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Revelation of 400 untested rape kits spurs new criticism of NOPD

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- The New Orleans City Council took up the issue of the NOPD's dysfunctional sex crimes unit Thursday, December 18, 2014.   Council member Jared Brossett talks with Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux before the meeting.

New Orleans Police Department Cmdr. Paul Noel, who was heralded for his work in clearing a backlog of 800 rape exam kits that had gathered dust on evidence room shelves for months or years, told a City Council committee Thursday that a backlog has arisen again since he left that work in 2011, with more than 400 rape… Continue reading →

Visitation Friday, funeral Saturday for civil rights activist Lombard

Rudy Lombard

A funeral will be held Saturday for Rudy Lombard, a New Orleans civil rights activist who died last weekend. Visitation will be from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday at the Rhodes Funeral Home Chapel, 3933 Washington Ave. The funeral will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at New Zion Baptist Church, 2319 Third St.… Continue reading →

Alleged thieves saw green in stolen Blue Dog paintings, authorities say

The Blue Dog painting that authorities say was stolen by a local man recently.

Jarred Tervalon and Jared Thomas apparently saw green when they looked at the Blue Dog. The two New Orleans men were arrested last week after they allegedly tried to sell a valuable but stolen piece of art depicting the signature blue canine with white snout and yellow eyes made famous by the late artist George Rodrigue.… Continue reading →

June 8 is deadline to file paperwork for BP settlement money

Gulf Coast businesses and individuals who lost money because of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster have until June to file the paperwork necessary to qualify for BP’s multbillion-dollar settlement, the agreement’s court-appointed administrator said Thursday. Lafayette lawyer Patrick Juneau said the deadline for filing claims is June 8. That date is now set after… Continue reading →

New Orleans casino market down 7.3% in November

The New Orleans casino market saw its winnings drop by 7.3 percent in November when compared with the year before. The three riverboats, Harrah’s land-based casino and slots at the Fair Grounds brought in $51.4 million during the month, according to figures released Thursday by State Police. That compares with the nearly $55.5 million in winnings during… Continue reading →

Group of 8 people attack, rob 3 men Wednesday night in New Orleans

Eight people in a group attacked and robbed three men on Wednesday night in New Orleans. Shortly after 10 p.m., New Orleans police report that a 21-year-old man was walking in the 1000 block of Governor Nicholls Street when a group of eight people approached him. One of the group members pulled out a gun and robbed the victim… Continue reading →

Former WDSU-TV meteorolgist shot outside Waco-area TV station

This image provided by KCEN-TV shows an undated photo of KCEN-TV's meteorologist Patrick Crawford. Authorities from multiple law enforcement agencies are combing the area around a remote Central Texas television studio where the morning meteorologist was shot in a parking lot Wednesday Dec. 17, 2014 after an argument. Jim Hice, the station's news director, says Crawford was wounded in the shoulder and the abdomen. The shooter fled. No motive has been released. (AP Photo/KCEN-TV)

EDDY, Texas -- Authorities are searching for a gunman who shot a Central Texas and former New Orleans television meteorologist during an altercation in the station parking lot. The Department of Public Safety says the attack happened around 9:15 a.m. Wednesday outside KCEN-TV in Eddy, 75 miles north of Austin. The suspect ran away. Investigators are seeking a motive for… Continue reading →

Woman killed, man wounded in Terrytown shooting, and other area police news

Byron Coleman

A woman was killed and a man was in critical condition after both were shot Tuesday night in Terrytown, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office said. The shooting happened in the 2100 block of Esplanade Place just after 10:30 p.m. After gunshots were reported, deputies received another… Continue reading →

Six alleged members of ‘6th Ward Wild Side’ gang accused of racketeering conspiracy

A state grand jury late Wednesday indicted six alleged members of the “6th Ward Wild Side” gang, accusing them of a racketeering conspiracy that wraps together a half-dozen murders from 2011 and 2012, along with other crimes allegedly committed to bolster a thriving heroin and cocaine business. The 15-count indictment describes a gang, also known as… Continue reading →

Video game company to open development studio in N.O. CBD

Video game developer High Voltage Software Inc. will expand into New Orleans in January with the opening of a video game development studio in the Central Business District, Gov. Bobby Jindal and company CEO Kerry Ganofsky announced Wednesday. The company, which is based in the Chicago area, is expected to employ 80 people in New Orleans.… Continue reading →

Potential issue? Emails show close communication between New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration, civil service chairman, Loyola president Kevin Wildes

Advocate file photo by Richard Alan Hannon -- Rev. Kevin Wildes speaks at a Senate Commerce committee meeting at the State Capitol Building in Baton Rouge in this May 2010 Advocate file photo.

The Rev. Kevin Wildes, president of Loyola University and until recently the chairman of the Civil Service Commission, consulted often with Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration as the mayor pushed through a hotly debated package of changes to city rules protecting civil servants, email correspondence between Wildes and the Mayor’s Office shows. Wildes,… Continue reading →

Scalise condemns Obama moves on Cuba

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of La., left, walks with Rep. Steve Southerland II, R-Fla., walk from a closed-door meeting of House Republicans on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Aug. 1, 2014, to discuss the border crisis. House Republicans expressed optimism that a revised, $694 million bill addressing the surge of immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border would win over reluctant conservatives and give a divided GOP a political win. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise on Wednesday blasted President Barack Obama’s plans to begin normalizing relations with Cuba, arguing that doing so would “encourage bad behavior” and could lead other nations to imprison Americans in hopes of gaining concessions from the United States. The proposed foreign policy shift, kicked off by the release of an American… Continue reading →

St. Bernard courthouse to bear Rowley’s name

The St. Bernard Parish Courthouse in Chalmette will be renamed in honor of the parish’s longtime district attorney, Jack Rowley, who died last month at age 83. The Parish Council approved the measure Tuesday. Rowley’s career in St. Bernard politics spanned more than half a century. He was sheriff for 16 years… Continue reading →

NOPD releases video of robbery, beating

The New Orleans Police Department has released video footage of the robbery and beating of a man in the 100 block of Dauphine Street in a Dec. 11 incident. The 46-year-old victim was walking along the street shortly before 8 p.m. when three assailants attacked him and knocked him to the ground, rendering him unconscious. The assailants… Continue reading →

Oyster impresario Chris ‘Bozo’ Vodanovich dies at 86

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  Chris

Bozo’s restaurant never gave off much glitz, not at its original location tucked away in Mid-City nor during its second chapter on a Metairie side street off Causeway Boulevard. But the memorably named restaurant was renowned for the quality of its raw oysters and fried seafood, and during a heyday that stretched for decades… Continue reading →

Video game studio adding 80 jobs to CBD

High Voltage Software will open a video game development studio in New Orleans next month, a move that will add 80 direct jobs in the city’s Central Business District. HVS, a major independent video game developer founded in 1993 and based in the Chicago area, has shipped 95 game titles and worked with such… Continue reading →

Judge berates lawyer in OPP case as new jail’s opening is delayed again

Advocate staff file photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Marlin Gusman.

In a scalding lecture from the bench, U.S. District Judge Lance Africk on Wednesday berated a lawyer hired recently by Sheriff Marlin Gusman for filing a “self-serving” series of court documents in the middle of the night, just hours before a hearing on the status of court-ordered reforms at Orleans Parish Prison. The hearing underscored many… Continue reading →

NORDC announces programs and events

TOY DRIVE: The New Orleans Recreation Development Commission is accepting donations for the NORDC Christmas Toys for Tots Drive now through Friday. Donate new, unwrapped toys at any of these NORDC rec centers: Atkinson Stern, 4025 S. Saratoga St.; Behrman, 2529 General Meyer Ave.; Cut-Off, 6600 Belgrade St.; Gernon Brown, 1001 Harrison Ave.; Joe W. Brown,… Continue reading →

One dead, another critically injured in Terrytown shooting

A woman is dead and a man is in critical condition after both were shot Tuesday night in Terrytown. According to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office, the shooting occurred in the 2100 block of Esplanade Place just after 10:30 p.m. After gunshots were reported, police received another call of a gunshot victim inside the Brothers Food Mart in the… Continue reading →

Teacher suspected of sending lewd photos to students, and other area police news

New Orleans police are trying to identify this man wanted in an armed robbery in the 2400 block of Royal Street.

A New Orleans schoolteacher was arrested Monday on suspicion that he sent lewd pictures to four students, police said. Damon Williams, 32, was booked on two counts of prohibited sexual conduct between an educator and a student and two counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile,… Continue reading →

Judge reduces bail for OPP deputy accused of aiding jail stabbing attack

John Dupart

A judge reduced the bail Tuesday for an Orleans Parish Prison deputy accused of opening the door, literally, to violence inside Sheriff Marlin Gusman’s jail in September by unlocking a gate and letting a group of men cross a tier and repeatedly stab a fellow inmate. Criminal District Court Judge Keva Landrum-Johnson lowered John… Continue reading →

St. John sheriff tightens financial controls in response to audit

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- St. John Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre at  the one year anniversary commemoration of Isaac at the St. John Parish Community Center in LaPlace, La. Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013.

St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre is tightening up internal policies for inventorying his office’s capital assets and making department purchases with credit cards after an annual financial audit recommended several corrective actions. The audit, completed in October by the Mandeville firm Carr Riggs & Ingram, covers the fiscal year that ended June 30.… Continue reading →

French Quarter groups sue city over public records access

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Jackson Square and the French Quarter are shown in this July 2013 Advocate file photo.

Two neighborhood organizations representing residents of the French Quarter have filed a lawsuit against the executive director of the City Planning Commission and two city attorneys, alleging that they have intentionally withheld public records in violation of state law. In a lawsuit filed last week in Civil District Court, Vieux Carre Property Owners, Residents and Associates… Continue reading →

Shooting, chase shut down parts of Canal Street, Tulane Avenue

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  Police escort a suspect to a waiting car after a shooting and manhunt in Mid-City. The man was found behind a building near Canal and Telemachus streets late Tuesday afternoon.

Portions of Canal Street and Tulane Avenue were closed down Tuesday afternoon as police investigated a shooting scene at one intersection and searched for some of the gunmen at another site following a vehicular chase. Four people were arrested. The incident began a little after 3 p.m. when gunfire erupted near a carwash at Tulane Avenue… Continue reading →

Fence along Earhart Blvd. train tracks to remain, without barbed wire

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Stacy Head got the City Council to establish a new interim zoning district in order to stop construction of this fence  around the Amtrak train line which parallels Earhart Boulevard.

A chain-link fence along the Earhart Boulevard train tracks can stay but the barbed wire on top must go under an agreement worked out between the city of New Orleans and Amtrak, which had been at odds over the barrier since September. The fence will be 9 feet high, 2 feet taller than originally proposed.… Continue reading →

Sophie B. Wright teacher accused of sending inappropriate pictures to students

Damon Williams

A school teacher was arrested Monday on suspicion that he sent inappropriate pictures to four students, police said. Damon Williams, 32, was booked on two counts of prohibited sexual conduct between educator and student, and two counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile, according to Orleans Parish criminal court records. Williams is a teacher at Sophie… Continue reading →

For first time since BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, portion of water around Grand Isle reopened

FILE - In this file photo made June 3, 2010, a brown pelican covered in oil sits on the beach at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast in the wake of the BP Deepwater Horizon rig explosion. Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the federal government's point man on the disaster, said Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010, BP's well

. GRAND ISLE, La. -- Commercial fishermen are once again harvesting Gulf seafood off the coasts of Elmer's and Grand Terre islands, an area that's been closed due to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries reopened state waters surrounding the islands, some of the areas most significantly oiled, near Grand Isle… Continue reading →

Municipal Court resumes normal operations after city sends off-duty officers

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- Michael Harrison

Activity at Municipal Court returned to normal Tuesday after New Orleans police officers returned to three courtrooms from which they had been pulled a day earlier in favor of returning them to the streets as the Police Department tries to augment its depleted ranks. Chief Administrative Judge Desiree Charbonnet said Police Superintendent Michael Harrison agreed… Continue reading →

Man shot on North Galvez Street in New Orleans on Tuesday morning

An 18-year-old man was shot in New Orleans on Tuesday morning, according to the New Orleans Police Department. Police arrived at a home in the 2600 block of North Galvez Street around 6 a.m. and found the victim shot in the chest. He was taken to a local hospital. No details were provided on his condition.… Continue reading →

Co-defendant in Darren Sharper case pleads not guilty

A former St. Bernard Parish sheriff’s deputy charged in connection with the rape case against former New Orleans Saints football player Darren Sharper pleaded not guilty Monday to federal drug and witness-tampering charges. Brandon Licciardi, 29, entered the plea before a U.S. magistrate judge in New Orleans. Licciardi resigned from the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office after he… Continue reading →

Peralta’s ex accused of violating gag order

Photo provided by David Peralta -- Sharon and David Peralta photographed together in Orlando, Fla., in November 2013.

In a burst of courtroom drama, the former wife of David Peralta lashed out Monday at the embattled St. Bernard Parish president, exclaiming amid a contentious hearing that Peralta is “a monster who should be locked up or put down.” Sharon Schaefer, Peralta’s ex-wife, had been called to testify in 34th Judicial District Court about whether… Continue reading →

Task force seeking ways to fix city’s ailing firefighter pension system

The New Orleans firefighters pension system is an outlier among similar plans, historically offering more generous benefits and requiring lower employee contributions than other systems in the Southeast, consultants hired to analyze the financially ailing system said Monday. The fund is expected to cost the city more than $60 million next year, a cost… Continue reading →

Orleans Parish School Board could choose new superintendent Tuesday

The Orleans Parish School Board will take another shot at hiring a permanent superintendent at its meeting Tuesday evening. The board invited candidates Debbra Lindo, Katrise Perera and Henderson Lewis for a second round of interviews this week. And the board’s agenda for Tuesday includes a closed-door session to discuss their qualifications, followed by a public… Continue reading →

Textron starts work on new Navy hovercraft in N.O. East

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--To mark the start of production on the U.S. NavyÕs new amphibious connector craft, the Ship to Shore Connector, a ceremony is held at the Textron Systems New Orleans Shipyard with a special appearance by U.S. Navy Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC-66) vehicle from Naval Support Activity, Panama City, originally built at the same shipyard 20 years ago being waved in by Textron Marine employee Jules Reggio in New Orleans, La. Monday, Dec. 15, 2014.

Work has started on a new U.S. Navy hovercraft model at Textron Systems’ shipyard in New Orleans East. Textron marked the start of production of a test model of the new craft — which have larger, more efficient engines than current hovercraft — during a ceremony Monday at its 600,000-square-foot shipyard on Chef Menteur… Continue reading →

Five developers in running to take over World Trade Center building

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 consider five proposals from local and national developers hoping to take over the former World Trade Center building at the foot of Canal Street, after a selection committee on Monday eliminated five other projects from contention. Making the cut, in the order in which they were ranked, were:… Continue reading →

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- The World Trade Center building in New Orleans, La. Friday, June 13, 2014.

Manager at Armstrong Airport failed to enforce taxi rules, IG’s report says

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ-- Taxi cabs line up in the near by cell phone lot at the Louis Armstrong International Airport  in Kenner, La. Friday, July 25, 2014.

The manager in charge of ground transportation at Louis Armstrong International Airport has been allowing taxi drivers to operate there without the required background checks or paperwork, according to a report released Monday by New Orleans Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux. The Inspector General’s Office reviewed files associated with 45 taxi decals issued by the airport between… Continue reading →

Municipal Court closes three sections following officers' reassignments; more than 20 NOPD cops put back on street

A decision late last week to remove three New Orleans police officers from their posts providing security at the Municipal Court building forced the closure of three of the four courtrooms and seemed to set up what could be a protracted battle between the city’s executive and judicial branches. Chief Administrative Judge Desiree Charbonnet said the decision… Continue reading →