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Video shows Times-Picayune clock tower come crashing down

It was the last — and most visible — part of the old newspaper plant.

NEW ORLEANS — Time was up for The Times-Picayune clock tower at 6:40 p.m. Sunday.

It was the last -- and most visible -- part of the massive plant that sat along the Pontchartrain Expressway for just more than half a century.

Crews began the painstaking demolition in July. The process took so long because of how the three-story building was constructed: mostly of concrete, brick and steel, with a foundation strong enough to support towering, blocks-long presses.

The building was a technological marvel when it opened in 1968. But it quickly became obsolete when the Newhouse family, which bought the newspaper in 1952, shifted its focus to digital publishing in 2012 and cut daily publication amid 200 layoffs.

First the news and advertising departments left for sleek new offices at the top of One Canal Place. Eventually the copy desk -- those who edit stories and design pages -- relocated to the former East Jefferson bureau in Metairie.

Finally, the presses went silent in 2016 when printing was moved to Mobile, Alabama, where the Newhouse family printed other newspapers it owns.

The clock tower, which once rotated and carried the names of The Times-Picayune and States-Item names, went dark at night on Feb. 16, 2016. The hands on one fact stopped at 5:00; the other side stopped at 4:15. But when the power was cut isn’t clear.

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The building got new owners -- including float builder Barry Kern and developer Joe Jaeger -- and a third-party company sold whatever furnishings were left inside. Heavy machinery chewed up the presses, which were sold for scrap.

The building that once bustled 24 hours a day, churning out the latest headlines for morning and afternoon editions of the Picayune and States-Item, was vacant and became nothing more than a canvas for graffiti artists during its final months.

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