Demolition hadn’t begun on adjacent buildings to the Hard Rock collapse site

Updated: May. 14, 2020 at 5:35 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) -The adjacent buildings are going to be demolished so that crews can get a better angle to begin demolition of the hard rock structure itself.

Mayor Cantrell says it’s a necessary move to ensure the safety of everyone involved in the demolition of the Hard Rock site, which is expected to be taken down by mid-July.

Two buildings on Canal Street will come down that’s the old Alamo Theater and a beauty supply business. The building on Iberville Street is an old U.S. Post Office and it’s expected to be the first building to come down.

The decision to demolish the three buildings was initially supposed to be left up to the Historic District Landmark Commission, but because it’s an emergency declaration, city leaders did not have to get approval. Norma Jean Mattie is a UNO Civil Engineering professor and says demolishing the buildings is necessary.

“Taking those buildings down does aid in the demolition because now they can set up heavy equipment without having to use the street. They’ll be able to use that as staging. You’ve got heavy equipment to set up, and you’re also going to be picking up heavy pieces and they’re big. Where are you going to put them?” UNO Civil Engineering Professor Norma Jean Mattie said.

The Preservation Resource Center is now calling for the ‘selective salvage of all materials that can safely be removed’ from the buildings.

Once the buildings are down, the next goal will be to start demolition on the upper floors of the Hard Rock buildings so that crews can retrieve the bodies of the construction workers which remain in the wreckage.

The demolition of the adjacent buildings hadn’t started Thursday evening, but the city says it wants the buildings down as soon as possible.

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