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Gayle Benson’s generous donation to help fund a new Children’s Hospital in New Orleans

The Gayle and Tom Benson Ochsner Children’s Hospital plans to open late 2027.

New Orleans Saints v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Ochsner Health has announced plans for The Gayle and Tom Benson Ochsner Children’s Hospital which is being made possible through a very generous donation from Mrs. Gayle Benson. The new 343,000 square will include specialty pediatric services, a larger and more accessible emergency room, a Level IV surgical neonatal intensive care unit and enhanced operating rooms and imaging services. The five-story hospital will be built next door to Ochsner’s main campus in New Orleans.

Gayle Benson, New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner said, “Throughout the years, my husband Tom and I have been privileged to support Ochsner’s exceptional team of physicians and caregivers in their tireless mission to assist patients and families facing health challenges in our region. Together, we embark on a collective journey to forge a brighter, healthier future for the children of our city, state, and region. Ochsner has become a national health care leader and destination for patients seeking medical care in virtually every discipline. We should all be proud of the world-class facilities and world-class doctors at Ochsner.”

The donation comes from the Gayle and Tom Benson Charitable Foundation, a private foundation founded in 2007 with the purpose to make the community stronger by giving back and making a positive impact.

According to the news release, current and projected needs of children and families throughout the region have driven the plan for the new facility. “It follows Ochsner’s years-long and unwavering commitment to enrich its pediatrics program with numerous specialties and subspecialties to treat the most complex and critical conditions, such as pediatric heart and liver transplants.

The Gayle and Tom Benson Ochsner Children’s Hospital will be designed to have a child-friendly and welcoming atmosphere, with colorful and engaging decor, age-appropriate accommodations, and an efficient, easy-to-navigate layout, per the announcement.

  • Each floor is themed after an animal native to the Gulf South, with natural sunlight coming through windows.
  • Designed as a family destination, parents and caregivers will be able to utilize open air patios, kitchens, lounges, family resource centers, and private rooms.
  • The placement of departments, steered by patient and provider movement routes, reflect Ochsner Children’s collaborative care approach.
  • Imaginative and colorful signage and other elements will aid patients.

Construction on the new hospital will start mid-2024 with hopes to open in late 2027.