Future of Big Oil suit at stake as panel meets

It will be next month before Gov. Bobby Jindal will likely get a chance to change the membership of a south Louisiana flood protection board that’s suing dozens of oil, gas and pipeline companies. The panel that nominates members for the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East discussed plans to fill two expired terms Thursday. But members … Continue reading →

Nine years after Katrina, musicians see thriving, if not always lucrative, music scene

Advocate Photo by VERONICA DOMINACH -- Benny Jones greets trumpet player, Wendell Brunious before they perform at the neighborhood, Candlelight Lounge in Treme, New Orleans on August 27, 2014.

Earlier this week, Benny Jones put his snare drum and sticks into his orange pickup truck emblazoned with the words “Treme Brass Band.” Headed for his Wednesday night gig at the Candlelight Lounge, Jones remembered back to 2006, just after he returned home to New Orleans to work on his flood-damaged house in Gentilly. … Continue reading →

Orleans DA, Innocence Project team to find unjust convictions

It’s Tom and Jerry sharing kibble. Muhammad Ali taking tea with Joe Frazier. A pair of seemingly natural rivals on Thursday announced a unique partnership with a serious aim: freeing the wrongly convicted without the usual costly, drawn-out court battles. Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro and leaders of the Innocence Project-New Orleans heralded a … Continue reading →

City: No effort made to remove latest homeless camp

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- A man rests under the Pontchartrain Expressway overpass in New Orleans on Aug. 12, 2014.

New Orleans police did not advise individuals living in a homeless encampment at Calliope and Camp streets to disperse Wednesday evening or conduct any type of sweep of the area, according to Tyler Gamble, a spokesman for the Police Department. Gamble’s statement Thursday clashes with a story told by numerous individuals at the camp, who said … Continue reading →

Showdown looms over Orleans judge’s age

Frank Marullo

The longest-serving judge in Louisiana fired back Thursday at a legal challenge over whether he can hold onto the title for another six-year term. Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Judge Frank Marullo argued in a legal brief that he should remain on the ballot, dismissing a challenge by three voters who filed a lawsuit … Continue reading →

N.O. BioFund invests in two food-related companies

The New Orleans BioFund has crossed the $2 million mark in investments, announcing support for two companies that lift its tally to 12 southeast Louisiana businesses that have created more than 135 jobs in industries ranging from biotechnology to nutrition. The BioFund was developed two years ago to offer startup capital to emerging companies often considered too … Continue reading →

Hurricane Katrina anniversary events in New Orleans, Aug. 29-30, 2014

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- The Katrina Memorial on Canal Street, where almost 100 unidentified victims of the flooding are interred, is the site of a commemorative event at 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 29.

CANAL STREET WREATH-LAYING CEREMONY: 8:30 a.m., Hurricane Katrina Memorial, 5056 Canal St., New Orleans. The Crescent City Funeral Directors and Embalmers Association sponsors a wreath-laying at the memorial where the remains of almost 100 unclaimed or unidentified casualties of Hurricane Katrina are interred. Speaker is Orleans Parish Coroner Dr. Jeffrey Rouse. … Continue reading →

Students wanted for Kenner Youth Advisory Council

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Kenner officials including Mayor Mike Yenni, right of sign, and Councilman District 3 Keith M. Reynaud, left of sign, unveil a new LED sign at the entrance to the cityÕs Laketown district, which officials say is on the cusp of further retail and entertainment development in Kenner, La. Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. The $1 million project includes LED lighting, landscaping and underwater irrigation from Vintage Drive, seen here, to the Pontchartrain Center.

Applications are being accepted from students interested in working with Mayor Michael Yenni and the Kenner City Council by serving on the Kenner Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council. The Advisory Council, formed last year, is open to Kenner residents who attend high school anywhere in the metropolitan area or who are home-schooled in Kenner. In the … Continue reading →

Algiers pastor booked in shooting of suspected copper thief

Joseph Cross

Authorities on Thursday arrested an Algiers pastor who shot an alleged copper thief in the head a day earlier. Police apparently determined that the pastor was not in danger when he fired. Willie Littleton, 62, fired on Rodney Mitchell and Joseph Cross as they scrambled away from the pastor, who trained a gun on them after … Continue reading →

Brain-eating amoeba found in St. John Parish water system

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- After a rare brian-eating amoeba was found in the St. Bernard Parish water system in 2013, fire hydrants were opened and flushed. The amoeba has recently been found in a portion of the St. John the Baptist Parish water system, which is being treated with chlorine.

Officials in St. John the Baptist Parish are increasing chlorine levels in the parish’s water system after tests by state health officials confirmed the presence of a rare brain-eating amoeba in one area of the parish’s water lines. The state Department of Health and Hospitals said tests indicated the single-celled organisms were present in the water … Continue reading →

Homeless people say they face new eviction threat

Advocate file photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- New Orleans city officials, homeless advocates and NOPD converged under the Pontchartrain Expressway before dawn Aug. 14, 2014 to move out the approximately 150 homeless people have been living there.

New Orleans police late Tuesday told a group of homeless people living in an encampment on a neutral ground at Camp and Calliope streets, under the Pontchartrain Expressway, that they would have to leave the area within hours, some inhabitants of the camp said. Angela Malone, who sleeps in a tent under the expressway, said she … Continue reading →

Nonprofit’s former head admits embezzling money

The former head of a New Orleans nonprofit organization faces federal prison time after pleading guilty to embezzling tens of thousands of dollars in public grant money. Marcia Peterson, who served as executive director of CDC 58:12, a community development group, admitted Wednesday to stealing nearly $25,000 from the U.S. Department of Education and more than … Continue reading →

Harry Connick Jr., J-Lo get first look at ‘Idol’ hopefuls in N.O.

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Contestants  for the FOX show American Idol dance as Harry Connick, Jr. arrives on the Smokey Mary float from Connick's Mardi Gras Krewe of Orpheus at the New Orleans Convention Center for tryouts for the show in New Orleans, La. Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014.

“American Idol” is back in town, and New Orleanian Harry Connick Jr. is back with it — arriving at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on Wednesday atop a float, Carnival-style. Beginning his second season as a judge on the Fox television reality-contest show, Connick will again share the judges’ table with Jennifer Lopez and Keith … Continue reading →

Irish Channel bust nets alleged heroin dealer

Federal agents and New Orleans police arrested a 33-year-old man Tuesday in connection with a narcotics operation that has so far led to the seizure of nearly $20,000 in cash and more than a kilogram of heroin from locations in Mid-City and the Irish Channel, authorities said. Terrell Carney, 33, was the target of a drug-trafficking … Continue reading →

Hurricane Katrina anniversary events in New Orleans, Aug. 28-31, 2014

THURSDAY, AUG. 28 KATRINA ARTISTICALLY REVISITED: 9 p.m., the Theaters at Canal Place, 333 Canal St., New Orleans. Musicians, writers, photographers and others tell stories and display art that came out of Hurricane Katrina. Participants include Armand St. Martin, Steve Allen, Ron Thibodeaux, Dean Shapiro, Matt Faust, Robert Green Sr. and Shirani Rae. Parking $2. Event is free. FRIDAY, … Continue reading →

Prosecutors defend search of ‘sniper van’ without a warrant

Photo via U.S. Attorney Court Records -- The recent discovery of an apparent  assassin's van in Jefferson Parish -- in which a .22-caliber rifle with a silencer and a cannon fuse were found inside a vehicle apparently retrofitted for killing -- raises questions about the status of Italian organized crime in New Orleans and how much organization remains in 2014. Former FBI head Jim Bernazzani says there are still remnants, but that the operation is a shadow of what it once was. The two men facing federal charges in connection with the van appear to have mafia links, and one of them, Joseph F. Gagliano, did federal time in the Ô90s for a video poker scheme here that was linked to the mob. His father, Fat Frank Gagliano, had been an underboss in the Marcello crime family. Details on the discovery of the ominous van and a look at what officials say is left of the organized crime element in New Orleans.

Federal prosecutors in the Jefferson Parish “sniper van” case hit back Wednesday against a defense claim that investigators searched the suspiciously outfitted vehicle without a warrant, saying authorities were legally required to take inventory of the van before it could be towed. Prosecutors argued in a new court filing that a .22-caliber rifle with a scope … Continue reading →

As city’s new zoning law nears completion, not everyone is satisfied

Beer brewers and Bywater residents dominated the first day of hearings before the City Planning Commission on the city’s proposed new zoning law. Brewers are concerned that language in the new comprehensive zoning ordinance would restrict the growth of breweries in New Orleans. Bywater residents, meanwhile, appear split on how development should move forward in that … Continue reading →

Witnesses describe Bourbon Street shooting

Video screen shot -- Trung Le's attorney Martin Regan

Robert “Big Red” Benvenuti testified Wednesday that he was drunk the night gunfire rang out on Bourbon Street this summer and he took four bullets to his legs and buttocks. But when police rousted him for questioning days later and showed him a video of the incident, one thing came into clear focus. He realized from … Continue reading →

Woman killed in 7th Ward shooting identified

A woman who was shot Tuesday night in the 7th Ward and later died at the hospital has been identified as 26-year-old Kaima Kennedy. Kennedy was shot about 6 p.m. while on the porch of a home in the 2100 block of Law Street, said officer Frank Robertson, a Police Department spokesman. She was rushed to … Continue reading →

Accused Bourbon Street shooter pleads not guilty

Trung T. Le

Accused Bourbon Street shooter Trung Le pleaded not guilty to counts of manslaughter and attempted second-degree murder in Criminal District Court this morning. Le entered his plea a day after his lawyer, Martin Regan, labeled him a hero, saying Le saved lives when he fired on a second, still-unnamed shooter about 2:45 a.m. on June 29. … Continue reading →

IG report: NOPD misclassifying many robberies

In the latest in a series of audits questioning the accuracy of New Orleans crime statistics, Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux’s office issued a report Wednesday that says the New Orleans Police Department misclassified nearly 40 percent of a sampling of robbery cases the office reviewed. As with the earlier audits, which dealt with rapesContinue reading →

Chunk of Gallier Hall’s facade tumbles

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  A section of the facade of Gallier Hall, at right, broke off and crashed on the stone steps below, damaging them Tuesday morning. The area around the front of the building has been barricaded off for the safety of passing pedestrians.

A chunk of stone cornice on the façade of Gallier Hall — just below where a statue of a blindfolded Lady Justice stands holding her scales three stories above the street — broke off sometime Tuesday morning and came crashing onto the steps below. No one was injured, but the steps, which extend along St. Charles … Continue reading →

City panel endorses latest plan for French Quarter restaurant

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Sean Meenan is once again trying to get his plan for a Cuban restaurant at the corner of Esplanade Avenue and North Rampart Street approved by the Vieux Carre Commission. French Quarter preservationists stopped his last effort and already are protesting this one.

A proposal to turn a long-abandoned French Quarter service station into a restaurant once again is under review by the Vieux Carre Commission — eight months after the developer, facing unrelenting protest from some neighbors, withdrew the project from consideration. The commission is considering a new proposal from Sean Meenan, whose original bid to build a … Continue reading →

Teenager pleads guilty to killing former classmate

A 19-year-old man pleaded guilty Tuesday to gunning down a former high school classmate during a Central City second-line parade in September 2012. Glenn Metz pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter and two counts of attempted second-degree murder. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison by Criminal District Court Judge Camille Buras. … Continue reading →

Morning update: I-10 East reopens, was closed after tanker explosion

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--A firefighter surveys the wreck of a tanker trailer that exploded at the Little Woods exit of I-10 near the intersection of I-510. The 24-Year-old female driver of the tanker has been transported to the hospital with no serious injuries. NOPD will conduct the accident portion of the investigation. Members of the NOFD/ Hazmat is on the scene for clean up of the wreckage. All lanes of travel will remain closed until the fuel clean up is complete. St. Bernard Sheriff and Louisiana State Police also responded to the scene.

Updated at 6 a.m. – The New Orleans Police Department reported early Wednesday that all I-10 lanes are now open. ________________________ A tanker truck exploded late Tuesday afternoon on Interstate 10 in New Orleans East, causing a fire that destroyed the truck. The heavily traveled highway had to be closed in both directions during rush hour, and a plume … Continue reading →

BGR urges city to sell former World Trade Center building

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- Ships travel along the Mississippi River next to the World Trade Center building in New Orleans, La. Friday, June 13, 2014.

The Bureau of Governmental Research again is urging the city to abandon its efforts to find a developer to lease the former World Trade Center building at the foot of Canal Street and instead to sell the long-vacant property. In a report released Tuesday, the nonpartisan agency said that with three attempts to lease the 1960s … Continue reading →

New Orleans trumpeter Porgy Jones dead at 74

Photo provided by Floragene Mays -- Warren 'Porgy' B. Jones

Warren B. “Porgy” Jones, a New Orleans trumpeter who played with some of the biggest stars in jazz, soul and R&B, died Thursday at Touro Infirmary of a heart attack. He was 74. “Porgy had a different sort of sophistication, outside of what you would anticipate from a New Orleans horn player,” said Jerome Smith, who … Continue reading →

Section of Gallier Hall facade falls, damages steps

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- A section of the facade of Gallier Hall on St. Charles Avenue broke off and crashed to the stone steps below Tuesday morning, damaging the steps. The area around the front of the building was barricaded for the safety of passing pedestrians.

A section of the facade of Gallier Hall fell Tuesday morning, crashing onto the steps below and damaging them. Police have barricaded the area around the building’s front. Gallier Hall is an antebellum building on St. Charles Avenue, built between 1845 and 1853. The building served as New Orleans’ City Hall for more than a … Continue reading →