The building has been used since then for health care of many types. For a while it was New Orleans General Hospital. It has subsequently housed several different organizations: Community Care Psychiatric, the Good Neighbor Clinic, Mary Buck Health Center, and Healthy Beginnings counselors.
The building at 625 Jackson Ave. was renamed in 1948 to honor Dr. Sara Tew Mayo, its founder, born on May 26, 1869 in Harrisonburg, La. Shortly after she graduated from the University of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia, Dr. Mayo came to New Orleans to practice medicine. During her lifetime she was a member of several medical societies and one of the leading women physicians in the South. Dr. Mayo was a practicing physician for 30 years in New Orleans and a member of the medical staffs of both Touro Infirmary and Baptist Hospital.
But her most important work involved the establishment of the New Orleans Hospital and Dispensary for Women and Children. It began in 1905 as a four-room cottage on Annunciation Street; then the facility moved to 810 Felicity St. Its third location was 1823 Annunciation, and at this time -- 1908 -- it became a hospital. The hospital moved to its Jackson Street location in 1940 and four years later received approval from the American College of Surgeons.
Dr. Mayo was awarded the prestigious Times-Picayune Loving Cup in 1910 for her work in establishing this hospital solely for women and children. She was president of the institute at the time of her death, which came suddenly at her home on May 7, 1930. Dr. Mayo is buried in Metairie Cemetery.
(Before Katrina), we explored the renovation of the Mardi Gras Fountain on the Lakefront. From a large pool of turquoise water, sparkling waterspouts of various height and volume cascaded in a synchronized ballet. Encircling the pool are small concrete monuments about two feet high, each embedded with colorful tiles representing the logos of many Carnival krewes from early on to present. The beautiful artwork in so many of them and the various cultural histories and mythologies of the krewes names lent to good discussion as well as a few questions. Is the design layout of the monuments of any particular significance? It is not chronological. How many of the krewes represented are still parading? Who makes the new logos and/or refurbishes the older ones? What does it cost?
Jennie and Hannah Schneider
Dear Jennie and Hannah,
When the fountain made its debut in 1962, Carnival float builder Blaine Kern was in charge of making the crests under the direction of the Orleans Parish Levee Board. He was also hired by the lead contractor, Broadmoor LLC, to handle the restoration.
The fountain originally cost $42,000, but this time a few more bucks were needed. Some of the money came from a capital projects fund supported by a property tax approved by voters in 1983. But some of the money came from the krewes themselves. The board made an agreement with the krewes to replace the old plaques and add new ones for the krewes that didn't exist in 1962 if the organizations agreed to pay the $450 per-tile price tag.
The entire project cost about $2.5 million. But wait; we are getting a bigger bang for our buck. The 100-foot-long fountain was replaced; a 600-foot plaza was installed as well as palm trees, new lighting, benches, a new drainage system, brick walkways, picnic shelters, and extensive paving.
Now there are 98 Carnival groups represented. This includes 37 new plaques and 28 plaques of groups that no longer exist, arranged more or less in the order in which the krewes were organized. The fountain has been designed to accommodate up to a dozen more plaques for krewes that are yet to be formed.
Because of the storm, it's not in operation. Perhaps it will be in time for Mardi Gras.