Nothing being more certain than death, and nothing more uncertain than its hour, being stricken with a dangerous bodily malady, but sane of mind, I desire to settle my affairs, explaining how I intend that my last will be carried out by testamentary executor … a sale shall be made of all that remains, which, together with my small lot, I bequeath to serve in perpetuity to the founding of a hospital for the sick of the City of New Orleans, without anyone being able to change my purpose, and to secure the things necessary to succor the sick.
These words written more than 250 years ago are part of the Last Will and Testament of Jean Louis dated November 16, 1735. Jean Louis, a French seaman who built boats in New Orleans, bequeathed his holdings to the founding and maintenance of Charity Hospital, a hospital for the indigent sick of the colony of New Orleans.
He left 200 Livres to "the poor who are too proud to beg and one hundred livres to procure clothes for the most needy orphans". What ever else he possessed was to go toward founding the hospital. $4,000 was the legacy. Bienville wrote to France that the hospital would be used to put the street beggars to work. A hurricane blew the building down 40 years after being built. The facility was rebuilt (1784) and supported by Don Andres Almonester y Roxas who became its administrator, appointed by the King of Spain and named the Hospice of St Charles in his honour.