NEW ORLEANS — On Friday, the City of New Orleans’ Department of Safety and Permits revealed what steps would be taken to secure the Plaza Tower building, one day after high wind sent debris from the building flying to the ground where it hit a bicyclist.
“Mostly stucco that was loosened up maybe last week with the storms,” Interim Chief Building Official Jay Dufour said, describing the material that was blown from the building.
According to EMS, the bicyclist was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The city also closed the streets surrounding the building to make sure there were no other injuries.
Moving forward, the city says that contractors for the building’s owner will add fencing and secure the building to prevent anyone from getting inside of it. Once the fencing is in place, the streets around the building will be reopened.
According to the city, contractors will also use netting around the building to prevent any additional materials from being blown to the ground.
“The netting will make sure that any falling debris will be caught in the netting,” Director of Safety and Permits Tammie Jackson said.
The Plaza Tower was constructed in the 1960s. But it’s been vacant for nearly 20 years. According to the city, the building’s owners do not have a final plan for the building.
Also, while the city said that the building was in violation of city code, no court hearing was scheduled. Without a court hearing, no fines could be levied.
“No we don’t have any fines against the building. But with large scale projects like this, we know it takes time,” Jackson said. “So we’re confident that we’re moving in the right direction to get that redeveloped. So we do not want to hinder any development. But we will move forward and monitor the building on a daily bases now.”