Tiggy Morales destroyed buildings. Not that new imploding rigmarole. Tiggy ran a wrecking ball and he threw both heart and soul into his work. Told me once his work was as emotional as construction. “Someone has to see a building out, same as seein’ it in,” he said.
So when the city of New Orleans condemned the magnificent St. Ferdinand Hotel back in 1938, Tiggy was excited. He loved that place. Had married his darling Edie there more than twenty years earlier. But time can be cruel. Two years later Edie died in childbirth.
In 1935 the St. Ferdinand developed foundation rot after a levee flood.
The city hired Tiggy. His touch with that ball was legendary.
The night before the big job, he walked through the building like always, making sure it was empty. It was late, close to midnight, as he walked toward the old ballroom. Only light he had was a flashlight.
Tiggy wasn’t a spiritual man but this place felt like a church. Rounding the last corner he caught a flash of light and swore he heard music. Then he saw them. The ballroom was alive with dancers. Ladies in fine gowns. Men in suits. It took his breath away.
A beautiful girl, wearing a bright red flapper dress walked up and asked him to dance.
Tiggy says he tipped his hat, went outside and loaded up his machine. He never went back.
Some buildings are just not ready to die.