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Woman was not exposed to dangerous bacteria at Covington center, officials conclude

A federal investigator who was sent to the Tulane National Primate Research Center near Covington to look into the escape of a potentially deadly bacterium and who later reported symptoms of the disease caused by the bacterium was not exposed to the pathogen while at the center, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has… Continue reading →

Tammany officials break ground on Advanced Campus project

Braving frigid and blustery conditions, St. Tammany Parish officials on Thursday celebrated the start of work on what they hope will become the key part of an ambitious 848-acre mixed-use development north of Lacombe. The development is called Tamanend, and there are plans for commercial, retail and residential areas. Parish President Pat… Continue reading →

St. Bernard president Peralta ordered to avoid contact with key state witness

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta arrives at the parish courthouse Tuesday, March 3, 2015.

St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta must refrain from having contact with a key witness in the state’s criminal case against him following an “uncomfortable situation” between the two last week, a judge ruled Wednesday. Peralta has faced mounting legal issues since his ex-wife, Sharon Schaefer, accused him of handcuffing, beating and raping her in their… Continue reading →

Another monkey at Tulane center put to death after testing positive for bacterium

Photo provided by WWLTV -- A fifth rhesus macaques has become infected at the Tulane National Primate Research Center in Covington.

A fifth monkey at the Tulane National Primate Research Center in Covington has tested positive for a bacterium considered by the U.S. government to have the potential to pose a “severe threat to public, animal or plant heath,” officials confirmed Wednesday. The monkey, a rhesus macaque, was euthanized, and cultures from a necropsy were… Continue reading →

St. Tammany Economic Development Director Shea terminated

Donald Shea, who has been St. Tammany Parish’s Economic Development Director since 2013, was terminated Tuesday, Shea said. Parish spokesman Ronnie Simpson confirmed Shea’s departure in a five-line statement. “It has been decided that it is in the best interest of Parish Government that Mr. Shea pursue other opportunities,” the statement said. “We wish Mr. Shea… Continue reading →

Sheriff: 'Violent altercation' occurred before Covington doctor Wayne Breen's wife shot him to death

Advocate Photo by VERONICA DOMINACH--  The foggy, gravel road that leads to the Breen's house in Folsom on March 2, 2015. Kacie Breen admitted to responding deputies that she shot her husband, Covington physician Dr. Wayne Breen, after the two got into an altercation, said Capt. George Bonnett, a spokesman for the sheriff's office. The incident happened Sunday morning at about 3 a.m

Sometime Saturday night, physician Wayne Breen and his wife went to sleep watching television in the bedroom of their home, set on 31 picturesque acres near Folsom, a quiet area dotted with horse farms and ranches. However, the couple’s peaceful night was shattered about 2:30 a.m., when they woke up and began arguing. By… Continue reading →

Slidell couple booked for pouring beer down child’s throat, slapping him

Brett Flower and Krysten Verdin

A Slidell couple has been booked for cruelty to a juvenile after allegedly pouring beer down a one-year-old’s throat then slapping him when he would throw up, a Slidell Police spokesman said. Brett Flower, 24, and Krysten Verdin, 23, were booked Tuesday on counts of cruelty to a juvenile after the child’s grandfather filed a… Continue reading →

WWL-TV report: Cell phone video prompts AG to drop charges against process server brought by former DA Walter Reed office

Douglas Dendinger

One of the worst days of Douglas Dendinger’s life began with him handing an envelope to a police officer. In order to help out his family and earn a quick $50, Dendinger agreed to act as a process server, approaching former Bogalusa police officer Chad Cassard as he left the Washington Parish Courthouse and handing him… Continue reading →

Mandeville property to become lakefront restaurant amid resident objections

Few things stir the residents of Old Mandeville more than developments along the city’s picturesque lakefront. Whether it’s bathrooms at a park, a “poetry box” near a stand of oak trees or a developer’s plan for a new restaurant, proposed changes to the city’s shore often draw crowds and emotional feedback. It was the… Continue reading →

Former Mandeville mayor tries moviemaking by writing screenplay for local film

Photo provided by Eric Williamson -- Camera assistant Hunter Holder works on the set of Indecent Justice. The film is the brainchild of north shore attorney Bernard Smith.

A drug deal gone bad, a crooked cop, a beautiful woman and a young man trying to get his life on track: It sounds like it could be the latest twist in St. Tammany Parish’s at-times tawdry courthouse and political scene. But in this case, it is actually the plot of a movie — Continue reading →

Tammany district attorney hires three lawyers from Orleans DA’s Office

Warren Montgomery, who is entering his second month as district attorney of St. Tammany and Washington parishes, is putting four new lawyers on his staff, three of whom he hired away from the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office. Francesca Bridges, who starts work Monday, will head the office’s Screening Division. Under longtime former DA… Continue reading →

Second infected monkey put to death at Tulane Primate Center

Advocate staff photo by Richard Alan Hannon. Photo shot on 10/29/2004.  A pigtail macaques monkey watches visitors in its cage at the Tulane National Primate Resarch Center in Covington.       Keyword Animal

A second monkey infected with the Burkholderia pseudomallei bacterium at the Tulane National Primate Research Center in Covington has been euthanized, officials said Friday. The monkey, one of the first two infected with the bacterium, was put to death Thursday after veterinarians decided its symptoms — diminished appetite, skin ulcerations and testicular swelling —… Continue reading →

Neighbors sue St. Tammany over road project

Three residents of Dove Park Road who have raised concerns about how a parish street-widening project will affect drainage on their property have sued St. Tammany Parish, seeking a halt to the work. They’re asking for damages and attorneys’ fees as well. Terri Lewis Stevens, a frequent critic of parish government, and her neighbors… Continue reading →

Two more monkeys at Tulane center exposed to bacterium; investigation to focus on veterinary clinic

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD --  The Tulane National Primate Research Center in Covington, photographed Friday, Feb. 13, 2015.

The investigation into how two monkeys at the Tulane National Primate Research Center were infected with a bacterium the U.S. government considers a potentially severe threat to human or animal health has focused on the center’s veterinary clinic after two other monkeys showed signs of infection. A federal investigator who visited the center in… Continue reading →

Pair wanted in Slidell liquor theft arrested after chase

Photo provided by SPD - Kristina Cleland

Two women who admitted to being part of an organized theft ring surrendered to Slidell Police Wednesday after stealing more than $1,000 in liquor from Wal-Mart and leading offices on a vehicle and foot chase. Rhonda Fields, 40, of Bogalusa, and Kristina Cleland, 25, of Angie, were spotted leaving the Wal-Mart on Natchez Drive with a basket… Continue reading →

Man with seven DWIs arrested in Mandeville for hit-and-run, DWI

James T. Hittson

An Abita Springs man with seven previous arrests for driving while intoxicated was arrested Tuesday by Mandeville Police after he allegedly took an acquaintance’s truck without permission and returned it later with extensive damages, police said. James T. Hittson, 48, was booked on counts of DWI, hit and run, unauthorized use of a movable, simple… Continue reading →

Former Franklinton man blames ex-DA Walter Reed for arrest, alleged mistreatment

A large gate with the last name Cox emblazaoned in gold letters, blocks off the $2.05 million mansion where Jerry Wayne Cox, pastor of Faith Tabernacle Church, lives in Franklinton. Cox is one of the defendants named in a lawsuit filed by a former parishioner, Roger Dale Magee. By Sara Pagones.

Roger Magee says the pastor of a Franklinton Pentecostal church where he once worshipped had warned him to stay out of Washington Parish, but last year, news of an ailing relative pulled the 49-year-old man back to his hometown — putting him on the patio of his aunt’s home on an afternoon in late March, surrounded by kin… Continue reading →

Michael Swords, investigator at 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office, dies at 54

Michael Hurd Swords Sr.

Michael Hurd Swords Sr., who worked as an investigator at the 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office for nearly 18 years, died Friday of complications from leukemia. He was 54. A lifelong Covington resident, Swords graduated from St. Paul’s High School and Southeastern Louisiana University with a degree in marketing. He… Continue reading →

Curator work for prosecutors under scrutiny in St. Tammany

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.

Curatorships are neither complicated nor especially lucrative jobs for attorneys. But even though the work is pedestrian, it’s sought after, especially by young lawyers who want to make a little money, gain some experience and build a practice. A judge appoints a curator to track down an absent party in a lawsuit and, if the person… Continue reading →

The little-known Tulane primate center: What sort of research is done there, why; what’s its future?

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD --  The Tulane National Primate Research Center in Covington, photographed Friday, Feb. 13, 2015.

From the ground, not much can be seen of the Tulane National Primate Research Center. A standard green sign on U.S. 190 directs motorists down narrow Three Rivers Road south of Covington and past a couple of apartment complexes. There, pleasant landscaping and larger signs announce the primate center, but forbidding gates block access to narrow lanes… Continue reading →

Abita Springs files suit again to stop fracking well

Advocate file photo by VERONICA DOMINACH

The town of Abita Springs has launched yet another legal challenge intended to block the drilling of a fracking well in St. Tammany Parish. The latest maneuver, a lawsuit filed in federal court against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, alleges that the Corps illegally denied the town’s request for a public hearing on Helis Oil… Continue reading →