Hard Rock collapse leaves local business stunned and struggling


The Hard Rock Hotel collapse on Nov. 2. Parts of Canal Street and North and South Rampart Street are still closed. Photo credit: Sam Lucio Photo credit: Sam Lucio

Sam Lucio

It’s been over a month since the Hard Rock Hotel collapse downtown, but some businesses like Fischer’s Jewelry are still dealing with the aftermath and there appears to be no end in sight.

“We’re directly across the street and directly affected,” said Kathy Fischer Bradbury, owner of Fischer’s Jewelry.

Fischer’s Jewelry sits on the corner of Canal Street and South Rampart, all of which remain closed nearby. Their store is also completely surrounded by fences and not even visible from the outside.

During the collapse, Fischer’s Jewelry sustained minor damages like a broken window and a broken door but the real damages are not physical. Due to the store’s close location to the Hard Rock Hotel, Fischer’s Jewelry is still closed leaving the Fischers with no business.

“October, November, December is our busiest time of year. It’s very significant,” said Kathy Fischer Bradbury. “Our customers want to order stuff for Christmas so we’ve lost a lot.”

The collapse also took a toll on the staff of Fischer’s Jewelry who were in the store when the Hard Rock Hotel fell.

“My employees were there when it happened and they still have trouble sleeping,” said Kathy Fischer Bradbury. “You know they don’t want to be around here.”

Mother of Kathy Fischer Bradbury, JoAnne Fischer, described that morning as traumatic, unsettling and compared the collapse to “a mini 9/11.”

“It looked like it was hailing,” said JoAnne Fischer, “and then we saw people running and then this cloud of white smoke.”

What is helping the Fischers get through their struggles, however, is remembering their dedicated customers.

“They’ve left us messages of hope,” said Kathy Fischer Bradbury. “So, we’re very happy with that.”

“I really miss the people. I really love our people, we’re our own little community kind of at this part of Canal,” said Sarah Bradbury, daughter of Kathy Fischer Bradbury, “They’re like family to us.”

According to the Fischers, they were initially excited about the Hard Rock Hotel coming to Canal Street and revitalizing that area but also said that they are now depressed that everything will have to start from scratch.

The Fischers will have to keep waiting, however, as New Orleans officials said that demolition of the remaining floors of the Hard Rock Hotel won’t begin until around nine weeks in Jan. 2020 with clean-up estimated to take around three months after that.

“Hopefully people will know we’re back in business and they’ll come by,” said Kathy Fischer Bradbury.