to be fully completed at the end of 2017.

The previous VA medical center, built in 1952, was located on Perdido street. The facility was deemed unusable after Hurricane Katrina, according to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The New Va medical system is expected to serve over 70,000 veterans.