Businesses and residents affected by Hard Rock Hotel Collapse
October 19, 2019
Construction worker Aldo was thankful that he had the day off Saturday, October 12. Just after 9:00 a.m., the Hard Rock Hotel construction site that he had been working on collapsed, leaving many of his colleagues injured.
“When you do construction we always have in mind that something can happen but never like that,” Aldo said.
He was thankful that his life was spared, but sent prayers to the families of the three victims that died and the others that were injured. Aldo was friends with one of the two deceased workers whose bodies are still trapped inside the building.
“I worked on the parking garage and he worked on the top floors. We would always talk. I feel really bad for his family,” said Aldo.
John Mau delivers food on his bicycle and would often bring food to the crews working on the site. He had been at the Hard Rock Hotel just two days before it collapsed.
“I would always deliver breakfast sandwiches to a lot of the construction workers there, I hope all of them that I delivered to are okay,” Mau said.
Plans to demolish the two unstable cranes were set to take place today in the afternoon, but heavy winds and unexpected damage to the cranes made officials push back the explosion time to the next day at noon.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell has expanded the evacuation zones that surround the site. The red zones will be required to be evacuated as early as 8:00 a.m. and authorities will be knocking on doors to ensure that all people have evacuated the area.
People within the orange area are allowed to stay within their homes, but are advised to stay indoors. The city said the explosives will sound like fireworks and can cause “damaging noise” to people’s ears. An “all clear” signal will be given after the demolition is complete.
The yellow area shows where streets will be closed tomorrow.
The delay in demolition and increased traffic in the French Quarter has business owners upset about a potential loss of business.
Eric Gabourel owns Flambeaux Bicycle Tours and has already been impacted by street closures for a week now. While he’s sympathetic to the lives lost and families impacted, he’s also concerned about revenue.
The store’s bike tours had to be rerouted to accommodate the blocked off areas nearby and tourists had trouble reaching the shop.
“There’s so much traffic people can’t even get here. We had some people miss their tours because their uber drivers didn’t know how to get here,” said Gabourel.
Gabourel still has tours set for tomorrow despite the demolition taking place. He hopes that people will be able to attend their booked tours and get there on time. However, there are concerns that clients will ask for refunds for missing out on their tour time.