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Louisiana in for big changes, likely bumpy ride with Medicaid expansion, transition; here's how we got here

Advocate staff file photo by BILL FEIG -- Gov. John Bel Edwards and Dr. Rebekah Gee, DHH Secretary, center, listen to Linda Simms during a discussion on Medicaid expansion as Edwards and Gee met with new enrollees of the Medicaid expansion program prior to the June 1 enrollment start date.

Perhaps more than in any other state, the expansion of Medicaid to give thousands of Louisiana residents no-cost health insurance stands to have a profound effect on health care — whether it’s better or worse than the system already established to cover the needs of the poor. Louisiana on Friday is set to become the 31st state… Continue reading →

Marigny residents’ challenge to zoning law change is rejected by appeals court

A state appellate court has denied a Faubourg Marigny neighborhood group’s attempt to immediately stop the city from approving buildings up to 80 feet tall in Marigny and other riverfront neighborhoods, meaning a project of that size could move forward as the legal case plays out. But while the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal upheld Orleans… Continue reading →

Disabled-rights advocate Anthony Washington, who spent life 'defying expectations,' dies at age 43

Anthony Washington

Anthony Washington, who pushed tirelessly to expand the rights of the disabled despite being confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak, died June 18 at his family’s home in Gentilly. He was 43. “He spent his life defying expectations,” said his mother, Mary Knapper, 72, recalling how, at birth, doctors diagnosed him with severe cerebral… Continue reading →

Read the proposals for Bywater ‘scattered site’ redevelopments

Months after receiving the proposals and several days after selecting one, the Housing Authority of New Orleans has released the proposals it got for redeveloping so-called “scattered sites” in Bywater and explained the agency’s rationale for choosing the winner. The firm HANO chose, the ITEX Group of Houston, apparently was picked in part because of… Continue reading →

How about a three-star hotel to go with that new terminal at Armstrong International Airport?

A three-star hotel with at least 140 rooms is being envisioned for a 23,000-square-foot site adjacent to the North Terminal facility under construction at Louis Armstrong International Airport. The city and the New Orleans Aviation Board have issued a request for proposals for designing, building and operating a nationally branded hotel that’s rated three or… Continue reading →

New Orleans Public Belt board drops railroad’s sale option, but city is funding the study

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--The New Orleans Public Belt Railroad building is seen in Jefferson, La. Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015.

The New Orleans Public Belt Railroad’s board voted Monday to strip the potential sale of the publicly owned and operated railroad from a list of options in a study, but a city official said afterward that the sale option will be evaluated because the city is funding the study. The standing-room-only meeting drew comments from more than… Continue reading →

Three injured in separate shootings overnight in New Orleans, police say

Update, 7 a.m. Monday: New Orleans police are investigating a shooting in the 3400 block of Garden Oaks Drive early Monday, NOPD spokeswoman Dawne Massey said in an email around 6:50 a.m. One male was shot, and his condition is unknown at this time, Massey said. No further details were immediately available. Original story: New Orleans police are investigating two shootings Sunday night and… Continue reading →

City planners endorse Sidney Torres’ proposed development next to Lafitte Greenway

Photo provided by Edwards Communities -- A residential development envisioned by Sidney Torres will go before City Planning Commission this month.

City planners are recommending approval for a mixed-use development proposed by businessman Sidney Torres IV for a nine-acre swath of land along the Lafitte Greenway. The project will go before the New Orleans City Planning Commission this week. The development would “provide a missing residential element” in a largely commercial and industrial area, the planning staff wrote… Continue reading →

Man shot to death in Algiers Sunday night, New Orleans police say

The New Orleans Police Department are investigating a single homicide in the 2800 block of Kent Street. At approximately 6:30 p.m., police responded to a call at Kent Drive and General Meyer Avenue and found an unkown male in his late 30s suffering from gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators are searching… Continue reading →

New Orleans police: 3 armed robberies, carjacking reported between Saturday and Sunday

New Orleans police reported three armed robberies and a carjacking between Saturday and Sunday mornings. The first incident happened just after 8:30 a.m. when a 24-year-old woman was walking to her car in Gentilly, the New Orleans Police Department said in a preliminary offense log. Two men approached her in the 3100 block of Elysian Fields Avenue, according to the report, demanded… Continue reading →

‘Something to call my own’: Habitat for Humanity homes in New Orleans East give owners reason to be hopeful

Advocate photo by SOPHIA GERMER -- Daniel, 6, and Blake Gonzales, 10, stand outside their new home during the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity America Street celebration in New Orleans East, La. Saturday June 25, 2016. 10 families received homes on the 4900 block of America Street. Each family worked 200 volunteer hours to become homeowners.

Victoria Gonzales, 14, has long wanted to paint her bedroom purple. But that sort of personalization isn’t allowed in an apartment building, even for teenagers who really want to put their own stamp on their surroundings. But soon, Victoria is going to buy a can of purple paint and carry it into her family’s new house… Continue reading →

'It's that kind of place': Grand Isle's struggles mount with drugs, undersized shrimp, arrests of half its cops

Advocate staff photo by JOHN BALLANCE  --  The sign that welcomes you to Grand isle just before the bridge leading to the Island.

You could forgive the people of Grand Isle for becoming fatalistic. There have been several drownings this year, and if the number of recent arrests is any indication, there is a serious drug problem. Rock-bottom oil prices have hurt business on this barrier island of fishing camps and vacation rentals. People in the local… Continue reading →

Sharon Litwin, English-born booster and leader of New Orleans culture, dies at 75

Sharon Litwin, a charming and unfailing advocate for New Orleans culture and communities , died Friday in Chicago, where she was being treated for pancreatic cancer. She was 75. Even over the past year, while flying periodically to Chicago for chemotherapy and other cancer treatments, Litwin continued her work. She continued to record weekly interviews with cultural… Continue reading →

St. Tammany assessor to continue appraisal method, despite new state law aimed at ending practice

Despite a new state law aimed at banning the practice, one New Orleans-area assessor apparently will continue to appraise certain affordable housing developments as he always has — a move that could spark the fourth legislative battle in four years over the matter next spring. St. Tammany Parish Assessor Louis Fitzmorris says he is… Continue reading →

Telly Hankton trial jury to continue deliberations Monday after taking weekend off

Telly Hankton

A federal court jury did not reach a verdict Friday and will return Monday to continue deliberating in the federal racketeering trial of accused Central City drug dealer Telly Hankton, alleged hit man Walter Porter and two Hankton cousins. The jury of eight men and four women spent Friday weighing murder, drug and gun… Continue reading →

How a punch in the nose and a little persistence can turn a scientist into an entrepreneur

Photo provided by Tulane University - Nicholas Pashos works in a lab at Tulane University. A National Science Foundation program is helping him move his breast reconstruction graft from the lab to the marketplace.

Knocking on doors. Getting your nose bloodied. Collecting “no” after “no” after “no.” It’s not what first comes to mind when Tulane University researchers talk about commercializing their discoveries. But the school’s new Innovation Corps program, funded by the National Science Foundation, is changing that and giving students and… Continue reading →

New Orleans loses 1,600 jobs in past year

The Advocate file photo

New Orleans lost 1,600 nonfarm jobs over the 12 months ending May 31, joining Lafayette, Houma-Thibodaux and Shreveport-Bossier City in the loss column. Metro-area job losses were driven largely by the oil and gas industry’s skid. The metros that gained jobs included Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, Monroe and Alexandria. Hammond was unchanged, according to preliminary estimates… Continue reading →

Initial unemployment claims in Louisiana fall

First-time claims for unemployment insurance in Louisiana for the week ending June 18 decreased to 2,822 from the previous week’s total of 3,445. The state labor department said there were 2,731 a year earlier. The four-week moving average, which is a less volatile measure of claims, decreased to 3,249 from the previous week’s total of 3,335.… Continue reading →

U.S. rig count down 3; Louisiana drops five

The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. declined by three this week to 421, snapping three weeks of gains after a slide that lasted months and pushed the count to record-low levels amid depressed energy prices. A year ago, 859 rigs were active. Houston oilfield services… Continue reading →

Andy Kopplin, Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s second-in-command, to leave City Hall

Andy Kopplin

Andy Kopplin, Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s top deputy and the man responsible for daily operations and budgeting at City Hall for the past six years, is leaving the Landrieu administration to run one of the region’s largest foundations. Kopplin, 50, will become president and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Foundation in mid-August, replacing longtime head Albert… Continue reading →

Convicted New Orleans candy snatcher now officially faces 20-years-to-life sentence, though DA cites wiggle room

Jacobia Grimes

Jacobia Grimes, a serial shoplifter who was convicted this month of attempted theft after stuffing $31 worth of candy into his pockets at a New Orleans dollar store, now formally faces a mandatory prison sentence of 20 years to life under the state’s habitual-offender law. Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office filed a “multiple bill”… Continue reading →

Sheriff calls on FBI to investigate forceful arrest of alleged 'cold-blooded' cop killer Neveaux

Jerman Neveaux's mugshot after his release from the hospital.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand has asked federal authorities to investigate whether his officers used excessive force in their arrest this week of the young man accused of fatally shooting Deputy David F. Michel Jr. — an inquiry prompted by a cellphone video that shows deputies repeatedly striking the 19-year-old as they wrestled him into custody.… Continue reading →

'Uncertainty' surrounds Louisiana’s ninth-largest trade partner, major in-state investor following Brexit

Associated Press photo by ANTHONY DEVLIN -- Vote Leave supporters celebrate as they walk through Parliament Square in London, Friday. Britain entered uncharted waters after the country voted to leave the European Union.

The only thing certain about Britain’s exit from the European Union is “uncertainty” for a country that is Louisiana’s ninth-largest trading partner and a major investor in the state. The U.K. also is a substantial source of tourists. New Orleans is the second-most popular entry point for English visitors to the United States behind only New York.… Continue reading →

‘A major economic development opportunity:’ Luxury river cruise line to dock ship at former Gretna ferry terminal

Rendering provided by French America LineThis illustration shows the Louisiane in a fall setting. The 150-passenger boat will begin cruising from its new home port in Gretna this September.

A luxury cruise line that recently opened its headquarters on the West Bank of Jefferson Parish soon will begin offering journeys up the Mississippi River from a terminal in Gretna, officials announced Friday. The voyages are expected to create dozens of jobs locally while helping pay to restart regular ferry service between Gretna and New Orleans, officials… Continue reading →

Three overnight shootings leave three men hospitalized in New Orleans

New Orleans police reported two shootings late Thursday and another early Friday that left three men hospitalized. The first shooting occurred around 10:15 p.m. in the 7900 block of Downman Road. A 38-year-old man was shot multiple times and transported to a hospital by EMS. A second shooting occurred around 10:40 p.m. in the 4400… Continue reading →

'When you can’t believe these snitches, it’s like a house of cards': Telly Hankton racketeering case goes to jury

Telly Hankton

A frightening story of territorial vengeance run amok on the streets of Central City has reached a jury, with deliberations set to start Friday morning in the federal racketeering trial of accused drug boss Telly Hankton, alleged Uptown hit man Walter Porter and two Hankton cousins. During closing arguments Thursday, attorneys for Hankton, Porter,… Continue reading →

Worker crushed to death by industrial machine in Kenner

Update: The man killed Thursday in Kenner after being caught inside of an industrial machine and crushed was identified Friday as Dat M. Nguyen, 58, of Marrero. Original story An unidentified man was killed in Kenner after being caught inside of an industrial machine and… Continue reading →

Wal-Mart brings grocery pickup service to 6 south Louisiana stores

Associated Press file photo -- Wal-Mart customers can avoid the hassle of shopping for groceries in the retailer's stores by ordering online for curbside pickup at six stores in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans areas.

Wal-Mart shoppers are now able to order grocery items online and pick them up curbside at no additional charge at six south Louisiana stores. The curbside service is being offered at three Baton Rouge-area stores at 308 N. Airline Highway in Gonzales; 904 S. Range Ave. in Denham Springs; and 17585 Airline Highway in Prairieville. Three… Continue reading →

Alleged bagman hit with conspiracy charge in Orleans Parish School Board bribe case

An associate of disgraced former Orleans Parish School Board member Ira Thomas was charged in federal court Thursday with serving as Thomas’ bagman, allegedly collecting a $5,000 bribe intended for Thomas from a vendor seeking a contract. Lester Mornay, who ran Thomas’ failed 2014 campaign for sheriff, faces a single charge of conspiracy to commit bribery.… Continue reading →

New Orleans City Council passes measure to bar contractors from using credit checks in hiring decisions

By the end of the year, employers who do business with the city of New Orleans likely won’t be allowed to check the credit histories of most of their workers, a ban supporters say will help prevent low-income residents from being continually penalized for past debt struggles. The City Council voted 6-0 Thursday to pass the… Continue reading →

Cap the strip clubs? French Quarter spots would be limited to as few as 7, under panel recommendations

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--The New Orleans City Planning Commission staff recommend capping and spacing out the number of French Quarter strip clubs, like the Penthouse Club seen here on Iberville St. in the Quarter in New Orleans, La. Thursday, June 23, 2016. The CPC recommended to eventually cut the clubs by half. The study released this week is in response to City Council's directive for the CPC to study the issue.

The New Orleans City Council should cap and eventually reduce the number of strip clubs in the French Quarter, and police should strictly enforce existing bans on illegal activity in those clubs, according to a study released this week by the staff of the City Planning Commission. But while the staff said a ceiling… Continue reading →

Tin Roof: Taste testers overwhelmingly choose premium American lager as style of LSU's official beer

Photo provided by Tin Roof -- Tin Roof's officially licensed LSU beer, Bayou Bengal, will be a premium American lager. ORG XMIT: M2RVar7ylTGrgBfj099S

What would an LSU beer taste like? We have an answer. Tin Roof Brewing Company announced Thursday that its officially licensed LSU beer, Bayou Bengal, is a premium American lager. Last month, Tin Roof reached out to LSU fans and members of the community to participate in a blind tasting panel to choose the style of… Continue reading →