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3 Months After New Orleans Hotel Collapse, Bodies Still There

A tarp covering one recently blew away, exposing his remains
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2020 10:20 AM CST
This Oct. 12, 2019, file photo, shows damage from the partial collapse at the Hard Rock Hotel under construction in New Orleans.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
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(Newser) – The Hard Rock Hotel under construction in New Orleans collapsed on Oct. 12, 2019. It's been more than three months since the disaster, which killed three workers—and two of their bodies are still in the destroyed building. The city has said the site is too unstable and dangerous to recover the bodies, but renewed outrage over the situation erupted Tuesday when wind blew a tarp that had been placed to shield one of the bodies from view, making it clearly visible again. Photos then began circulating, prompting Mayor LaToya Cantrell to issue a statement rebuking those taking them: "capturing or sharing images of the victims in such a condition is irresponsible, it is indefensible, and it is not who we are as New Orleanians." But some of the responses took issue with Cantrell's version of the story, CNN reports.

"I would submit to @mayorcantrell that placing a tarp over a dead New Orleans citizen & allowing him to hang for more than 3 months, rather than figuring out a way to remove his body is 'irresponsible and indefensible,'" reads one of those responses on Twitter. "Atrocious look for our state." For now, it seems that not only will the bodies of Jose Ponce Arreola, 63, and Quinnyon Wimberly, 36, remain there, but the tarp won't even be replaced. "The condition of the building and the altitude above street level complicate efforts to replace the tarp, as they have prevented recovery thus far," Cantrell's statement continues, per the Mercury News. City officials recently decided to implode the entire building in March rather than remove it piece by piece, and Cantrell said the victims' families had agreed to the plan and that recovering the remains would be the "next step." (Read more Hard Rock stories.)

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