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Self-defense likely in Esplanade Ave. shooting, and other area crime news

Composite of suspect two

New Orleans police are looking into a Friday morning shooting that they said appears to have been an act of self-defense. The incident occurred in the 500 block of Esplanade Avenue. About 1:15 a.m., a man, 64, was leaving a Decatur Street nightclub when an unknown woman… Continue reading →

Employment up in seven La. metro areas

The Baton Rouge and New Orleans metropolitan areas were pacemakers as nonfarm employment increased in seven of Louisiana’s eight metros in December, the Louisiana Workforce Commission reported Friday. Those numbers, which are not seasonally adjusted, also show statewide nonfarm employment edged past the 2 million mark for the first time in history. Three days earlier, the LWC… Continue reading →

New Orleans businessman buys New London, Conn., Union Station

New Orleans businessman James Coleman Jr. has acquired the New London Union Station in Connecticut, reported Friday. The National Coast Guard Museum Association, which Coleman chairs, is raising funds to construct a museum in downtown New London. Union Station is adjacent to the site. The publication said the $3 million sale was necessary for… Continue reading →

Grant helping convert New Orleans nursing home into apartments

A vacant nursing home in New Orleans will become affordable housing for homeless and disadvantaged residents, thanks in part to a $400,000 Affordable Housing Program grant from First NBC Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas. Gulf Coast Housing Partnership has been spearheading the initiative. The nursing home, located at 2535 Esplanade Ave., will be… Continue reading →

Dat Dog venturing into Jefferson Parish

Dat Dog is venturing outside of Orleans Parish for the first time. A new location in Lakeside Mall in Jefferson Parish, opening Sunday, will be Dat Dog’s fourth, joining its Freret, Magazine and Frenchmen Street locations. Founded in 2011, Dat Dog is a New Orleans hot dog joint specializing in gourmet sausages and wieners. Dat… Continue reading →

Goodrich Petroleum cuts oil drilling in Louisiana, Mississippi.

JACKSON, Miss. — Low oil prices mean the driller that has been the most bullish on an oil region that stretches through the center of Louisiana into Mississippi is cutting back. Goodrich Petroleum Corp., based in Houston, said Friday that it will spend $80 million to $100 million on exploration and drilling this year, down… Continue reading →

Entrepreneurs get funding in PitchNOLA competition

Brothers Empowered to Teach took home the top $5,000 prize in a live PitchNOLA competition this week that was focused on workforce development, children and families, social justice and the environment. BE2T works to close the achievement gap for at-risk students by inspiring and getting men of color to choose education as a career, starting in New… Continue reading →

Two plead guilty in Jefferson Parish sniper van case

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.

Both men charged in the bizarre Jefferson Parish sniper van case pleaded guilty Friday to federal firearms charges, an unexpected turn in a prosecution that carried overtones of organized crime. In admitting guilt, the defendants, Dominick Gullo, 72, and Joseph F. Gagliano, 55, abandoned an alibi in which they professed ignorance about the contents… Continue reading →

Mayor Mitch Landrieu signs smoking ban for New Orleans bars, casinos; here's what'll happen next

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Surrounded by those who had lobbied  for a smoking ban at city bars and casinos, Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed the ordinance into law Friday, January 30, 2015 at City Hall. Here he shares a pen with Dr. John Ochsner, Sr. Musicians union president  Deacon John Moore is right.

Smoke ’em if you’ve got ’em, because the days of smoke-filled bars and casinos in New Orleans are now officially numbered. Surrounded by public health advocates and City Council members, Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed the “Smoke-Free Air Act” into law in his office Friday. “Many of these people around this table have been leading… Continue reading →

Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (groin) is a game-time decision for Friday's game against the Clippers

Associated Press photo by GERALD HERBERT -- New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis grimaces after falling to the court during the second half of Wednesday's game against the Denver Nuggets in New Orleans. Davis was helped to the locker room but later returned to the game. The Nuggets won 93-85.

. New Orleans Pelicans All-Star power forward Anthony Davis' availability for Friday night's game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Smoothie King Center will be a game-time decision, Davis said. “ not sure,” Davis said after Friday morning's shoot-around practice. “I'll know when I get here tonight, do more treatment,… Continue reading →

More than 100 arrested in New Orleans East drug sweep

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite revealed the results of an operation Ñ dubbed ÒWild Wild EastÓ Ñ began in late July of last year in response to an increase in shootings and murders. The FBI, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the New Orleans Police Department and other agencies, targeted repeat offenders selling heroin, crack and guns with undercover buys and wiretaps.

Members of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies on Friday revealed the fruits of a monthslong undercover investigation targeting drug traffickers in New Orleans East. The operation — dubbed “Wild Wild East” — culminated with the announcement of more than 100 arrests and the seizure of 32 guns, nearly $1 million and unspecified quantities of… Continue reading →

Algiers man suspected in woman’s slaying arrested near Broussard

Abbie Head

An Algiers man suspected in the Thursday night killing of a 28-year-old woman was arrested Friday morning at a hotel near Broussard, just south of Lafayette, State Police said. Abbie Head, 62, is accused of fatally shooting the woman just after 9 p.m. Thursday in front of an Algiers home in the 1500 block of Gen.… Continue reading →

Trying to 'get out from the shadow of Katrina,' New Orleans Armstrong airport's 2014 passenger count topped pre-storm level

Advocate file photo by JOHN MCCUSKER --  Passengers line up for flights at Louis Armstrong International Airport after last summer's Essence Festival.

Louis Armstrong International Airport exceeded its pre-Hurricane Katrina passenger numbers for the first time last year, airport officials said Friday. About 9,785,000 people flew through the airport in 2014, roughly 50,000 more passengers than in 2004, according to year-end statistics. “We’ve very excited about this,” Director of Aviation Iftikar Ahmad said. “We’ve been… Continue reading →

Collapse of oil prices hits investors hard

The collapse of oil prices has chopped $393 billion out of publicly traded companies’ share prices since June, hitting investors where it hurts, according to Roughly $353 billion of the hit came from 76 companies in the Bloomberg Intelligence North America Exploration & Production Index, with the remainder from high-yield energy bonds issued by… Continue reading →

La. Bancorp reports higher fourth-quarter profit

Metairie-based Louisiana Bancorp, the holding company for Bank of New Orleans, reported its fourth-quarter profit grew to $799,000, or 30 cents per share, compared with $638,000, or 24 cents per share, a year ago.
The company increased net interest income by $46,000 and non-interest income by $182,000.
For the year, the company reported net income of $2.8 million, or… Continue reading →

Here are 3 New Orleans parades to get the party started this weekend

Advocate photo by VERONICA DOMINACH -- Grandpa Danni Pergies holds granddaughter, Chole Shreiber, 4 on his shoulders to catch some beads at the It's Five O'clock Somewhere themed Mystick Krewe of Perseus parade in Slidell, La. on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014.

SATURDAY Krewe du Vieux: Take a walk on the wild side as Krewe du Vieux roams the streets of the Faubourg Marigny, the French Quarter and the CBD for its irreverent look at life and times. 6:30 p.m.: Parade begins at Royal Street and Franklin Avenue, heads through the French Quarter and ends at the ball.… Continue reading →

Walt Handelsman: Straaaange news

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 →

Update: Suspect in fatal New Orleans-area shooting arrested near Lafayette

Abbie Head

Updated at 8:30 a.m. — State police in St. Martin Parish arrested a suspect in a New Orleans-area fatal shooting after finding the man in a Broussard-area hotel, according to a report from WWL-TV. Abbie Head, 62, is accused of fatally shooting a 28-year-old woman just after 9 p.m. Thursday in front of a residence in the 1500 block… Continue reading →

Police investigating death of 16-year-old, and other area crime news

Suspects one and two in French Quarter robbery.

Police probing slaying of 16-year-old New Orleans police are investigating the shooting death of Kenneth Miles, a 16-year-old gunned down about 6 p.m. Wednesday. The Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office released his name Thursday. The teen was shot inside a home in the 2500 block of Mistletoe Street. Officers found him bleeding from a… Continue reading →

Gretna hotel ordered shut down by Fire Marshal’s Office

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Bridget Berry, a homeless mother of six children, hugs boyfriend Ricky Bass, center, after they were told to leave the Luxury Inn & Suites on Claire Ave in Gretna, La. Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. Berry who paid in advance for the week has nowhere else to go because many rooms are filled because of Mardi Gras and the money won't be refunded for sometime. Her used Suburban vehicle has no heater so she won't be able to sleep there. The Louisiana State Fire Marshal and Gretna code enforcement informed occupants of the hotel to leave immediately after various code and electrical violations were found.

The Louisiana Fire Marshal’s Office on Thursday issued a cease-and-desist letter to a Gretna motel that inspectors said has been plagued by a number of safety issues, including faulty electrical wiring that caused small fires in rooms, according to a spokesman for the agency. After investigators issued the order at the Luxury Inn and… Continue reading →

Tom Benson ups ante in proposal to take Saints, Pelicans out of estranged heirs’ trust

New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson holds a miniature replica of a statue of him during an unveiling ceremony outside the Mecedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014. Behind him are Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, left, Benson's wife Gayle Benson, an aide, and granddaughter and Saints co-owner Rita Benson LeBlanc, right. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) ORG XMIT: LAGH102

After several days of watching his family’s infighting transfix New Orleans in a way that only his football team typically can, Tom Benson has substantially increased the amount he is offering to place in a group of trusts set up for his now-jilted daughter and two grandchildren, in return for removing from those trusts the Saints and Pelicans… Continue reading →

Jefferson School Board honors outgoing superintendent

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ--Jefferson Parish Schools Superintendent James Meza talks about his tenure and his accomplishments during that time and where the school system is at today in New Orleans, La. Wednesday, June 25, 2014.

Standing in a meeting room buzzing with teachers, administrators and School Board members, outgoing Jefferson Parish Schools Superintendent James Meza said his impending departure is feeling more real by the moment. “It feels great, though,” he said at the farewell event, held just two days before a retirement he announced more than a year ago becomes official.… Continue reading →

Funeral services Friday and Saturday for ‘Bo’ Dollis

Advocate staff file photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Big Chief Theodore Bo Dollis.

Funeral services will take place Friday and Saturday for Theodore Emile “Bo” Dollis, former big chief of the Wild Magnolias tribe of Mardi Gras Indians, who died Jan. 20 at 71. Public visitation will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at the Carver Theater, 2101 Orleans Ave., and from 8 a.m. to 10… Continue reading →

Gang members convicted in killing of 5-year-old Briana Allen

Demond Saindifer, Sam Newman, Tyron Harden

Guilty verdicts against three young New Orleans men in the jarring 2012 murders of 5-year-old Briana Allen and Shawanna Pierce in Central City, among other alleged gang-related crimes, drew a proud response from Mayor Mitch Landrieu late Thursday. Flanked by District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro and Police Superintendent Michael Harrison, the mayor held a news conference… Continue reading →

Oil executive: Companies must work together to survive drop in prices

As oil prices continued sliding to a six-year low, the president of energy giant Hess Corp. warned Thursday that energy companies will need to pool resources and knowledge in order to survive the latest boom-or-bust cycle. “It’s clear that there’s a lot of uncertainty in our business in this short-term cycle,” Gregory Hill, Hess’ president and… Continue reading →

Victim says he doesn’t know why man shot him and friend

Donald Powell

Ervin Shaw says he does not even know the man who shot him and a friend Tuesday evening in the Upper 9th Ward or why the man opened fire. In a phone interview Thursday from his home, where he is recovering, Shaw said the stranger walked up to him and his friend Jake Tassin… Continue reading →

Police, La. SPCA investigating beheaded goat in Algiers park

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- One of the goats that grazes at Brechtel Park in Algiers was found beheaded Thursday morning. Another goat is missing. A Louisiana SPCA truck drives through the park near where the goat was found. The incident is under investigation.

The grisly discovery Thursday of a beheaded baby goat in Algiers turned a serene patch of Brechtel Park into what animal cruelty experts insisted was a felony crime scene. The slaughtered kid, a 3-month-old pygmy goat named Calvin, appeared to be the victim of a “malicious” decapitation rather than an attack by a predatory… Continue reading →

George Toca, La. inmate at center of debate on juvenile life sentences, to go free

photo by John Simerman -- Joyce Dolliole, 76, of Avondale, is the aunt of murder victim, Eric Batiste. Here she holds pictures of him.

A state prisoner from New Orleans who recently landed at the center of national legal debate about mandatory life sentences for youthful offenders won his freedom Thursday after 31 years in prison. Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office agreed to vacate his murder conviction. George Toca, 47, walked out of… Continue reading →

Feds spend hours at St. Bernard government complex

St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta

FBI agents spent several hours at the St. Bernard Parish government complex on Wednesday, spending most of their time in the Information Technology Department, sources said. The FBI presence is an offshoot of the state case against Parish President Dave Peralta, multiple sources confirmed. The embattled first-term parish president already stands charged in two state… Continue reading →

Man falls asleep while burglarizing house, and other area crime news

Man falls asleep while burglarizing house A Slidell man was arrested Wednesday morning after allegedly falling asleep on the couch of a house he had broken into, a Slidell Police Department spokesman said. Sharrod McCullum, 31, was roused from his slumber by police officers after the homeowner got up and found him, spokesman Daniel… Continue reading →

Tom Benson on TV: ‘There’s nothing wrong with me’

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--New Orleans Pelicans owner Tom Benson and his wife Gayle Benson give the thumbs up after a NBA game between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Miami Heat at New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, La. Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013.

Embroiled in a family feud related to who will inherit his NFL and NBA franchises as well as other properties when he dies, Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson went on television Wednesday night to bite back at allegations he’s mentally unfit to make his own business decisions and declared, “There’s nothing wrong with me.” “People (have)… Continue reading →

Jury to get 110ers gang case Thursday

The jurors heard from 58 witnesses, including more than a dozen who came shackled and hoping to have years or decades cut from their prison terms. They learned the grim details of how a band of teenagers from Uptown and the 7th Ward allegedly joined forces to wreak bloody havoc on rival gang members and bystanders… Continue reading →

Source: Unlikely past lawsuits against Gayle Benson will worry NFL, NBA officials; here's what they will focus on

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  Lane Murdoch, Jr. photographs Hornets owner Tom Benson and his wife Gayle Monday, October 1, 2012 at the Alario Center in Westwego during media day. Before Tom Benson came into her life, Gayle suffered financial challenges and was the subject of litigation and foreclosure.

Neither the Saints nor the Pelicans anticipate Gayle Benson’s record of being sued numerous times in New Orleans civil court will dissuade either the NFL or the NBA from approving a plan to make her the future owner of the two teams owned by her husband, Tom Benson, a source close to the situation said Wednesday.… Continue reading →

La. Supreme Court hears arguments in James Gray disciplinary case

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  New Orleans City Council District E Councilman James Gray.

The Louisiana Supreme Court will decide whether New Orleans City Councilman James Gray neglected clients in his private legal practice, potentially setting back their cases, or if he was simply a disorganized lawyer who ran into disputes with some of the people he represented. Attorneys sparred over those issues Wednesday in a disciplinary case that could… Continue reading →

Times-Picayune ceasing ad production, call center unit operations

The company that produces The Times-Picayune is laying off 28 workers March 31 as it ceases operation of its ad production and call center business units at its Howard Avenue headquarters in New Orleans, a letter to the state’s labor department says. The letter sheds new light on The Times-Picayune’s plan for its second major layoff in… Continue reading →

State Police to remain in N.O. until at least mid-May

Advocate file photo by MATTHEW HINTON--A State Police vehicle is parked in the French Quarter on Monday, Oct. 27, 2014. Extra State Police patrols that have been deployed since the June 29 Bourbon Street shooting, where a woman was killed and nine other were injured, will end this coming Sunday.

The State Police plan to keep a beefed-up contingent of troopers in New Orleans even after the Carnival crowds die down next month, seeking to mollify a crime-weary city and buttress its understaffed Police Department through a busy season of conventions and special events. Responding to Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s repeated pleas to the state, Col. Mike… Continue reading →

Armstrong Airport adds direct flights from Cancun, Missouri

Louis Armstrong International Airport is picking up a few new flights, including direct routes from Cancun, Mexico, and Branson, Missouri, and a flight from Cincinnati with a brief layover. Branson Air Express, a company operated by Orange Air, announced the new flights on Wednesday. They will begin May 6. The airport has picked up… Continue reading →

Developers propose outdoor music venue and water park on N.O. lakefront

Architectural rendering provided by Eskew + Dumez + Ripple -- Aerial view of Tipitina's Festival Park Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans East.

A proposal by the owner of Tipitina’s and the Orpheum Theater to turn the abandoned Bally’s casino dock and administration building on Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans East into an outdoor music venue and water park is under consideration by the state board that controls the site. The Louisiana Non-Flood Protection Asset Management Authority… Continue reading →

Student killed Monday in Algiers had difficult life in N.O., L.A.

Tokoyo Palmer

Like many high school students, Tokoyo Palmer liked to crack jokes, play sports and be the center of attention. But he struggled in a classroom environment, according to Lakeisha Weber, his biology teacher at Sarah T. Reed Senior High School in late 2012. As Weber prepared for a meeting one day with Tokoyo, his father… Continue reading →