NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - As the city of New Orleans plans to implode the partially collapsed Hard Rock Hotel building, nearby business owners remain very nervous.
The fencing is still up and power is still out to several businesses that surround the Hard Rock site. They’ve been shut down since the collapse happened on October 12.
“I went through a lot of things. First of all, my rent. I have to pay rent. I don’t have any money, so there’s no income,” says Wael Suleiman.
Suleiman owns Viva, a clothing store on the corner of Canal and Burgundy. He says he’s had to work as an Uber driver to make enough money to get by.
“It might help me for a week or two. It’s really hard. I have four children. Can you imagine?” says Suleiman.
On the other side of Canal Street, businesses are open, but the manager of American Fashions, says it’s been difficult.
“There’s just no traffic at all. As you can see outside, it looks like a ghost town,” says Hassan Salem.
City leaders say they expect to see the controlled implosion of the entire Hard Rock Building in about nine weeks. That means around mid-January. It’s also around the same time New Orleans is scheduled to host several high profile events like New Year’s Eve, Sugar Bowl and even the College Football Playoff Championship. The city says it will be very careful to plan around those events, but nearby businesses are nervous.
“I mean that’s going to have a big effect on us. We are not going to have any kind of Marid Gras going on here especially after they demolish the whole building. I mean that’s a long time,” says Salem.
For Suleiman, he has no plans of returning to his store, the place he owned for 11 years.
“Business is gone. That’s it. I don’t think I’m going back to this business. It’s sad, but I will save my life at least,” says Suleiman.