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Co-discoverer of HIV to speak at Tulane University

Dr. Robert Gallo, a co-discoverer of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the cause of AIDS, will speak at the Tulane Woldenberg Art Center Thursday, March 12, according to a Tulane press release. Gallo will give the keynote address for a three-day symposium, sponsored by the President's Office, that celebrates contributions to infectious disease research by faculty in… Continue reading →

Orleans Parish DA wants opposing lawyers held in contempt of court

Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office returned fire Wednesday in the case of a young public defender’s investigator who accused the DA this week of maliciously prosecuting her to save face over allegations of prosecutorial misconduct. Prosecutors argued in a legal filing Wednesday that attorneys for Taryn Blume should be held in contempt… Continue reading →

Bat infestation forces KIPP Believe Primary to move to temporary site; school to reopen on Holy Rosary campus Thursday

Photo provided by Marta Jewson, The Lens -- A bat infestation at Benjamin Banneker Elementary School forced KIPP Believe staff to pack up classrooms and relocate.

A bat infestation at KIPP Believe Primary caused school officials to cancel classes Wednesday and scramble to relocate to the Holy Rosary campus in order to resume classes on Thursday. “In the last few days it’s gotten increasingly worse,” School Leader Sarah Beth Greenberg said. An increase of bat sightings at the K-3… Continue reading →

DA drops last charge against NOPD officer who once faced attempted murder count

Initially charged with attempted murder, a New Orleans police detective no longer faces any criminal charges over the alleged beating of his pregnant ex-girlfriend. Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office dropped a simple battery count against him on Wednesday. Detective Robert Hurst, now relegated to desk duty, still faces possible… Continue reading →

Woman files suit against Royal Sonesta claiming she was raped by security guard last year; case sent to DA but no arrests made so far

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  Attorney Gloria Allred walks with her un-named clients after a press conference at Civil District Court in New Orleans Wednesday, March 4, 2015. The woman says she was raped by a security guard working for the Royal Sonesta hotel on Mardi Gras night 2014.

A Texas woman and her celebrity attorney, Gloria Allred, returned to New Orleans on Wednesday to accuse the Royal Sonesta Hotel in the French Quarter of allowing a hotel security guard to rape the woman on Mardi Gras night last year. They called a news conference in front of the Civil District Courthouse, where they had… Continue reading →

Jefferson councilman wants study on higher wages for parish workers

Councilman Mark Spears doesn’t think the lowest-paid public employees in Jefferson Parish are making enough money to support themselves and their families. So at a Parish Council meeting Wednesday, he successfully proposed a resolution requesting the parish’s Personnel Department to conduct a study to see if it would be feasible to raise the… Continue reading →

Suspect in dismemberment case to stand trial on sex offender registration charge next week

Photo provided by the Kenner Police Department -- Terry Speaks

Terry Speaks, one of the two defendants charged with the 2012 murder and dismemberment of Jaren Lockhart, faces trial next week on a charge of failing to register as a sex offender in Jefferson Parish. In the meantime, his trial date for the murder of the Bourbon Street dancer still stands at June 15,… Continue reading →

Police searching for boyfriend after triple shooting that killed mother and 8-year-old daughter

Photo courtesy of the New Orleans Police Department -- Authorities are looking for Dwayne Martin who is the prime suspect in the Tuesday morning triple shooting that left a mother and daughter dead.

Just last weekend, Walesha Williams brought her boyfriend of a couple of months to meet her entire family. She told her cousin, Erica Williams, how much she loved Dwayne Martin, an acquaintance since middle school. Now, less than a week later, Walesha Williams, 25, and her 8-year-old daughter, Paris, are dead, and Martin is… Continue reading →

Jefferson Parish officials honor Metairie St. Patrick parade’s founder, who died Monday

Johnny Marchese

Two days after the founder of Metairie’s popular annual St. Patrick parade died, Jefferson Parish officials on Wednesday honored him for spending more than four decades organizing what was described as “no bigger gathering.” Johnny Marchese, who died at his home Monday at age 97, got the first St. Patrick parade rolling through Old Metairie… Continue reading →

Jefferson Parish Sheriff: Teen punched on video 'started it'; extended video released

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand points to a photo from social media, which JPSO says depicts Brady Becky with a cup from a Daiquiri shop with his mother at a Carnival parade after getting the black eye he received from JPSO deputy Nick Breaux on February 13, 2015 outside Lakeside Mall, during a press conference at the JPSO Media Center in Harvey, La. Wednesday, March 4, 2015.

Breaking his silence Wednesday on the controversial cellphone video that shows a deputy repeatedly punching a high school student in the face, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand offered a full-throated defense of the deputy’s actions and portrayed the student as an unruly 17-year-old who should “maybe stay off the alcohol.” Nearly three weeks after… Continue reading →

14-year-old robbed at gunpoint after getting off school bus Tuesday in New Orleans East

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- New Orleans Police report that a 14-year-old boy was robbed at gunpoint after getting off a school bus in New Orleans East on Tuesday afternoon.

A 14-year-old boy was robbed by two men of his $5 and shoes after getting off a school bus Tuesday afternoon in New Orleans East, according to the New Orleans Police Department. When the boy got off the bus near the intersection of Dwyer Road and Westlake Drive around 4:30 p.m., a man exited a black SUV,… Continue reading →

USA Today report: Tests show a fifth monkey exposed to dangerous pathogen that escaped from secure lab at Tulane primate center

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

Tests reveal a fifth monkey had been exposed to a deadly bacteria that got released from a high-security lab at the Tulane National Primate Research Center in Covington, according to email correspondence among federal and state investigators, a report said. Officials contend the fifth monkey, as the others animals before it, was not… Continue reading →

Officer suspended for alleged solicitation, and other area crime news

John McCoy

New Orleans Police Department officer Ananie Mitchell has been placed on emergency suspension without pay after he was arrested Monday and accused of soliciting a prostitute, the NOPD said Tuesday. The NOPD’s Public Integrity Bureau received a tip about Mitchell on Feb. 24 and launched an investigation.… Continue reading →

New Orleans charter school hit with scathing accusations on special ed students

The Louisiana Department of Education on Tuesday released a scathing report about an independent charter school in New Orleans called Lagniappe Academies, accusing the Treme school’s leadership of failing to provide services for students with special needs and attempting to hide the fact from state officials. The report came as a rare acknowledgement on the part… Continue reading →

The Advocate’s ‘Giving Away Louisiana’ series on tax giveaways nominated for national business journalism award

“Giving Away Louisiana,” The Advocate’s eight-day special report about Louisiana’s growing network of tax giveaway programs, was named a finalist Tuesday for a national business writing award. The special report, published in November and December, chronicled how the costs of six giveaway programs have climbed by 400 percent in a decade and… Continue reading →

Orleans public defense investigator charged with faking credentials claims retaliation by Leon Cannizzaro, District Attorney's Office

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- New Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro

A young investigator with the Orleans Parish Public Defender’s Office who stands accused of impersonating a peace officer has lodged incendiary claims against District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro and one of his top trial deputies, accusing them of devising an indictment against her in a retaliatory backhand. In a legal filing this week, Taryn Blume,… Continue reading →

Tom Benson-appointed trustee again rejects proposed asset swap with relatives' trusts

Pictured from left, Tom Benson, Gayle Benson, Renee Benson, Rita LeBlanc and Ryan LeBlanc

Despite substantially increasing what he’s offering to place in a group of trusts set up for his spurned heirs in exchange for canceling shares in his billion-dollar business empire that are held by those trusts, Tom Benson is still not offering a fair trade, according to the person Benson appointed to watch out for his… Continue reading →

Aaron Broussard’s attorney wants hearing to probe online commenting scandal at U.S. Attorney's Office under Jim Letten

Advocate file photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard arrives for sentencing  in federal court in New Orleans in 2013. Broussard is trying to get his guilty verdict set aside based on prosecutorial misconduct.

An attorney for jailed former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard made his case Tuesday that his client is entitled to a hearing with testimony from former U.S. Attorney Jim Letten and two of his former prosecutors concerning the online-commenting scandal that overturned one verdict and torpedoed another investigation. But a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S.… Continue reading →

Prosecutor hints others may face charges in Peralta case

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

Embattled St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta may not be the only person facing criminal charges in a new indictment that’s likely to be handed up by a grand jury in coming weeks, a prosecutor with the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office told a state judge at a hearing Tuesday. Assistant Attorney General David Weilbaecher Jr.… Continue reading →

2 suspects wanted for armed robbery, aggravated battery in Algiers

Marc Brown

The New Orleans Police Department are asking for the public's assistance in locating two male suspects wanted for armed robbery and aggravated second degree battery, according to a NOPD press release. Marc Brown, a 30-year-old white male, and a second unidentified 6' tall, 220 pound white male are suspects in an incident that took place March 1,… Continue reading →

Mother and daughter killed, another woman injured, in New Orleans East shooting

Advocate photo by Benjamin Oreskes -- New Orleans homicide detectives go door-to-door on Duane Road in New Orleans East interviewing neighbors of the victims of the Tuesday morning shooting that left a mother and daughter dead and another woman injured.

An early morning shooting Tuesday in New Orleans East left a mother and daughter dead and another woman wounded. Shortly before 1 a.m., officers found a 25-year-old woman inside her home in the 14500 block of Duane Road suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the body. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Her… Continue reading →

Texas judge concedes some of the grounds Benson might pursue in appeal

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson.

In what to outsiders seemed to be a surprise move, lawyers for the daughter with whom Tom Benson is feuding have successfully asked a Texas judge to concede to the Saints and Pelicans owner some of the grounds he might be pursuing in his appeal of a decision about a trust of which he has at… Continue reading →

Why is Bobby Jindal aiming to restore an ineffective Louisiana tax instead of trimming tax credits he dislikes?

Associated Press file photo by Joe Skipper -- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Even Gov. Bobby Jindal’s top aides have been highly critical of some of the tax credit programs they administer, such as the state’s heavy subsidy of the film industry and its so-called Enterprise Zone program, which has forced Louisianians to help cover the cost of putting retail stores and restaurants in wealthy neighborhoods. But both of those… Continue reading →

Pro Beach Volleyball Tour coming to New Orleans in May

The AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour is coming to the New Orleans area.

On Monday morning, local officials announced a two-year deal between the professional sports organization and the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation to host the AVP New Orleans Open from May 21-24.

The four-day, nationally televised event will bring more than 60 of the tour's top male and female players… Continue reading →

Coroner identifies two homicide victims

The Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office on Monday released the names of two victims who died during separate shootings on Friday and Saturday. Barry Blackwell, 29, died on the South Broad Street overpass Friday afternoon in a shooting spree that left one other victim wounded. He was allegedly shot by Alvin Richardson who… Continue reading →

Chris Rose's fall from celebrated writer to restaurant waiter: Report details New Orleans columnist's new way of life

Chris Rose, shown here at Galatoire's in February 2007 during a Mardi Gras event, is now struggling to reenter the city's media landscape and had been waiting tables to make ends meet, he said in a new Columbia Journalism Review report. (AP photo)

Chris Rose, whose popularity skyrocketed after Hurricane Katrina because of his emotional column writing about New Orleans, is now struggling to reenter the city's media landscape and had been waiting tables to make ends meet, he said in a new Columbia Journalism Review report. In the report, Rose discusses his fight with drug addiction and depression and details how… Continue reading →

Witness in New Orleans cyclist accident: 'He never stopped; he should have stopped'

Police work the scene of a fatal accident where a cyclist was struck at Canal Street and Jeff Davis Parkway  Monday, March 2, 2015.

Pamela Hawkins was driving her silver Chevy Malibu lakebound on Canal Street about 9 a.m. Monday. She had to pick up a friend and go to the hospital. But as the traffic light in front of her turned green and she began to cross Jefferson Davis Parkway, she could see a northbound bicyclist pedaling out in… Continue reading →

Carnival bringing larger cruise ship to New Orleans; the name may be familiar

Photo from Carnival Cruise Line -- Carnival Triumph

Carnival Cruise Lines announced Monday that it is increasing its cruise capacity in New Orleans by replacing the smaller Carnival Elation ship with the Carnival Triumph. Carnival Triumph will shift from Galveston to New Orleans to launch year-round four- and five-day cruises to Mexico beginning April 4, 2016. On this route, four-day “long weekend” cruises depart… Continue reading →

Two railroad cars derail in New Orleans East at Almonaster Boulevard

New Orleans firefighters responded Sunday evening to a two-car train derailment in New Orleans East at Almonaster Boulevard. The two Public Belt Railway cars are carrying 30,000 gallons of crude oil each, but there have been no leaks, and there is no immediate threat to the public, said Michael Williams, a New Orleans Fire Department spokesman.… Continue reading →

At Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office, no haste to probe beating incident involving high school student

Advocate staff file photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Brady Becker, right, and his attorney David Belfield, speaks outside the Becker  home in Reserve. Becker still shows the bruises from his arrest by an undercover JPSO detective.

Within hours of the video’s appearance online, Detective Nicholas Breaux had been tried dozens of times in the court of public opinion. Viewers’ opinions split over the cellphone footage showing Breaux punching a high school student in the face. Some registered outrage over the plainclothes deputy’s use of force, while others insisted his tactics had been… Continue reading →

Tulane looking for ways to end annual $20M deficits, won't rule out layoffs

Advocate file photo

Even Tulane University, New Orleans’ richest educational institution, isn’t immune to the financial pressures facing higher education. The 13,500-student university has hired a Chicago consulting firm to find ways to close an annual cash deficit of nearly $20 million and to make the 181-year-old school more efficient. At the same time, Tulane is preparing… Continue reading →

Audubon Zoo, Woldenberg Park debuting new attractions

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Erica Jones works her his way around the newly opened 44-foot high Kamba Kourse ropes course in New Orleans, La. Friday, Feb. 27, 2015.

“Change or die,” could be the motto of the Audubon Nature Institute. Although it has been years since the organization opened an entirely new attraction — the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium in 2008 — new features are continually being added at the Audubon Zoo and elsewhere in an effort to… Continue reading →

Diana Ross reprises her career in high-energy Saenger show

Advocate staff photo by PAM BORDELON -- Diana Ross seen in concert at the Baton Rouge River Center Theatre in 2013.

Diana Ross didn’t allow press photographers at her sold-out show Saturday night at the Saenger Theatre, but in fact, the singing star, who’ll be 71 on March 26, looked marvelous. And even though the show lasted just 80 minutes, it was a high-energy affair crammed with crowd-pleasing performances. Ross, dressed in her first of four usually sparkling… Continue reading →