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New Orleans Attorney Profiles 2015
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Parish consultant, West Jefferson Medical Center officials differ over accuracy of financial statements; hospital may not have earned as much as claimed

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

A consultant advising Jefferson Parish in its efforts to lease a public hospital in Marrero to a private operator has told parish officials that the hospital has been providing numbers that were inaccurate and overly positive about its financial condition, emails obtained Monday by The New Orleans Advocate showed. West Jefferson Medical Center didn’t earn as… Continue reading →

HANO drops plan to build Central City community center

The Housing Authority of New Orleans voted Monday to give up its claim to Central City property on which it had planned to build a community center, saying it can’t pay for the project in part because construction delays on a related development jeopardized the tax credits that would have been used to fund it. The… Continue reading →

St. Tammany Council to pick one of three applicants to fill interim District 13 seat

The St. Tammany Parish Council will decide at a special meeting Wednesday which of three applicants will be appointed to fill out the unexpired term of Richard Artigue, who resigned earlier this month to become Slidell’s airport manager. Four people submitted letters and résumés for the District 13 seat, which covers the southeast corner… Continue reading →

Community meeting Tuesday in St. Bernard to discuss potentially deadly amoeba found in water system

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON - After a rare brian eating amoeba, Naegleria fowleri, was found in the water system by the Centers for Disease Control, fire hydrants are being opened to flush out the amoeba from the water system like this one on

State officials have scheduled a community meeting Tuesday in St. Bernard Parish to discuss concerns about a potentially deadly amoeba that was recently found in the parish’s water system. Representatives from the state Department of Health and Hospitals are slated to attend the meeting to answer residents’ questions. Parish officials have been invited to attend, as… Continue reading →

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says inequality in America is immoral and 'grotesque' at an appearance in Kenner

Advocate staff photo by A.J. SISCO  -- Supporters hold signs as U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks during a rally at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner, Louisiana, Sunday, July 26, 2015.

With fiery rhetoric that denounced inequality in America as immoral and “grotesque,” Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders rallied thousands of supporters in Kenner on Sunday evening at the end of a swing through Louisiana. Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont on the left wing of the Democratic Party, kicked off his speech by acknowledging that Louisiana does… Continue reading →

Maple Street interim zoning district proposal shot down by City Council

New Orleans City Councilwoman Susan Guidry

New Orleans City Councilwoman Susan Guidry was rebuffed last week in her attempt to create an interim zoning district along Maple Street to prohibit the sale of alcohol and live entertainment at restaurants where those are not already allowed by a conditional-use permit. Although a majority of the five council members present voted in favor of… Continue reading →

Severe weather, power outages postpone Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo awards ceremony

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- With a one pound White Trout, from left, a laughing Curtis Marcello and Jerry Ordoyne who caught the fish during the third and final day of the 2015 International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo.

Severe weather and numerous power outages forced officials to postpone Saturday night’s International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo award ceremony. Both the ceremony and a prize drawing will be rescheduled at a later time, Jefferson Parish spokeswoman Kriss Fortunato said. She said people should stay tuned to the International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo’s… Continue reading →

Helis doing only permitted work at drill site, Tammany officials say after inspection

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD  -- Doug Herlocker of Tetra Tech shows air monitoring equipment June 19, 2015, on the campus of Lakeshore High School. The monitoring station is for a Helis Oil and Gas fracking site near the school.

St. Tammany Parish officials who inspected Helis Oil & Gas Co.’s drilling site Friday found that the company was “doing exactly what they said,” namely, completing installation of air and groundwater monitoring stations at the site of a controversial planned fracking well, according to Ronnie Simpson, a spokesman for Parish President Pat Brister. The parish had issued… Continue reading →

East bank of N.O. under boil advisory

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Kathryn Rabstejnek grabs some bottled water at the Rouses on Baronne Street in the CBD because of a boiled water advisory for the East Bank in New Orleans, La. Friday, July 24, 2015. A boil water advisory has been issued for New Orleans' east bank because of a pressure drop at the Sewerage & Water Board plant on Claiborne Avenue early Friday morning. The pressure drop was caused by a power surge at two pumping stations powered by Entergy New Orleans that, in turn, caused pressure at the Carrollton Water Plant to fall below 20 pounds per square inch for at least 10 minutes, S&WB Director Cedric Grant said. S&WB officials have confirmed that in some places pressure dropped below the 15-pounds-per-square-inch threshold that triggers a mandatory boil water advisory.

The morning routine for most New Orleanians proceeded as usual Friday. As they brushed their teeth, took showers and made coffee, they had no idea that pressure in the city’s water system had dropped to potentially unsafe levels hours before, meaning the water across the east bank of Orleans Parish might be contaminated. Sewerage &… Continue reading →

Mandeville City Council votes to close parts of the lakefront to special events

When Mandeville was founded 181 years ago, founder Bernard Xavier de Marigny de Mandeville did something unusual. He took the city’s best attribute — a 1.5-mile section of Lake Pontchartrain shoreline — and decreed that it would be set aside for public use forever. Nearly two centuries later, however, the public use of that land is… Continue reading →

Jefferson Councilman Elton Lagasse wants pay raises for parish employees — just not from using BP money, he says

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  Jefferson Parish Councilman Elton Lagasse in 2013.

Jefferson Parish Councilman Elton Lagasse supports giving pay raises to parish government employees this year. He just doesn’t want to fund those raises with money from the recent oil spill settlement with BP, which a fellow councilman has proposed doing, Lagasse said Thursday in a statement. At a meeting Wednesday in Grand Isle, the Parish… Continue reading →

Kenner City Council approves plan to build NFL alumni-affiliated assisted living center in town

Kenner will be home to an assisted living center specializing in memory-loss treatment such as this one, shown in a rendering provided by the group Validus Senior Living out of Florida. The facility in Kenner will be among 33 being built in areas that are home to NFL teams. Validus is working with investment bank Piper Jaffray to spend $1.1 billion building the centers over the next five years. The NFL Alumni Association has struck a partnership with Validus as it erects the centers.

Kenner will become home to an expansive assisted living center that will specialize in treating memory loss and will be affiliated with a nonprofit dedicated to helping retired pro football players, the Kenner City Council has decided. At its meeting Thursday, the council unanimously approved a plan for Validus Senior Living to build a… Continue reading →

Helis offers to let St. Tammany Parish inspectors check on work at drilling site; activist group wants to go along

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD  -- Workers head down a dirt road June 19, 2015, as they help prepare the infrastructure for a fracking operation by  Helis Oil and Gas off Louisiana 1088 near Lakeshore High School.

One of the ripples from Monday’s court skirmish over a controversial proposed fracking well in St. Tammany Parish is turning into a wave. A spokesman for Helis Oil & Gas Co. said Thursday that parish inspectors have been invited to visit the site and verify that the work going on there is within the narrow scope… Continue reading →

David Peralta downplays positive test for brain-eating amoeba in St. Bernard water, says faulty equipment could mean false results

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- A brain-eating amoeba was detected at St. Bernard Parish water site on Angela St. in Arabi. Several of the hydrants in the area were left running in an effort to flush out the system Thursday, July 23, 2015. Jimmy Delery stands in the background.

St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta on Thursday downplayed new concerns about a rare brain-eating amoeba that was recently detected in the parish’s water system, blaming the positive test on broken sampling equipment that likely distorted the results. The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals informed parish officials late Wednesday that the Naegleria fowleri amoeba was… Continue reading →

Bernie Sanders to appear at several events this weekend in Louisiana

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks to reporters after speaking to federal contract workers at a rally on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 22, 2015, to push for a raise to the minimum wage to $15 an hour. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Democratic presidential contender Sen. Bernie Sanders will swing through Louisiana this weekend with events including a public town hall in Kenner. The tour includes appearances at the state Democratic Party’s major annual fundraiser and a civil rights organization’s convention. Sanders, a senator from Vermont, has been drawing large, enthusiastic crowds in recent weeks as… Continue reading →

Work on City Park golf course destroyed acre of wetlands, Corps of Engineers rules

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Uprooted trees, destroyed to clear the way for a new golf course at City Park, awaiting removal behind a construction fence. Over the past month, as the park contractors attempted to clear trees and brush to make way for an 18-hole, 383-acre championship golf course, their work has been blocked by two separate tree-sitters, part of a group called Wild Is Free.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has determined that the construction of a $13 million golf course at City Park this year has destroyed more than an acre of wetlands in violation of the federal Clean Water Act, according to a notice issued this week. The determination is at least a moral victory for… Continue reading →

Judge appears to side with Peralta in contract dispute with St. Bernard Parish Council

The St. Bernard Parish Council likely does not have the authority to force Parish President David Peralta to end a controversial contract that has led to a bitter battle between the two sides of parish government, a state judge indicated from the bench Wednesday after hearing four hours of testimony. Retired Judge Ashly Bruce Simpson was… Continue reading →

Jefferson President John Young trying to resolve financial dispute with IG’s Office

Advocate staff file photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Jefferson parish Inspector General David McClintock.

At least for now, Jefferson Parish President John Young’s administration won’t take away the $40,000 it has said the parish Inspector General’s Office should pay to cover the cost of the 2011 election that led to the agency’s creation. Young told Parish Council members Wednesday that his staff and Inspector General David McClintock are… Continue reading →

Orleans officials express support for cash-strapped Public Defender’s Office but make no promises

The New Orleans City Council and Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration will look for ways to help shore up the Orleans Public Defenders Office, which is contemplating slashing its staff in the wake of funding cuts from the state and a drop in revenue from fines. In an appearance Wednesday before the council’s Criminal Justice Committee, Chief… Continue reading →

Helis will be allowed to complete monitoring stations at controversial St. Tammany well site

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD  -- A noise monitoring station, photographed June 19, 2015, has been installed by Helis Oil and Gas near Louisiana 1088 and Interstate 12 near Mandeville to monitor noise from their fracking operation.

Helis Oil & Gas Co. will be allowed to continue installing environmental monitoring equipment at its St. Tammany Parish drilling site despite a Monday order to cease all work, a parish spokesman said Wednesday. Following a ruling by a Baton Rouge state judge Monday morning, St. Tammany officials ordered the company to stop construction… Continue reading →

Two newcomers challenging incumbent Jake Groby for Tammany council seat

Gerrin Narcisse

Two political newcomers have announced that they are running for the District 7 St. Tammany Parish Council seat, challenging incumbent Jake Groby. Joseph Savarese, owner and president of Dependable Electric Motor Co. in Lacombe, and Gerrin Narcisse, a 27-year-old teacher, both recently announced that they are running for the seat that Groby was elected to in… Continue reading →

Jefferson Parish to use portion of BP settlement for 5 percent employee pay raises

Advocate photo by JOHN McCUSKER --   Jefferson Parish Councilman Elton Lagasse

Jefferson Parish government employees are likely to see some heftier paychecks, thanks to money from the recent oil spill settlement with BP. The Parish Council on Wednesday introduced an ordinance that would give 5 percent pay raises to almost all Jefferson government employees, retroactive to the beginning of this year. The ordinance,… Continue reading →

Here's latest twist in drama involving St. Bernard Parish, president David Peralta

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta speaks on an iPhone as he walks to the Parish Council chambers in St. Bernard, La. Tuesday, July 21, 2015.

St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta tossed the proverbial kitchen sink at the Parish Council on Tuesday, having seen his veto power rendered useless last week in an escalating dispute over a contract. Peralta filed suit against all but one of the council’s seven members, hoping that a judge will side with him over who has… Continue reading →

Proposed ‘living wage’ ordinance draws support at New Orleans City Hall hearing

A measure aimed at boosting the pay of low-wage employees of companies that have contracts with the city of New Orleans or that have benefited from city subsidies received overwhelming support from union representatives, fair housing advocacy groups and activists at a public hearing Tuesday evening at City Hall. The so-called “living wage” ordinance, sponsored by… Continue reading →

Old movie theatre near Esplanade Mall could become apartment complex, but some residents aren't happy about it

A Baton Rouge developer is eyeing a former movie theater property near the Esplanade Mall in Kenner for an apartment complex of three- and four-story buildings. The Gateway at Esplanade complex would have 265 one-, two- and three-bedroom units in three buildings plus 413 parking spaces, all on about nine acres, according to plans submitted to… Continue reading →

Incumbent Marty Dean running for western St. Tammany Parish Council seat

St. Tammany Parish Councilman Marty Dean is seeking re-election to the District 1 seat that he has held since 2003. Dean served two terms as a councilman at large on the Covington City Council before his election to the Parish Council. District 1 covers western St. Tammany Parish including parts of Covington. He has lived in the… Continue reading →