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Gayle Benson Makes Historic Donation for New Home for Ochsner Children’s Hospital

State-of-the-art facility to reflect the caliber of Louisiana’s top-ranked pediatric program

Gayle Benson Makes Historic Donation for New Home for Ochsner Children’s Hospital

NEW ORLEANS, La. – Ochsner Health announces plans for The Gayle and Tom Benson Ochsner Children’s Hospital, made possible through a transformational gift from Mrs. Gayle Benson.

“We are proud to unveil much-anticipated plans for a new home for Louisiana’s No. 1 ranked children’s hospital,” said Pete November, CEO, Ochsner Health. “Ochsner is deeply grateful for Mrs. Benson and her unparalleled act of generosity, which will significantly impact the lives of countless families throughout Louisiana and the Gulf South. This facility will enable us to care for more children, retain and attract top pediatric physicians and care teams, and continue to set the standard of care."

"I am truly humbled to announce today The Gayle and Tom Benson Ochsner Children's Hospital,” said Gayle Benson, New Orleans Saints Owner and Pelicans Governor. “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 healthcare 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 made for the new home for Ochsner Children’s Hospital will come 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.

Ochsner Children’s Hospital is the No. 1 hospital for kids in Louisiana. For the seventh year in a row, U.S. News & World Report has ranked it among the country’s Top 50 Children’s Hospitals. This year, it ranked in cardiology and heart surgery as well as orthopedics, making Ochsner Children’s the only children's hospital in Louisiana to rank in two specialties in the 2023-2024 Best Children’s Hospital rankings.

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.

“We’ve built a premier pediatric program in our region, and our new home will reflect the caliber of care we provide,” said Dr. Vincent Adolph, Chief Medical Officer, Ochsner Children’s Hospital, and Ochsner Health board member. Dr. Adolph and fellow pediatric specialists worked alongside architects to design the new facility.

“This new space will provide an ideal pediatric and family experience that focuses on each child’s personalized medical needs and their emotional and psychological well-being. It will have everything for kids in one place, designed just for them and their caregivers,” he said.

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

  • Each floor is themed after an animal native to the Gulf South, with natural sunlight pouring in through large windows.
  • Designed as a family destination, parents and caregivers will find respite in areas including open air patios, kitchens, lounges, family resource centers, and private rooms.
  • The placement of departments, guided by patient and provider movement routes, reflect Ochsner Children’s collaborative care approach. The new organization of space speeds up time-sensitive processes and better enables multidisciplinary care teams to work seamlessly together, improving patient experiences and outcomes.
  • Wayfinding, in the form of imaginative and colorful signage and other elements, ensures patients get where they need to go using the shortest, easiest routes possible.

“The weight of a parent's heart is heavy when they’re caring for a sick child. It's an indescribable burden, navigating a storm of emotions while relentlessly fighting for their child’s health,” said Dr. Robert Hart, Chief Physician Executive, Ochsner Health and President, Ochsner Clinic. “This new space will give parents places to rest, recharge, work, and care for young siblings while remaining close by their sick child.”

Ochsner Children’s new home will have a children’s-only emergency department, with significant enhancements to critical care, operating rooms, and imaging capacity and proximity. A Level IV Surgical Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) will enable highly specialized care for babies who need surgery, which is uniquely challenging because of their small size and complex conditions. More broadly, the new space will allow Louisiana’s top children’s hospital to expand access to its leading treatments and highly sought out specialties and subspecialties.

“Ochsner Children’s Hospital cares for more than 100,000 children every year. This new facility will help us better meet the needs of our communities because we know there are many more families who want their children to receive care at Ochsner,” said Dr. Adolph.

With more than 200 physicians specializing in over 30 pediatric specialties and subspecialties, Ochsner Children’s has one of the most comprehensive pediatric programs between Houston, Texas and Atlanta, GA.

“Having a state-of-the-art building to match our nationally recognized programs will help Ochsner Children’s retain our highly skilled experts and attract more to Louisiana,” said Dr. William Lennarz, System Chair of Pediatrics, Ochsner Children’s. “Keeping and growing talent here means families don’t have to travel far from home to receive nationally recognized, state-of-the-art care their children need and deserve.”

The new five-story, 343,000- square foot building will be constructed at Ochsner Medical Center-New Orleans on Jefferson Hwy. next to the existing hospital building. Ochsner Children’s expects to break ground in mid-2024 and open the doors to its new home in late 2027. For more information on the plans, public engagement process, progress and construction, visit

“Our pediatrics program is one of the top in the country, and we are grateful to our physicians and care teams who are already achieving unmatched clinical outcomes in our region,” said November. “I’m excited for the next chapter for Ochsner Children’s Hospital, and for the families in our community who will benefit from this incredibly generous gift from Mrs. Benson.”

To learn more about Ochsner Children’s, visit

About Ochsner Health

Ochsner Health is the leading not-for-profit healthcare provider in the Gulf South, delivering expert care at its 46 hospitals and more than 370 health and urgent care centers. For 12 consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has recognized Ochsner as the No. 1 hospital in Louisiana. Additionally, Ochsner Children’s has been recognized as the No. 1 hospital for kids in Louisiana for three consecutive years. Ochsner inspires healthier lives and stronger communities through a combination of standard-setting expertise, quality and connection not found anywhere else in the region. In 2023, Ochsner Health cared for more than 1.5 million people from every state in the nation and 65 countries. Ochsner’s workforce includes more than 38,000 dedicated team members and over 4,700 employed and affiliated physicians. To learn more about how Ochsner empowers people to get well and stay well, visit