Protesters demand accountability for the Hard Rock collapse

Published: Jan. 27, 2020 at 5:33 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Roughly 100 protesters chant down Elk Place to City Hall demanding accountability to the Hard Rock Hotel construction collapse.

“I understand this is a major problem,” said organizer Trey Monaghan. “We need them to clean up their mess. But part of that is to figure out who is responsible.”

Monaghan says the only way to figure out who is truly responsible is to have public hearings.

“I think they should have some sort of investigation where they bring people in and every council member is able to ask questions,” Monaghan said.

Council President Helena Moreno and Vice President Jason Williams say they have been patient. Williams says those responsible for the October collapse that killed three people need to be held accountable.

“What we’re going to mainly focus on is one not focusing on how the building needs to come down but looking backwards before we move forward,” said Williams, “Figuring out how this occurred. Why it occurred? What corners were cut?”

Williams wants to set up a temporary special committee to investigate and hold open hearings.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell tells FOX 8 the incident will be handled by, “appropriate law enforcement within the judicial system. City legislators have no role in that process.”

“We have not seen very many flare ups between Mayor Cantrell and the New Orleans council. This is clearly one of them,” said FOX 8 Political Analyst Mike Sherman.

“It’s really clear that after a disaster that’s an executive responsibility to respond to that disaster but with this disaster being so prolong in nature and the public asking so many questions, the council clearly wants answers to those questions in a public setting,” Sherman said.

The mayor’s Communications Director Beau Tidwell tells FOX 8, "the legal and structural challenges associated with collapse make this a long and complicated process, but we are committed to due diligence, full transparency and absolute accountability.

Protesters say they understand the city is busy but say this should be a higher priority.

“They’ve got flooding every other day and boil water advisory,” said Liz Scott. “They’ve got a lot on their hands, but they got to do the right thing and I think they got to push the people whose fault it really is to do the right thing.”

Williams is demanding a special committee to meet next week on how to investigate the collapse.

“This is not some old building that was on its last leg that a hurricane hit,” Williams said. "This was new construction which means certain things were not done properly that caused this building to collapse.

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