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N.O. man guilty in fatal hit-and-run

Arthur Toledano

A New Orleans hit-and-run driver who struck and killed a 6-year-old boy last year in Gentilly was found guilty of manslaughter Friday in Orleans Parish Criminal District Court. Arthur Toledano, 23, faces between 10 and 40 years in prison at his sentencing hearing, which is scheduled for Wednesday before Judge Dennis Waldron. The judge… Continue reading →

Former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard’s appeal to be heard Tuesday

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --Former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard arrives for sentencing  in federal court in New Orleans in 2013. Broussard is trying to get his guilty verdict set aside based on prosecutorial misconduct.

Former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard’s bid to get his 2012 guilty plea on federal corruption charges thrown out will go before the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday. Broussard, who is serving a 46-month sentence in a Florida prison, contends the U.S. Attorney’s Office prevented his lawyer from effectively representing him by keeping… Continue reading →

One man killed, another injured in shootings near New Orleans Police Department headquarters

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  Police work the scene of a murder on the Broad Street overpass near police headquarters Friday, February 27, 2015.

A man was shot to death Friday afternoon near the New Orleans Police Department headquarters on South Broad Street. A body could be seen lying in the middle of the Broad Street overpass as law enforcement officials rushed to the scene about 2:30 p.m. Police said a 29-year-old man was fatally shot on the overpass, while… Continue reading →

Walt Handelsman: No-Spin Zone?

Is the dizzying array of misinformation coming from Bill O’Reilly catching up with him? Follow this link to the cartoon.… Continue reading →

WWL-TV report: Former Perlis executive pleads guilty to embezzlement

A former executive with a popular Magazine Street clothing store pleaded guilty Thursday to embezzling nearly $3 million from his employer over the course of almost two decades. Michael Sapera, longtime chief financial officer of Perlis Clothing on Magazine Street, pleaded guilty as charged to four felony counts, including embezzlement, identity theft and two counts of… Continue reading →

WWL-TV report: Video evidence of possible rape at Bywater club no longer exists, NOPD says

Video surveillance footage that could have offered police key evidence in a high-profile rape investigation cannot be viewed because the footage was erased and recorded over, police told WWL-TV on Thursday. The station did a series of stories last year about Maria Treme, a woman who said she was drugged and raped at the Country Club,… Continue reading →

Armed robbery results in stabbing of man, and other area crime news

Brett Flower and Krysten Verdin

A 52-year-old man was robbed by three men and stabbed Wednesday evening in the 7th Ward, New Orleans police said. The man was reported in critical condition at Interim LSU Hospital. Three men came up to the victim at North Claiborne Avenue and Annette Street about… Continue reading →

Possible pot of cash for more state troopers: uncashed lottery tickets

Advocate file photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  Newly graduated police officers Aundeah Kearney and Roger Benson stand in ranks Friday, December 5, 2014 at Dillard University before a graduation ceremony. 26 members of NOPD Recruit Class #170 are now officers.

With the crime rate on a worrying trajectory in New Orleans, state Rep. Helena Moreno thinks she has found a way to pay to get more cops on the streets. And she thinks she can do it without raising taxes or taking money from other vital budget priorities. Moreno, D-New Orleans, wants to draft… Continue reading →

Lafitte Greenway spurring development plans in Mid-City

Rendering provided by Friends of Lafitte Cooridor -- One of the alternatves for the Lafitte Greenway project includes a festive community space at the intersection of Bayou St. John and the Greenway.

As the $9 million Lafitte Greenway project nears completion, details are emerging about a handful of new developments being proposed near the 3-mile bicycle and pedestrian path, which stretches from the edge of the French Quarter to Mid-City. A new strip mall anchored by a CVS pharmacy is slated for the site of the… Continue reading →

Suspect wounded during raid by 3 New Orleans law enforcement agencies

Steven Ellis

Law enforcement officers fired on a man inside his home in the 7th Ward early Thursday while executing a search warrant for drugs, according to New Orleans police. About 12:30 a.m., Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies, along with members of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, raided the home in the 2400 block of Pauger Street.… Continue reading →

Tom Benson’s request for an expedited appeal is denied in legal battle over Texas trust

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson at a luncheon for the  Superbowl Host Committee  Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at the Superdome.

A panel of appeals judges in Texas has rejected Tom Benson’s request for an expedited review of a lower court’s decision to temporarily oust the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner as steward of a trust established for the benefit of his estranged daughter. Benson’s lawyers, in a motion filed Monday, had asked the Texas… Continue reading →

FBI confirms formal investigation into case of Jefferson Parish deputy repeatedly punching high school student in face

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Brady Becker, right, listens as his attorney David Belfield speaks outside the Becker  home in Reserve. Becker still shows the bruises from his arrest last Friday night by an undercover JPSO detective.

The attorney for Brady Becker, a high-school student punched in the face repeatedly by a plainclothes deputy in Jefferson Parish, said Thursday that he has been contacted by an agent in the FBI’s New Orleans field office in connection with Becker’s violent arrest this month. Continue reading →

WWL-TV report: Arrest warrant finally issued for burglary at bail bonds office

More than two months after bail bondsman Steve Adams and his employees said they suspected an inside job following their discovery of a burglary, missing cash and fraudulently cashed checks, New Orleans police finally have agreed with them. The NOPD said Wednesday that an arrest warrant was issued recently for Jeffrey Stokes, accusing him of being… Continue reading →

Home prices rise for third year in a row in the New Orleans area

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- A house for sale last year in the sought-after Mid-City neighborhood.

The cost of buying a home in the New Orleans area climbed for the third year in a row in 2014. And it was not just the city, but the suburbs as well, that saw gains. Meanwhile, in the city proper, the latest figures showed that the market has gotten so hot in more desirable neighborhoods that… Continue reading →

Man arrested in St. Claude Avenue homicide, and other area crime news

Advocate staff photo byMATTHEW HINTON --- A 39-year-old man was found shot to death inside a New Orleans East home on Wednesday afternoon.

After finding the alleged murder weapon in a detergent box, New Orleans police arrested a 72-year-old man Wednesday in connection with a Saturday homicide at St. Claude Avenue and Pauger Street. Donald “Bilal” Wiliams was booked on a second degree murder count. Police… Continue reading →

WWL-TV report: Many officers supposedly transferred to street duty didn’t get there

Almost from the moment two months ago when New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison announced the transfer of 22 officers from desk or support jobs to street patrol duty, the impact of the move was blunted. Civil District Court judges and the district attorney complained about losing officers dedicated to their offices, and critics questioned if… Continue reading →

Monitors: Despite progress, risk of harm to OPP inmates still ‘extremely high’

Violence reigns, as ever, at Orleans Parish Prison, and inmates still face “extremely high” risks of harm, but Sheriff Marlin Gusman has made incremental headway in remedying the substandard state of the lockup that has festered for decades. That sobering, if familiar, assessment formed the crux of a 140-page report published Wednesday by a team of… Continue reading →

Loyola announces academic reorganization

Advocate staff photo by RUSTY COSTANZA -- Graduates enter the Mercedes-Benz Superdome at the beginning of the Loyola University graduation ceremony last spring. Loyola announced a restructuring of its internal colleges Wednesday.

In its second major shake-up since Hurricane Katrina, Loyola University announced Wednesday that it will reshuffle its academic programs as part of a long-range plan aimed at coping with the university’s flagging enrollment and its multimillion-dollar deficit. The new plan scraps a school formed during Loyola’s last, controversial restructuring in 2006, splitting its departments… Continue reading →

Trial begins for 2011 shooting named by prosecuter as 'Valentine's Day Massacre'

Thaddeus Ross.

The trial of Thaddeus Ross in a 2011 shooting that left one person dead and four — including a 3-month-old girl — injured began Wednesday with sparring over the credibility of the prosecution’s star witness, a man who is himself accused of attempted murder in a separate case. Ross, who faces a second-degree murder charge, was… Continue reading →

Residents’ satisfaction with NOPD drops sharply

Fueled by a recent surge in violent crime, residents’ perception of the New Orleans Police Department has fallen precipitously in the past year, with the dissatisfaction crossing racial and geographical boundaries. The latest twice-yearly survey, published Wednesday by the New Orleans Crime Coalition, found that only 48 percent of residents said they are satisfied… Continue reading →

Two New Orleans-area lawmakers draft legislation to rein in film tax credit program; critics say proposals are too timid

Louisiana state Rep. Julie Stokes, R-Kenner, left, and state Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans

In an effort to tackle the skyrocketing costs of one of Louisiana’s most high-profile giveaway programs, two New Orleans-area lawmakers have drafted legislation that would cap costs and eliminate certain expenses now subsidized under the state’s generous film tax credit program. The biggest changes would be setting a $300 million limit on the program’s annual… Continue reading →

Doctors chosen for Tom Benson mental evaluation, but judge orders that names be kept confidential

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Tom Benson showed off the new Pelicans practice facility next door to the Saints' headquarters off Airline Drive in Metairie Tuesday, September 17, 2013.

The three doctors who will examine Tom Benson as part of a lawsuit brought against him by his estranged relatives were selected in time to meet a deadline Wednesday. But the judge presiding over the case has ordered that the physicians’ names and other details regarding the tests they will perform on the owner of the… Continue reading →

Man found shot to death in New Orleans East on Wednesday afternoon

Advocate staff photo byMATTHEW HINTON --- A 39-year-old man was found shot to death inside a New Orleans East home on Wednesday afternoon.

The New Orleans Police Department is investigating a homicide that happened Wednesday afternoon in New Orleans East. The 39-year-old male victim was found inside a residence in the 8000 block of West Laverne Street, according to police. He was found at about 4 p.m. unresponsive on the living room floor with a gunshot wound to the… Continue reading →

New Orleans congestion keeps Chiquita active in Gulfport

Congestion at the Port of New Orleans is keeping the port in Gulfport, Mississippi, busy nearly two months after Chiquita was expected to have cleared out its containers there. Chiquita, which moved to New Orleans in October after 40 years in Gulfport, was supposed to be out Dec. 31. However, Chiquita containers filled with paper are… Continue reading →

Ian McNulty: Vietnamese restaurateur breaks from the expected, takes more contemporary path

Advocate staff photo by Ian McNulty - The restaurant Kin is slated to open the first week of March near Xavier University.

As his first restaurant has taken shape over the past few months, Hieu Than constantly heard variations on the same refrain. “Everyone who saw this place and saw us working on it, they’d ask if it’s going to be, you know, insert-Asian-restaurant-concept-here,” said Than. “I’m Vietnamese, that’s my heritage, but that’s not where my culinary outlook… Continue reading →

Amid budget cuts, declining enrollment Loyola reveals restructing plan that restores, cuts colleges

Advocate staff photo by JOHN MCCUSKER -- Loyola University, New Orleans, Wednesday, July 10, 2013. Loyola announced a restructuring of its colleges Wednesday, February 25, 2015.

Loyola University in New Orleans has announced restructuring plans that include the restoration of the university's College of Arts and Sciences and the creation of a new College of Graduate and Professional Studies. The move comes as the university deals with declining enrollment and budget deficits in recent years. In its announcement Wednesday, the university said that the new College… Continue reading →

Prosecutors: ‘99 percent chance’ St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta will be charged with additional crimes; legal troubles mount after accusations of handcuffing, beating, raping wife

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta leaves his office with a new iPhone because his other phone was confiscated during a search of his home and offices by the Louisiana Attorney General's office and other state investigators in Chalmette, La. Friday, July 25, 2014.

Embattled St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta is almost certain to face additional criminal charges, including conspiracy, a prosecutor with the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office told a state judge at a hearing Wednesday. “I think there’s a 99 percent chance there’s going to be a superseding indictment,” Assistant Attorney General David Weilbaecher Jr. told Judge Frank… Continue reading →

New Orleans attorney avoids jail time in case of her caught on video making sexual advances in cab, accused of filing bogus report

A local attorney and former radio personality avoided jail time Wednesday in a bizarre case in which she was accused of filing a bogus police report against a taxi driver who filmed her making sexual advances in his cab. The lawyer, Jennifer Gaubert, faced up to six months in jail for criminal mischief —… Continue reading →

Blue Cross Louisiana CEO Reitz retiring mid-2016

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING    Mike Reitz, president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, is retiring in mid-2016.

Mike Reitz, president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, plans to retire in mid-2016 after 40 years with the state’s largest insurer. The company’s board will conduct a nationwide search for Reitz’s successor, said Blue Cross board Chairman Dan S. BornĂ©. “For all things, there is a season, and my time… Continue reading →

WWL-TV report: Satisfaction with New Orleans Police Department drops among citizens

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--According to the New Orleans Police Department at approximately 11:00 p.m. Wednesday NOPD officers were conducting a traffic stop of a Chevrolet Avalanche, left, when three individuals fled from the vehicle on Josephine Street near Lasalle Street. A foot pursuit ensued and during the pursuit, one of the male suspects produced a gun and fired at the officers at which time an officer return fired striking the suspect in his lower extremities.  The suspect later died at a local hospital. Photo taken in New Orleans, La. Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015. The two other individuals, believed to be a male and a female, remain at-large.  Officers recovered a gun and narcotics found near the suspect.

Satisfaction with the New Orleans Police Department fell by double digits from 2013 to 2014, reports WWL-TV News. According to the bi-annual survey conducted by the New Orleans Crime Commission less than half of the citizens surveyed approve of the job being done by the NOPD. "The drop in citizen satisfaction with NOPD in the current… Continue reading →

Report: Environmental groups to join oil refinery workers on strike in St. Charles Parish

Advocate Photo by VERONICA DOMINACH-- Members of the United Steelworkers union at Shell's chemical plant and at Motiva refineries in Norco are joining the nation's largest refinery strike since 1980 in Norco, La. Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015.

Oil refinery workers in St. Charles Parish continue to picket as part of a nationwide strike. On Wednesday, several environmental groups plan to join the picket line, a WVUE report says. Environmental groups, including the Sierra Club New Orleans Chapter and the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, announced that they will join members of the United Steelworkers Union. Continue reading →

Police Academy overhaul underway, New Orleans Police Depatment brass tells federal judge

In the eyes of the U.S. Justice Department, almost everything that’s wrong with the New Orleans Police Department comes back to a training program that has varied historically between weak and counterproductive. In a 2011 report that sparked a raft of court-mandated reforms to the force, the department’s Civil Rights Division found officers were… Continue reading →

Viking to make New Orleans home port for high-end river cruises

Photo provided by Viking Cruises -- Viking Freya sails through the Rhine Valley.

Viking River Cruises, a major provider of high-end river cruises on other continents, will make New Orleans the home port for its first North American itineraries, which will travel along the Mississippi River as far north as Minnesota, the company and state officials announced Tuesday. In 2017, the European company plans to launch two new specially… Continue reading →

Tom Benson seeks expedited appeal in fight over Texas trust’s control

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson.

Tom Benson wants to expedite his appeal of a Texas judge’s ruling that has ousted the owner of the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans as steward of a trust that had been set up to benefit his now-estranged daughter. In paperwork filed in Texas’ 4th Court of Appeals, Benson’s lawyers said the two men… Continue reading →

New CVS approved for vacant strip mall on Magazine Street, but neighbors say 'too many pharmacies'

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--The  City Planning Commission will consider a proposal to turn a former Blockbuster Video at the intersection of Magazine Street and Louisiana Avenue into a CVS drugstore seen here in New Orleans, La. Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015.

A plan to replace a vacant former Blockbuster Video store on Magazine Street and the rest of the businesses that remain in the same mini shopping center with a CVS pharmacy won unanimous approval from the City Planning Commission on Tuesday. The proposal, which calls for a store spanning the entirety of the 9,000-square-foot strip mall… Continue reading →

New Orleans panel rejects proposal to update vacant Frenchmen Street building

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- The City Planning Commission is considering a proposal to turn a former home for children on Frenchmen street into a hotel.

The City Planning Commission on Tuesday rejected a proposal to turn an unoccupied Frenchmen Street building into a boutique hotel. Even though the proposal had the support of the neighborhood association, a 5-3 majority of the commission said it does not fit with the city’s master plan. The final decision is up to the… Continue reading →

Bell Junior High building in Treme to be converted into affordable artist housing

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  The former Bell Junior High School in the Treme Historic District, pictured here in 2013, may soon be converted into artists' lofts and studios. There are several structures on the extended campus including this multi-story turn of the century Gothic building that was once part of St. Josephs Academy. There is also a chapel building dating to the mid-19th century. The message on the sign dates to the summer of 2005.

The board of the Housing Authority of New Orleans voted Tuesday to allow the agency to purchase the former Andrew J. Bell Junior High School from the Orleans Parish School Board and immediately transfer the property to a private developer who will turn the Treme campus into a place for artists and others to live and… Continue reading →