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Bill Capo / Eyewitness News
Email: bcapo@wwltv.com | Twitter: @billcapo

NEW ORLEANS -- Two large, heavy chunks of broken marble sat on the sidewalk in front of Gallier Hall. Behind them were granite steps smashed when a large marble block fell off the facade near the roof of the historic building.

'I'm frightened that there are a lot of people that go in here, come in and out all the time,' said Sandra Hayden. 'I live down the street. People have lunch here. It's scary.'

'I was like, oh my God, this is something to see on my first day visiting New Orleans for the first time,' said Henry Irisson of Madison, Wisconsin.

The 90-feet-wide, three-story Greek Revival building designed by noted architect James Gallier was completed in 1851 and once served as New Orleans City Hall.

'We're lucky it wasn't the irreplaceable sculptures at the top,' said Councilman Jason Williams. 'It's certainly not something that is going to be a quick fix.'

'In England, this happens quite frequently. You get used to it after a while,' said James Hope, visiting from Newcastle, England.

'Yeah, it looks like a big, hunking, great bit of stone,' Kate Hope said with a giggle.

The elegant old building is a popular place for tourists to photograph. It is used for many functions, official and parties. I was told just a few days ago a group gathered under there to do the ALS ice bucket challenge.

Now, of course, the barricades are up and city crews are trying to figure out why that piece fell, and what to do about it now.

'We need to just take better care of our buildings, and our infrastructure,' said Hayden.

'A lot of attention does go into Gallier Hall. A lot more is going to have to go into it,' Williams said.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu said the city is assessing the condition of the building and will repair the damage as soon as possible.

Gallier Hall will stay open, though visitors will have to use the side entrance.

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