NEW ORLEANS — The City of New Orleans said strong wind sent pieces of the Plaza Tower building to the ground Thursday afternoon. New Orleans EMS said a bicyclist was hit by at least one piece of the material, perhaps a piece of paneling, and was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Police responded, and the city closed the buildings around the building’s footprint including Loyola Avenue, South Rampart Street and Howard Avenue. In a Tweet, the city encouraged drivers to plan to take alternate routes in the morning as the streets would be closed overnight and until the wind died down.
At 45 stories, the Plaza Tower building was New Orleans’ first skyscraper. It was built in the 1960s and has had multiple owners over the years. For nearly 20 years the building has sat unoccupied.
Currently, the building has multiple broken windows and is missing pieces of paneling. It has a security fence surrounding it, but it only extends a matter of feet along many sections of the building’s perimeter.
In February, WGNO asked the city if there was any work underway at the building. A spokesperson told us that records showed no work had been underway at the building since 2018. The city also sent an inspector to the building who reported no work was currently underway.
WGNO News reached out to the most recent reported owners of the building, but our calls had not been returned as of Thursday night.