Anthony Magrette is a New Orleans construction foreman who was initially missing after the Hard Rock Hotel partially collapsed in New Orleans. He was a father and grandfather who was working overtime when the disaster hit. His wife kept a heartbreaking and poignant vigil outside the rubble.
Tragically, it appears he didn’t make it.
Dramatic video captures the Hard Rock Hotel construction site partially collapsing in New Orleans, Louisiana. When the dust settled on Saturday, October 12, 2019, per Nola.com: two people were dead in the collapse, with one person initially still unaccounted for. Eighteen workers were wounded. The missing man was Anthony “Tony” Magrette.
However, tragically, Katherine Mozzone, a journalist with WVUE-TV, reported, “New information from the city indicates search and rescue crews are still hopeful to find the third missing person alive. Unfortunately, the family now believes Anthony Magrette is one of those found deceased. A family friend of one of the missing workers tells me a chaplain and the city just informed loved ones the unaccounted for are deceased.” This account, sadly, was backed up by other posts on Facebook. “My heart is so broken for my sister from another mother Nova! My brother Anthony Magrette didnt make it! I love you Nova! If you need anything please let us know babe!” wrote one person who knew Magrette’s wife.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Magrette’s Wife Was Camping Outside the Rubble Waiting for Him to Return
It is a heartbreaking scene. Magrette’s family was not giving up hope. According to Fox8, his family members were camping outside on Canal Street, waiting for him to be rescued. Sadly, it appears that moment won’t come.
The television station reported that Magrette’s wife didn’t want to leave his side. According to Fox 8, Magrette was working overtime when the hotel construction site imploded. Search and rescue teams were waiting until the building was stabilized before going back inside, according to Fox8. On Sunday, they were searching for Magrette anew.
NOLA.com reported that Magrette’s wife Nova Espinoza “won’t leave her chair” near the site of the collapse. “She is waiting there for her husband, Anthony Magrette, to emerge from the wreckage.”
According to The Associated Press, authorities have not said whether they think Magrette is alive within the rubble. Tragically, though, other accounts now say he is not.
2. Magrette Was a Married Father of Four
According to Fox8, Magrette was 49 years old. He has four grown children and five granddaughters. “He loves his family, he’s really funny, always caring,” his wife told WWLTV. “He’s a hard worker and loves his job.”
He worked as a construction worker for King Co. LLC, NOLA.com reported. He was believed to be somewhere between the 7th and 10th floors when the building fell.
Magrette’s wife described last seeing him that morning to NOLA.com, which said they had been married four years since meeting at a Buddhist temple. “I gave him a kiss and told him I loved him,” Espinoza said. “He told me he loved me, and that’s the last time I heard from him.”
3. Magrette Was Described as a Man Who Was ‘Working Hard to Provide’
People expressed great concern for Magrette on social media. “My heart is broken, my friend Tony Anthony Magrette who was one of the guys missing in the hotel collapse and he lost his life doing what he did best!! Working hard to provide and to be the best husband, father, grandfather and brother to his family! Please continue to lift this family with prayers!! RIP my sweet friend!!” wrote one woman who knew him.
He was a twin. “Such a sad day! Another angel has earned his wings!” wrote a woman who knew him on Facebook. “Go rest high brother Anthony Magrette you will be missed but never will be forgotten and please everyone pray for the family pray for my sister Angela Magrette that was her twin brother her best friend!”
“RIP BUBBA TONY Anthony Magrette. TODAY OURS BUBBA WAS CALLED HOME GOD CALLED HIM HOME. OURS FAMILIES ARE GOING THRU HARD TIMES PLEASE KEEP PRAYING FOR US ALL. WE WILL NEVER FORGET YOU BUBBA,” wrote another friend.
4. Magrette Was From Biloxi Mississippi
According to his Facebook page, Tony Magrette was a foreman at King company limited partnership who lived in Greta, Louisiana and was from Biloxi, Mississippi. He listed these life events on Facebook:
Started New Job at T&M Plastering Unique and Custom Designs, Colors and Textures
Started New Job at Lee-Magrette Plastering
Started New Job at King company limited partnership
5. Reports Said Construction Workers Ran for Safety as the Building Collapsed
People in the area where the hotel collapse occurred took to social media in the moments after the collapse. “Cleaning up after work out when club evacuated due to crane collapse at hard rock new construction. Fire Department trying to save workers,” wrote one man. One witness told NOLA.com about seeing two men on “about the 10th story just hanging on” after the collapse and another surrounded by rubble. People described hearing a loud rumble.
Photos showed the massive damage to the building. According to 4WWL-TV, several construction workers “had to run to safety on Saturday morning” as a large chunk of the hotel “came crashing down suddenly.”
It has been under construction for some time, the television station reported. The hotel is located on Canal Street in downtown New Orleans. Television stations went live from the scene:
According to 4WWL, upper floors “began to fall on top of each other” as the building imploded. The construction project was supposed to turn the building into 18 stories with 350 rooms and condos, with an opening date scheduled for spring 2020, the television station reported. The corner, which had been vacant, was once the site of Woolworth’s. That building, which was the location of famous civil rights sit-ins, was torn down in 2014:
The New Orleans Fire Department shared photos from the scene on Twitter.
Here’s another view:
The cause of the collapse was not yet clear.
“#Alert the @NOLAFireDept, @NewOrleansEMS & @NOPDNews are responding to a partial structure collapse at Canal & N. Rampart. This is an active scene. Please avoid the area & listen to public safety officials,” the NOLA Ready page wrote on Twitter on the day of the collapse.