Columns » Blake Pontchartrain: New Orleans Trivia

I noticed a building on the Xavier University campus with the designation Qatar Pharmacy Pavilion. Is this the same Qatar as in the Middle East?

Blake Pontchartrain: The New Orleans N.O. It All

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Hey Blake,

I noticed a building on the Xavier University campus with the designation Qatar Pharmacy Pavilion. Is this the same Qatar as in the Middle East?

Victoria Normand

Dear Victoria,

  The recent 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina gave us a chance to reflect on how far the region has come, and also to say thank you to the many volunteers and benefactors who helped along the way. One of the biggest contributions locally came from the oil-rich nation of Qatar, which as you noted, is in the Middle East. Situated on the Persian Gulf, it has the world's third largest natural gas reserves and a large oil reserve, both of which contribute to its standing as the country with the highest per capita income in the world.

  The nation has been generous to New Orleans. After Katrina, the nation's Qatar Katrina Fund established a program to support 18 local projects in health care, education and housing, donating $100 million in all. That included about $38.4 million for education, including scholarships at Loyola, Tulane and Xavier universities; $27.5 million for health care, including $5 million each to Children's Hospital and Tulane Community Health Center; and $34 million for housing, including a large donation to Habitat for Humanity.

  On Xavier's campus, $12.5 million helped fund construction of the five-story, 60,000-square-foot pharmacy building. Dedicated in 2010, it helped expand Xavier's pharmacy school, one of only two such schools in the state. In 2008, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, who at that time was the emir, or ruler, of Qatar, visited Xavier for a firsthand look at what had developed from the donation. According to The New York Times, he told students, "We are all neighbors in a small and fragile world."

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