NEW ORLEANS, June 24 (UPI) -- The upper floor of a New Orleans church that has been unused since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 collapsed Tuesday, spilling bricks into a neighbor's living room.
Lucille Joseph, 78, told the New Orleans Times-Picayune she was shaken out of her sleep at about 4:30 a.m. when a 20-foot section of the church's second story fell. She said had the entire facade of the Church of God and Christ caved in she would probably have been killed.
"The living daylights shook out of me," she said.
William Pitts, who lives near the church, said he believes the building dates from the 1880s and has served various uses during its history, including a bakery and theater.
Some neighbors said that demolition and construction work at Mahalia Jackson Elementary School across the street from the church may have weakened the building. They said that no work appears to have been done on the church building itself, which remains empty three years after the hurricane.
Joseph and other residents of her building were temporarily evacuated.