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Artist finds contentment, inspiration far from big cities

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- In his studio, Douglas Bourgeois, a painter who lives in St. Amant, LA, near Gonzales, is a Prospect.3 artist.

Thirty-four years after fleeing New Orleans to avoid its engrossing melodramas and finally get some work done, artist Douglas Bourgeois is still living alone in this small Ascension Parish community. At 63, he’s a confirmed rural hermit. “But not country enough to fix things,” he said with a laugh.… Continue reading →

Twin 200-foot towers to be built at city’s water plant

Artist rendering provided by Sewage and Water Board pf New Orleans --

A pair of water towers that would dwarf Uptown New Orleans’ mostly low-rise buildings could soon rise above the Sewerage & Water Board’s campus on South Claiborne Avenue as part of a project aimed at preventing swings in water pressure that can cause boil-water advisories and damage to the system’s pipes. The twin 200-foot-tall towers, each… Continue reading →

Tax vote in St. Bernard will affect flood protection across entire east bank

On Dec. 6, St. Bernard Parish residents will decide whether to increase their property tax for flood protection, and it’s a vote that has broader implications for New Orleans and Jefferson Parish. That’s because the metro area’s storm protection is only as strong as its weakest link, and the money from the St. Bernard tax is… Continue reading →

Developer, neighbors counting on new homes to transform violent corner

Photo provided by Robert Morris, -- Workers from Cutting Edge Renovations prepare the vacant lot at Saratoga and Foucher on Wednesday, Nov. 20, for the construction of two new houses by Pentek Homes.

Less than two months ago, the weeds in the vacant corner lot at Foucher and South Saratoga streets came to the shoulders of the police officers who gathered there for an anti-crime march held in response to one of the recent shooting deaths in the area. Today, the overgrowth is gone, replaced by construction workers preparing… Continue reading →

Artist finds contentment, inspiration far from big cities

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- In his studio, Douglas Bourgeois, a painter who lives in St. Amant, LA, near Gonzales, is a Prospect.3 artist.

Here’s an update from the wilds of Ascension Parish: 34 years after he fled New Orleans to avoid its engrossing melodramas and finally get some work done, artist Douglas Bourgeois is still living alone in the middle of nowhere. At 63, he’s a confirmed rural hermit. “But not country enough to… Continue reading →

Focus in NOPD sex crimes scandal turns to supervision

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--NOPD Deputy Chief Arlinda Westbrook, of the Public Integrity Bureau, foreground right, looks at statistic of poor follow up of sex crime complaints by five NOPD detectives as at a press conference where New Orleans Assistant Inspector General of Investigations Howard Schwartz speaks next to Superintendent Michael Harrison at NOPD headquarters in New Orleans, La. Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014.

If you dialed 911 to report a sex crime in New Orleans over the past three years, chances were pretty good it landed on the ink-free desk of Officer Derrick Williams. In that case, you still haven’t seen a police report detailing his investigation, because none exists. According to data from Inspector General Ed… Continue reading →

JPSO deputy injured by drunk driver, and other area crime news

A Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy was injured by a suspected drunk driver early Saturday morning in Metairie, Sheriff Newell Normand reported. Deputy Sean Williams was parked at North Turnbull Drive and Veterans Boulevard, where he was working a movie detail, when a drunk driver slammed… Continue reading →

Neglected Art Deco building in N.O. faces uncertain future

Advocate staff photo by SHERRI MILLER -- The General Laundry building on North Rocheblave in New Orleans on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014.

There is controversy brewing in the Mid-City neighborhood of New Orleans over a historic building that the owner wants torn down. The old General Laundry, Cleaners and Dyers building at St. Peter and North Rocheblave streets has seen better days. But what made this 1930s jewel special — the brightly colored terra cotta tiles… Continue reading →

Retailers prepare for year-end sprint toward profits

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ-- Shoppers take in the offerings at Outlet Collection at Riverwalk in New Orleans Wednesday.

In an annual rite of the pre-holiday season, local retailers are readying for the shopping extravaganza known as Black Friday, and while they exude confidence that sales will be strong, they clearly are sparing no efforts to make sure their year-end sprint for profits doesn’t fall short. Some stores plan to repeat a strategy they launched last… Continue reading →

Foo Fighters return to a city ‘where music really matters’

“If there’s one place where music really matters, it’s New Orleans,” Dave Grohl, of the Foo Fighters, announced Friday night at the House of Blues. The band played a rare club date to coincide with the premiere of the New Orleans episode of “Sonic Highways,” the band’s HBO series documenting the making of its recent album… Continue reading →

Man dies in domestic shooting in N.O. East

A 50-year-old man was shot to death Friday night in New Orleans East, and New Orleans police say his 40-year-old wife fired the weapon. The man, identified as Steven Swanson, was shot multiple times about 8 p.m. Friday in the 5000 block of Coronado Drive, said Officer Frank Robertson, a spokesman for the New Orleans Police… Continue reading →

Local immigration activists have mixed reactions to Obama’s speech

President Barack Obama speaks about immigration at Del Sol High School, in Las Vegas, Friday, Nov. 21, 2014. The president unveiled expansive executive actions on immigration Thursday night to spare nearly 5 million people in the U.S. illegally from deportation, setting off a fierce fight with Republicans over the limits of presidential powers. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Irma Esperanza Lemus was at church Thursday night when President Barack Obama announced new protections that will affect roughly 5 million undocumented immigrants. After the service, she and her fellow church members watched a rebroadcast of the president’s address on the Spanish-language cable channel Univision. Many cried. “Some parts were good; some parts… Continue reading →

Man arrested for having gun on Tammany Trace, and other area police news

Phillip Picken

A Lacombe man with a gun was arrested after trying to gain entry into a building near St. Tammany Parish government headquarters Thursday, a parish spokesman said. Phillip Pickens, 35, was booked on several counts, including illegal carrying of a weapon, disturbing the peace,… Continue reading →

World Trade Center New Orleans, Ex-Im Bank join forces

The Export-Import Bank of the United States has joined forces with the World Trade Center New Orleans to assist local businesses to boost their export sales and add jobs as part of Ex-Im Bank’s City/State Program. The program helps ensure that Ex-Im Bank’s export finance products are more accessible to small and medium-sized businesses… Continue reading →

Texas woman lobs new allegations in wake of report on NOPD sex crime detectives

Advocate staff photo by JOHN SIMERMAN -- Attorney Gloria Allred, right, walks into the New Orleans Police 2nd District Station with a Texas couple who accuse the NOPD of dismissing the woman's claim of being raped by a hotel security guard during Mardi Gras this year.

She was bruised all over, the woman said. Her blood had soaked into the hotel mattress. But a week after the Texas woman reported that she was raped on Mardi Gras night and underwent a hospital exam, a New Orleans Police Department detective told her he was dropping the case. He had concluded the sex was… Continue reading →

Trial for Bourbon Street shooter delayed to February

Trung T. Le

The trial of Trung Le, the only person arrested in this summer’s mass shooting on Bourbon Street, has been continued until Feb. 23. Le, 21, was scheduled to be tried Dec. 1 on one count of attempted murder and one count of manslaughter. Prosecutors moved for a continuance Friday, saying several of their witnesses wouldn’t be… Continue reading →

Work starts on third phase of South Market District

Rendering provided by THE DOMAIN COMPANIES -- Work has started on The Beacon at South Market District, the third phase of a $200 million development in downtown New Orleans. The Beacon will consist of 126 apartments and 20,000 square feet of retail space. It is scheduled for completion in January 2016.

Construction has started on the third phase of the $200 million South Market District mixed-use development, an upscale apartment complex called The Beacon. The building, at Girod Street and O’Keefe Avenue, will consist of 126 apartments, 20,000 square feet of retail space and a landscaped courtyard. The retail space in The Beacon will focus on… Continue reading →

Gunman robs man on Royal Street, and other area crime news

Danette Colbert

New Orleans police are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying a suspect wanted in an armed robbery that occurred Nov. 10 in the 2600 block of Royal Street. A 59-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman were walking about 3:15 a.m. when they were approached by… Continue reading →

City Council makes small changes before approving city’s 2015 budget

Advocate file photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ--  New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu addresses the media in city hall before presenting his 2015 budget to city council in New Orleans, La. Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014. EMS director Dr. Jeffrey M. Elder stands to the left of the mayor and the city's Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin stands to the right.

The New Orleans City Council voted Thursday to increase the budgets of several city departments, including Sanitation, Health and Public Works, and to remove $1.6 million from the Fire Department’s pension fund as the council approved a $536.8 million general fund operating budget for 2015. The panel approved the budget unanimously, changing the final total very… Continue reading →

Off and running: Fair Grounds track kicks off season

Advocate file photo -- Horses break from the starting gate during Thanksgiving Day racing at the Fair Grounds last November.

After a long, litigious offseason, fans of the Fair Grounds can finally focus on racing. With its 143rd thoroughbred meet opening Friday night with Starlight Racing, the track’s management looks forward to showing off the improvements on which they’ve spent millions of dollars in hopes of appeasing the state’s frustrated horse-racing community and lifting New Orleans… Continue reading →

Literary hero Abdulrahman Zeitoun to remain jailed, judge rules

Abdulrahman Zeitoun

Abdulrahman Zeitoun, the local painting contractor whose alleged harassment of his ex-wife has come to overshadow his once-heroic image from a popular work of post-Katrina literature, will remain in jail until his latest legal troubles are resolved, a judge ruled Thursday. Zeitoun, 57, has been in and out of jail — mostly in — for months,… Continue reading →

Two ‘110’ers’ gang members get life without parole for murders

Demond 'Lil D' Sandifer

Two weary mothers made their voices heard Thursday inside an Orleans Parish courtroom. One of them stared down her son’s killer, pleading for a hint of remorse. The other tore into the image of her son as a cold-blooded, murderous gangster, even as he sat gazing at her from a few feet away, showing… Continue reading →

Orleans Civil District Judge Clare Jupiter hospitalized

Photos provided by Orleans Parish Civil District Court - Civil Court Judge Clare Jupiter is pictured last year holding her granddaughter Ayanna Perry,  with New Orleans District E Councilman James Gray, and Civil Court Judges Bernadette DSouza and Paula Brown.

Orleans Parish Civil District Court Judge Clare Jupiter was hospitalized Thursday afternoon after suffering a medical problem in her chambers that one source said appeared to be a heart attack. Emergency medical personnel were called to the courthouse about 1 p.m., and Jupiter was taken by ambulance to Interim LSU Hospital for what court spokesman Walt… Continue reading →

Louisiana same-sex marriage proponents seek shortcut to U.S. Supreme Court

Advocate photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  Andrew Bond and Nick Van Sickles are one of six legally married couples who argue that Louisiana must recognize their marriages just as the federal government does. Nick holds their adoptive daughter Jules, 2.

The plaintiffs in Louisiana’s lawsuit over same-sex marriage are hoping to leapfrog the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, where the case is scheduled to be heard in January, and go directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Forum for Equality Louisiana and other parties trying to overturn Louisiana’s ban on same-sex marriage filed a request… Continue reading →

After arrest of celebrated baker, prosecutors to take fresh look at ’06 slaying

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Michelle Paige, and Veronica Paige Lewis, right, hold pictures of Leroy Paige, Michelle's husband and Veronica's son, who was allegedly stabbed and killed by baker turned actor Dwight Henry in Feb. 2006. Photo taken in New Orleans, La. Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014. There home is next to an overgrown vacant lot abandoned after the federal levee failures following Hurricane Katrina.

Amid charges that renowned New Orleans baker and actor Dwight Henry stole cash from his former place of business, prosecutors are re-examining a 2006 homicide for which Henry was arrested but never charged, saying it’s not clear why former District Attorney Eddie Jordan’s administration did not prosecute the case. Months after Hurricane Katrina’s floodwaters… Continue reading →

N.O. casino market posts gains

Winnings in the New Orleans casino market increased by 4.2 percent in October when compared with the year before, breaking a two-month string of falling short of 2013 numbers. The three riverboats, Harrah’s land-based casino and slots at the Fair Grounds brought in $52.3 million, according to figures released Thursday by State Police. That compares with the… Continue reading →

Coroner rules death of OPP inmate a homicide

Willie Lee

The death of a man who collapsed after a fight with a fellow inmate at Orleans Parish Prison has been ruled a homicide by Coroner Jeffrey Rouse, a decision that appears to signal a sharp departure in philosophy from his predecessor, Frank Minyard. In a prepared statement Thursday, Rouse said Willie Lee, 40, “suffered a cardiac… Continue reading →

Walt Handelsman: Immigration Debate

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 →

Georgia man arrested in slaying of New Orleans DJ, and other police area news.

Calvin C. Craig Jr.

Police in Georgia have arrested a man in connection with the murder of Ahmad Sheppard, 33, a New Orleans DJ who was shot to death in his Prytania Street apartment in June 2013. According to a statement from the NOPD, 25-year-old Travis Cochran… Continue reading →

Judge refuses to raise or revoke Peralta’s bond

David Peralta's booking mug.

The judge presiding over St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta’s sexual battery case rejected prosecutors’ request Wednesday to increase or revoke the bail of the embattled first-term parish leader. Peralta’s legal issues stem from an incident in October 2013 in which his then-wife, Sharon Schaefer, alleges that he handcuffed, beat and raped her in their Meraux… Continue reading →

Missing Delgado student Shroq Aziz found

A missing Delgado student was located Wednesday afternoon, according to Officer Garry Flot, a spokesman for the New Orleans Police Department. The woman, 19-year-old Shroq Aziz, failed to return home from class on Monday. Her parents called police after they found her car still parked at Delgado. Flot said “no foul play” was involved in… Continue reading →

11 groups submit redevelopment plans for former World Trade Center

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- The New Orleans World Trade center is seen from the West Bank of Mississippi River in 2013.

The city will have its pick of nearly a dozen proposals from local and national developers as it tries once again to redevelop the long-vacant former World Trade Center building at the foot of Canal Street. A call for qualified applicants to turn the building into a “first-class commercial and/or mixed-use project” drew… Continue reading →

Bodies of plane crash victims found in Lake Pontchartrain

Advocate staff photo by Matthew Hinton -- The Coast Guard and other agencies search the choppy waters of Lake Pontchartrain Thursday, Nov. 13, for a missing plane.

Search and rescue workers on Wednesday found the bodies of two men missing since their single-engine plane crashed into Lake Pontchartrain last week. Lt. Col. Jerry Sneed, the deputy New Orleans mayor for public safety and homeland security, said the bodies were recovered from the lake after authorities spent days searching for the two men.… Continue reading →

Walt Handelsman: Speaking of Pipelines

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 →

Delgado student reported missing, and other area police news

Shroq Aziz

New Orleans police are searching for a Delgado Community College student who disappeared Monday after leaving her home on City Park Avenue for class. The woman, 19-year-old Shroq Aziz, was last seen about 7:30 a.m. When she didn’t return home from school by 5:30 p.m., her parents went… Continue reading →

New Orleans baker-turned-celebrated actor Dwight Henry accused of stealing money from register

Advocate file photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Dwight Henry had a journeyman's education in New Orleans baking traditions before opening his own first bake shop and later landing roles in major films. Henry is pictured here in July of 2014.

A thriving New Orleans baker, catapulted to celebrity as an actor by his roles in two internationally acclaimed films, has been accused of barging into a Mid-City bakery where he formerly worked and swiping hundreds of dollars from the cash register — the alleged culmination of a falling-out with the bakery’s management. New Orleans… Continue reading →

Delgado student missing, NOPD reports

Shroq Aziz

New Orleans police are searching for a Delgado Community College student who disappeared Monday after leaving home for class, according to Officer Garry Flot, a Police Department spokesman. The woman, 19-year-old Shroq Aziz, was last seen about 7:30 a.m. When she didn’t return home from school by 5:30 p.m., her parents went to the school and… Continue reading →

Lon Burns, former DA candidate, accused of kicking, punching woman

Lon Burns

New Orleans criminal defense attorney Lionel “Lon” Burns Jr. allegedly kicked, punched and grabbed a woman after showing up at her home early one morning last week, according to court records. A former Orleans Parish prosecutor, Burns, 43, surrendered to police Monday on an arrest warrant issued five days earlier. He was booked on suspicion of… Continue reading →

Actor John C. Reilly to reign as Bacchus

Actor John C. Reilly attends the gala screening of the feature film

Oscar-nominated actor John C. Reilly will reign as Bacchus in the superkrewe’s parade Feb. 15, the krewe announced Tuesday. Rolling along the Uptown route on the Sunday before Mardi Gras with 31 floats, the krewe’s theme will be “Children’s Stories That Live Forever.” Favorite tales to be represented include “Polar Express,” “Pinocchio,”… Continue reading →

Mayor pledges overhaul of NOPD sex crimes unit in wake of blistering report

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- New Orleans Police Chief Michael Harrison, center, stands between Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux, left, and Mayor Mitch Landrieu, right, at a news conference Tuesday, November 18, 2014. An IG report on the NOPD sex crimes unit was scathing in its criticism.

Calling the alleged failure of five New Orleans police detectives to investigate hundreds of reported sex crimes “a disgrace,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Tuesday pledged a thorough housecleaning in the NOPD’s sex crimes unit and said a newly formed task force will dig into hundreds of cases that apparently went ignored. The new task… Continue reading →

N.O. airport adds nonstop flights on Allegiant Air

Iftikhar Ahmad ORG XMIT: BAT1408141621500801

Louis Armstrong International Airport will add direct flights to the Midwest and Florida next year through a budget-priced carrier focused on vacation destinations. With the new Allegiant Air flights, the New Orleans airport will have nonstop flights to a total of 43 destinations, the biggest number yet, Director of Aviation Iftikhar Ahmad said. The… Continue reading →