Weekend traffic plan sought for Lakeshore Drive

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- The Non-Flood Protection Asset Management Authority voted Wednesday to open all four lanes of Lakeshore Drive to vehicular on the weekends. The longtime practice was to allow only cars headed east, which helped fuel the area's popularity among cyclists and joggers.

A newly created committee will spend the next two months trying to come up with a way for cyclists and pedestrians to coexist with cars on weekends at the New Orleans lakefront, following a state board’s decision Wednesday to fully open Lakeshore Drive to vehicular traffic coming from the east. It seems likely the committee’s basic … Continue reading →

Audubon spent $270,000 on failed ballot measure

Advocate photo by VERONICA DOMINACH -- Peewee, a new penguin chick that hatched last month at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, flaps his wings Saturday in New Orleans.

The Audubon Nature Institute spent about $270,000 on its unsuccessful campaign for a 50-year property tax extension to support the city’s zoo, aquarium and other attractions, according to state filings released Thursday. All of that money came from the institute’s budget, and much of it was spent in the last two weeks or so leading up … Continue reading →

Michelle Obama to deliver Dillard graduation address

Associated Press file photo by Jacquelyn Martin -- First lady Michelle Obama is scheduled to deliver the 2014 commencement address at Dillard University on May 10.

First lady Michelle Obama will deliver this year’s commencement address at Dillard University, the White House has announced, citing the school’s “legacy as one of America’s top historically black universities.” The ceremony is scheduled at 10 a.m. May 10 on Dillard’s campus in Gentilly. The first lady also is slated to speak this year … Continue reading →

City, sheriff agree on plan to pay for new hires at jail

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Mayor Mitch Landrieu greets Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman at a literacy event in January. Gusman and Landrieu's administration have been at odds about how much to spend revamping the troubled Orleans Parish Prison.

After claiming for months that he lacked the resources to carry out court-ordered improvements at Orleans Parish Prison, Sheriff Marlin Gusman signed a partial settlement agreement with city leaders Thursday outlining a spending plan for Gusman to make scores of new hires at the dangerously understaffed jail, using funds the city already had set aside for him last … Continue reading →

Guns secured, artists get busy on new project

Advocate staff photo by Andrea Mabry -- From right to left, Adam Mysock, Katrina Andry, and Deborah Luster choose guns to create artwork with at the press conference announcing the Guns in the Hands of Artists project at the Jonathan Ferrara Gallery on April 16, 2014. Ferrara has obtained 186 guns from the city's gun buy-back program, and twenty-seven artists will create new works using the guns.

In a city where people seem to have no trouble finding — and firing — perfectly good weapons, a group of New Orleans artists seemed tickled Wednesday to pick through a pile of charred, mangled castoffs, like bargain shoppers after a gun show arson. Local printmaker Katrina Andry gently picked up a dismantled revolver — the … Continue reading →

3 rescued from ship on Pontchartrain

In this image provided by the U.S. Coast Guard the uninspected towing vessel Todd Michael is grounded on Lake Pontchartrain, Tuesday April 15, 2014. The Coast Guard rescued three crewmembers from the vessel after the Todd Michael took on water, separated from the barge and grounded onshore. (AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans)

The owner of a tow boat that ran aground Tuesday in Lake Pontchartrain said high waves pushed by a passing storm front broke a line connecting the vessel and a barge it was pushing. The captain had no choice but to run the vessel — the Todd Michael — onto … Continue reading →

Landrieu-backed bill extends new courthouse deadline

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu reacts to his reelection for a second term at the Hyatt Regency with his father Moon, mother Verna, sister U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu in New Orleans, La. Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu has offered an enticement to judges at Civil District Court to get them to reconsider their opposition to moving into the abandoned Charity Hospital building. Landrieu is pushing a bill in Baton Rouge that would give the judges an additional year to collect higher court fees meant to help finance a new courthouse. Under … Continue reading →

Water in Mississippi River is high but no threat

High water in the Mississippi River has triggered increased inspections of the river levees in the New Orleans area by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, but officials said the river will remain far below flood levels as a crest passes the area in the coming week. The river rose to about 11.84 feet at … Continue reading →

Ebb Tide Films setting up in N.O. Regional Business Park

Ebb Tide Films, a subsidiary of Universal Studios, is setting up shop in the New Orleans Regional Business Park’s Enterprise Center. Ebb Tide — a name being used as the working title for the feature film “Jurassic World” — is the second post-production company to go into the Enterprise Center, 13801 Old Gentilly Blvd., the business park’s … Continue reading →

New Orleans socialite and activist Mickey Easterling dies

Photos provided by George Long -- Nanci and MIckey Easterling at Mickey's home on Lakeshore Drive in New Orleans, Louisiana

Mickey Easterling, a New Orleans socialite known as much for her grand lifestyle and outlandish hats as for her civic, cultural and political activism, died Monday at her Lakefront home. Her family declined to release her age, noting she once said, “Age is a number, and mine’s unlisted.” Easterling, born Marycathyren Gambino, hosted many … Continue reading →

Ex-NOPD officer wins legal fight to return to force

A New Orleans police officer who was fired in 2011 for lying when he denied kicking a Warren Easton High School student in the head likely will get his job back, after an appeals court Wednesday upheld a decision by the city’s Civil Service Commission to reinstate him. Chadwick Taylor, a narcotics officer in the 3rd … Continue reading →

Eardrum patch startup company wins $44,000

Tympanogen LLC, a New Orleans startup company with a nonsurgical patch for treating holes in the eardrum, has won $44,000 in a major graduate-level student startup competition. More than 500 startups from around the world applied for the Rice University Business Plan Competition, with 42 startups from eight countries selected to compete in Houston. Tympanogen won … Continue reading →

Federal magistrate not ready to reveal ID of ‘jammer1954’

Sal Perricone

An order filed in federal court Wednesday suggests that a federal magistrate judge has determined the identity of one of the two anonymous online commenters at issue in the case of former city official Stacey Jackson, who is hoping to prove the commenters are federal law enforcement officials as part of an effort to get corruption charges against … Continue reading →

Poetry Series begins Saturday at Algiers Regional Lib

In celebration of National Poetry Month, local author Valentine Pierce will present a two-part series at the Algiers Regional Library on identifying and connecting to an audience through delivery and presentation. “Pass The Word” will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 19, and Saturday, April 26, at the library at 3014 Holiday Drive. The series is funded … Continue reading →

How cold was it? A record-tying 46 degrees

Chilly temperatures throughout south Louisiana flirted with records Wednesday morning, but only New Orleans and Baton Rouge made it. New Orleans Audubon Park recorded a low of 46 degrees, tying a record set in 1962, said meteorologist Shawn O’Neil of the National Weather Service office in Slidell. In Baton Rouge, the temperature dropped to 37 degrees, … Continue reading →

Former OPP jailer faces federal contraband charge

Federal prosecutors have charged a former Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy with conspiring to smuggle cellphones and marijuana to federal inmates awaiting trial at Orleans Parish Prison in 2008, including one inmate known as the “King Smuggler.” The case, filed last week in U.S. District Court, comes as local authorities are investigating fresh allegations of contraband … Continue reading →

5 deaths linked to infections tied to hospital linens

Photo provided by LSUHSC.edu -- The Children's Hospital of New Orleans

The five children ranged in age from 35 days to 13 years. They arrived at Children’s Hospital from different homes, had severe illnesses of various types and were admitted to assorted hospital wards in 2008 and 2009. The one thing the three boys and two girls had in common, before they all died, was the hospital … Continue reading →

Civil Service League criticizes Landrieu proposals

The Louisiana Civil Service League is calling on the New Orleans Civil Service Commission to delay considering Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s proposed overhaul of the city’s human resource rules for classified employees. In a letter sent Monday to the Rev. Kevin Wildes, the commission’s chairman, league Executive Vice President Daniel Sullivan said the commission should not vote … Continue reading →

City tears down Newcomb Boulevard fence

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  The City removed the fence at Newcomb Place at Freret which will again open the street to through traffic Tuesday, April 15, 2014.

City workers on Tuesday removed a fence at Newcomb Boulevard and Freret Street that essentially turned the four-block Newcomb into a private thoroughfare. Residents of Newcomb had the barrier erected in 2006, saying traffic concerns made it necessary. They have complained that drivers previously used the street, which runs to St. Charles Avenue, as a short … Continue reading →

French Quarter Festival had record attendance

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ -- Local legendary pianist and band leader  Ronnie Kole  joins in the merriment as the  31st Annual French Quarter Festival kicked off its second day of music with its traditional second line parade, which started in the 100 block of Bourbon and ended at Jackson Square Friday, April 11, 2014. The day featured the opening of more stages and music venues in the French Quarter with concerts from local and nationally known artists, including Dr. John.

With sunny skies shining down on them, a record 733,000 people listened to music, danced in the shadow of St. Louis Cathedral and feasted on festival fare along the Mississippi River during the 31st annual French Quarter Festival, which ended Sunday, producers said. According to figures released Monday, this year’s attendance eclipsed that of a year … Continue reading →

Marc Morial lambasts residency rule change

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ --- New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, left, chats with former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial last year before a panel discussion begins in Georges Auditorium on the Dillard University Campus. Morial on Monday criticized a change to the city employee residency requirement embraced by Landrieu's police superintendent, Ronal Serpas.

Former Mayor Marc Morial, long a champion of the law requiring city employees to live within New Orleans’ city limits, published a broadside Monday blasting the City Council’s 6-1 vote last week to exempt police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians from the rule. Those who pushed to rescind the rule, including New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal … Continue reading →

City board delays decision on T-shirt shops’ appeals

Thirteen French Quarter T-shirt shops under fire by the city will get another month to put together appeals of citations for illegal operation issued to them last year. Attorneys for the owners successfully petitioned the Board of Zoning Adjustments on Monday to defer voting on the matter to give them more time to … Continue reading →

Suspect booked in Ironman participant’s death

Howard Vidrine

A man suspected of killing an Ironman athlete and seriously injuring his cycling partner by sending both into the air when he rear-ended the pair last week in New Orleans East should not have been behind the wheel because his driving privileges were suspended, according to court documents. Howard Vidrine, 34, of Gretna, was … Continue reading →