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New Orleans Attorney Profiles 2015
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Planning Commission opposes more intense bed-and-breakfasts, alluding to its short-term rental study

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--A sign on Burgundy Street in the French Quarter advertises an apartment for rent in New Orleans, La. Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016. Many long term residents in the French Quarter are worried that the neighborhood will soon be only rentals, both long term of 30 days or more and short term of a few days or weeks.

The New Orleans City Planning Commission’s denial of a long-shot request to allow more intense bed-and-breakfast operations in historic areas of the city suggests there’s still stiff opposition among commissioners to permitting short-term rentals of entire homes in residential neighborhoods. The commission voted unanimously against the bed-and-breakfast request Tuesday, following a brief discussion that directly alluded… Continue reading →

Fire chief shoots back at union leader, calls out 'blatant lie' in spat over response time for Marigny Street fire

New Orleans Fire Department Superintendent Tim McConnell shot back Friday at the firefighters union leader in a dispute about the response to a fire in St. Roch this week that claimed three houses. Firefighters union President Nick Felton had claimed firefighters were delayed in responding to the fire in the 1600 block of Marigny… Continue reading →

Port of New Orleans, Jefferson Parish promise more cooperation in pursuing river commerce opportunities

In response to complaints that the agency has been neglecting Jefferson Parish, the Port of New Orleans’ board of commissioners agreed Thursday to establish a task force dedicated to increasing commerce along the Mississippi River in Jefferson. Officials said they are optimistic the action will help see the parish’s vacant riverfront land transformed into… Continue reading →

Jefferson Parish Visitors Bureau funding mechanism to remain unchanged

The Jefferson Parish Council on Wednesday turned down a proposal to have hotel tax revenue for the Jefferson Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau go directly to that entity without passing through the parish’s coffers first. The effort, which would have needed state legislation to make it happen, was requested by the bureau last month but drew… Continue reading →

National accounting firm to examine West Jefferson hospital’s books after lease deal inaccuracies surface

Advocate staff photo by SHERRI MILLER -- West Jefferson Medical Center in Marrero on Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014.

The Jefferson Parish Council is turning to a national accounting firm to figure out why West Jefferson Medical Center’s financial books contained inaccurate data when the parish leased the publicly-owned hospital to a private operator last year. The council voted Wednesday to hire Ernst & Young to review “all financial aspects” of the agreement… Continue reading →

Vote over ordinance to regulate services like Uber, Lyft postponed by Jefferson Council despite objections

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Taxi Drivers including Muracin Brivil, foreground right, leading "What do we want? Justice!" chant, protest before a Jefferson Parish Council meeting in Kenner, La.  asking for the regulation of Uber and UberX drivers similar to the regulation of taxi drivers Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015.

Over the objections of taxi drivers, the Jefferson Parish Council on Wednesday deferred a vote on new regulations for ride-hailing services such as Uber. The ordinance the cab drivers wanted passed Wednesday largely is the same as a previous version they opposed. That one died a year ago when the council couldn’t get either… Continue reading →

Jefferson Parish Council kills $40,000 in additional parish funding for Rickey Jackson youth center

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- Hall of Famer Rickey Jackson greets Governor-elect John Bel Edwards before a Saints game against the Carolina Panthers in the Superdome on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015.

Former Saints star Rickey Jackson’s center for troubled youth in Marrero will not receive an additional $40,000 from Jefferson Parish after a recently released audit criticized the way the facility handled previous allocations, the Parish Council decided Wednesday. The council’s decision came a year after the Internal Revenue Service revoked the tax-exempt status of… Continue reading →

Popular transit: RTA lines see boost after April's service expansion

Advocate Photo by VERONICA DOMINACH--RTA plans to expand the Canal St. Streetcar line down Canal Blvd. in New Orleans, La. Monday, Feb. 23, 2015.

One month after the Regional Transit Authority launched its largest service expansion in more than a decade, riders are taking advantage of the extended hours, according to data the agency released Tuesday. The data, however, compare ridership only in the months directly before and directly after the service changes, which took effect April… Continue reading →

Special Report: Despite improvement, New Orleans police still far from response time goal

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- New Orleans police arrive to a call of a domestic dispute 36 minutes after it was dispatched Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015, in the 7500 block of Vincent Road in New Orleans East. Police units arrived at 9:03 a.m., and talked to the female resident for eight minutes before leaving. A male walked away from the residence at 8:55 a.m. before police arrived. He was not interviewed.

Six months after officials pledged to crack down on abysmal response times, New Orleans police are getting to crime scenes more quickly but are still nowhere near achieving the goals the department set out earlier this year. While policies aimed at bringing arrival times back under control have had a clear impact on improving the department’s… Continue reading →

Confederate monument removal bid process stalled amid threats, unresolved court case, city of New Orleans says

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--A diverse group of streetcar riders pass by Lee Circle in New Orleans, La. Thursday, July 9, 2015 where an 1884 monument to Confederate General Robert E. Lee was placed in what once was Tivoli Circle or Place du Tivoli. New Orleans only spent 15 months in the Confederacy and spent the majority of the Civil War under Union control when the city was captured in 1862 with zero casualties. The monuments that current Mayor Mitch Landrieu has asked to be removed from the public view in the city, which is 58% African American, were all placed many years after the Civil War as monuments to white supremacy. The Lee statue was commissioned and erected by the Lee Monument Association made up of ex-Confederates, their children, and white Southerners.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration on Monday halted its effort to find a contractor to take down three Confederate monuments in New Orleans, citing previous threats of violence and an appeals court injunction that prohibits the statues’ removal while a federal court case plays out. Unlike previous delays, City Hall officials said Monday they are canceling the… Continue reading →

Harahan council promises to act quickly on sandpit operator

The Harahan City Council appears poised to toughen regulation of a privately owned sandpit operation on the Mississippi River batture, just as the operator says it’s making some changes in the face of relentless criticism from nearby residents. The council first voted Thursday to defer for two months an amendment to the zoning ordinance that would… Continue reading →

Bid to tighten rules on New Orleans multifamily housing dies when council deadlocks 3-3

Advocate staff photo by SOPHIA GERMER -- Shana Sasson speaks in front of Morris F.X. Jeff School in Mid-City during a press conference in New Orleans, Thursday November 12, 2015. The gathering was to underscore a local effort in the Bayou St. John neighborhood to hold developers of the Morris F.X. Jeff School to the density levels called for by the city's Master Plan.

The New Orleans City Council could not agree Thursday on whether to better align a provision in the city’s zoning ordinance with the city’s master plan. The result was to kill a Bayou St. John neighborhood group’s effort to curb high-density development in their area and certain other neighborhoods. The proposal, which failed… Continue reading →

'None of this is about health care': Jefferson Parish health clinics blame eviction on politics, legal disputes

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Jefferson Community Health Care Centers CEO Shondra Williams fields texts and calls about the closing of  the facility as Kimberly Rayford, DDS, center, and dental assistant Darvell Williams provide dental care to patient Ataria Bradley in Marrero, La. Wednesday, May 11, 2016. The Jefferson Parish Council voted to end the leases of the facilities and sent a notice for the businesses to leave within 30 days. The West Bank facility has leased the site for many years.

Leaders of a network of health clinics in Jefferson Parish say they face eviction from parish-owned buildings because they ended up on the wrong end of a legal dispute with a politically connected local attorney. Officials at Jefferson Community Health Care Centers say Parish Councilman Mark Spears decided to oust them from two parish buildings… Continue reading →

Outfenced: Boogaloo barrier around Bayou St. John pulled down following social media frenzy

Photo of fence around Bayou St. John being removed (photo via WWL-TV)

A dispute over this weekend’s Bayou Boogaloo festival, prompted by an explosion of complaints on social media, was quickly resolved Wednesday when organizers removed a fence they were erecting along Bayou St. John. Facebook and Twitter lit up Tuesday with gripes about the chain-link fence, which ran near Moss Street from the Lafitte Greenway to Orleans… Continue reading →

Slidell Police Chief Randy Smith preparing to take over Sheriff’s Office

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD Slidell Police Chief Randy Smith, photographed Thursday, May 12, 2016, at his office. Smith will be sworn in as St. Tammany Parish Sheriff on July 1.

Randy Smith is playing multiple roles these days. The career law enforcement officer is still running Slidell’s Police Department, a job he’s held since 2010, and as St. Tammany Parish’s sheriff-elect, he’s making key hires and reviewing his transition team’s plans as he gets ready for July 1, the day he takes charge of the 750-person agency.… Continue reading →

'We’re making great progress': Canal Street sinkhole repairs underway, but timeline still hazy

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- City officials provided a view to the work being done to shore up a tunnel under Canal St which gave way and ate much of outbound Canal St.

Workers scurried around several feet below the surface of Canal Street, climbing like spiders on a web of rebar as they drilled holes for additional metal supports for a wall aimed at repairing the giant hole that opened up two weeks ago in the street. The site buzzed with activity Friday as city officials took members… Continue reading →

Mayor Mitch Landrieu urges Congress to appropriate money for Zika fight: 'It is not a matter of if but when.’

FILE - In this Feb. 4, 2016 file photo, Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to be tested for various diseases perch inside a container at the Gorgas Memorial Laboratory in Panama City. Health authorities in Panama said Thursday, May 5, 2016 theyíve identified four cases of the birth defect microcephaly linked to the Zika virus. The mosquito-borne Zika virus can cause microcephaly, a severe birth defect in which babies are born with abnormally small heads. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco, File)

Mayor Mitch Landrieu testified before Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday in support of President Barack Obama’s proposal to provide nearly $2 billion to fight the Zika virus. In testimony to the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, Landrieu said officials should assume it is only a matter of time before the virus… Continue reading →

After leases for two clinics are ended, Jefferson health care provider says thousands of patients are at risk

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Jefferson Community Health Care Centers CEO Shondra Williams fields texts and calls about the closing of  the facility as Kimberly Rayford, DDS, center, and dental assistant Darvell Williams provide dental care to patient Ataria Bradley in Marrero, La. Wednesday, May 11, 2016. The Jefferson Parish Council voted to end the leases of the facilities and sent a notice for the businesses to leave within 30 days. The West Bank facility has leased the site for many years.

A health care provider said the well-being of thousands of impoverished patients could be at risk after the Jefferson Parish Council voted Wednesday to end leases letting the medical group operate clinics in a pair of parish-owned buildings, one on each side of the Mississippi River. Officials with the nonprofit Jefferson Community Health Care… Continue reading →

Leaks, rats and mold: City Council hears stories of substandard apartments in New Orleans

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Trina Lackey talks at the New Orleans City Council Chambers to council member LaToya Cantrell about renting an apartment with black mold and leaks on Bundy Rd. in New Orleans East that she called "Nightmare on Bundy"  in New Orleans, La. Wednesday, May 11, 2016. Housing groups called on the City Council to do something about the high percentage of substandard housing in the city.

After listening to harrowing tales of children falling through termite-eaten floors and accounts of apartments with exposed wiring and black mold, leaking roofs, and rat and snake infestations, members of the New Orleans City Council said Wednesday they’re working on a plan to bring substandard rental housing in the city up to par. Testimony about the… Continue reading →

Incoming St. Tammany sheriff names his top aides

St. Tammany Parish Sheriff-elect Randy Smith named three deputy chiefs Wednesday, two hired from outside the agency and one promoted from within, and said he will retain Fred Oswald as chief deputy, the office’s second-in-command. The announcements, made in a news release, are the first for the incoming administration and signal that Smith, who takes office… Continue reading →

BGR criticizes bill to allow Morial Convention Center to levy taxes in nearby area

A local nonpartisan watchdog group came out Wednesday against a bill in the Legislature that would give the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center authority to levy taxes within a special taxing district for new projects on the New Orleans riverfront. The Bureau of Governmental Research said the measure, House Bill 1056 by Rep. Walt Leger, would… Continue reading →