By Toussaint Louverture
OCTOBER 13, 2019
NEW ORLEANS – A hotel under construction near the French Quarter in New Orleans partially collapsed Saturday, killing 1 worker identified as Anthony Floyd Margrette, and injuring at least 18 people. 2 workers remain missing as of 8:22 PM CST on Saturday. The site slated for the construction of a Hard Rock Hotel franchise is an $85 million project being carried out by Citadel Builders, headquartered in Metairie, LA, along with a variety of partners and subcontractors.
This occurs after constant complaints and protests from the IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) local about the under-insurance of workers at the site due to the mischaracterization of certain workers as “contract workers”, the hiring of “unlicensed and unqualified electricians” in violation of city code, and general mishandling of the project to the detriment of workers and the surrounding communities. Massive hotel developments catering to tourists drive up rents and destroy the unique cultural heritage of cities like New Orleans. The closure of Gene’s Po-Boys in July, an institution in the city’s Faubourg-Marigny neighborhood since 1968, and its imminent conversion to condominiums, is just one famous example of the continuing transformation of the city and the pricing out of New Afrikan working class residents and their institutions.
The catastrophe that was Hurricane Katrina flooded large portions of the city in 2005 and killed hundreds of people in the city, many of which have never been found or identified. 13 years later, there are still entire city blocks that are empty or near empty as a result of the storm. Those that are not empty are being rapidly gentrified. This slapdash Hard Rock Hotel, which will undoubtedly be too expensive for working class New Afrikan tourists that have saved up enough for a New Orleans trip to afford, that is being constructed with myriads of corners being cut, is yet another stark reminder of the callousness of the settler imperialist bourgeoisie in the New Afrikan nation and their relentless pursuit for profit, even at the expense of the people’s lives.