Homeless people say they face new eviction threat

Advocate file photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- New Orleans city officials, homeless advocates and NOPD converged under the Pontchartrain Expressway before dawn Aug. 14, 2014 to move out the approximately 150 homeless people have been living there.

New Orleans police late Tuesday told a group of homeless people living in an encampment on a neutral ground at Camp and Calliope streets, under the Pontchartrain Expressway, that they would have to leave the area within hours, some inhabitants of the camp said. Angela Malone, who sleeps in a tent under the expressway, said she … Continue reading →

Nonprofit’s former head admits embezzling money

The former head of a New Orleans nonprofit organization faces federal prison time after pleading guilty to embezzling tens of thousands of dollars in public grant money. Marcia Peterson, who served as executive director of CDC 58:12, a community development group, admitted Wednesday to stealing nearly $25,000 from the U.S. Department of Education and more than … Continue reading →

Harry Connick Jr., J-Lo get first look at ‘Idol’ hopefuls in New Orleans

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Contestants  for the FOX show American Idol dance as Harry Connick, Jr. arrives on the Smokey Mary float from Connick's Mardi Gras Krewe of Orpheus at the New Orleans Convention Center for tryouts for the show in New Orleans, La. Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014.

“American Idol” is back in town, and New Orleanian Harry Connick Jr. is back with it — arriving at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on Wednesday atop a float, Carnival-style. Beginning his second season as a judge on the Fox television reality-contest show, Connick will again share the judges’ table with Jennifer Lopez and Keith … Continue reading →

Irish Channel bust nets alleged heroin dealer

Federal agents and New Orleans police arrested a 33-year-old man Tuesday in connection with a narcotics operation that has so far led to the seizure of nearly $20,000 in cash and more than a kilogram of heroin from locations in Mid-City and the Irish Channel, authorities said. Terrell Carney, 33, was the target of a drug-trafficking … Continue reading →

Hurricane Katrina anniversary events in New Orleans, Aug. 28-31, 2014

THURSDAY, AUG. 28 KATRINA ARTISTICALLY REVISITED: 9 p.m., the Theaters at Canal Place, 333 Canal St., New Orleans. Musicians, writers, photographers and others tell stories and display art that came out of Hurricane Katrina. Participants include Armand St. Martin, Steve Allen, Ron Thibodeaux, Dean Shapiro, Matt Faust, Robert Green Sr. and Shirani Rae. Parking $2. Event is free. FRIDAY, … Continue reading →

Prosecutors defend search of ‘sniper van’ without a warrant

Photo via U.S. Attorney Court Records -- The recent discovery of an apparent  assassin's van in Jefferson Parish -- in which a .22-caliber rifle with a silencer and a cannon fuse were found inside a vehicle apparently retrofitted for killing -- raises questions about the status of Italian organized crime in New Orleans and how much organization remains in 2014. Former FBI head Jim Bernazzani says there are still remnants, but that the operation is a shadow of what it once was. The two men facing federal charges in connection with the van appear to have mafia links, and one of them, Joseph F. Gagliano, did federal time in the Ô90s for a video poker scheme here that was linked to the mob. His father, Fat Frank Gagliano, had been an underboss in the Marcello crime family. Details on the discovery of the ominous van and a look at what officials say is left of the organized crime element in New Orleans.

Federal prosecutors in the Jefferson Parish “sniper van” case hit back Wednesday against a defense claim that investigators searched the suspiciously outfitted vehicle without a warrant, saying authorities were legally required to take inventory of the van before it could be towed. Prosecutors argued in a new court filing that a .22-caliber rifle with a scope … Continue reading →

As city’s new zoning law nears completion, not everyone is satisfied

Beer brewers and Bywater residents dominated the first day of hearings before the City Planning Commission on the city’s proposed new zoning law. Brewers are concerned that language in the new comprehensive zoning ordinance would restrict the growth of breweries in New Orleans. Bywater residents, meanwhile, appear split on how development should move forward in that … Continue reading →

Witnesses describe Bourbon Street shooting

Video screen shot -- Trung Le's attorney Martin Regan

Robert “Big Red” Benvenuti testified Wednesday that he was drunk the night gunfire rang out on Bourbon Street this summer and he took four bullets to his legs and buttocks. But when police rousted him for questioning days later and showed him a video of the incident, one thing came into clear focus. He realized from … Continue reading →

Woman killed in 7th Ward shooting identified

A woman who was shot Tuesday night in the 7th Ward and later died at the hospital has been identified as 26-year-old Kaima Kennedy. Kennedy was shot about 6 p.m. while on the porch of a home in the 2100 block of Law Street, said officer Frank Robertson, a Police Department spokesman. She was rushed to … Continue reading →

Accused Bourbon Street shooter pleads not guilty

Trung T. Le

Accused Bourbon Street shooter Trung Le pleaded not guilty to counts of manslaughter and attempted second-degree murder in Criminal District Court this morning. Le entered his plea a day after his lawyer, Martin Regan, labeled him a hero, saying Le saved lives when he fired on a second, still-unnamed shooter about 2:45 a.m. on June 29. … Continue reading →

IG report: NOPD misclassifying many robberies

In the latest in a series of audits questioning the accuracy of New Orleans crime statistics, Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux’s office issued a report Wednesday that says the New Orleans Police Department misclassified nearly 40 percent of a sampling of robbery cases the office reviewed. As with the earlier audits, which dealt with rapesContinue reading →

Chunk of Gallier Hall’s facade tumbles

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  A section of the facade of Gallier Hall, at right, broke off and crashed on the stone steps below, damaging them Tuesday morning. The area around the front of the building has been barricaded off for the safety of passing pedestrians.

A chunk of stone cornice on the façade of Gallier Hall — just below where a statue of a blindfolded Lady Justice stands holding her scales three stories above the street — broke off sometime Tuesday morning and came crashing onto the steps below. No one was injured, but the steps, which extend along St. Charles … Continue reading →

City panel endorses latest plan for French Quarter restaurant

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Sean Meenan is once again trying to get his plan for a Cuban restaurant at the corner of Esplanade Avenue and North Rampart Street approved by the Vieux Carre Commission. French Quarter preservationists stopped his last effort and already are protesting this one.

A proposal to turn a long-abandoned French Quarter service station into a restaurant once again is under review by the Vieux Carre Commission — eight months after the developer, facing unrelenting protest from some neighbors, withdrew the project from consideration. The commission is considering a new proposal from Sean Meenan, whose original bid to build a … Continue reading →

Teenager pleads guilty to killing former classmate

A 19-year-old man pleaded guilty Tuesday to gunning down a former high school classmate during a Central City second-line parade in September 2012. Glenn Metz pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter and two counts of attempted second-degree murder. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison by Criminal District Court Judge Camille Buras. … Continue reading →

Morning update: I-10 East reopens, was closed after tanker explosion

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--A firefighter surveys the wreck of a tanker trailer that exploded at the Little Woods exit of I-10 near the intersection of I-510. The 24-Year-old female driver of the tanker has been transported to the hospital with no serious injuries. NOPD will conduct the accident portion of the investigation. Members of the NOFD/ Hazmat is on the scene for clean up of the wreckage. All lanes of travel will remain closed until the fuel clean up is complete. St. Bernard Sheriff and Louisiana State Police also responded to the scene.

Updated at 6 a.m. – The New Orleans Police Department reported early Wednesday that all I-10 lanes are now open. ________________________ A tanker truck exploded late Tuesday afternoon on Interstate 10 in New Orleans East, causing a fire that destroyed the truck. The heavily traveled highway had to be closed in both directions during rush hour, and a plume … Continue reading →

BGR urges city to sell former World Trade Center building

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.

The Bureau of Governmental Research again is urging the city to abandon its efforts to find a developer to lease the former World Trade Center building at the foot of Canal Street and instead to sell the long-vacant property. In a report released Tuesday, the nonpartisan agency said that with three attempts to lease the 1960s … Continue reading →

New Orleans trumpeter Porgy Jones dead at 74

Photo provided by Floragene Mays -- Warren 'Porgy' B. Jones

Warren B. “Porgy” Jones, a New Orleans trumpeter who played with some of the biggest stars in jazz, soul and R&B, died Thursday at Touro Infirmary of a heart attack. He was 74. “Porgy had a different sort of sophistication, outside of what you would anticipate from a New Orleans horn player,” said Jerome Smith, who … Continue reading →

Section of Gallier Hall facade falls, damages steps

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- A section of the facade of Gallier Hall on St. Charles Avenue broke off and crashed to the stone steps below Tuesday morning, damaging the steps. The area around the front of the building was barricaded for the safety of passing pedestrians.

A section of the facade of Gallier Hall fell Tuesday morning, crashing onto the steps below and damaging them. Police have barricaded the area around the building’s front. Gallier Hall is an antebellum building on St. Charles Avenue, built between 1845 and 1853. The building served as New Orleans’ City Hall for more than a … Continue reading →

Jazz icon Bolden former home in decay

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- United Kingdom residents John Perkins takes a picture of wife Joan Perkins on the stoop of Charles

For months, jazz enthusiasts and historic preservationists have been grousing about the state of the property at 2309 First St. in Central City, a shotgun double that once sheltered the talents of jazz pioneer Buddy Bolden. It’s been vacant and boarded up for some time, without even a plaque to let visitors … Continue reading →

Butcher, baker, cheesemonger headed to French Market

Photo by Ian McNulty - Continental Provisions plans to open in a French Market stall previously occupied by Cajun Market.

Three local businesses, each known for hand-crafted food and Old World traditions, are headed to the French Market, the latest move aimed at reviving the market’s reputation as an integral part of the city’s food culture. The owners of St. James Cheese Co., an Uptown cheese shop; Cleaver & Co., an Uptown butcher shop for locally … Continue reading →

Beer-bottle beating death was justified, DA says

Citing a lack of evidence, prosecutors have refused charges against an ex-convict accused of mortally wounding a New Orleans man with a beer bottle outside a 9th Ward convenience store. Richard Dozier, 49, had been booked with second-degree battery two days after the March 22 fight, which occurred about 5:30 p.m. outside the We Got … Continue reading →

Only two St. John School Board members face challenges

Despite some public discontent over the slow pace of repairs at two schools that remain shuttered since Hurricane Isaac in 2012, all but two members of the St. John the Baptist Parish School Board coasted to re-election last week when they drew no challengers during the three-day qualifying period for the Nov. 4 election. But the … Continue reading →

Report: United Health seeks to sell health-exchange policies in Louisiana

UnitedHealth Group Inc. has applied to sell health coverage to Louisiana residents through the online federal marketplace in 2015, according to The Wall Street Journal. Louisiana is one of two dozen states where UnitedHealth’s insurance arm, UnitedHealthcare, may make coverage available through the Affordable Care Act-created marketplace. The others include Texas, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan … Continue reading →

Hats galore: Socialite’s collection draws plenty of bidders

Photo provided by the New Orleans Auction -- Potential buyer preview hats of New Orleans socialite Michey Easterling that will be up for auction on Sunday.

The spread was fit for the most discriminating of guests: shrimp and grits, flutes of champagne, quiche Lorraine. But those who visited New Orleans Auction Galleries on Sunday morning weren’t there to eat; they came to bid on more than 240 hats that belonged to the New Orleans social phenomenon known as Mickey Easterling, who died in April. … Continue reading →