After collapse on Royal Street, expert 'very concerned' about other French Quarter buildings _lowres

A roof hangs in the historic French Quarter section of New Orleans, Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. Crews in the French Quarter were working to clear away debris after an additional portion of a 200-year-old building collapsed on Wednesday. Officials said no one was injured when part of the facade of the peach-colored building at St. Ann and Royal streets gave way Tuesday afternoon, striking the balcony below and causing it to collapse to the street. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

The sudden and dramatic loss of a three-story piece of New Orleans history took many people, including city inspectors, by surprise this week.

But whatever factors led to the collapse of 808-810 Royal St. could be lurking inside other venerable French Quarter buildings, city officials and preservationists warned.

“There are probably several other buildings in the Quarter and beyond where the structural problems are not apparent from the street, and we should be very concerned about that,” said Meg Lousteau, executive director of the Vieux Carre Residents, Property Owners and Associates.

On the surface, the 200-year-old Royal Street building — referred to in historical documents as one of the city’s early “skyscrapers” — appeared sturdy. Code violations cited in 2011 has been corrected, including a fresh coat of yellow paint, city officials said.

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