Skip to content


Another Tear-Down

We woke up this morning to the sound of major demolition. Sure enough, they’re tearing down Physicians Hospital, just like we heard they would.

I don’t mourn the passage of these buildings too much. They were in pretty sad shape pre-Katrina, abandoned for years. I’m not sure if they were salvageable.

My boss and I came by again after lunch, and I took some more pictures.


Then it occurred to us that video would be better, so I shot a short little movie with the still camera.

I uploaded the video to YouTube. (I couldn’t get Vimeo to work for me.) The video is actually kind of funny, even though there’s no audio.

Then they tried to shut us down! They sent a guy over to tell us: “They don’t want you taking any pictures.”

Me: “Why not?”

Him: “I don’t know. They just said they don’t want any pictures.”

Me: “Well that’s too bad because I’m planning to take a lot of pictures.”

Later PJ told me he shot some video of the demolition and they told him the same thing. Who do these people think they are, anyway? And what are they hiding?

So I called the Times-Picayune and WWL-TV and gave them the lead, such as it is, and of course I’m posting pictures and video to the internet.


And you can bet I’ll be there tomorrow morning with a video camera.

Published inFilm & VideoNeighborsNew Orleans


  1. They are probably picture-shy for the same reason that some hospitals will now allow stills, but not video, in the labor room when a baby is born. It’s called fear of litigation. If a law suit is ever brought – and god knows, they’re brought all the time, there’s nothing worse than a video that a plaintiff can claim proves malfeasance. For example, it might later be determined that some building demolishers didn’t address the on-site asbestos properly. If anyone who worked on the tear down gets a cough, and also gets a lawyer, the demolisher might as well just pay out a few million. Not that the workers thought this all through. (It could actually have been more in their interest to have a visual record of the work). But I bet that’s the source of the policy. Signed, your friendly attorney.

  2. Garvey Garvey

    Yes, Marco, you’re absolutely right! A solitary, private individual asking someone to not take photographs of a building’s demolition is *exactly like* the state-sponsored, systematic rounding up and murder of six million Jews!

    B, how did you miss this obvious connection???

  3. I’m guessing that they were operating outside of the lines, or they wouldn’t have minded. It appears that you realize that they have no legal right to tell you to stop shooting. It’s possible that the property wasn’t proeprly abated (asbestos and other hazardous materials safely removed) and even more likely that it wasn’t permitted and they were concerned about discovery because it could shut down their operations, going forward. You did the right thing to alert the media because I would be very surprised if this sort of demolition isn’t going on all over the place in the areas affected by Katrina. I guess it’s a double-edge sword, though, ’cause at least it’s getting done and wading through the proper processes is slowing down the clean-up considerably. Interesting post, B. Thanks.

  4. […] A few weeks ago I posted about a big demolition project which had begun just a block from our house, and how they tried to stop me from taking pictures. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *