NEW ORLEANS - Some balconies in the historic French Quarter appear to be damaged after city contractors rebuilt and repaired nearby sidewalks last year.
One of them in the 1100 block of Decatur Street is leaning forward with an unsafe pitch.
Trey Monaghan owns the building that houses Molly's at the Market and some upstairs apartments.
"I'm sitting here, probably it looks like I'm going to fall off," Monaghan said. "I keep checking over the side because we're at that extreme an angle that I've got to be a little cautious."
Monaghan says the balcony, technically referred to as a gallery in the Crescent City because of it's supported by posts, was fine before the city came in last year and rebuilt the sidewalks along Decatur.
It appears the structure has sunk causing the balcony to pull away from the building.
Contractor Joe Long from Ransdell Restorations said the crew that did the sidewalk work did not install proper footings for the balcony posts.
"It's almost 6, 7 inches out of plumb," Long said. "They just didn't really do anything to these posts. They didn't put a plate under them to hold them up."
There is also concern about potentially compromised support footings for another balcony in the 400 block of Bourbon Street.
Jo Leigh Monteverde is a co-owner of the building now leased to a seafood restaurant.
"I would say the issue is they don't look like they are as substantial as they need to be," Monteverde said. "We're not saying that it's in the state of collapse. It's not. But, we do want to make sure that now and long term that it is stable."
The balcony supports were recently excavated by city contractors hired to rebuild the street and sidewalks on Bourbon Street.
The original footings appear to be chiseled away.
"While it's like this, in this condition it seems prudent to assess it and if it needs to be fixed, fix it now," Monteverde said noting that the new sidewalk has yet to be installed under the balcony.
Back at Molly's, the owner isn't waiting for the city ot fix the problem.
"It's going to be between $5,000 and $10,000 to get the balcony put back the way that it was before they started the work on the sidewalk," Monaghan said.
Work on Molly's balcony was completed on Thursday, just in time for Krewe du Vieux. The Mardi Gras parade passes right in front of the building, three weeks from Saturday.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu's Press Secretary Craig Belden released this statement about the balconies:
"As with all balconies or structures on the public right of way, it is up to the property owner to perform maintenance and ensure the structural integrity of their property. Generally speaking, sidewalk restoration does not disturb balcony footings. For the sidewalk restoration on Decatur Street, the contractor did repair several balcony poles at the request of the property owners.
To date, the City has not received any formal complaint(s) regarding unstable/unsafe balconies as a result of damage to footings during sidewalk construction on Decatur and Bourbon Streets.
Should the City receive a formal complaint about damage during construction on Decatur and/or Bourbon Streets, it would be shared with Hard Rock Construction to address through their own claims process."