Implosion draws spectators, blows out neighboring business windows

Implosion draws spectators, blows out neighboring business windows

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - With the much-anticipated implosion of the two precariously leaning cranes at the Hard Rock, came some less anticipated wait time.

“Everyone’s impatient waiting, hey when’s it going to start, we keep getting delays but everyone’s ready,” said spectator Kenneth Moore.

But after crews sounded the air horn, the cranes were quick to go.

“I thought it was kind of sad. It was a little hot but I’m sure it felt a lot better out here than the victims,” said spectator Rebecca Hinyub.

“It’s way better than what it looks, I know what it looks like but we cut the crane and hooked it on the building. That's what it did, and the counterweight on the building on the base is exactly the way it is. It hooked on the building the way we want it, we don’t have people in the building, but that’s our initial assessment,” said NOFD Superintendent Tim McConnell.

But for those closer to the implosion, they said they weren’t anticipating that kind of impact or this kind of damage. George Friedman’s Hotel Maison Pierre Lafitte sits right on canal, down the street from the Hard Rock site. He says he was sitting in one of the top floor suites to watch engineering at work.

“When that went off that was a serious pull, I literally fell backwards off of it, but it kept me from the broken glass,” said Friedman. Now he’s faced with replacing several blown out windows from the implosion, a cost that’s beginning to add up considering how this main thoroughfare has remained closed.

“The choice to push everyone away from the danger zone is the absolute right decision to do, I give the fire department, the mayor, engineers, everyone… I feel bad for the people who died,” said Friedman.

In the end, many understand it’s a mission the city had to accomplish in order to make everyone safer, and for two families, recover the remains for the two workers still inside.

“The expectation and the next mission after we remove our people from the site will be full demolition that’s the next mission we’re faced with,” said Mayor Cantrell.

It’s still unknown at this time when the city plans to shrink the evacuation zone.

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