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New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu urges public donations for repairs after vandals damage memorial for fallen police officers

Advocate Photo by VERONICA DOMINACH--  The memorial that honors fallen police officers at the entrance of Lakelawn Metairie Funeral Home has been vandalized not long after fallen NOPD officer Vernell Brown Jr. was laid to rest Saturday in New Orleans, La. on Monday, July 27, 2015.

Vandals destroyed a part of the Louisiana Law Enforcement Officers Memorial at Lake Lawn Metairie Cemetery on Sunday, just a day after mourners and officials had gathered at the site to pay their last respects to New Orleans Police Officer Vernell Brown Jr. A metal urn that supports a gas-powered eternal flame atop… Continue reading →

HANO drops plan to build Central City community center

The Housing Authority of New Orleans voted Monday to give up its claim to Central City property on which it had planned to build a community center, saying it can’t pay for the project in part because construction delays on a related development jeopardized the tax credits that would have been used to fund it. The… Continue reading →

MidSouth Bancorp beats Wall Street forecast

LAFAYETTE – MidSouth Bancorp Inc.’s second-quarter profit climbed to $4.9 million, or 42 cents per share, from $3.9 million, or 34 cents per share, a year ago. Those results easily outstripped Wall Street’s expectations. Analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research had forecast earnings of 24 cents per share However, MidSouth’s second-quarter results included a… Continue reading →

Community meeting Tuesday in St. Bernard to discuss potentially deadly amoeba found in water system

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON - After a rare brian eating amoeba, Naegleria fowleri, was found in the water system by the Centers for Disease Control, fire hydrants are being opened to flush out the amoeba from the water system like this one on

State officials have scheduled a community meeting Tuesday in St. Bernard Parish to discuss concerns about a potentially deadly amoeba that was recently found in the parish’s water system. Representatives from the state Department of Health and Hospitals are slated to attend the meeting to answer residents’ questions. Parish officials have been invited to attend, as… Continue reading →

New Orleans cop group sues city over leapfrogging in last week’s promotions

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu

The first round of New Orleans Police Department promotions made under a controversial overhaul of local civil service rules pushed through last year by Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration has been met with a swift lawsuit from the local Fraternal Order of Police lodge and a pair of officers who were passed over for advancement.… Continue reading →

EPI Group, Heart of Hospice acquire two hospices

EPI Group LLC and Lafayette-based Heart of Hospice LLC have acquired the hospice operations of Lakeshore Hospice Acquisition LLC in Hammond and Heart of Hospice of New Orleans LLC. The price was not disclosed. The two hospice facilities serve about 140 patients in southeast Louisiana. Heart of Hospice LLC was founded in 2007 and provides… Continue reading →

Fire destroys house in Covington late Saturday night

A house just south of Covington was destroyed by fire Saturday night, according to St. Tammany Fire District 12. Firefighters arrived at 69099 Riverbend Drive a few minutes past midnight to find the three-story structure engulfed in flames. Crews worked to protect the structures on either side of the burning house. The owners of the property… Continue reading →

Police arrest teens accused of driving stolen SUV on Saturday

New Orleans police on Saturday arrested two teenagers who police said were driving a stolen vehicle on the edge of the French Quarter. Dartania Mixon, an 18-year-old male, and a 15-year-old boy were stopped at North Rampart and Conti streets about 11 p.m. after officers saw the white Volvo SUV they were driving had a smashed-in… Continue reading →

New Orleans cop suspended after being booked on drunk driving

Thomas Ripp (courtesy NOPD)

A 31-year-old New Orleans police officer assigned to the Homicide Division was placed under emergency suspension after he was arrested on a count of drunken driving early Sunday morning, according to the New Orleans Police Department. Officer Thomas Ripp, an eight-year veteran, was off-duty and operating an unmarked NOPD vehicle about 5:40 a.m. when he lost… Continue reading →

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says inequality in America is immoral and 'grotesque' at an appearance in Kenner

Advocate staff photo by A.J. SISCO  -- Supporters hold signs as U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks during a rally at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner, Louisiana, Sunday, July 26, 2015.

With fiery rhetoric that denounced inequality in America as immoral and “grotesque,” Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders rallied thousands of supporters in Kenner on Sunday evening at the end of a swing through Louisiana. Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont on the left wing of the Democratic Party, kicked off his speech by acknowledging that Louisiana does… Continue reading →

Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late Whitney Houston, has died at the age of 22

ATLANTA (AP) — A representative for the Houston family has said Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late entertainer Whitney Houston and R&B singer Bobby Brown, has died, about 7 months after she was found face-down and unresponsive in a bathtub. She was 22 years old. Kristen Foster said Sunday, "

Orleans School Board placing historic buildings, empty lots up for auction

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Israel M. Augustine Middle School on Broad, Friday, July 24, 2015.

Looking for a building to renovate? Or searching for a plot of vacant land to build upon? The Orleans Parish School Board may have just what you are looking for among the surplus properties it plans to auction off beginning at 10 a.m. Aug. 20 at its offices at 3520 Gen. de Gaulle Drive in Algiers.… Continue reading →

Maple Street interim zoning district proposal shot down by City Council

New Orleans City Councilwoman Susan Guidry

New Orleans City Councilwoman Susan Guidry was rebuffed last week in her attempt to create an interim zoning district along Maple Street to prohibit the sale of alcohol and live entertainment at restaurants where those are not already allowed by a conditional-use permit. Although a majority of the five council members present voted in favor of… Continue reading →

New Orleans Police Department officer placed on emergency suspension after crashing unmarked car into light pole, being arrested on DWI

Thomas Ripp (courtesy NOPD)

A 31-year-old New Orleans police officer assigned to the Homicide Division was placed under emergency suspension after he was arrested on a count of drunk driving early Sunday morning, according to the New Orleans Police Department. Officer Thomas Ripp, an eight-year veteran, was off-duty and operating an unmarked NOPD vehicle about 5:40 a.m. when he lost control… Continue reading →

Debate over security at movie theaters heats up after Lafayette tragedy

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK --  Law enforcement and other emergency personnel respond to the scene of a shooting at the Grand 16 movie theater Thursday, July 23, 2015, in Lafayette, La. Multiple injuries are reported and the shooter is presumed dead.

In the three years since the mass shooting in a Colorado movie theater that left 12 people dead and 70 injured, theater owners have largely resisted pressure to increase security at their venues. But this week’s massacre at a Lafayette cineplex has reignited the debate about whether movie chains, which have emerged as ripe targets for lone shooters,… Continue reading →

Hundreds of friends, family, colleagues gathered Saturday to honor Officer Vernell Brown

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--New Orleans Police Department Officers line Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd by the Sixth District Police Station and salute the hearse carrying Officer Vernell Brown Jr. in New Orleans, La. Saturday, July 25, 2015. Officer Brown was a 17-year veteran of the NOPD who died tragically on July 17, 2015 from injuries he sustained when he was hit by a car while responding to another accident on Interstate-10 in the line of duty on July 12, 2015.

Although he had a degree in engineering, Vernell Brown Jr. decided to join the New Orleans Police Department 17 years ago. At his funeral Saturday, Raven Turner recalled what led to her father’s decision. A thief had broken into their home near the holidays and made off with the family’s Christmas gifts, she said.… Continue reading →

Pool Corp. reports record second-quarter financial results

Pool Corp. in Covington reported record second-quarter net income of $77.9 million, or $1.75 per share, compared to $73.9 million, or $1.61 per share, for the second quarter of 2014. Net sales for the second quarter hit a record $851.9 million at the international pool supply company, compared to $848.2 million in the second quarter of 2014.… Continue reading →

Casinos rake in 2.3 percent gain to $208.2 million in Louisiana

Casino winnings in Louisiana climbed 2.3 percent in June to $208.2 million from a year ago, primarily on the strength of several of its riverboat casinos. According to figures released by the State Police, riverboat revenue jumped 11.6 percent to $158.9 million, even though nine of the state’s 15 riverboats saw declines. The riverboat category got a… Continue reading →

Darren Sharper co-defendant Erik Nunez charged in federal court with impeding investigation

Erik Nunez

A former Morton’s steakhouse waiter already facing state rape and obstruction charges in New Orleans in the Darren Sharper case was indicted in federal court Friday, accused of getting rid of a phone to stymie a federal investigation. Sharper’s name is no longer on the indictment in the federal drugging case, after the ex-Saints… Continue reading →

New Orleans Police Department promotes 26 officers to supervisors

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Michael Harrison smiles as he presents Lt. Nick Gernon with his badge and certificate promoting him from sergeant to lieutenant at a promotion ceremony held at the University of New Orleans Technology Center that is being used a training facility for NOPD in New Orleans, La. Friday, July 24, 2015. Also waiting in line for promotion are Lt. Michelle Stokes and Lt. Kevin Burns, Jr.

One of most trying months in memory for the New Orleans Police Department, darkened by the deaths of officers and loved ones, was somewhat brightened Friday when Superintendent Michael Harrison promoted 26 officers to new supervisory posts. Eighteen officers were promoted to lieutenant and eight more to sergeant in a ceremony at the NOPD’s Continue reading →

Louisiana Health Cooperative discontinuing insurance operations after being created with federal funds under Obamacare

Louisiana Health Cooperative Inc., a nonprofit health insurer created with a $65.8 million federal loan under the health care law is winding down its operations at the end of the year and will not offer coverage in 2016. The co-op said it will honor policies for the nearly 17,000 people who currently receive health insurance through the… Continue reading →

Judge Frank Marullo’s son accused of domestic strangulation

Pascal Marullo

The son of a well-known New Orleans judge has been arrested again, accused this time of domestic battery by strangulation. Pascal Marullo, 38, was booked Thursday after police said he choked his live-in girlfriend about 4 p.m. Thursday in their Uptown home. He is one of the sons of Criminal District Court Judge Frank Marullo, the… Continue reading →

East bank of N.O. under boil advisory

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Kathryn Rabstejnek grabs some bottled water at the Rouses on Baronne Street in the CBD because of a boiled water advisory for the East Bank in New Orleans, La. Friday, July 24, 2015. A boil water advisory has been issued for New Orleans' east bank because of a pressure drop at the Sewerage & Water Board plant on Claiborne Avenue early Friday morning. The pressure drop was caused by a power surge at two pumping stations powered by Entergy New Orleans that, in turn, caused pressure at the Carrollton Water Plant to fall below 20 pounds per square inch for at least 10 minutes, S&WB Director Cedric Grant said. S&WB officials have confirmed that in some places pressure dropped below the 15-pounds-per-square-inch threshold that triggers a mandatory boil water advisory.

The morning routine for most New Orleanians proceeded as usual Friday. As they brushed their teeth, took showers and made coffee, they had no idea that pressure in the city’s water system had dropped to potentially unsafe levels hours before, meaning the water across the east bank of Orleans Parish might be contaminated. Sewerage &… Continue reading →

Trustee being sued by Tom Benson argues Saints, Pelicans owner still isn’t proposing fair asset swap with relatives

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  Tom Benson arrives at civil district court in New Orleans Monday, June 1, 2015. Lawyer Phillip Wittman is right.

The lawyer who has so far thwarted Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson’s attempts to cut his estranged relatives out of his business empire continues to argue that Benson hasn’t put up enough cash or other assets to compensate them for being pushed aside. San Antonio lawyer Robert Rosenthal, who is facing a… Continue reading →

Orleans Parish grand jury indicts State Fire Marshal’s Office captain in pistol-whipping incident

An Orleans Parish grand jury on Thursday indicted a state fire captain on charges he pistol-whipped a neighbor outside a French Quarter bar over the weekend. Capt. Richard Abbott, of the State Fire Marshal’s Office, was charged with aggravated battery and possession of a firearm inside an alcoholic beverage outlet. Abbott, 47, is accused… Continue reading →

NOPD to unveil new use-of-force policies in August; officers to write reports every time they unholster weapons in public, even if they don't pull the trigger

NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison

District commanders who oversee the New Orleans Police Department’s beat cops grumbled and shook their heads Wednesday as a lieutenant from the department’s internal watchdog agency announced a set of new use-of-force policies to take effect Aug. 9. Among other new rules, which have not yet been made public, officers will have to write a report every… Continue reading →

City Council unanimously passes resolution opposing rerouting of freight traffic through New Orleans neighborhoods

The New Orleans City Council lodged its opposition Thursday to a plan that would reroute freight rail traffic through several New Orleans neighborhoods. The council passed a unanimous resolution opposing any plan that would divert freight trains running on the so-called “back belt” in Jefferson Parish to what is now a passenger-only line in Orleans Parish… Continue reading →

David Peralta downplays positive test for brain-eating amoeba in St. Bernard water, says faulty equipment could mean false results

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- A brain-eating amoeba was detected at St. Bernard Parish water site on Angela St. in Arabi. Several of the hydrants in the area were left running in an effort to flush out the system Thursday, July 23, 2015. Jimmy Delery stands in the background.

St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta on Thursday downplayed new concerns about a rare brain-eating amoeba that was recently detected in the parish’s water system, blaming the positive test on broken sampling equipment that likely distorted the results. The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals informed parish officials late Wednesday that the Naegleria fowleri amoeba was… Continue reading →

Judge grants new trial for death row inmate Rogers LaCaze, accused in notorious 1995 triple murder

Rogers Lacaze

Rogers LaCaze, who was shipped to Louisiana’s death row 20 years ago along with former New Orleans Police Department Officer Antoinette Frank for the most infamous New Orleans massacre in a generation, deserves a new trial on first-degree murder charges, a judge ruled Thursday. In a blockbuster 128-page decision, retired Judge Michael Kirby found “a structural… Continue reading →

Covenant House head urges New Orleans City Council to toughen law banning under-21 dancers

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  Stiletto's on Bourbon street Thursday, June 11, 2015. Jasilas WrightÕs body was found near the Veterans Boulevard exit from I-10 Wednesday. She was a dancer at Stiletto's.

The head of Covenant House New Orleans urged the City Council on Thursday to add more teeth to an ordinance barring women younger than 21 from working as dancers in adult establishments. “I should have come to you sooner. But I’m here today to say, ‘Enough,’ ” Covenant House Executive Director Jim Kelly told council members. “We… Continue reading →