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N.O. charter head faces ethics charges

Friends of King Schools CEO Doris Hicks (Image from

The Louisiana Board of Ethics has filed civil charges against Doris Hicks, a well-known New Orleans charter school leader, and three of her relatives after finding them in violation of state laws aimed at preventing nepotism. The board found that Hicks, CEO of the Friends of King Schools, broke two state laws in hiring immediate family members and… Continue reading →

Man arrested in Hollygrove shooting, and other area police and fire news

Photo provided by New Orleans Police Department -- The NOPD is asking for the publicâs assistance in locating and identifying three suspects wanted for Shoplifting in two different incidents at the same location.  Both incidents took place October 21, 2014, inside of the Dollar General Store located at 230 North Broad Street.

One man was shot and another arrested after a fight in Hollygrove late Thursday night ended in gunfire, according to New Orleans police. The incident occurred a few minutes before midnight at Cambronne and Belfast streets. Police arrested Antoine Rounds, 41, in the shooting. The… Continue reading →

Seven Louisiana metro areas post job gains

Seven of Louisiana’s eight metropolitan areas gained nonfarm jobs over the year ended Sept. 30, according to seasonally adjusted figures released Friday by the Louisiana Workforce Commission. Numbers for the metro areas’ job categories were not seasonally adjusted, but they showed gains in all but the Alexandria area, which lost 700 work slots.… Continue reading →

Peralta vetoes ordinance barring raises for parish workers

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  St. Bernard Parish President Dave Peralta leaves the parish jail after posting bond Thursday, April 24, 2014.

St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta on Friday made good on his promise to veto a measure passed by the Parish Council this week that would have imposed a six-month freeze on salary raises for parish employees, thereby limiting the authority of the embattled first-term parish leader. Early indications were that the veto might stand.… Continue reading →

Chiquita shareholders reject Fyffes merger

Shareholders of Charlotte, North Carolina-based Chiquita Brands International spurned the company’s board of directors Friday, voting down a planned merger with Irish produce company Fyffes. That leaves Chiquita only days to decide whether to accept an all-cash bid by two Brazilian firms to buy Chiquita, which the board has rejected three times.… Continue reading →

Trainor campaign, sheriff’s law firm share address, and other New Orleans-area political news

The Vampire Diaries -- Pictured: Ian Somerhalder as Damon -- Photo: Nino Munoz/The CW -- � 2013 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Brian Trainor, one of four candidates hoping to replace Walter Reed as district attorney for the 22nd Judicial District, minimized his role in a personal-injury lawsuit that landed attorney Charles Hughes in hot water this month when racial slurs Hughes used in a recorded conversation with an unhappy client became public. Trainor’s only involvement in the case… Continue reading →

Ex-Clark High teacher arrested for alleged sex with student

Dominic Lewis

A former Treme high school teacher was arrested Thursday for allegedly having sex on two occasions with a 16-year-old female student. Dominic Lewis, 32, was booked on counts of carnal knowledge of a juvenile and indecent behavior with a juvenile, according to police records. He was arrested about 8:15 a.m. in the 500 block of… Continue reading →

Louisiana Board of Ethics files charges against Friends of King Schools CEO Doris Hicks, 3 relatives

Friends of King Schools CEO Doris Hicks (Image from

The Louisiana Board of Ethics has filed charges against Friends of King Schools CEO Doris Hicks and three relatives after finding them in violation of state law aimed to prevent nepotism. The board determined Hicks violated two state laws for hiring immediate family members and signing checks made out to them, according to the complaint,… Continue reading →

Plan would sell stock to fund natural gas liquefication facility

The California company planning a $9.3 billion natural gas liquefaction facility in Cameron Parish hopes to fund the project by selling stock in the venture. SCT&E LNG’s first step will be to raise $40 million from a select group of investors over the next few weeks, according to Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Greg Michaels. The… Continue reading →

Owner reports $12.2 million loss on River Parishes Hospital sale

Photo provided by River Parishes Hospital -- River Parishes Hospital in LaPlace has been aquired by Ochsner.

LifePoint Hospitals Inc. reported a $12.2 million loss on the pending sale of River Parishes Hospital in Laplace, the company reported Friday. The write down includes property, equipment and goodwill. The price for the hospital was not disclosed. LifePoint included the charge in its third-quarter results. The company reported its third-quarter profit fell 15.4… Continue reading →

Walt Handelsman: Canadian Terror

Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and animator Walt Handelsman’s work appears in The New Orleans Advocate four days a week. Follow this link to the cartoon.Continue reading →

Marrero shooting kills man, wounds 8-year-old girl

MARRERO — Jefferson Parish sheriff’s deputies say an 8-year-old girl was shot in her upper back following a shooting that killed a 29-year-old man in Marrero. Col. John Fortunato says the girl was playing outside her apartment building around 8:40 p.m. Thursday when she was struck by a stray bullet from gunfire authorities believe could be tied… Continue reading →

7th Ward gang member found guilty of murder, and other area police and fire news

Surveillance image provided by the New Orleans Police Department -- New Orleans police are trying to identify this man wanted in connection with a recent rape in Treme.

An Orleans Parish jury deliberated for about two hours before convicting an alleged 7th Ward gang member of second-degree murder in a 2012 murder at Stallings Playground in Gentilly. Chevroun “Chevy” Smith, 24, faces a life prison sentence at his sentencing, which Criminal District… Continue reading →

In taped confession, Chelsea Thornton describes how, why she shot, drowned her two children

Chelsea Thornton

Chelsea Thornton sat silently in an orange prison jumpsuit and bright yellow sandals, staring ahead as her recorded voice streamed across a hushed Orleans Parish courtroom. Over 18 wrenching minutes, Thornton was heard on tape trying to explain to New Orleans police detectives, through occasional sobs, why and how she had killed her… Continue reading →

After collapse on Royal Street, expert 'very concerned' about other French Quarter buildings

A roof hangs in the historic French Quarter section of New Orleans, Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. Crews in the French Quarter were working to clear away debris after an additional portion of a 200-year-old building collapsed on Wednesday. Officials said no one was injured when part of the facade of the peach-colored building at St. Ann and Royal streets gave way Tuesday afternoon, striking the balcony below and causing it to collapse to the street. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

The sudden and dramatic loss of a three-story piece of New Orleans history took many people, including city inspectors, by surprise this week. Continue reading →

Closing of 3 New Orleans-area schools to displace hundreds of students in 2015

Advocate staff photo by SHERRI MILLER -- Holy Ghost School, in New Orleans, on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014.

Facing steady declines in enrollment, three New Orleans-area Catholic schools will close at the end of the current school year, a move that will send 507 children, their parents and about 50 faculty and administrators in Orleans, Jefferson and St. John the Baptist parishes looking for new elementary schools in 2015. Pastors with Holy Ghost School… Continue reading →

City of New Orleans clears homeless from camps near Pontchartrain Expressway

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Pigeons and pigeon dropping are seen on tents underneath the Pontchartrain Expressway at Calliope and Camp Street in New Orleans, La. Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014. Homeless people moved further away from the Superdome after the New Orleans Health Department handed out fliers Monday asking people to leave that overpass from Claiborne to St. Charles Ave within 72 hours and moving them out on Thursday morning.

The city continued its efforts to break up homeless encampments in the Central Business District on Thursday, evicting the homeless from a number of small camps near the Pontchartrain Expressway. On Sunday night, camp inhabitants were given 72 hours to disperse, according to City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, who said she supported the sweep because of worsening… Continue reading →

Court rejects Darren Sharper’s bid for workers’ comp

Darren Sharper

A state appeals court has ruled against embattled former New Orleans Saints safety Darren Sharper in his bid to receive workers’ compensation from his former team. A three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal, upholding a lower court’s ruling, said this week that Sharper waited too long to file his claim seeking supplemental earnings… Continue reading →

Teen killed in Desire remembered as ‘charming, passionate ... visionary’

George Carter

A 15-year-old killed this week in New Orleans is being remembered by those who knew him as a youth wise beyond his years. George Carter was found shot to death about 7 a.m. Tuesday in the 3500 block of Piety Street in the Desire area. The ninth-grader, the latest of several teenagers to be… Continue reading →

Rain CII makes post-Katrina return, opens $5.6M corporate headquarters in Covington

Rain CII, which was displaced to Kingwood, Texas, after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, has opened its $5.6 million corporate headquarters in Covington. Rain CII, which produces materials used in aluminum, steel and titanium dioxide, announced its plans to return to Louisiana in October 2013. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Thursday. Its new headquarters is in the… Continue reading →

Xavier of Louisiana receives millions in grant money to benefit biomedical students

The National Institutes of Health.

Xavier University of Louisiana received a $19.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to expand student participation in biomedical programs. The award is part of a $240 million NIH investment involving more than 10 institutions. Xavier and other recipients will establish a national consortium to train, mentor and encourage students from underrepresented groups to enter… Continue reading →

BP makes deepwater Gulf oil discovery

BP has struck oil at the Guadalupe prospect 180 miless off the coast of Louisiana in the deepwater U.S. Gulf of Mexico. The company said the discovery well, on Keathley Canyon Block 10, was drilled by operator Chevron on behalf of the Guadalupe co-owners. The well encountered significant oil pay in Paleogene age Wilcox Sands.… Continue reading →

HRI Properties getting up to $150 million for growth

HRI Properties LLC in New Orleans is getting up to $150 million of growth capital from affiliates of Almanac Realty Investors LLC. HRI said it will use the funds to acquire, redevelop and develop mixed-use projects, consisting of apartments and hotels within the urban core of top 25 metropolitan areas. The funds also provide HRI with… Continue reading →

Man convicted of two counts of forcible rape, and other area crime news

Shiquille Robinson

An Orleans Parish jury convicted a 51-year-old man Wednesday on two counts of attempted forcible rape in an incident with eerie similarities to a crime for which he spent decades behind bars until last year. The jury failed to convict David Falgout on two… Continue reading →

Amtrak fights back against New Orleans, mayor Mitch Landrieu over controversial fence along Earhart Blvd.

Advocate file photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Stacy Head got the City Council to establish a new interim zoning district in order to stop construction of this fence  around the Amtrak train line which parallels Earhart Boulevard.

Amtrak has fired back against the city of New Orleans, adding steam to a deepening imbroglio over a chain-link fence intended to protect the train tracks along Earhart Boulevard. About a month after the city sued Amtrak, the company filed a countersuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court, claiming federal law trumps recent efforts by the City… Continue reading →

Arraignment of Destrehan teacher accused of having sex with 16-year-old student postponed

This combo of handout images provided by the St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office, LA shows Rachel Respess, 24, left, and Shelley Dufresne, 32, under arrest on Wednesday Oct. 1, 2014. Dufresne and Rachel Respess both from Destrehan High School are accused of having group sex with a 16-year-old student. Dufresne is also accused of having sex with the teen at her home in Montz, LA. (AP Photo/St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office) ORG XMIT: NY107

The arraignment of a former Destrehan High School teacher at the center of sex allegations involving a 16-year-old student has been pushed back to next month. Shelley Dufresne, 32, was set to be arraigned Thursday in 29th Judicial District Court in Hahnville, but her attorney, Deanne Williams of Luling, officially enrolled in the case… Continue reading →

Good news for NOPD: Chief Michael Harrison says recruiting starting to hit its stride

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- Interim NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison is shown in this Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, Advocate file photo.

The newest faces of the New Orleans Police Department are a diverse bunch. Among them are a former UNO baseball pitcher whose recent jobs included termite inspector and country club pool guy, a state probation and parole officer whose sister is former City Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer, a Cuban-born Floridian with an MBA, the ex-manager of… Continue reading →

One shot to death on Pontchartrain Boulevard near Harrison Avenue in Lakeview

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- A man was found shot to death at this house on Pontchartrain Boulevard Wednesday, October 22, 2014. Police are investigating.

New Orleans police are investigating a fatal shooting in the 6300 block of Pontchartrain Boulevard in Lakeview. Police went to the location to check out a call for a “wellness check,” according to spokesman Garry Flot. Continue reading →

Nude no more: Bywater’s Country Club ends clothing-optional policy

NEW ORLEANS -- The Country Club, a popular restaurant, bar and pool club in the Bywater, has agreed to end its controversial clothing-option policy after a series of WWL-TV stories detailed the allegations of a woman who said she was drugged and raped while sunbathing nude there. The city’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board announced… Continue reading →

Orleans Parish Prison inmate beaten, stabbed; four under investigation

Pictured from left, Dernell Jynes, Cleveland Ross, Dernell McGufey and Davell Jenkins

Authorities said Wednesday they are investigating another episode of violence at Orleans Parish Prison involving an inmate who was assaulted and stabbed at the jail’s troubled Conchetta facility. No inmates have been charged in the Oct. 15 attack, said Philip Stelly, an Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesman. He said the incident was “not terribly… Continue reading →

200-plus-year-old Royal Street building crumbles in New Orleans

Advocate staff photo by Danny Monteverde -- The remainder of the facade of a French Quarter building that partially collapsed Tuesday night came down Wednesday afternoon as city and fire officials worked to stabilize it.

Virtually all of a French Quarter building, more than 200 years old and considered an important architectural feat when it was built, collapsed Wednesday in a spectacular cascade of dust, dirt and debris as officials tried to stabilize it after a portion had tumbled to the street below a day earlier. By late afternoon, an excavator… Continue reading →

Woman, 26, gunned down on 7th Ward street

A 26-year-old woman was found shot to death Wednesday on a 7th Ward street, New Orleans police said. The shooting happened about 3:30 a.m. in the 1500 block of Columbus Street. Officers on patrol in the area head gunfire and found the victim in the street after a brief search, said Officer Garry Flot, a Police… Continue reading →

Walt Handelsman: Isolation Zone

Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and animator Walt Handelsman’s work appears in The New Orleans Advocate four days a week. Follow this link to the cartoon.Continue reading →

WWL: Female killed on N. Claiborne, Columbus

WWL’s website is reporting that the New Orleans Police Department is currently investigating the city’s latest murder in the 7th Ward. According to police, officers were on patrol around 3:35 a.m. when they heard gunshots in the area. To read the complete story on the WWL website, please click here.Continue reading →

School performance scores remain steady across New Orleans area

Advocate staff photo by John McCusker -- Tiana Nobile teaches her first grade class at Morris Jeff Community School  in New Orleans.

School performance scores — a measure of public school quality that combines test results and dropout rates — remained relatively steady across the New Orleans area this year, according to figures released Tuesday by the state Department of Education. In part, that’s by design. The latest results come as Louisiana is making a controversial transition to… Continue reading →

Stallings Playground murder defendant goes on trial

Chevroun Smith

Ali Robinson was a drug dealer whose customers knew just where to find him: playing dominoes at Stallings Playground in Gentilly. That’s where Robinson sat on the evening of April 13, 2012, when, according to Orleans Parish prosecutors, Chevroun K. Smith confronted him in an argument over rival drug turfs before unloading a 9mm handgun in… Continue reading →

Surprise move: St. Bernard Parish president David Peralta threatens to veto measure limiting his authority

St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta

With little fanfare beyond a quick reading of the proposed language, the St. Bernard Parish Council on Tuesday took steps to limit the authority of Parish President David Peralta, drawing a strong rebuke from the embattled parish leader, who in a surprise threatened to veto one of the two measures. The council, by a 4-1 vote,… Continue reading →

UNO panel releases scorecard on how academic programs are doing

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Students Ray Shall, Barrett Gale and Benjamin Pridgen visit on the quad between classes at the University of New Orleans.

A working group of faculty at the University of New Orleans has released an initial scorecard that evaluates the school’s 80 degree programs on criteria including student demand, size, graduation rate, tuition revenue from students and whether it’s an area central to UNO’s core mission. Programs that receive top marks include undergraduate programs in biological sciences,… Continue reading →