The Great Unbuilding

Land, Labor, and Dispossession in New Orleans and Honduras

View of the collapsed Hard Rock Hotel construction site, February 2020. Photograph by Kelly van Dellen, from Alamy Stock Photo.

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The Great Unbuilding

Land, Labor, and Dispossession in New Orleans and Honduras

by Deniz Daser, SarahFouts
Southern Cultures, Vol. 27, No. 2: Built/Unbuilt

“Investigations exposed jarring depths of neglect, absence of oversight, and an egregious disregard for human life.”

When the body of Jose Ponce Arreola—one of three workers killed during the October 12, 2019 collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans—was finally removed from the hotel ruins in August 2020, the press asked his brother, Sergio, what should be built once the rubble was cleared. Sergio said, “A park dedicated to the workers who died.” The reporter followed up, “No hotel?” He replied pithily, “No.”

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