THE ICON: Karen DeSalvo
THE LEGACY: New Orleans needed a hero. It needed a bunch of them, in fact. It was 2005, and Hurricane Katrina had laid waste to the city. Enter Dr. Karen DeSalvo, a Tulane internist who stepped in a month after the storm and established a health clinic at Covenant House to serve low-income residents when the storm shuttered Charity Hospital, the traditional source of care for the city’s poor. It was the first step in the modernization of the city’s health care infrastructure, a reinvention that would see the opening of a network of health clinics around the city, with an emphasis on information technology. In the process, DeSalvo would help usher in a new day for health care in New Orleans.
THE ARTIST: Sean Randall, WhereYart.net
THE INSPIRATION: “We were making our wings as we were falling off the cliff. It’s not thinking out of the box because we got rid of the box.” — Dr. Karen DeSalvo, about the post-Katrina transformation of New Orleans’ health care infrastructure