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New Orleans Attorney Profiles 2015
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Critics blast New Orleans Recreation Department for its governance, operations and oversight

Dozens of New Orleans residents Thursday expressed a general lack of confidence in the body that oversees public recreation in the city. The New Orleans Recreation Development Commission’s critics included many coaches and dance teachers. They raised a wide range of issues, from broad complaints such as poor facilities maintenance and a lack of community… Continue reading →

Dueling executive orders: In response to Gov. Bobby Jindal, Mayor Mitch Landrieu touts New Orleans as an 'inviting city that thrives on its diversity'

Photo courtesy of mayor's office -- On Thursday, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed an executive order "aimed at clarifying to the nation that New Orleans is a welcoming city where discrimination in any form is not tolerated."

Two days after Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order that critics said could promote discrimination against gays and lesbians, Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Thursday issued one of his own that he said would make clear to the rest of the nation that New Orleans “is an accepting, inviting city that thrives on its… Continue reading →

Destrehan teacher sex plea deal at center of Crime Commission's request to probe St. Charles district attorney

Advocate staff photo by SHERRI MILLER -- Shelley Dufresne is seen leaving the courthouse after she pled guilty in St. Charles Parish on Thursday, April 9, 2015.

The Metropolitan Crime Commission is asking the state Attorney General’s Office to investigate whether St. Charles Parish District Attorney Joel Chaisson II gave preferential treatment to a former Destrehan High School teacher who accepted a plea deal that allowed her to avoid prison or registering as a sex offender, despite admitting that she had sex with… Continue reading →

Mayor Mitch Landrieu uses private email account for much city correspondence, records show

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and some of his staff have routinely used private email accounts for official correspondence, a practice that does not violate the law on its face, but that some experts say could make it hard for the public to be sure the mayor is complying with the state’s public records law. City… Continue reading →

New Orleans Uptown business owners are boiling over about a city drainage project that disconnected water service

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Flaming Torch owner Zohreh Khaleghi pours a glass of water at the restaurant on Magazine and Octavia Street in New Orleans, La. Wednesday, May 20, 2015. The restaurant is one street away from the Jefferson Ave. which is having a new canal dug for the Southeast Louisiana (SELA) Drainage program to reduce flood damages and the restaurant and other business along Magazine are upset that they lose water pressure and have to shut down with no water.

Zohreh Khaleghi recently had to cancel two big dinner parties at her Magazine Street restaurant Flaming Torch because a federal contractor working on a construction project along Jefferson Avenue disconnected her water service without warning her first. Khaleghi said the canceled parties are perhaps the most dramatic example of what it’s like to own a business… Continue reading →

Check out the renderings: New Orleans Convention Center IDs developers for massive retail, food, beverage space

Rendering provided by Center Center --Linear park along Convention Center Blvd., New Orleans

The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center may have found private developers to help carry out its ambitious plan of developing 47 acres of vacant land at the upriver end of the giant meeting hall into a hotel, residences and restaurants. The facility’s governing board has given the staff permission to begin vetting a proposal from a… Continue reading →

Steve Scalise becomes latest Louisiana congressman to endorse David Vitter for governor

U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, the third-highest-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, threw his support behind U.S. Sen. David Vitter’s gubernatorial campaign Monday. Scalise praised Vitter as a hard worker willing to “take on special interests in Baton Rouge” as he made his endorsement. “We’re going to need somebody that’s not only a bold fighter,… Continue reading →

Pontchartrain Beach, minus the Zephyr and amusement park rides, could reopen in 2016

Photo provided by New Orleans Public Library -- Photo of Lake Pontchartrain beach

Largely dormant for more than 30 years, Pontchartrain Beach could be in line for a rebirth next year as a natural recreation area under a proposal by the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation. The plan, which was first proposed before Hurricane Katrina, essentially marks the culmination of the foundation’s efforts to clean up and improve… Continue reading →

Algiers power customers soon to come under Entergy New Orleans umbrella

Entergy Louisiana LLC expects to hand off its Algiers customers to the utility’s New Orleans subsidiary in September, the company said Thursday before the City Council approved an agreement in principle authorizing the transfer. When made official by two ordinances that will be considered by the council in June, the agreement means all of New Orleans… Continue reading →

Taxes from major new retailers led sharp growth in city’s revenue

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- The Riverwalk is being redeveloped into an outlet Monday, October 7, 2013.

At one of Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s first community budget meetings in 2010, residents showed up with a complaint that was a bit more personal than the typical haggling over departmental budgets: They couldn’t buy underwear or shoes in Orleans Parish. While the complaint was perhaps slightly exaggerated, the lack of retail in New Orleans was a… Continue reading →

Councilman wonders what’s growing in that garden, and other political notes

New Orleans City Councilman Jared Brossett is suspicious of the vegetation Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell is pushing in Central City. After listening Thursday as Cantrell introduced an amendment to the new comprehensive zoning ordinance that would allow an “agriculture operation,” such as a community garden, to share a lot with ancillary offices, Brossett had a question.… Continue reading →

New Orleans' Canal Street ferry is back in service after being out of commission for most of the week

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ-- Longer operating hours and a monthly passenger pass are in the offing for the Algiers ferry starting in July. Long-term plans call for new boats and an unlimited pass good for both the ferries and buses/streetcars.

The ferry between Canal Street and Algiers Point resumed service Friday after being out of commission for most of the week because of unspecified mechanical issues. Patrice Bell Mercadel, a spokeswoman for Transdev, did not provide details on what caused the passengers-only ferry to be taken out of service. Transdev is the company that… Continue reading →

Senator David Vitter gives U.S. Army Corps of Engineers an ultimatum: run flood-control structures in New Orleans with or without money

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter, a candidate for governor of Louisiana,

If U.S. Sen. David Vitter is elected governor this fall, operation of some of the most expensive and complex projects in the New Orleans-area flood protection system would be dropped into the lap of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, whether or not the agency gets the money it says it needs to run them, Vitter said Friday.… Continue reading →

New Orleans looks to redevelop Piazza d’Italia site

Advocate file photo by DANIEL ERATH -- The Italian American Marching Club held their annual parade pre-party with the crowning of their queen and Tarantella dance in New Orleans on Sunday March 9, 2014. Sophia Maralado is presented during the celebration.

With a lease agreement finally signed for redevelopment of the long-vacant former World Trade Center building, the city has now set its sights on transforming the Piazza d’Italia area, another renowned city-owned property just a few blocks away. Hoping to capitalize on the tremendous national interest in the World Trade Center project, the city and the… Continue reading →

Watchdog group urges bold action to curb film tax credits with Louisiana's film incentive program

Louisiana’s controversial film incentive program needs bold changes, not the timid fixes suggested by some state lawmakers, a new report from the watchdog Public Affairs Research Council argues. PAR’s policy brief, released Friday, says the state should consider scrapping the program entirely, given that studies have found it has consistently cost the state far… Continue reading →

Flood protection board tries to figure out Plan B for protecting St. Bernard

Volunteers could manage the complicated pumps in St. Bernard Parish, and goats could be brought in to chomp down on the grass growing on the parish’s levees. Those were among the ideas batted around Thursday by flood protection commissioners searching for ways to keep the Lake Borgne Basin Levee District out of bankruptcy after St. Bernard residents… Continue reading →

State to fund new effort to resolve last Road Home cases

After receiving complaints from housing advocates that thousands of homeowners with complex cases are still having difficulty satisfying all the requirements of the Road Home Program, the state has agreed to provide $2 million to put more case managers to work assisting property owners in closing out their accounts with the disaster grant program. Under the… Continue reading →

New pay plan for Jefferson Parish firefighters moves closer to implementation

Advocate file photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- Jefferson Parish Fire and Sheriff's investigators at a fatal fire in Metairie on June 10, 2014.

Although it took longer than the union that represents the fire department protecting most of Metairie and Old Jefferson would have liked, Jefferson Parish President John Young on Wednesday recommended that the Parish Council adopt a new pay plan that would result in raises for about 250 firefighters. Council members Ben Zahn, Paul Johnston… Continue reading →

Faulty electrical system extended airport power outage, council told

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ-- Passengers, many of them departing New Orleans Jazz Festival visitors deal with long lines, delayed and cancelled flights at the Louis Armstrong International Airport  after severe weather moved through the metro area in New Orleans, La. Monday, April 27, 2015. The storm also cause a power outage at the airport.

The violent storms that ravaged the New Orleans area two weeks ago knocked out both power lines into Louis Armstrong International Airport, and problems with the electrical system prevented airport officials from powering the entire terminal even after one of those lines was repaired, a New Orleans City Council committee was told Tuesday. That meant that… Continue reading →

Mandeville City Councilman Rick Danielson to run for Mandeville mayor in 2016

Advocate Photo by MISSIE NOEL (chamber) 'Member of the Year' Mark Benfatti, Maryellen Kanode, John Reynolds and Councilman Rick Danielson.

Confirming what has long been suspected, Mandeville Councilman Rick Danielson said Tuesday that he will challenge incumbent Mandeville Mayor Donald Villere for his job in the March 2016 election. Danielson made the announcement Tuesday night before several dozen supporters at a fundraiser at the Lake House restaurant on Mandeville’s lakefront. In an interview earlier… Continue reading →

French Market’s long-time deputy director leaving

The long-time deputy director of the French Market Corp. is leaving the agency, though officials have provided few details about her resignation. Patricia Henry resigned on Monday and will be on paid leave through Friday, which is her last day with the organization, said Brad Howard, spokesman for Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration. Asked about Henry’s departure,… Continue reading →

Workers begin installing permanent pumps on New Orleans canals

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Work is underway at the city's outfall canals, including the Orleans canal, at the lakefront. This giant cofferdam goes 40 feet down and will house the pumping station's intakes. One of the major shortcomings of the city's old pumping configuration was that the stations were in the city's interior and the was no surge protection. When these pumps go online it will correct that weakness and make the city less vulnerable to the flooding caused by the breaks in the 17th Street and London Avenue canals in 2005.

Contractors working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are installing the first pieces of the massive pumps that will empty New Orleans’ outfall canals during hurricanes. It marks the halfway point in work on the last major construction project in the region’s upgraded flood protection system. The Permanent Canal Closures and Pumps project, as… Continue reading →

WWL-TV report: New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu calls for return of Public Library Foundation money after Irvin Mayfield revelation

Ronald Markham

Mayor Mitch Landrieu has called for sweeping changes at the nonprofit foundation that supports New Orleans’ public libraries after a string of revelations last week raised questions about use of foundation money and possible conflicts of interest on the part of some foundation leaders. The controversy began Tuesday, when WWL-TV showed how Ronald Markham,… Continue reading →