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Judge axes home confinement for ex-cop in Katrina shooting

Anthony Villavaso II

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A former police officer convicted in deadly shootings at a New Orleans bridge following Hurricane Katrina won’t be allowed to finish his prison sentence at home. A federal judge, in an order made public Monday, turned down the request by Anthony Villavaso, whose release date is less than three months away. U.S.… Continue reading →

Special report: New Orleans police response times improving, but still areas of concern

Six months after officials pledged to crack down on abysmal response times, New Orleans police are getting to crime scenes more quickly but are still nowhere near achieving the goals the department set out earlier this year. While policies aimed at bringing arrival times back under control have had a clear impact on improving the department’s… Continue reading →

With job in balance, Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman seeks crucial 11th-hour meeting with Justice Department

Seeking to stave off a federal takeover of the city’s jail, Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman is urging the U.S. Justice Department to come to the negotiating table and back away from its bid to place the jail in receivership — a move that would take control of the lockup away from Gusman and hand it to an… Continue reading →

GNO Foundation signs firm to manage $200 million investment portfolio

The Greater New Orleans Foundation has named CA Capital Management to manage its $200 million investment portfolio. “We trust that CA Capital Management will protect and grow the foundation’s assets,” said Ryan Crespino, vice president of finance and administration for the foundation. “They are experts in the field of managing endowments and 60 percent of their clients… Continue reading →

Bayer makes $62 billion bid for Monsanto

Associated Press file photo -- Bayer's logo is visible at the Berlin Brandenburg Airport in Schoenefeld, Germany. The German drug and chemicals company has made a $62 billion offer to buy U.S.-based crops and seeds specialist Monsanto Co.

German drug and chemicals company Bayer AG has put a price tag of $62 billion on its offer to buy U.S.-based crops and seeds specialist Monsanto, which operates a plant in St. Charles Parish. The proposed combination would create a giant seed and farm chemical company with a strong presence in the U.S.,… Continue reading →

Tom Benson’s use of term ‘porter’ to describe ex-aide has racial connotations, attorney says

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  Rodney Henry, left,  former assistant to Tom Benson, was in federal court in April 2016 looking at settling a federal lawsuit in which Henry alleges that he was racially discriminated against and worked  unpaid overtime. His attorney Chris Williams is right.

The attorney representing Tom Benson’s former personal assistant said he was appalled by the Saints owner’s recent testimony that ex-aide Rodney Henry was a mere “porter” when he worked for the team, claiming the term carries troubling racial connotations and labor-related implications central to a lawsuit Henry has filed against his onetime employer. A… Continue reading →

Confederate monument removal bid process stalled amid threats, unresolved court case, city of New Orleans says

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--A diverse group of streetcar riders pass by Lee Circle in New Orleans, La. Thursday, July 9, 2015 where an 1884 monument to Confederate General Robert E. Lee was placed in what once was Tivoli Circle or Place du Tivoli. New Orleans only spent 15 months in the Confederacy and spent the majority of the Civil War under Union control when the city was captured in 1862 with zero casualties. The monuments that current Mayor Mitch Landrieu has asked to be removed from the public view in the city, which is 58% African American, were all placed many years after the Civil War as monuments to white supremacy. The Lee statue was commissioned and erected by the Lee Monument Association made up of ex-Confederates, their children, and white Southerners.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration on Monday halted its effort to find a contractor to take down three Confederate monuments in New Orleans, citing previous threats of violence and an appeals court injunction that prohibits the statues’ removal while a federal court case plays out. Unlike previous delays, City Hall officials said Monday they are canceling the… Continue reading →

Treasury: $1.3M in unclaimed refunds await drivers ticketed by Jefferson Parish’s red-light cameras

Motorists ticketed through Jefferson Parish’s discontinued red-light camera system can check the state Treasury Department’s unclaimed property program to see if they’re owed a refund. Treasurer John Kennedy’s office said $1.3 million has not been claimed after the recent settlement of class action lawsuits over the ticketing program. Most of the… Continue reading →

Five N.O. residents indicted in alleged St. Roch heroin trafficking ring

Five New Orleans residents are accused of running a heroin trafficking ring in the St. Roch neighborhood, according to an indictment that was unsealed Monday in Baton Rouge federal court. The May 12 indictment names Miguel “Pretty” Joseph, 29; Edward “Burger” Lawrence, 32; Vantrell Toomer, 44; Michelle Marie Jefferson, 31; and Danielle Denise Taylor, 42.… Continue reading →

Shooting victim son of former Orleans Parish School Board member Heidi Lovett Daniels

Advocate staff photo by DELLA HASSELLE -- A man estimated to be about 20 years old was found shot to death in New Orleans East on Sunday morning, according to police.

The discovery of a man’s body in an abandoned, grassy lot in New Orleans East on Sunday morning sent reverberations through the city’s civic community Monday as word began to spread that the victim was the son of former Orleans Parish School Board member Heidi Lovett Daniels. Few details are known about the death of 20-year-old… Continue reading →

World's largest nitrogen fertilizer plant based in Louisiana cancels $6 billion deal with Netherlands company

Advocate staff file photo -- CF Industries, owner of the world’s largest nitrogen fertilizer plant located in Donaldsonville, has dropped plans to acquire the distribution networks of Netherlands-based OCI N.V.

CF Industries Holdings Inc., soon to have the world’s largest nitrogen fertilizer plant located in Donaldsonville, has dropped plans to acquire the distribution networks of Netherlands-based OCI N.V. in a $6 billion deal. The combination would have created one of the planet’s largest nitrogen fertilizer companies. CF Industries said an April announcement by the U.S.… Continue reading →

New Orleans breast surgeon’s attorney: Child porn claims unfounded, meant to ‘shame and humiliate’

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- New Orleans plastic surgeon Alireza 'Ali' Sadeghi leave jail after making bond Monday, May 16, 2016.

An attorney for Dr. Alireza “Ali” Sadeghi urged an Orleans Parish judge on Monday to determine what, if any, photographs found on electronics seized from the New Orleans breast surgeon contain child pornography — an allegation prosecutors lobbed last week after Sadeghi was indicted on rape and video voyeurism counts. Defense attorney… Continue reading →

Woman shot dead in Treme on Monday morning; man killed earlier on I-10 in New Orleans East

Advocate photo by SOPHIA GERMER -- New Orleans Police Department investigators inspect the crime scene of a fatal shooting that happened on the 1200 block of N Robertson street in the Treme neighborhood in New Orleans, La. Monday, May 23, 2016.

A young woman walking to a bus stop in the Treme neighborhood was fatally shot Monday morning blocks from her home. The victim, identified by loved ones as Erica Davis, 24, was on her way to work at a Wendy’s restaurant in Metairie when she was gunned down. The shooting happened shortly after 9… Continue reading →

Man found shot to death inside car on I-10 East, New Orleans police say

One person died in a shooting on Interstate 10 East early Monday, New Orleans police said. Shortly before 1 a.m., police found a male victim suffering from a gunshot wound inside of a red Chevrolet Monte Carlo near the Crowder Boulevard on-ramp, the New Orleans Police Department said in a news release. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The… Continue reading →

New Orleans man urges guaranteed ‘basic income’ for all, supports himself from internet crowdfunding

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Scott Santens is a local advocate for the idea of a basic income, in other words, the government cutting everyone a check every month, no strings attached. He says he has achieved something like this himself using crowd-sourcing. And he spends the free time this affords him advocating for the idea for everyone.

Scott Santens has committed his life to a single idea: that the government should write every adult citizen a check for $1,000 every month, no strings attached. There is actually nothing so unusual about that. A lot of people support the idea of a so-called basic income in various forms. There are foundations dedicated to bringing… Continue reading →

‘Feels like it’s never going to be over’: Pregnant girlfriend mourns victim of mysterious killing

Photo provided by Diana Morris -- Travis Darries, 38, was shot to death in New Orleans East on May 14. He poses with his girlfriend Diana Morris, 31, in this photo.

Diana Morris adjusted herself on a couch, trying to make herself comfortable. With her second daughter due in little more than a month, it was not an easy task. Nor was telling the story of her boyfriend’s death, but she did so calmly. Morris, a 31-year-old nurse at University Medical Center, said her composure… Continue reading →

Will union’s unexpected defeat at Lusher School prove to be an exception or the rule? Time will tell

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Lusher Charter School's Alcee Fortier Campus is seen in New Orleans, La. Thursday, April 14, 2016.

A day ahead of Tuesday’s vote on whether teachers at Lusher Charter School would join an officially recognized union, union organizers were confident of victory. A solid majority of teachers had signed a petition in April asking the school to voluntarily accept the union, a chapter of the United Teachers of New Orleans. Even… Continue reading →

Construction to cause low water pressure, traffic disruptions

The Sewerage & Water Board said construction will cause low water pressure and traffic disruptions in parts of New Orleans this week: Customers on Bryson Road in Lower Coast Algiers will experience low water pressure from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday as workers repair a fire hydrant in the area, which is between La.… Continue reading →

‘Keep your heart in the game,’ Loyola dropout Harry Connick Jr. tells 2016 graduates

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Ana Lucena, right, and Kevin Lindsey take a picture with Harry Connick, Jr. after he gave the commencement address for Loyola University in the Superdome in New Orleans, La. Saturday, May 21, 2016.

As 750 graduating students from Loyola University walked across the stage Saturday morning at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, they had Grammy-winning musician and actor Harry Connick Jr. cheering them on. The New Orleans native was also celebrating with them, for the school bestowed an honorary doctorate in music on him. Because Connick dropped out of… Continue reading →

Police: 5-year-old LaPlace girl fatally shot while playing with handgun

The New Orleans Advocate file photo ORG XMIT: BAT1402252247334090

Early Saturday morning, a 5-year-old girl playing with a handgun shot herself to death, according to the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff's office. At 9:44 a.m., the Sheriff's Office responded to a call for a medical emergency on Country Club Drive in LaPlace. The girl, identified as Haley Moore, was transported to the hospital where… Continue reading →

Feds acknowledge wide-ranging inquiry into corruption on New Orleans-area drug task force

Karl Newman

More than three months after a New Orleans-based federal agent was stripped of his badge, the U.S. Justice Department has acknowledged an extensive investigation is underway into a federal narcotics task force suspected of stealing cash and peddling drugs in several parishes. The government has been reviewing cases brought by Chad Scott, a special agent with… Continue reading →

Brickmason and builder Tommy Thompkins dies at 86

Tommy Issac Thompkins

Tommy Issac Thompkins, a brickmason and builder who supervised masonry work at the Pan-American Life Center and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, among other local landmarks, died May 4 in hospice care in New Orleans. He was 86. In addition to working with commercial contractors at several major projects along Poydras Street, he supervised masonry at nearly every… Continue reading →

Indictment: Hitman out for blood in unpaid contract killing of Gentilly man in 2012

Stanton 'Nan Nan' Guillory

A federal judge unsealed an indictment Friday naming Stanton “Nan Nan” Guillory in the alleged contract killing of a 60-year-old Gentilly man who had just agreed to plead guilty and cooperate in prosecuting a Medicare fraud scheme when he was gunned down in his car four years ago. Guillory, 22, is better known as… Continue reading →

Saints, Pelicans owner Tom Benson under oath: My relatives ‘didn’t love me very much, trying to stab me in the back’

New Orleans Saints' owner Tom Benson listens to a question before the start of the post position draw for the 142nd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Wednesday, May 4, 2016. Benson's  G.M.B. Racing has two starters in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, Mo Tom and Tom's Ready. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)

Tom Benson has been publicly tight-lipped during his legal battle with his estranged relatives for the past 17 months, but newly released legal transcripts show the owner of the Saints and the Pelicans wasn’t pulling any punches when he testified behind closed doors earlier this year in an ongoing case involving shares in the teams. Under… Continue reading →

Louisiana nonfarm employment slips with decreases in 6 of 11 job sectors

Advocate staff file photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK -- Inland drilling rigs are stacked in the Port of Iberia in December. The state’s mining and logging industry, which includes the oil and gas sector, fell 18.2 percent, or 8,900 jobs, over the 12 months through April.

Louisiana’s nonfarm employment slipped 0.8 percent to 1,979,000 over the 12 months ending April 30, as oil’s downturn continued rippling through the economy. Employment fell in six of 11 of Louisiana’s business sectors. The numbers are preliminary estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and are not adjusted to reflect seasonal changes.… Continue reading →

Morgan Stanley launches Healthy Cities New Orleans

Financial services giant Morgan Stanley has named New Orleans as its eighth Healthy Cities location, launching the program with a playground build at Lake Forest Charter School. The Healthy Cities program, working with Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans, targets needy children and their families. The program’s goal is to help more than 1,000 children… Continue reading →

Man shot to death at Church’s Chicken in Gentilly

An employee of the Church’s Chicken at 4030 Chef Menteur Highway stepped outside the restaurant shortly before midnight on Thursday to talk to someone and was then shot to death, New Orleans police said. Police said the 29-year-old victim died on the scene after being shot several times. Officers found him lying face up in the parking… Continue reading →

City lauds the arrival of CVS pharmacy in Lower 9th Ward

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Mayor Mitch Landrieu talks with Roger Francis of CVS during the opening ceremony for the drugstore on N. Claiborne Ave in the Lower Ninth Ward Thursday, May 19, 2016.

City officials on Thursday celebrated the recent opening of a CVS drugstore at 5000 N. Claiborne Ave., hailing the chain for being the first national retailer to return to the Lower 9th Ward since Hurricane Katrina 11 years ago. The 13,000-square-foot store, which includes a drive-through pharmacy window and the usual health, beauty and grocery items… Continue reading →

Repairs to cause low water pressure in Warehouse District, Uptown

Residents and businesses on several streets in the Warehouse District will experience low water pressure from 9 a.m. to noon Friday and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday while Sewerage & Water Board crews repair a series of broken water valves in the area. The streets affected are: along John Churchill Chase Street from Convention Center… Continue reading →

Bid to tighten rules on New Orleans multifamily housing dies when council deadlocks 3-3

Advocate staff photo by SOPHIA GERMER -- Shana Sasson speaks in front of Morris F.X. Jeff School in Mid-City during a press conference in New Orleans, Thursday November 12, 2015. The gathering was to underscore a local effort in the Bayou St. John neighborhood to hold developers of the Morris F.X. Jeff School to the density levels called for by the city's Master Plan.

The New Orleans City Council could not agree Thursday on whether to better align a provision in the city’s zoning ordinance with the city’s master plan. The result was to kill a Bayou St. John neighborhood group’s effort to curb high-density development in their area and certain other neighborhoods. The proposal, which failed… Continue reading →

Fatal Central City shooting in January blamed on victim’s first cousin

The fatal shooting of a man inside Verret’s Lounge in Central City in late January was committed by his first cousin, according to an indictment issued Thursday and a source close to the family. A grand jury accused Michael J. Young — a 39-year-old local rapper signed to Kowboii Records under the name of… Continue reading →

American Sugar Cane League: 2016 crop shows good potential

The American Sugar Cane League says the 2016 cane crop shows good potential and could pass last year’s 1.4 million tons of raw sugar. Senior Agronomist Herman Waguespack said as the prime sugar cane growing season begins, farmers from central and south Louisiana report good spring stands of sugar cane despite the abnormally wet winter of 2015.… Continue reading →

Is embattled Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman about to become figurehead for rest of his term?

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Sheriff Marlin Gusman looks  next to the entrance where the first Orleans Parish Prison buses transported prisoners to the new $150 million parish prison built in part with FEMA money in New Orleans, La. Monday, Sept. 14, 2015.

The U.S. Justice Department has offered a blueprint for its proposed takeover of the city’s jail, insisting an outside official be afforded unfettered authority over hiring decisions, even calling the shots about how the chain of command is structured within the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office. The government, joined by attorneys with the MacArthur Justice Center, filed… Continue reading →

Danos and Curole Marine Contractors laying off 80 workers in Morgan City

About 80 workers will be laid off in July at the Danos and Curole Marine Contractors’ fabrication division facility in Morgan City. The layoffs at the Amelia yard will occur between July 13 and July 27 because of “a significant downturn in business,” the Gray-based oil and gas services company said in a notification to the Louisiana… Continue reading →