Merrick family donate $1m to Ochsner cancer wing

Robert Merrick, owner of real estate brokerage Latter & Blum, together with his wife Sheryl, have donated $1 million to the Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center at Ochsner Medical Center.

February 11, 2021

The Benson Cancer Center, which was opened last September, doubled the amount of space available for cancer treatment at the Ochsner medical complex, which overlooks the Carrollton Bend on the Mississippi River in Jefferson Parish. The first-floor lobby and atrium will be named for the Merricks in recognition of their gift, Ochsner said in a press release Tuesday.

Brian Moore, medical director of the Ochsner Cancer Institute, said the gift was particularly poignant given Robert Merrick's survival of several battles with cancer.

“They are tireless advocates for those battling cancer and know first-hand the toll it takes on not only the patient, but their families and caregivers," Moore said.

Merrick said: "I have lived and witnessed what cancer patients go through on the hopeful road to recovery. I fully understand the need to expand the Ochsner Cancer Center; the need is great."

Merrick, who was succeeded last year by his daughter as CEO of Latter & Blum, has been widely recognized for his civic and philanthropic efforts, including with last year's The Times-Picayune Loving Cup.

Merrick's giving over the years has amounted to an estimated $20 million, including a $1 million individual donation to United Way in 2014.