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New Orleans Attorney Profiles 2015
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Key hearing today on lawsuit challenging Uber in New Orleans postponed

A man leaves the headquarters of Uber in San Francisco on Dec. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

. Don’t fret, parade-goers. It appears like Uber will be up and running this weekend in New Orleans. A hearing related to the lawsuit New Orleans cabbies have brought against UberX drivers won’t be heard until the end of the month. The hearing was originally scheduled for Friday. The lawsuit says UberX drivers should be blocked from picking up… Continue reading →

Kenner to revive curbside recycling collections

Councilman and Acting Kenner Mayor Mike Sigur signs a contract with Ramelli Janitorial Services Inc. on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, that is expected to soon resurrect Kenner's curbside recycling program. To the left is Ramelli co-owner Tommy Ramelli, and to the right is Ramelli consultant Nick Nicolosi. (Advocate staff photo by Ramon Antonio Vargas)

For the first time since Hurricane Katrina, Kenner will soon provide its residents with curbside recycling service, according to government officials. The program is part of a deal — approved by the City Council in December and signed Thursday — ensuring that Ramelli Janitorial Services Inc. will continue picking up trash in Kenner for… Continue reading →

Mayor Landrieu’s administration dispels rumors over Confederate monuments

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Mayor Mitch Landrieu is congratulated after his speech supporting the removal of the Confederate monuments in the City Council chambers in New Orleans, La. Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015.

An aide to Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Thursday threw cold water on rumors that four controversial monuments are set to be handed over to retired lawyer and developer John Cummings after they’ve been removed from public property. Eric Granderson, Landrieu’s chief council lobbyist, told Councilwoman Stacy Head that he was “not aware of anything” when she… Continue reading →

Council agrees to let actor Wendell Pierce, ex-mayoral candidate Troy Henry demolish St. Claude Avenue property

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Actor and New Orleans native Wendell Pierce had a different kind of role Thursday, when he appeared before the city council to ask for approval to demolish a property he bought with others from NORA. Here he speaks with Thomas Houghton who spoke in opposition to Pierce.

In a move that showcased racial tensions in rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods and pitted preservationists against developers, a divided New Orleans City Council approved the demolition of a former St. Claude Avenue auto parts store on Thursday. The vote was 4-3. The decision angered some neighbors, who said the store had been allowed to deteriorate… Continue reading →

Former lawyer for St. Tammany School Board faces ethics charges for alleged double-dipping

Advocate file photo by SCOTT THRELKELD --  Harry Pastuszek Jr., attorney for the St. Tammany Parish School Board

Harry Pastuszek Jr., a member of former north shore District Attorney Walter Reed’s inner circle, has been charged by the state Ethics Board with a raft of violations related to his lucrative and controversial contract with the St. Tammany Parish School Board. The probe by the Ethics Board followed a series of 2014 Continue reading →

Edwards flexible on keeping troopers in New Orleans on long-term basis

Backing off calls he made on the campaign trail last fall for a specific timeline for ending the deployment of State Police in the French Quarter, Gov. John Bel Edwards said Tuesday he is now considering a more flexible approach. In a joint news conference with Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Edwards said the passage of a Continue reading →

Parish leaders ask for voice in Louisiana’s budget debate

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister addresses the media after a meeting of southeast Louisiana parish officials Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016, at the St. Tammany Parish Council Chambers in Mandeville.

Saying they want “a place at the table,” 13 south Louisiana parish presidents gathered in St. Tammany Parish on Tuesday and urged state lawmakers to consult them during Louisiana’s upcoming budget debate. The meeting was convened by St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister and included parish presidents from around the New Orleans and Baton… Continue reading →

Higher fines for parking tickets approved by City Council committee as last step in compromise on higher meter rates

Advocate file photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- New Orleans Department of Public Works (DPW) Parking Division Officer Carr tickets vehicles on Baronne St. in the Central Business District in New Orleans, La. Wednesday, July 22, 2015.

A New Orleans City Council committee on Tuesday unanimously approved the final steps in the city’s controversial plan to raise parking meter rates. The changes include higher fines for parking violations as well as an increase in the fees that companies must pay to block off curb spaces near parking meters. The moves represented a victory… Continue reading →

$8.1 million would pay for guardrails along canals on parts of three major East Jefferson roads, study says

It would cost at least $100 million to install enough barriers to prevent cars from veering into any of the uncovered drainage canals on the east bank of Jefferson Parish, according to a recently completed engineering study. But for the relatively reasonable sum of about $8.1 million, the parish could install guardrails next to drainage canals… Continue reading →

Former city attorney for New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu lands new job at law firm

City Attorney Sharonda Williams, photographed in 2010

The former city attorney for Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration, who left her post in November, has joined local law firm Fishman Haygood LLP, the firm announced Monday. Sharonda Williams, who served as city attorney for more than two years, was the lead counsel representing the city in negotiations over federal consent decrees for the New Orleans… Continue reading →

Slidell awards contract for street, sidewalk, drainage work in area hit hard by Katrina

Slidell’s efforts to repair damage Hurricane Katrina caused to its streets and underground utilities took a leap forward last week, when the City Council voted to accept a $5.4 million bid for work in the Schneider Canal drainage basin, one of the areas hardest hit by the storm. Magnolia Construction LLC submitted the low… Continue reading →

Responding to spike in fatal heroin overdoses, city will make antidote readily available to all

In response to a spike in heroin overdoses that is believed to have killed at least seven people in the city so far this year, New Orleans is making a drug that counteracts the opiate’s effects available over the counter at University Medical Center. City health officials are urging those who have family or friends who… Continue reading →

Kenner prosecutor doubling as paid domestic-violence counselor accused of breaking ethics regulations

A Kenner city prosecutor who was the sole owner and operator of a company paid to teach court-ordered counseling classes for domestic violence offenders broke state ethics regulations with the arrangement, ethics officials said in a complaint released Thursday. Louisiana’s Board of Ethics charged Christopher Weddle with violating a law prohibiting public employees… Continue reading →

Plaquemines businesses fined for contracts with parish councilman

Two Plaquemines Parish businesses have been fined $2,500 for violating state ethics laws by contracting with a company owned by Parish Councilman Jeff Edgecombe. Deep Delta Houseboats and West Delta Development, both owned by Michael and William Butler, paid Edgecombe Construction $197,100 and $251,132, respectively, for materials and construction services at the Venice Marina. Since… Continue reading →

Auction of property near airport in Kenner to take place Friday

Thirty-one parcels representing scores or hundreds of vacant lots south and east of Louis Armstrong International Airport will be auctioned off to commercial developers Friday. The land is located on portions of 23 city blocks in Kenner but is owned by the Federal Aviation Administration, which bought out local homeowners in the late 1980s to settle… Continue reading →

State Supreme Court decision could cost Kenner hundreds of thousands in firefighter pension contributions

Advocate staff file photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- Kenner fire department firefighters respond to an apartment fire. Louisiana’s highest court this week ordered the city to factor in incentive pay, holiday pay and similar compensation when calculating pension contributions for firefighters.

In a decision that apparently will cost Kenner’s government hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not more, Louisiana’s highest court this week ordered the city to factor in incentive pay, holiday pay and similar compensation when calculating pension contributions for firefighters. The Supreme Court’s decision upheld a ruling last year by a state 5th… Continue reading →

Landrieu urges support of higher taxes for police, fire departments

Repeatedly returning to the idea that “sacrifice” and “agony” are necessary for progress, Mayor Mitch Landrieu stumped Wednesday for proposed new taxes to fund more police officers and pay off a $75 million settlement with the city’s firefighters. In a speech organized by the nonpartisan Bureau of Governmental Research, which has been skeptical of taxes the… Continue reading →

No opposition heard as council committee discusses easing city marijuana penalties

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ-- Councilwomen LaToya Cantrell and Susan Guidry addresses the audience as a they conduct a town hall meeting on the proposed anti-smoking ordinance for bars and gaming establishments  in New Orleans, La. Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015. The ordinance was cosponsored by councilwomen Cantrell and Guidry.

A move to drop marijuana possession to, at worst, a ticketable offense in New Orleans drew no opposition from members of the City Council on Wednesday. Other members had few comments or questions during a Criminal Justice Committee meeting to discuss Councilwoman Susan Guidry’s proposal, which would allow New Orleans police to issue warnings… Continue reading →

Jefferson Parish Council rejects proposed Marrero gas station

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- The parish president, seven council members, the sheriff, clerk of court and coroner all took the oath of office Wednesday, January 6, 2016 at the Jefferson Performing Arts Center.

Facing loud objections from residents concerned about saving some live oak trees on the site and preserving the adjacent neighborhood’s quiet atmosphere, the Jefferson Parish Council on Wednesday defeated a proposal to build a RaceTrac gas station at Wichers Drive and Barataria Boulevard in Marrero. The vote was unanimous, with one abstention. An attorney… Continue reading →

Report: Nearly half of New Orleans families aren’t meeting basic needs

Almost half of New Orleans families don’t earn enough to meet their basic needs. That’s a finding of a report due out Wednesday from the Louisiana Association of United Ways. Though other United Way affiliates have released similar statewide reports, it is the organization’s first comprehensive examination of poverty in Louisiana. The study was… Continue reading →

Planning Commission endorses proposal to legalize most short-term rentals

A plan legalizing short-term rentals to visitors throughout the city but prohibiting residents from renting whole units in residential areas throughout the year gained the approval of the New Orleans City Planning Commission on Tuesday. The commission voted 6-1 in favor of a set of rules that largely follow the recommendations of its staff.Continue reading →

St. Tammany president sets sights on cultural arts district, parish-owned mental health campus and continued Safe Haven development for second term

Pat Brister Candidate president St. Tammany arish

Two weeks after her swearing-in for a second term, St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister laid out goals Monday that include continued development of Safe Haven, the parish-owned mental health campus, and a cultural arts district that she said will be a top priority. Brister was surrounded by parish councilmen Steve Stefancik and T.J. Smith, Covington… Continue reading →