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Focus in NOPD sex crimes scandal turns to supervision

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--NOPD Deputy Chief Arlinda Westbrook, of the Public Integrity Bureau, foreground right, looks at statistic of poor follow up of sex crime complaints by five NOPD detectives as at a press conference where New Orleans Assistant Inspector General of Investigations Howard Schwartz speaks next to Superintendent Michael Harrison at NOPD headquarters in New Orleans, La. Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014.

If you dialed 911 to report a sex crime in New Orleans over the past three years, chances were pretty good it landed on the ink-free desk of Officer Derrick Williams. In that case, you still haven’t seen a police report detailing his investigation, because none exists. According to data from Inspector General Ed… Continue reading →

Artist finds contentment, inspiration far from big cities

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- In his studio, Douglas Bourgeois, a painter who lives in St. Amant, LA, near Gonzales, is a Prospect.3 artist.

Here’s an update from the wilds of Ascension Parish: 34 years after he fled New Orleans to avoid its engrossing melodramas and finally get some work done, artist Douglas Bourgeois is still living alone in the middle of nowhere. At 63, he’s a confirmed rural hermit. “But not country enough to… Continue reading →

Bill Cassidy’s low-key strategy seems to be working

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  Bill Cassidy's election results party on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

— Chances are that Republican Bill Cassidy doesn’t consult an actual game plan that spells out how he can unseat Democrat Mary Landrieu in the U.S. Senate race in Louisiana that will be decided Dec. 6. But if he were doing so, it could read something like this: For the… Continue reading →

Capitol Buzz -- Report: Group Benefits revisions could be costly

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Huey P. Long's statue and grave in front of the State Capitol Building.

A new Legislative Fiscal Office analysis concludes that the latest revisions to the state health insurance program ease some of the out-of-pocket expenses of its 230,000 state employee, teacher, retiree and dependent members. Under the original revamp, Fiscal Office director Travis McIlwain projected average out-of-pocket costs to increase by 47 percent over current Group Benefits health… Continue reading →

Retailers prepare for year-end sprint toward profits

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ-- Shoppers take in the offerings at Outlet Collection at Riverwalk in New Orleans Wednesday.

In an annual rite of the pre-holiday season, local retailers are readying for the shopping extravaganza known as Black Friday, and while they exude confidence that sales will be strong, they clearly are sparing no efforts to make sure their year-end sprint for profits doesn’t fall short. Some stores plan to repeat a strategy they launched last… Continue reading →

Twin 200-foot towers to be built at city’s water plant

Artist rendering provided by Sewage and Water Board pf New Orleans --

A pair of water towers that would dwarf Uptown New Orleans’ mostly low-rise buildings could soon rise above the Sewerage & Water Board’s campus on South Claiborne Avenue as part of a project aimed at preventing swings in water pressure that can cause boil-water advisories and damage to the system’s pipes. The twin 200-foot-tall towers, each… Continue reading →

Tax vote in St. Bernard will affect flood protection across entire east bank

On Dec. 6, St. Bernard Parish residents will decide whether to increase their property tax for flood protection, and it’s a vote that has broader implications for New Orleans and Jefferson Parish. That’s because the metro area’s storm protection is only as strong as its weakest link, and the money from the St. Bernard tax is… Continue reading →

Developer, neighbors counting on new homes to transform violent corner

Photo provided by Robert Morris, -- Workers from Cutting Edge Renovations prepare the vacant lot at Saratoga and Foucher on Wednesday, Nov. 20, for the construction of two new houses by Pentek Homes.

Less than two months ago, the weeds in the vacant corner lot at Foucher and South Saratoga streets came to the shoulders of the police officers who gathered there for an anti-crime march held in response to one of the recent shooting deaths in the area. Today, the overgrowth is gone, replaced by construction workers preparing… Continue reading →

JPSO deputy injured by drunk driver, and other area crime news

A Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy was injured by a suspected drunk driver early Saturday morning in Metairie, Sheriff Newell Normand reported. Deputy Sean Williams was parked at North Turnbull Drive and Veterans Boulevard, where he was working a movie detail, when a drunk driver slammed… Continue reading →

Foo Fighters return to a city ‘where music really matters’

“If there’s one place where music really matters, it’s New Orleans,” Dave Grohl, of the Foo Fighters, announced Friday night at the House of Blues. The band played a rare club date to coincide with the premiere of the New Orleans episode of “Sonic Highways,” the band’s HBO series documenting the making of its recent album… Continue reading →

Man dies in domestic shooting in N.O. East

A 50-year-old man was shot to death Friday night in New Orleans East, and New Orleans police say his 40-year-old wife fired the weapon. The man, identified as Steven Swanson, was shot multiple times about 8 p.m. Friday in the 5000 block of Coronado Drive, said Officer Frank Robertson, a spokesman for the New Orleans Police… Continue reading →

GOP-led House report debunks Benghazi allegations

Associated Press file photoA Libyan man walks in the rubble of the damaged  U.S. consulate Sept. 13, 2012, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens on the night of Sept. 11in Benghazi, Libya.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The CIA and the military acted properly in responding to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, a Republican-controlled House committee has found. Its report asserted no wrongdoing by Obama administration officials. Debunking a series of persistent allegations hinting at dark conspiracies, the two-year investigation of the politically charged incident… Continue reading →

Texas woman lobs new allegations in wake of report on NOPD sex crime detectives

Advocate staff photo by JOHN SIMERMAN -- Attorney Gloria Allred, right, walks into the New Orleans Police 2nd District Station with a Texas couple who accuse the NOPD of dismissing the woman's claim of being raped by a hotel security guard during Mardi Gras this year.

She was bruised all over, the woman said. Her blood had soaked into the hotel mattress. But a week after the Texas woman reported that she was raped on Mardi Gras night and underwent a hospital exam, a New Orleans Police Department detective told her he was dropping the case. He had concluded the sex was… Continue reading →

Vacant jobs eliminated to help balance the state budget

Advocate staff file photo by BILL FEIG -- Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols

The Jindal administration eliminated 167 vacant positions and found some extra dollars to balance the budget halfway through the fiscal year. “None of the positions that were taken were filled,” Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols, Gov. Bobby Jindal’s chief budgetary adviser, said Friday. “The bottom line is we protected higher ed. We protected health care. There were… Continue reading →

Local immigration activists have mixed reactions to Obama’s speech

President Barack Obama speaks about immigration at Del Sol High School, in Las Vegas, Friday, Nov. 21, 2014. The president unveiled expansive executive actions on immigration Thursday night to spare nearly 5 million people in the U.S. illegally from deportation, setting off a fierce fight with Republicans over the limits of presidential powers. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Irma Esperanza Lemus was at church Thursday night when President Barack Obama announced new protections that will affect roughly 5 million undocumented immigrants. After the service, she and her fellow church members watched a rebroadcast of the president’s address on the Spanish-language cable channel Univision. Many cried. “Some parts were good; some parts… Continue reading →

Early voting starts Saturday for senator, other Dec. 6 contests

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., at a ceremonial investiture for new U.S. Attorney Walt Green, aAugust 1, 2014 at Russell B. Long Federal Building and Courthouse.

Early voting begins Saturday for the Dec. 6 runoff election in which voters statewide will choose between incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu and Republican challenger Bill Cassidy for a U.S. Senate seat and decide many other contests. Early voting will continue daily from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Nov. 29 at parish registrar of voters offices… Continue reading →

Trial for Bourbon Street shooter delayed to February

Trung T. Le

The trial of Trung Le, the only person arrested in this summer’s mass shooting on Bourbon Street, has been continued until Feb. 23. Le, 21, was scheduled to be tried Dec. 1 on one count of attempted murder and one count of manslaughter. Prosecutors moved for a continuance Friday, saying several of their witnesses wouldn’t be… Continue reading →

Man arrested for having gun on Tammany Trace, and other area police news

Phillip Picken

A Lacombe man with a gun was arrested after trying to gain entry into a building near St. Tammany Parish government headquarters Thursday, a parish spokesman said. Phillip Pickens, 35, was booked on several counts, including illegal carrying of a weapon, disturbing the peace,… Continue reading →

St. Tammany DA’s race heats up with new charges

Brian Trainor, left, and Warren Montgomery

It was probably inevitable that an increasingly heated election battle for top prosecutor in St. Tammany and Washington parishes would be handed over to the lawyers. Rykert Toledano, one of the contingent of attorneys supporting Brian Trainor in the race to succeed longtime incumbent Walter Reed, sent a cease-and-desist letter to Trainor’s opponent, Warren Montgomery, on… Continue reading →

Saints blog: Jonathan Goodwin has no plans to leave side of agent Ben Dogra, fired by CAA

New Orleans Saints center Jonathan Goodwin (55) gets set against the Detroit Lions during the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Like the vast majority of the public, Saints center Jonathan Goodwin isn’t sure why the talent and sports agency CAA recently fired his agent, Rakshpal Ben “Ben” Dogra. All the 13-year NFL veteran knew Friday was he had no plans to leave his professional relationship with Dogra. To read the complete blog entry, please click here.… Continue reading →

World Trade Center New Orleans, Ex-Im Bank join forces

The Export-Import Bank of the United States has joined forces with the World Trade Center New Orleans to assist local businesses to boost their export sales and add jobs as part of Ex-Im Bank’s City/State Program. The program helps ensure that Ex-Im Bank’s export finance products are more accessible to small and medium-sized businesses… Continue reading →

Man with gun arrested on Tammany Trace

Phillip Pickens

A man with a gun was arrested after attempting to gain entry into a building at St. Tammany Parish government headquarters Thursday, a parish spokesman confirmed. The man, whose name was not released, attempted to enter the refurbished caboose that serves as headquarters for the Tammany Trace, an approximately 30-mile walking and jogging path along an old… Continue reading →

Work starts on third phase of South Market District

Rendering provided by THE DOMAIN COMPANIES -- Work has started on The Beacon at South Market District, the third phase of a $200 million development in downtown New Orleans. The Beacon will consist of 126 apartments and 20,000 square feet of retail space. It is scheduled for completion in January 2016.

Construction has started on the third phase of the $200 million South Market District mixed-use development, an upscale apartment complex called The Beacon. The building, at Girod Street and O’Keefe Avenue, will consist of 126 apartments, 20,000 square feet of retail space and a landscaped courtyard. The retail space in The Beacon will focus on… Continue reading →