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Judge OKs two new hospitals in historic New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- A judge has allowed two hospitals to be built to replace ones damaged by Hurricane Katrina despite objections by preservationists that the projects would wipe out a historic New Orleans neighborhood.

U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon on Wednesday said he found no reason to stop the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and state and city officials from building the hospitals on 25 city blocks not far from the French Quarter.

Fallon said federal and state agencies had done the appropriate environmental reviews and taken steps to minimize damage to important historic buildings.

The hospital expansions into the Lower Mid-City district are a flash-point in post-Katrina New Orleans, pitting developers and preservationists against each other.

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