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CBD residents and business owners still struggle in Hard Rock delay

'It's hard to see why things continue to get delayed. We need to have progress, now.'

NEW ORLEANS —

Vincent Milligan's sense of security isn't quite like it used to be inside his downtown New Orleans apartment. 

That's because his door, like most of his neighbors', is damaged to some extent. That happened nearly five months ago when first responders kicked most doors in while evacuating the building the day the Hard Rock Hotel construction site collapsed.

His LaSalle apartment sits right across the street, above the Saenger Theater on Canal Street. Instead of new doors, many tenants got padlocks.

“If I had a padlock on my door, I wouldn't feel too safe,” said Milligan.

While you still need access to get inside the main building, Milligan says that's not hard to do.

“You know, it's kind of like living in a storage unit,” said Milligan. “Anybody could come along and pop those off.”

Milligan said he's thankful his apartment doesn't have a padlock because first responders saw him leave the building that day, but he wants to speak up for folks who do.

“We're at a point where everybody should have a secure door because otherwise, anyone could come in here,” said Milligan.

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Milligan said he hasn't heard from his property management company, Herman & Kittle Properties out of Indiana, so Eyewitness News reached out, asking about those pad locks and what plans were in place. We got an email stating the company was working on getting the information, but Eyewitness News has not heard back.

Like Milligan, business owners continue to face daily problems as well, even more with the city's latest delay in demolition, citing needed legal approvals from the state.

“It's really maddening at this point,” said Rene Rocha with Morgan & Morgan law firm. “The more things get delayed without answer, the more bleak things look for them. It's a sad situation.”

Rocha’s firm represents the owners of City House Hostel and filed a lawsuit against the developer of what would have been the Hard Rock Hotel.

“They lose money every day that goes by that they can't open back to the public,” said Rocha.

The owners haven't been able to do that because of how close the hostel is to the collapse site. 

“It's hard to see why things continue to get delayed. We need to have progress now,” said Rocha.

Back inside Milligan's apartment, what he sees outside every day on the street is a constant reminder of the tragedy.

 "I'm disgusted by seeing it still — can't believe it's still up there,” said Milligan.

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