NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CBS/WWL) -- The New Orleans' skyline was forever changed Sunday morning. The former Grand Palace Hotel collapsed in less than ten seconds. It's a historic milestone that proved to be a major undertaking for the city and state.
It started with a series of loud pops then an eruption of 1300 explosive charges. And in a matter of seconds, the 17 story Grand Palace Hotel burst into a plume of dust. Just as officials had planned, it collapsed away from the interstate.
All that's left is a twisted metal frame. Officials say it will take a few months to tear down as opposed to a year and a half if crews had taken the hotel apart piece by piece.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu says, "I thought it was cool, when the thing happened I thought it was amazing because you don't get to see that every now and then. But it was really exciting to watch."
Christina Stephen with the State of Louisiana says, "I thought this was an amazing event, this is so much hard work, people don't realize how much planning and orchestration and interagency cooperation goes into a big demolition event like this."
And authorities say months of planning and coordination paid off. Interstate 10 reopened in just under 3 hours after the state cleared light debris and made sure it wasn't damaged. Once the dust settled, air quality reports were good.
And the city says evacuations, both mandatory and voluntary, went smoothly.
Still, crews spent hours clearing metal beams that fell onto Claiborne Avenue at Canal. City officials say that's not unexpected. All of it, they say, is a sign of progress as they make way for the University Medical Center.
Landrieu says, "I think it's huge, when you think of it symbolically, its tearing down an old structure to give way to build something new."
Stephens says, "Now that this building is down, we can really start making a lot of progress on the site. You'll see hundreds if not thousands of people coming to work here every day. So this is a very important day for us on the hospital project. And one that we've worked on for a very long time."
A long time coming as the city continues to build itself back in hopes of being better than before.