Hard Rock Hotel crane demolition rescheduled for Sunday


Two cranes secure the Hard Rock Hotel after it collapsed last weekend. The planned demolition of the two cranes has been rescheduled for a second time. Photo credit: Erin Snodgrass

Erin Snodgrass

Jessica Wharton is ready for the fanfare surrounding the Hard Rock Hotel collapse to be over.

Wharton works at Cleo’s, a Mediterranean restaurant located at the corner of Canal and Roosevelt, across the street from the Hard Rock Hotel structure. Due to the restaurant’s proximity to the evacuation zone, Wharton said business has been affected.

“My tips are normally $100 to $150 a day and this week I’ve made like $20 a day,” Wharton said. “So it’s been bad.”

Since the construction site collapsed last weekend, she said there has been a shortage of people in the restaurant — but plenty of bystanders outside.

“All week long people have been standing at this corner, staring at this building. They’ve been standing and waiting.”

One such observer is Patrick Landry, a New Orleans native who works downtown and was eager to watch the planned demolition of two cranes leaning on the site, which was scheduled to take place at noon on Saturday, Oct. 19.

“I prepared. I came downtown around 10 minutes to 12,” he said.

He had also been ready and watching the day before, on Friday Oct. 18, when the first planned demolition had been scheduled.

But Landry, along with the hundreds of other people waiting to see the show, saw nothing.

Shortly after noon, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell held a press conference and announced that the planned demolition had once again been pushed back until tomorrow, Sunday Oct. 20 at noon, due to high winds. This is the second rescheduling of the planned collapse after it was initially moved from Friday.

Brooks Cunningham, a North Carolina native visiting the city for the weekend, was excited when he thought his plans would coincide with the demolition.

“I’ve never seen a building get demoed in person, so it’s a pretty crazy circumstance with this thing happening while we’re in town,” Cunningham said.

But with a flight at 10 a.m. tomorrow morning, Cunningham won’t be able to witness the collapse.

“I hate to say that I’m disappointed because I know that there’s a lot of planning that goes into it,” he said. “I would have loved the opportunity to see it but I know safety is a big concern.”

And even though Wharton continues to make less money, she too, is primarily concerned with safety.

“A friend of mine works with the [construction] company and it’s one of his friends who lost his life,” she said. “When it comes down to it, they’re just worried about the safety of everybody.”