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New Orleans Attorney Profiles 2015
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Jefferson Parish president candidate Mike Yenni raises $89,000 more than opponent Elton Lagasse in early part of year

Advocate staff photo by SUSAN BROADBRIDGE-- Michael S. Yenni takes the oath of office for a second term as Kenner Mayor during an inauguration ceremony at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner, La. Tuesday, July 1, 2014.

In the first part of the year, Jefferson Parish presidency candidate Mike Yenni raised about $89,000 more than his rival for the office, Elton Lagasse. But Lagasse this year has spent slightly more than Yenni — $8,110, according to campaign finance reports filed Thursday. It’s hard to draw too many conclusions concerning… Continue reading →

Jefferson Parish’s Personnel Department opposes raising minimum wage for parish employees

Jefferson Parish Councilman Mark D. Spears

After studying the matter at the request of a Parish Council member, Jefferson Parish’s Personnel Department for now does not favor raising the minimum wage for parish workers by $1.72 an hour. The department said increasing the minimum wage for parish employees to $10.51 an hour would cost $442,000, “a substantial sum.” The report on a… Continue reading →

Kenner looks to boost youth athletics by leasing playgrounds to private operators

Advocate staff photo by RUSTY COSTANZA --  David Culpepper, Operations Director for the Association of Volleyball Professionals, checks the height of a volleyball net after installing a system to adjust net height at Coconut Beach in Kenner on Friday, April 24, 2015.

Responding to a falling number of participants in municipal youth athletics programs, Kenner City Council members have approved a measure that would allow the city to lease more of its playgrounds to private sports clubs and leagues. The city still intends to offer youth sports at playgrounds it doesn’t lease out, said Councilman Dominick… Continue reading →

City Council bans most trucks over 36 feet long from French Quarter

After years of watching oversized delivery trucks clip balconies, knock down light posts and damage sidewalks, fed-up French Quarter residents received a victory Thursday when the City Council approved an ordinance banning big trucks in the neighborhood. Delivery trucks 36 feet or longer will be prohibited from traveling the narrow streets of the French Quarter without a… Continue reading →

Outgoing interim Jefferson Schools superintendent hopes to retain a role under new administration

Michelle Blouin-Williams

Passed over last week for the top position in the Jefferson Parish Public School System, Acting Superintendent Michelle Blouin-Williams said Wednesday she nevertheless hopes to retain a leadership role in a district she’s been a part of for 26 years. The man who beat her out for the job as the long-term successor to… Continue reading →

With some grumbling and some rejoicing, New Orleans bars and casinos go smoke-free

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Taking part in The Kingpin smoke out, patrons mingle outside after midnight when the new smoking ban went into effect in New Orleans, La. Tuesday, April 21, 2015.

As the stroke of midnight neared Tuesday, more than two dozen Harrah’s Casino employees — some carrying white plastic cups filled with black sand, others holding purple bags containing Tootsie Pops — descended onto the casino floor to break the news to patrons. “Harrah’s is now smoke-free,” they said as Wednesday arrived at the vast, windowless… Continue reading →

City Council to defer vote on new zoning law

The New Orleans City Council will not consider the city’s proposed new comprehensive zoning ordinance at Thursday’s meeting. The council was expected to vote on the ordinance and numerous proposed amendments Thursday, but it said Wednesday it intends to defer action until May 14. In a news release, the council said it will amend… Continue reading →

Panel favors reserving 12 beds at youth center for adult court defendants

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- The city council criminal justice committee was briefed on the new Youth Justice Center in Gentilly Wednesday, April 22, 2015..

The New Orleans City Council will soon consider an ordinance that proposes, at least temporarily, to answer the question of where to house juvenile defendants awaiting trial in adult court. The council’s Criminal Justice Committee voted 5-0 Wednesday to recommend an ordinance that would designate the Youth Study Center “as the appropriate adult facility for the… Continue reading →

New Orleans Deputy Mayor Jerry Sneed to leave Homeland Security Office

Lt. Col. Jerry Sneed will leave his position as deputy mayor for public safety and director of the city’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness at the end of this week to become an adviser for the Orleans Parish Communications District, Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s office announced Tuesday. The Communications District is the administrative office… Continue reading →

Judge deals Tammany fracking opponents 2nd blow, rebuffing efforts to stop Helis Oil from acting on its state permit

Advocate staff file photo by VERONICA DOMINACH -- Opponents of Helis Oil plans to drill a fracking well in St. Tammany Parish were dealt a second blow this week as a state district judge ruled that parish authorities cannot interfere with the oil company permit.

For the second time in less than a week, a state district judge has dealt a serious blow to opponents of a plan to drill a fracking well in St. Tammany Parish. The latest rebuff came from Judge William Morvant, of the 19th Judicial District in Baton Rouge, who ruled Monday that state law prohibits parish… Continue reading →

East Jefferson Hospital board calls off lease talks with potential operator HCA

Advocate staff photo by JOHN MCCUSKER -- East Jefferson General Hospital, Metairie, Tuesday, July 9, 2013.

After protracted negotiations, East Jefferson General Hospital’s board of directors announced Monday that, for the second time, efforts to reach a lease deal to have Hospital Corp. of America run the parish-owned medical center have failed. Hospital officials gave few details about the reason for the collapse, other than that it involved… Continue reading →

Michelle Obama congratulates New Orleans for effectively ending veterans homelessness

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- First lady Michelle Obama was in town Monday, April 20, 2015 to laud the city for its efforts in addressing the issue of homeless veterans. Here she works the room after her speech.

Michelle Obama, appearing at Gallier Hall alongside Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Monday to congratulate New Orleans for being the first major American city to effectively eliminate homelessness among military veterans, announced a trio of new measures aimed at helping cities across the country do the same thing. Obama said the federal government is releasing… Continue reading →

St. Bernard voters being asked again to boost millage for flood protection

St. Bernard Parish voters will soon decide, once again, whether to pay higher taxes to help maintain the levees, floodwalls and drainage system in the parish. The Lake Borgne Basin Levee District, which covers St. Bernard, is seeking a 7.5-mill tax increase that officials say is necessary to maintain the flood protection system built by the… Continue reading →

State budget leaves $88 million gap for finishing new University Medical Center in New Orleans

Artist rendering of University Medical Center affiliated with Louisiana State Univeristy and LSU Health (Artist's rendering of University Medical Center provided by LSU)

Even as the final touches are being put on the facilities that will house the new University Medical Center in Mid-City, the structure of the deal to run the hospital is being thrown into doubt. The state has poured $1.2 billion into the campus between Canal Street and Tulane Avenue, which officials have said will… Continue reading →

Longtime Plaquemines Parish Assessor Bobby Gravolet to retire in 2016 after 9 terms

Plaquemines Parish Assessor

Plaquemines Parish Assessor Bobby Gravolet, one of the longest-serving politicians in the New Orleans metro area and possibly the longest-serving assessor in Louisiana, announced Friday that he will retire when his ninth term expires next year. By then, Gravolet will have served 36 years in office and worked with at least nine parish presidents,… Continue reading →

Several bars, restaurants join in suit to strike down New Orleans' smoking ban

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- The city council chamber was packed with people on both sides of the smoking ban Thursday, January 22, 2015. The measure passed.

Harrah’s Casino and dozens of French Quarter bars and restaurants filed suit Friday to strike down New Orleans’ smoking ban just days before it is set to go into effect. The suit, filed in Civil District Court, included a request for a temporary restraining order that would have prevented the city from enforcing the ban, which… Continue reading →

Jefferson Parish IG disappointed proposed operational changes were deferred without ‘communication beforehand’

As Jefferson Parish Inspector General David McClintock tells it, he spent 25 days seeking feedback from parish council members about a package of legislation pertaining to his office’s operation that he asked them to consider passing. No one mentioned a word to him about the matter, he said — until it came up for discussion… Continue reading →

Landrieu administration now likely to go on offensive against New Orleans firefighters

Advocate staff file photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  The last of three public forums will be held between New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the city's firefighters to find a solution to funding the Fire Department's underfunded pension system

The simmering animosity between Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration and New Orleans firefighters over the funding of the firefighters pension system is likely to break into open hostility soon, with city officials set to move forward with a series of legal challenges and legislative changes aimed at curtailing benefits they say are beyond the means of the… Continue reading →

Jefferson Parish paid $1.49 million in overtime to employees it’s not required to give it to, audit finds

Advocate photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Jefferson Parish Inspector General David McClintock speaks before the Parish Council Wednesday, January 15, 2014.

While they made up only about 6 percent of Jefferson Parish’s government workforce, 195 employees who are not owed overtime pay under federal law racked up 22 percent of the overtime compensation doled out by the parish administration in 2013, according to an audit report released Wednesday. The audit from Jefferson Parish Inspector General… Continue reading →

Former Hubig’s Pies site OK’d for condos by city planners

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --   Summary: The City Planning Commission voted 6-0 Tuesday to approve Hubig's Pie Co.'s plan to move its bakery to Press Street between North Rampart and Burgundy, on the border between Marigny and Bywater. A five-alarm fire last July burned its old location at 2417 Dauphine St. to the ground seen here Wednesday, May 29, 2013.

Whether New Orleanians will ever again enjoy the taste of Hubig’s Pies remains in doubt, but the future of the site where they were made is becoming clearer. The City Planning Commission voted this week to allow the vacant Marigny lot previously occupied by the Hubig’s Pies bakery to be transformed into an eight-unit condominium complex.… Continue reading →

3 deaths in drainage canals prompt Jefferson officials to explore installing more car barricades

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--In light of recent deaths of motorists driving into drainage canals in Jefferson Parish, the Parish council is looking at putting safety rails in place like these barriers on a U-turn and both directions of traffic on W. Napoleon Ave. near Cleary Ave in Metairie, La. Wednesday, April 15, 2015.

After three people died in two cars that plunged into Metairie drainage canals in recent days, Jefferson Parish officials on Wednesday said they will explore what it would cost to erect crash barriers alongside canals in heavily trafficked areas. The focus would be on those spots because not all of the 340 miles of… Continue reading →

Jefferson Parish Council authorizes settlement in red-light camera fines litigation

Ending a drawn-out court battle over the parish’s controversial former red-light traffic cameras, the Jefferson Parish Council on Wednesday agreed to a settlement that, if approved by the court, would allow drivers who were fined for red-light violations to recover a portion of the money they paid. Council President Chris Roberts announced the settlement… Continue reading →

Mayor signs ride-hailing law, and Uber says it will soon enter New Orleans market

In this photo taken Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, a man leaves the headquarters of Uber in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg) ORG XMIT: FX205

After fighting hard for an ordinance that would allow it to expand its operations in New Orleans, only to waffle when presented with the final result, Uber now appears ready to bring its lower-tier service into the market. Shortly after Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Wednesday signed an ordinance setting out regulations for Uber and other ride-hailing… Continue reading →