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New Orleans Attorney Profiles 2015
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St. Tammany Council approves loan for financially troubled fire district but calls for investigations

A financially troubled St. Tammany Parish fire district managed to wring an $800,000 loan from the Parish Council on Thursday, but not before angry council members blistered officials’ ears for nearly two hours and asked the district attorney’s and state legislative auditor’s offices to investigate the district for possible malfeasance. Joe Mitternight, chairman of the… Continue reading →

New Orleans City Council backs Mayor Mitch Landrieu on need to send state prisoners to other jails

The New Orleans City Council is backing Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s calls to bring local inmates awaiting trial back to Orleans Parish Prison and send state Department of Corrections prisoners who already have been sentenced to other facilities. But Thursday’s 5-2 vote on a resolution condemning Sheriff Marlin Gusman’s decision to send more than 200 pretrial detainees… Continue reading →

St. Tammany Parish president proposes $134 million budget for 2016, 7.6% larger than this year

St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister submitted a proposed $134 million budget to the Parish Council on Thursday, calling it a fiscally conservative blueprint that continues her administration’s effort to reduce parish debt. The 2016 budget is 7.6 percent larger than last year’s, with the increase attributed to anticipated modest growth in sales taxes and new… Continue reading →

Members of West Jefferson hospital’s former board seeking to retain free health benefits

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

It’s been mere days since Jefferson Parish concluded more than a year of political wrangling by closing the deal to lease the publicly owned West Jefferson Medical Center to a private operator, but already another disagreement involving the Marrero hospital has broken out. In the middle of this one are at least some members of a… Continue reading →

City Council members express residents’ fear, frustration after high-profile robberies: Crime ‘is threatening the soul of the city’

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ--New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, right, talks with Johnny Vodanovich who owns the Monkey Hill Bar in New Orleans, La. Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015 the site of a recent brazen robbery. The mayor came by to talk with him about the crime.

Promising a “relentless pursuit” of gunmen who recently held up patrons and staff at two well-known Uptown restaurants and a popular bar, Police Superintendent Michael Harrison sought Friday to assuage fears of City Council members and residents about the latest crimes to touch off a panic in New Orleans. The meeting provided an outlet for council… Continue reading →

Jefferson Parish presidency candidate Mike Yenni’s 1998 name change again becomes point of contention in election

Kenner Mayor Mike Yenni

A little more than three weeks away from the Oct. 24 primary, Kenner Mayor Mike Yenni is again fighting back at accusations that he changed his last name to his grandfather’s and uncle’s — revered by many on Jefferson Parish’s political scene — to gain an electoral edge. This time, the charge is being leveled by Parish… Continue reading →

Consultant’s memo stirs controversy as City Council debates alcohol regulation

A political consultant’s email laying out a strategy for trying to undercut City Councilwoman Nadine Ramsey that was accidentally emailed to the local news media generated backlash from the City Council on Thursday, with several members denouncing the memo as they voted in support of a measure pushed by Ramsey. The dustup came as the council was… Continue reading →

Council passes Mayor Landrieu’s HireNOLA initiative, though questions abound

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Activists picket outside New Orleans City Hall before the council took up a local hiring proposal Thursday, October 1, 2015.

The New Orleans City Council on Thursday unanimously backed Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s push to get more local and disadvantaged workers hired on city projects, though questions remain about how the mayor’s policy will play out in practice. The program, dubbed Hire NOLA, is part of the city’s Economic Opportunity Strategy, launched last year in response to… Continue reading →

New Orleans-area Republican Parties endorse Jeff Landry in Oct. 24 state Attorney General’s race

Advocate Photo by MARSHA SHULER -- Jeff Landry, a former congressman from New Iberia, received the endorsement Tuesday of the Louisiana Republican Party in his bid to unseat fellow Republican Buddy Caldwell, the incumbent state Attorney General. Landry is flanked by his wife, Sharon, his 10-year-old son, J.T., and Roger Villere, chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party.

The Republican Parties of New Orleans, Jefferson Parish, St. Bernard Parish, St. Charles Parish, St. John the Baptist Parish and St. Tammany Parish on Thursday all endorsed former U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry in the state Attorney General’s race, snubbing incumbent Buddy Caldwell, a fellow Republican. Landry also won the endorsement over Republican Attorney… Continue reading →

Pump station to improve drainage in northeast Kenner

Kenner will seek bids this fall to construct a pump station on the north side of the Vintage Drive Canal at Lake Trail Drive to help reduce street flooding in northeast Kenner. The $970,000 project follows drainage improvements near the Lake Pontchartrain levee, which were completed about a year ago. Lake Trail was one… Continue reading →

New city plan leaves Napoleon Avenue neutral ground the same size, and adds a bike lane

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- City officials released a compromise plan for Napoleon Avenue on Thursday that would allow for a neutral ground at the existing width and the addition of a bike lane — all without reducing the number of lanes dedicated to traffic or parking.

City officials released a compromise plan for Napoleon Avenue on Thursday that would maintain the size of the neutral ground and add a bike lane — without reducing the number of lanes dedicated to traffic or parking. The idea is to reduce the width of both traffic and parking lanes by 2 feet each, rather than… Continue reading →

Refunds of $20 to $30 could be coming to those who paid $110 red-light camera tickets in Jefferson Parish

Photo by James Minton on June 11, 2010, on La. 19 in Zachary for story slugged redflex.chuck for use Monday June 14. CAPTION: A Redflex Traffic Systems speed

Drivers who paid $110 tickets issued to them through Jefferson Parish’s controversial former red-light camera program and then sued to recover their money could be getting refund checks early next year — but only for $20 to $30. The money will come from a settlement — announced in April but still awaiting final approval from… Continue reading →

Derrick Shepherd disqualified from state House race

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Former state Sen. Derrick Shepherd signs papers next to chief deputy Jefferson Parish Clerk of Court Frank Borne, left, as Jon A. Gegenheimer. clerk of court, top right, watches as Shepherd takes part in the qualifying process for Louisiana house district 87 at the Jefferson Parish Government Building in Gretna, La. Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015. Shepherd plead guilty to money laundering and believes he can still qualify for the legislature.

The Louisiana Supreme Court declined Wednesday to hear convicted felon Derrick Shepherd’s appeal of a lower court ruling that disqualified him from running for the District 87 seat in the state House of Representatives, effectively ending his candidacy. Supreme Court spokeswoman Valerie Willard confirmed the decision. Shepherd declined comment. In other election… Continue reading →

New Orleans plans $3 million in upgrades to aging water system, with goal to avoid more boil-water advisories

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- The New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board issued a boil water advisory Wednesday night because of a power failure from Entergy.

City officials said Wednesday that they have ramped up efforts to bolster New Orleans’ aging water infrastructure, alarmed by technical glitches that have twice forced residents to boil their tap water in the past nine weeks. As a first step, the Sewerage & Water Board has started running an additional pump at the Carrollton water treatment… Continue reading →

Former St. Tammany assessor, who's not running for office, becomes part of debate

Former St. Tammany Parish Assessor Patricia Schwarz Core isn’t running for the office she held for five terms, but that didn’t prevent her from being part of the debate between incumbent Louis Fitzmorris and challenger Chip Bankston on Monday night. Fitzmorris, who defeated Core in 2011, told the audience at Abita Town Hall that he inherited… Continue reading →

Profitable French Market parking lots could be revamped to add retail space

In what would be the latest push to redevelop city-owned parking space, the French Market Corp. will consider issuing a request for qualifications next month from companies interested in redeveloping two lots on Elysian Fields Avenue, Executive Director Jon Smith said Tuesday. The board that governs the French Market was set to consider the issue Tuesday,… Continue reading →

People on both sides of short-term rental issue have their say at New Orleans Planning Commission meeting

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Susan Schadt of the Alliance for Neighborhood Prosperity listens during a planning commission meeting on short term rentals in City Hall  in New Orleans, La. Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015.

Supporters and opponents of short-term rentals in New Orleans clashed Tuesday evening before the City Planning Commission, early in a process that could shape how websites like Airbnb are allowed to operate in the city in the future. Apartments, homes or rooms that are rented to out-of-town visitors for a few days have been an issue… Continue reading →

Jefferson Parish officials secure state approval to lease West Jefferson Medical Center to private operator

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

After months of tense negotiations, Jefferson Parish officials have secured approval from the state Attorney General’s Office for an almost $600 million deal to lease the parish-owned West Jefferson Medical Center to a private operator. The AG’s Office gave its blessing to the transaction in a letter sent Tuesday to Deputy Parish Attorney Ed Rapier. The… Continue reading →

New Orleans taking in $60 million more than expected in 2015 from various windfalls, officials say

New Orleans’ city government is likely to end 2015 having brought in more than $60 million more than planned due to money from legal settlements, including over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, plus the auction of tax-delinquent properties and increases in tax collections, officials said Monday. Most of that money amounts to one-time windfalls, rather than… Continue reading →

Public hearing finds support for leasing West Jefferson Medical Center to private operator

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

Jefferson Parish officials seeking to close an almost $600 million deal to lease the parish-owned West Jefferson Medical Center to a private operator would have loved it if the state Attorney General’s Office had given its final approval to the transaction immediately following a required public hearing Monday afternoon. That didn’t happen, but the… Continue reading →

Public hearing Monday to set stage for closing on deal to lease West Jefferson Medical Center to private operator

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

A public hearing set for Monday afternoon is the final hurdle Jefferson Parish officials need to clear before they can finalize an almost $600 million deal to lease the parish-owned West Jefferson Medical Center to a private operator. The 1 p.m. meeting at the Marrero hospital’s auditorium will provide an opportunity for people to… Continue reading →

Breakdowns highlight decaying state of New Orleans Fire Department’s fleet

Advocate file Photo by Eliot Kamenitz -- 'I'm not really happy my firefighters don’t have the finest, newest fire trucks," said N.O. Fire Chief Tim McConnell on the lack of the department's new equipment.

Firefighters preparing to rush to the scene of a vehicle fire early Friday found themselves stranded at their Clara Street station when their truck wouldn’t start. To make matters worse, while an engine from another nearby station was dispatched to the blaze on Toledano Street, firefighters who headed out to New Orleans East from the Clara… Continue reading →

Boil-water advisory in New Orleans lifted; reason for loss of power at water plant disputed

Advocate photo by SOPHIA GERMER -- Amy Saenz is handed bottled water by Tucker Franz at the Gazebo Cafe during the boil-water advisory in New Orleans, Thursday September 24, 2015.

A boil-water advisory that covered the entire east bank of Orleans Parish was lifted early Friday morning after tests showed the city’s water system was not contaminated by a drop in pressure late Wednesday evening. The advisory, which lasted about 32 hours, was issued when a power outage at the Sewerage & Water Board’s… Continue reading →

Boil-water notice lifted; now for 2nd time in 3 months, New Orleans residents, officials seek answers to complex problem

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--The Loyola University student center Starbucks Coffee posts a sign about the Orleans Parish boil water advisory while an employee adds bottled water to the front display in New Orleans, La. Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015.

Update, 5:55 a.m. Friday: The boil-water advisory has been lifted. The Sewerage and Water Board advises all those affected to flush internal & external plumbing by running water for several minutes. --- For the second time in less than three months, New Orleanians found themselves turning to bottled or boiled water on Thursday as the Continue reading →

Sewerage & Water Board director: Key improvements in works to prevent future boil-water advisories in New Orleans

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- A boil water advisory has been issued for New Orleans' east bank

​Update 12:20 p.m. Thursday: Sewerage & Water Board director Cedric Grant said Thursday afternoon that samples from 90 water treatment locations are being incubated, and results are expected Friday morning. Until then, the boil-water advisory will remain for the east bank of Orleans Parish. Grant said a power failure occurred at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, and power was restored about… Continue reading →