City officials and Gov. John Bel Edwards confirmed the fatality Saturday.
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News outlets report construction workers ran to safety as the Hard Rock Hotel, which was under construction, came crashing down. Upper floors began to fall on top of each other before one side of the building fell to the ground below.
WWL-TV aired and tweeted a viewer's dramatic video of the collapse.
Authorities say 18 people were taken to a hospital for treatment. All were considered stable.
Edwards urged people to stay away from the area, which was still considered unstable. An unsupported crane was listing away from the building site.