Ever since Hurricane Katrina, Charity Hospital has been an emblem of misery for New Orleans. Nearly 3½ years after the flood ended, Charity is still empty. Plans to replace the hospital with a new one are stalled. Instead, Charity has become perhaps the most notable symbol of the languid pace of government efforts to rebuild or replace billions of dollars worth of public works wrecked when Katrina and Hurricane Rita hit the Gulf Coast in 2005. Among thousands of projects that still haven't moved forward, none has been as big or contentious as Charity.