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2015 Baton Rouge Attorney Profiles
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Current gas prices in BR area.

Siding with sheriff, judge denies city challenge to Orleans Parish Prison health care contract

A federal judge Friday turned down a request by Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration to nullify a controversial $83 million contract that Sheriff Marlin Gusman awarded last year to a third-party company to provide medical and mental health care to inmates at Orleans Parish Prison. The ruling dealt a significant blow to Landrieu’s efforts to rein in… Continue reading →

Feds charge New Orleans man with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and trademark counterfeiting in Silk Road scheme

. Federal prosecutors this week charged a New Orleans man with creating and selling counterfeit coupons worth more than $1 million. Beau Wattigney, 30, was charged in a bill of information with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit trademark counterfeiting through Silk Road, an online marketplace that has since been dismantled. Wattigney… Continue reading →

Creditors trying to force Thinkstream into reorganization

The Baton Rouge software company that operates a statewide law enforcement database owes $9.6 million to creditors who have asked a federal bankruptcy court judge to force the company into a reorganization. It’s the second time in the past eight months that creditors have tried to push Thinkstream into Chapter 11 under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Thinkstream… Continue reading →

U.S. oil and natural gas rig count drops by 10; Louisiana down 2

Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. declined by 10 this week to 875. Houston-based Baker Hughes said Friday 646 rigs were seeking oil and 225 explored for natural gas. Four were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago, with oil… Continue reading →

Riverfront restaurant space, known for scenic views and marriage proposals, slated to become wedding and banquet venue

Advocate staff photo by Ian McNulty -The French Market riverfront property now home to Galvez restaurant is slated to become a wedding and banquet venue under new operators.

A French Quarter restaurant space famous for its river views and also for the number of marriage proposals once carried out under its roof is now slated to become a dedicated venue for weddings and other banquet events. Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts, the fast-growing New Orleans restaurant company, has a lease agreement with… Continue reading →

A 17-year-old man is wanted by the New Orleans Police Department in the shooting of two men in the French Quarter

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--According to the New Orleans Police Department two unidentified males were shot inside of tan Nissan Altima in the 400 block of Dauphine Street in New Orleans, La. Friday, May 29, 2015. Louisiana State Police also responded to the seen at Conti and Dauphine where a car windshield and blood was seen on the street sign for Conti.

. Update at 12:05 a.m.: the New Orleans Police Department has secured an arrest warrant for 17-year-old Jerry Harris who is wanted in connection with the non-fatal shooting. Gunfire erupted Friday afternoon in the French Quarter in a shooting incident that wounded at least two people and left police scrambling to locate surveillance video. Police… Continue reading →

Darren Sharper admits drugging women for rape in federal guilty plea in New Orleans courtroom

FILE - In this April 18, 2014 file photo, former NFL football All-Pro safety Darren Sharper appears in Superior Court in Los Angeles. Rape charges have been filed in Las Vegas against former NFL safety Darren Sharper, who already faces sexual assault charges in Los Angeles, New Orleans and the Phoenix area. Sharpers Las Vegas attorney, David Chesnoff, appeared Friday, March 20, 2015,  before a Las Vegas judge on two sexual assault charges involving two women in January 2014. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)

Darren Sharper, who won glory and a Super Bowl ring patrolling the Saints’ defensive backfield during the team’s lone championship season, admitted in federal court in New Orleans on Friday that he spent much of his early retirement drugging women with the aim of raping them. The former All-Pro safety pleaded guilty to three… Continue reading →

New Orleans judge refuses request to open Tom Benson case to media, public

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson and Gayle Benson waves to the crowd before a preseason game between the New Orleans Saints and the Tennessee Titans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La. Friday, Aug. 15, 2014.

Orleans Parish Civil District Court Judge Kern Reese on Friday denied a request to open his courtroom and any records filed in the Tom Benson mental competency case to the media and public. Several news organizations covering the legal battle had called on Reese to reverse his earlier decision to seal the records and… Continue reading →

Darren Sharper in New Orleans court today, expected to change not guilty plea

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Darren Sharper ducks down as he leaves Orleans Parish Criminal District Court in New Orleans, La. Tuesday, April 7, 2015.

Former NFL star Darren Sharper is moving closer to resolving charges that he drugged and sexually assaulted women in four states. Sharper faces at least nine years in prison after having pleaded guilty or no-contest to charges that he distributed drugs with the intent to commit rape in Nevada, Arizona and California. He previously pleaded not guilty in New… Continue reading →

New Orleans City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell eyes tax for low-income housing problem

Photo provided by Robert Morris/UptownMessenger.com -- Vance Caucresson, owner of Vaucressons Sausage company and a residential developer in the Seventh Ward, speaks, while Flozell Daniels and UNO professor Renia Ehrenfeucht listen.

A discussion about the dilemmas posed by gentrification in New Orleans brought a standing-room-only crowd to the meeting hall at Tulane Hillel this week. And City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell arrived with a potential solution, or at least a partial one. Cantrell said New Orleans already has a tax dedicated, at least in part, to raising money… Continue reading →

Man acquitted of a New Orleans murder in federal court wanted on state warrant stemming from same killing

Ryan Veazie (Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office)

In a highly unusual legal action, the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office has taken out a new arrest warrant for a man found not guilty of federal murder charges in a drug-related killing that happened shortly before Hurricane Katrina. Recently filed court documents show 37-year-old Ryan J. Veazie is wanted in New Orleans on one count… Continue reading →

Louisiana Landmarks Society releases list of nine most endangered historic sites in New Orleans

Photo provided by Louisiana Landmarks Society -- Former New Orleans and Carrollton Railroad Powerhouse, 403 Napoleon Ave. -- Uptown

The Louisiana Landmarks Society put out its annual list of the most endangered historic New Orleans sites on Thursday, including everything from private homes to an old railroad building and the city’s entire riverfront. The aim of the list is to raise public awareness about historic resources and rally public will to save them from oblivion.… Continue reading →

A man found dead floating in the Mississippi River on May 12 has been identified as a 27 year old from Houma

Anthony Ferguson (Louisiana state police)

A body found floating in the Mississippi River on May 12 has been identified as a 27-year-old from Houma. Anthony Ferguson‘s body was recovered after an hours-long recovery operation on May 12 near Port Sulphur, Plaquemines Parish Sheriff Lonnie Greco said in a news release. Ferguson’s identity had eluded authorities for weeks. The corpse was found… Continue reading →

Navy couple indicted by Plaquemines Parish grand jury for second-degree murder in death of 3-month-old girl

Calendria Houston (Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Office)

A sailor and his wife have been indicted on a charge of second-degree murder in the death of their 3-month-old child in March on the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Belle Chasse. A Plaquemines Parish grand jury on Wednesday indicted Xavier and Calendria Houston, both 27, on one count each of second-degree murder,… Continue reading →

WWL-TV names Keith Esparros as its executive news director

WWL-TV has named Keith Esparros, born, raised and educated in New Orleans, as the station’s executive news director. Esparros began his career by answering phones at Channel 4. Eleven years later, he was the station’s executive producer. WWL-TV and The Advocate frequently join forces on investigative projects and collaborate in various other ways… Continue reading →

Sources: Armer Bright is ‘Employee A’ in Orleans Parish School Board bribery scheme

Armer Bright

The Orleans Parish School Board employee accused in court documents of helping former board member Ira Thomas arrange a kickback scheme is the official in charge of making sure that minority-owned companies get work from the board, according to sources familiar with the matter. So far identified only as “Employee A” in court filings, Armer Bright… Continue reading →

Gretna wins injunction against shuttered motel

A state district judge has granted the city of Gretna a preliminary injunction against a local motel the police chief has accused of being a nuisance and public safety hazard. Judge Adrian Adams, of 24th Judicial Court in Jefferson Parish, granted the injunction Wednesday, although the Luxury Inn & Suites on Claire Avenue has been closed… Continue reading →

New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu: City 'no longer recovering, no longer rebuilding' 10 years after Katrina

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ-- New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu gives his State of the City Address at the Carver Theater  in New Orleans, La. Thursday, May 28, 2015.

In an address light on policy proposals but brimming with reflections on progress the city has made in the five years since he took office, Mayor Mitch Landrieu used his annual State of the City address Thursday to announce plans for the city’s commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and to declare that — a decade… Continue reading →

Monitor concerned after New Orleans police traffic stop leaves man in hospital

The NOPD is investigating one of its own after a late Tuesday night traffic stop put someone in the hospital. Little information was immediately available about the incident, which occurred near the intersection of Thalia and South Saratoga streets in Central City. NOPD spokesman Officer Frank Robertson said the man involved became “combative” during a traffic… Continue reading →

Media covering Tom Benson case challenge New Orleans judge’s decision to hold closed-doors trial, seal case file

Advocate fiel photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson waves at the media before a press conference about the Saints reporting for 2013 Training Camp including meetings, physicals, and conditioning at the Saints Training Facility in Metairie, Thursday, July 25, 2013.

Various media organizations covering the legal battle pitting Tom Benson against his daughter and grandchildren are challenging a New Orleans judge’s decisions to seal records and hold a June 1 trial in the case behind closed doors. In a motion filed Thursday, the media outlets argue that a case involving the owner of the… Continue reading →

WDSU-TV report: Two former New Orleans families lose everything again, this time in Houston flooding

Wilber Albarenga, left, and Alfredo Chavez, pump water from the United Orthodox Synagogues of Houston, which suffered extensive damage by flooding from a recent storm Wednesday, May 27, 2015, in Houston. More rain fell on the hard-hit Houston area, threatening to complicate the cleanup a day after a downpour of nearly a foot triggered some of the worst flooding Houston has ever seen. (Gary Coronado/Houston Chronicle via AP) ORG XMIT: TXHOU104

Two former New Orleans families who relocated to Houston after losing everything following Hurricane Katrina had to relive the experience again in the wake of recent heavy flooding in southeast Texas, according to a WDSU-TV report. Former New Orleans resident Ivan Harrison said the water was waist high at his home, while Byrsh Williams described the… Continue reading →

Slidell police nab puppy thief after unrelated traffic stop

Stephanie Orso

Officers arrested a woman Wednesday suspected of stealing a Toy Poodle from a pet store earlier that day, according to a Slidell Police Department press release. Stephanie Orso, 29, was arrested at her home, located at 1533 Richmond Drive around 5:42 p.m. Wednesday. The arrest was made shortly after a police officer pulled Orso over for… Continue reading →

Ellen ranks No. 50 on World’s Most Powerful Women list

Ellen DeGeneres, comedian, philanthropist, director, producer and University of New Orleans drop out, ranked No. 50 in Forbes list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women. “The Queen of Daytime is branching out,” according to Forbes. While her show’s ratings remain strong, DeGeneres has her own website, “ellentube,” and has five shows in… Continue reading →

Greater New Orleans Inc. relocating starting Friday

Greater New Orleans Inc. will be relocating its 25-person office starting Friday to new space in the Energy Centre downtown. The economic development organization’s move by woman-owned and operated Bart’s Office Inc. is expected to be completed by Monday.… Continue reading →

Doctor, nurse accused of running ‘pill mill’ at New Orleans East pain clinic

Federal authorities have arrested a doctor and nurse accused of operating a “pill mill” — a pain management clinic that accepted only cash and doled out prescription painkillers to patients without conducting medical exams — in New Orleans East. Dr. Barbara A. Bruce and Theresa “Tammy” Schlosser, who worked at the Axcess Medical Clinic, were taken… Continue reading →

Café Du Monde to buy Evans Candy space in French Market and expand operations

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Cafe Du Monde has plans to expand to the Evans Creole Candy Factory shop on Decatur St. in the French Quarter seen here in New Orleans, La. Wednesday, May 27, 2015.

Café Du Monde will buy Evans Creole Candy Factory and expand its operations into the French Market candy shop in the coming months, the famed beignet shop’s president said Wednesday. Jay Roman said the century-old company will close on the sale of Evans’ assets in the “next couple of weeks.” He declined to disclose details of… Continue reading →