Cranes demolished, piece impaled in Rampart Street


NEW ORLEANS (WWL)- After days of delays, two cranes towering over the Hard Rock Hotel construction site were demolished by city crews Sunday afternoon. The pair of unstable construction cranes produced a large amount of debris.

It is unclear if the demolition went how the city intended for it to go. The situation is still fluid, and city officials are warning residents to stay inside. 

3:39 p.m. 

At least one window at the Roosevelt Hotel was blown out in the explosion. The full extent of the damage is not clear yet. 

3:17 p.m.

3:11 p.m. 

The Saenger Theater and the New Orleans Athletic Club, two of the closest buildings to the collapse and two of the most vulnerable, were not damaged when the cranes fell, said New Orleans City Councilmember Jason Williams. 

He also said the piece that impaled Rampart Street did not damage any utility lines. 

“I think we got the best we could get here today. A lot of prayers went up, and a lot of prayers were answered,” Williams said.  

3:02 p.m. 

WWL-TV reporters on the scene are saying there are still pieces of debris hanging or falling from the Hard Rock Hotel construction site. 

City officials have urged anybody in the area to get indoors and stay inside. The Temporary Exclusion Zone, designed to protect people from breathing in concrete powder or getting hearing damage, is still in effect until further notice, according to the city. 

2:54 p.m.

2:50 p.m. 

Residents as far away as Lakeview have reported hearing the explosion. City officials will likely brief reporters soon. 

2:41 p.m. 

It appears some of the debris from one of the cranes is still hanging on the top of the Hard Rock Hotel construction site. 

Another piece, from the crane further down Rampart Street, appears to have impaled itself into something below, either the ground or a building. 

As the dust cloud begins to clear, it is unclear how close the demolition went to the city’s plan. 

2:39 p.m.

The two cranes towering over the Hard Rock Hotel construction site have come down, as city demolitionists ignite charges on both cranes.

2:36 p.m.

The two-minute warning sirens have gone off. The implosion appears imminent. 

2:20 p.m.

1:47 p.m. 

City officials believe the crane demolition will take place around 2 p.m.

Crews did several sweeps of the building to check its stability and to make sure nobody is inside when the explosives go off. 

12:53 p.m. 

Reporters were told that the demolition was being pushed back by about 35 minutes to 1:30 p.m. 

It is unclear what is causing the delays. 

12:17 p.m. 

Workers can be seen inside the construction site, doing a last check before demolition. It appears the implosion of the cranes is happening soon, but is not immediate.

11:02 a.m. 

There’s even more reason to avoid the French Quarter and downtown New Orleans this morning as we get closer to the demolition:

10:20 a.m. 

As New Orleans residents wait for the cranes to come down, the city is reminding anybody in the temporary exclusion zone to stay inside until further notice. 

The demolition could blow up powdered concrete into the air, which is hazardous to breathe in. 

It is also expected to be a loud event, and could cause hearing damage to anybody in the temporary exclusion zone who is not protected. 

10:03 a.m. 

A mass was held for the brother of one of the victims of the Hard Rock Hotel collapse ahead of the planned demolition of two cranes in the construction site. 

(Photo: Andres Fuentes/WWL-TV)

8:48 a.m. 

Evacuations have started around the Hard Rock Hotel site as crews prepare to demolish two cranes towering over the building. 

Evacuation order in effect for Hard Rock crane demo. Evacuate now if in red zone on map at In effect until further notice. (Photo: Facebook)

The evacuation zone has grown since Saturday, and now includes a wide area where no vehicle traffic is being allowed. 

Here’s the latest evacuation map:

7:13 a.m. 

A cold front moving into New Orleans Monday is bringing a 70% chance of strong storms, undercutting how urgent the demolition of the two cranes embedded in the Hard Rock Hotel collapse site is. 

For earlier events leading up visit:

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