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New Orleans Attorney Profiles 2015
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Mayor names new economic development adviser

Rebecca Conwell

Mayor Mitch Landrieu is bringing on a new adviser who has experience in governmental relations and coalition building for both Tulane University and a private consulting firm to guide his administration’s economic development efforts. Rebecca Conwell will serve as Landrieu’s senior adviser for economic development, according to a press release from the city. She replaces… Continue reading →

Former State Rep. John LaBruzzo says Jefferson Parish Council may be where he attempts political comeback

Advocate staff photo by Bill Feig Former State Rep. John LaBruzzo, R-Metairie, at the State Capitol in Baton Rouge, La.., in June 2011.

Whenever he goes to the grocery store or brings his daughters to dance classes, former Louisiana State Rep. John LaBruzzo of Metairie says he hears the same question: When are you getting back into politics? The answer these days has been: Quite possibly for the Oct. 24 primary election for a Metairie-based seat on the Jefferson Parish… Continue reading →

Neighbors file lawsuit to block Cafe Habana project

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Sean Meenan, who owns and operates Cafe Habana and Habana Outpost restaurants in New York, California and Dubai, has proposed putting one at a long abandoned gas station at the corner of North Rampart and Esplanade Tuesday, September 3, 2013. This is the corner in 1939.

Four French Quarter residents have filed suit against the City Council and City Planning Commission to try to block construction of a Cuban restaurant at Esplanade Avenue and North Rampart Street. The Civil District Court lawsuit — filed by Charles Garber Jr., Rodney Villarreal, Rene Fransen and Edward Bonin — says the commission and the council… Continue reading →

Plans for CBD hotel, French Quarter restaurant withdrawn

Preservationists and French Quarter residents were handed twin victories last week when controversial projects proposed for the Quarter and the Central Business District were withdrawn. Developers, at least for now, will not move forward with a plan to demolish several mid-19th-century buildings at Canal and Tchoupitoulas streets and replace them with a 20-story hotel tower. The… Continue reading →

Winning offer for World Trade Center site guarantees New Orleans exactly what it wants -- big money

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- Ships travel along the Mississippi River next to the World Trade Center building in New Orleans, La. Friday, June 13, 2014.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration has never been shy about expressing what it hoped to gain from leasing the former World Trade Center building for redevelopment: money. And a lot of it. When a previous developer, after more than six months of negotiating, refused to raise his financial offer for rights to the riverfront site, he… Continue reading →

City sells $65 milllion in bonds for repairs to streets, playgrounds, buildings

New Orleans soon will begin making repairs to more than two dozen parks and playgrounds and will spend more than $42 million on street improvements after the city this week sold the final $65 million of general-obligation bonds authorized by voters in 2004 as part of an overall $260 million bond program, Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s office… Continue reading →

Officials cite continuing communications problems in responding to St. Tammany bacteria release

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD --  The Tulane National Primate Research Center in Covington, photographed Friday, Feb. 13, 2015. As many as 177 monkeys may have been exposed to bacterium.

The communication breakdowns that have characterized the federal, state and local response to the unintended release of a dangerous bacterium at the Tulane National Primate Research Center seemed to continue this week, with state officials complaining about a lack of support from federal agencies. “This is a federal issue,” said Kevin Davis, director of the… Continue reading →

Mandeville council defers vote on plan for Rest A While property

Advocate staff photo by SARA PAGONES -- The historic Rest A While  property

Should the city of Mandeville consider purchasing a historic property in order to preserve its character and prevent it from being turned into something the surrounding residents don’t like? That, for the Mandeville City Council, is the $30,000 question. After nearly three hours of debate Thursday night, though, the council decided to defer a vote… Continue reading →

City Council members trade personal accusations over street name changes

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Robert C. Blakes, Jr., right, the son of Robert C. Blakes, Sr., smiles as he congratulated by Troy Henry, left, and other church members after two ordinances passed in City Hall to rename LaSalle Street between Earhart and Simon Bolivar Boulevard to Rev. John Raphael Jr. Way in honor of the police-officer-turned pastor of New Hope Baptist Church and Carondelet Street between Felicity and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard as Robert C. Blakes Sr. Drive, honoring the founding pastor of New Home Ministries in New Orleans, La. Thursday, March 26, 2015. Both men were known for their stance against violence in Central City and died in 2013.

The gloves came off. The claws came out. And any notion that everything is sweetness and light among members of the New Orleans City Council was shredded before a single motion was even considered at Thursday’s meeting. Five of the council’s seven members began by squabbling about whose turn it was to speak, in what order… Continue reading →

Gretna council approves $17.6 million spending plan

The Gretna City Council unanimously approved a $17.6 million general-fund spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year at a special meeting Wednesday night. The action came with little discussion. The city projects general-fund revenue of $16.7 million, with the difference coming from revenue from Boomtown Casino. Total projected expenditures are down 5 percent… Continue reading →

Lagasse officially kicks off already-announced campaign for Jefferson president

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

Jefferson Parish Councilman Elton Lagasse is through talking about the unconventional way he announced he’d run for the parish presidency this fall. Now that he has officially kicked off his campaign for the Oct. 24 primary, he’s focusing squarely on why he’s fit to become Jefferson Parish’s next chief executive — talk that invariably touches… Continue reading →

WTC project expected to mean $130 million for minority companies

The $360 million Four Seasons proposed by Carpenter & Co. and Woodward Interests LLC includes 350 guest rooms, 76 hotel-serviced residences, a two-story rooftop cupola and a digital cultural attraction curated by Harvard African American studies professor Henry Louis Gates and focused on New Orleans food, music and cultural elements.

The development team selected this week to redevelop the former World Trade Center building into a Four Seasons hotel intends to invest nearly $130 million in minority- and women-owned businesses by testing out a new strategy for meeting the city’s DBE participation goals. Instead of making deals solely with prime contractors, who would get the largest… Continue reading →

Jefferson council debates Uber ordinance but defers action

An ordinance that would govern the way companies such as Uber can operate in Jefferson Parish still isn’t ready, but discussion on the deferred item at Wednesday’s Parish Council meeting included accusations that drivers with the high-end Uber Black service are hustling work in-person in front of Louis Armstrong International Airport, which they aren’t supposed to do.… Continue reading →

Covington races head into final stretch

While most of the attention is trained on October’s statewide election, residents of Covington are gearing up for Saturday’s municipal ballot. Unlike four years ago, when three candidates ran for mayor and every seat on the seven-member council was contested, only two council seats are up for grabs this year. Those seats are in Districts B and… Continue reading →

Landrieu administration proposes 1/4-cent sales tax in French Quarter to fund extra police

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- A pilot policing program funded by Sidney Torres  with approval from the Mayors Office  will begin this week. The eight-week pilot program will deploy from one to three off-duty NOPD officers per shift, with the larger contingents at night. The cops, assigned by the citys Office of Police Secondary Employment, will roam three coverage areas in the Quarter, but not Bourbon Street. The vehicle the officers will use were debuted at the Eigth District Police Station at Conti and Royal. The State Police will also be keeping a contingent of officers here.

Efforts to augment the NOPD’s reduced presence in the French Quarter with State Police troopers may have found a permanent funding source: a nearly 1/4-cent sales tax that could be levied throughout the district if its residents approve. That tax, which would formally come through the creation of an economic development district covering the Quarter, would… Continue reading →

Slidell-area fire district receives rare accreditation

St. Tammany Fire Protection District No. 1, which serves the Slidell area, has been awarded accredited agency status by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International, making it the only municipal or volunteer fire agency in Louisiana to have achieved that distinction. Fire Chief Chris Kaufmann announced the accreditation Tuesday, saying that he and other representatives of… Continue reading →

Regional Transit Authority considers dropping some routes to provide more frequent service on others

Advocate staff file photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- People wait in line for a bus to Lake Forest on Elk Place in the CBD in November.  The RTA announced Lake Forest Express line riders can expect more frequent service on weekdays in the new year.

Fewer bus routes with more frequent service could be in the cards for the Regional Transit Authority under a plan being put together by consultants. While still just a conceptual proposal, the plan from California-based Transportation Management and Design aims to lure more riders into the system without significantly increasing costs, trading off the inconvenience of… Continue reading →

Louisiana film program still costs taxpayers four times the cash it brings in, state study finds

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- Crews work to film "Pitch Perfect 2" Friday, June 20, 2014 in Highland Road Park in Baton Rouge.

Louisiana’s generous film tax credit program continues to cost state taxpayers at least four times as much as it generates in tax revenue, according to the latest state-sponsored study of the program. The study, by LSU economist Loren Scott, concludes that for every $1 in tax credits Louisiana issues to film producers, the state… Continue reading →

Mandeville council to consider study on future of Rest A While property

Advocate staff photo by SARA PAGONES -- The historic Rest A While  property

The future of Mandeville’s historic Rest A While property apparently will not be decided for a while. The property, which consists of an inn and two smaller cottages, sits on Mandeville’s picturesque lakefront. It has been derelict since 2005, but last year, Barrett McGuire bought it and began to renovate the buildings, eventually presenting a plan… Continue reading →

Companies sweeten their bids to New Orleans for right to redevelop World Trade Center building; big decision coming this week

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- World Trade Center in New Orleans.

When the city went back to the drawing board last year after failing to conclude a deal with its chosen developers for the former World Trade Center building, it made a critical adjustment to the rules governing the selection process for the site. This time around, instead of picking just one development team with which… Continue reading →

Friction, controversy starting to bubble up between St. Tammany Parish officials, District Attorney Warren Montgomery

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- New 22nd Judicial District Attorney Warren Montgomery addresses the audience during his swearing-in ceremony Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, at the St. Tammany Justice Center in Covington.

The 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office has long served as legal counsel for St. Tammany Parish government, an arrangement ensconced in the parish’s home rule charter, but a charter review committee has targeted that relationship for change, and that’s causing some friction between parish officials and District Attorney Warren Montgomery. Montgomery, who took office… Continue reading →