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Lil Weezyana Fest shows how good and how smart Lil Wayne can be

Advocate photo by ERIKA GOLDRING -- Lil' Wayne performs during Lil' WeezyAna Festival at Champions Square on August 28, 2015, in New Orleans.

The Band’s final show was titled “The Last Waltz,” and Friday night’s Lil Weezyana Fest could be dubbed “The Last Bounce.” “The Last Waltz” was a star-studded last call for the ’60s, while Lil Wayne used his show at Bold Sphere Music in Champions Square to highlight the sound that shaped his music. In the process,… Continue reading →

Tom Benson puts more promissory notes in former heirs’ trusts in effort to reclaim Saints, Pelicans shares

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER  -- Tom Benson leaves for a lunch during a break in his trial at civil district court in New Orleans Wednesday, June 3, 2015.

Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson put $522 million worth of promissory notes in his former heirs’ trust funds Monday in an effort to reclaim nonvoting shares in the teams that are held by the trusts, a New Orleans federal court filing on Friday showed. Benson, 88, is suing San Antonio lawyer Bobby Rosenthal… Continue reading →

Officials praise public housing residents while opening Bienville Basin community

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Former HUD Secretary (now director of OMB) Shaun Donovan, right, talks with former public housing resident Alfred Marshall after the ribbon cutting for the Bienville Basin Community, the redeveloped Iberville project.

On his second visit to New Orleans since taking the top job at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, HUD Secretary Julian Castro thanked New Orleans public housing residents Friday for their resolve, character, grit and patience in managing the long, slow road to rebuilding the city’s subsidized housing after Hurricane Katrina. “You have… Continue reading →

Source: UNO president expected to announce plans to step down; unclear whether he's resigning

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  Dr. Peter Fos president of the University of New Orleans.

University of New Orleans President Peter Fos is expected to announce next week that he’s stepping down from the helm of the Lakefront school, according to a source in the University of Louisiana System, which oversees the school. Fos’ three-year tenure at UNO has been marked by steep funding cuts and declining enrollment in… Continue reading →

Darren Sharper case: Co-defendant Erik Nunez asks judge to sever him in federal case involving ex-St. Bernard deputy

Erik Nunez

A former New Orleans steakhouse waiter accused of raping two women along with former Saints safety Darren Sharper in 2013, then destroying his phone to conceal evidence, is asking a federal judge to split him off from his co-defendant in a federal case surrounding Sharper’s admitted sexual misdeeds. Erik Nunez wants… Continue reading →

FBI head praises agents' response to Hurricane Katrina, says bureau 'made its true colors clear'

FBI Director James Comey discusses race and law enforcement, Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015, at Georgetown University in Washington. Comey said the nation is at a crossroads on matters of race relations and law enforcement, saying the country must confront hard truths following the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner and the slayings of two police officers in New York. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

FBI Director James B. Comey offered high praise Friday to the federal agents who responded to Hurricane Katrina, likening their resolve to those who “ran toward danger and destruction” in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing. Comey, addressing the FBI’s New Orleans Field Office and several dozen Louisiana law enforcement officials, said the bureau “made… Continue reading →

Federal grand jury indicts five alleged “Young Melph Mafia” members in gang case that includes Central City murders

Accused members of a notorious Central City drug gang were re-indicted on Friday, this time facing a gang racketeering count that ties some of the six alleged “Young Melph Mafia” members to a handful of killings and other bloodshed from 2007 into last year. U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite announced the 31-count superseding indictment on the same day… Continue reading →

Carnival projects record New Orleans cruise traffic for 2015

Photo provided by CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES -- Carnival Cruise Line projects that a record 400,000 passengers will set sail from New Orleans this year, the cruise giant said Friday.

Carnival Cruise Line projects that a record 400,000 passengers will set sail from New Orleans this year, the cruise giant said Friday. By next year, Carnival also expects to hit another milestone: 3 million passengers who have traveled on its ships from the Port of New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Carnival plans to… Continue reading →

3 ‘Ride or Die’ members found guilty on most counts in gang-violence case

Kenneth Polite Jr

On the same day a federal jury convicted three members of the 8th Ward “Ride or Die” gang on racketeering, conspiracy, murder and other counts that will mean life prison sentences for each, a federal grand jury Friday issued a new racketeering indictment against six members of a notorious Central City gang, the “Young Melph Mafia.”… Continue reading →

Former President Bush praises improved schools in New Orleans since Katrina; says little about his administration’s failures after the storm

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--President George W. Bush, who was president during the federal levee failures in the aftermath Hurricane Katrina in 2005, greets Warren Easton students during a Katrina 10 event remembering the 10th anniversary in New Orleans, La. Friday, Aug. 28, 2015. Mayor Mitch Landrieu is at top left and Laura Bush greets students at right.

Former President George W. Bush arrived at Warren Easton Charter High School on Friday with glowing praise for the charter school movement that has transformed public education in New Orleans in the past decade. “Isn’t it amazing?” Bush said. “The storm nearly destroys New Orleans, and yet now New Orleans is the beacon for school reform.”… Continue reading →

Plaquemines Parish agents make largest cocaine seizure in parish history, $18 million estimated street value

Photo provided by Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Office -- Agents in Plaquemines Parish seized nearly 200 pounds of cocaine Thursday, the Sheriff's Office said.

Agents in Plaquemines Parish seized nearly 200 pounds of cocaine Thursday, the Sheriff’s Office reported Friday. With an estimated wholesale value of $4.5 million and street value of $18 million, it’s the largest drug seizure in parish history, Sheriff Lonnie Greco said in a news release. Greco said his office’s narcotics agents, working from an… Continue reading →

Romanian pleads guilty to bank fraud

. A Romanian man inside the United States without authorization pleaded guilty Thursday to “skimming” automated teller machines. Marinica Cotoi, 37, pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud. He placed “skimmers” on ATMs to illegally collect debit card numbers, then used fake debit cards bearing those numbers to withdraw money from local banks. He… Continue reading →

Covington man leads St. Tammany Parish Deputies on chase

. A Covington man led St. Tammany Parish sheriff’s deputies on a chase Wednesday before crashing into a downtown Covington business, a Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman said. Deputies were trying to arrest Marlon Brumfield, 27, about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday when he fled in a pickup. He drove south on La. 21 to Interstate 12, where he headed… Continue reading →

‘You inspired all of America,’ Obama tells crowd on New Orleans visit

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- President Barack Obama gives remarks Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, at the Andrew P. Sanchez & Copelin-Byrd Multi-Service Center in the Lower Ninth Ward. The president met with residents and participated in a roundtable discussion as part of a week of events commemorating the10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Casting the disaster that befell New Orleans a decade ago as a failure of government not just to protect its people but also to deal with problems of inequality, racism and a lack of housing and health care, a visiting President Barack Obama on Thursday painted the region’s recovery as a source of inspiration and pride, as well… Continue reading →

Unidentified male body found in Lake Pontchartrain

. The New Orleans Police Department reports that an unidentified male body was found in Lake Pontchartrain near the shoreline at Crowder and Hayne Boulevard. The body was found just before 4 p.m. Thursday. The coroner will conduct and official autopsy to determine the cause of death. This is an unclassified death investigation.… Continue reading →

The Lens: A look at the post-Hurricane Katrina property demolitions

. New Orleans was struggling with 25,000 derelict properties before Hurricane Katrina more than doubled that number. The inescapable blight citywide led to an unprecedented willingness to knock down buildings, and free-flowing FEMA money made it easier for many. The demolitions were a key part of the rebuilding process after Katrina.… Continue reading →

If New Orleans is discussing it, Skooks is tweeting it


He appeared on Twitter for the first time just before 10 a.m. on March 10, 2008. And like most of what he has put out to the world since, his first tweet was pithy, self-deprecating, ironic and in questionable taste. “Signed up for Twitter,” he wrote. “I am officially a douche.” The anarchic world of online… Continue reading →

Judge refuses to exempt Marigny from new zoning district

Civil District Court Judge Kern Reese denied a request Thursday for a temporary injunction that would have barred the city from implementing a provision in the new comprehensive zoning ordinance that will allow buildings up to 80 feet tall in Marigny and other riverfront neighborhoods. Reese said he was troubled by the freedom the law gives… Continue reading →

New Orleans City Hall going solar

New Orleans City Hall is going solar. PosiGen Solar Solutions, with partners SimpliPhi Power and Schneider Electric, is providing 25 kilowatts of solar panels and energy storage to the city to mark the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The local company said the rooftop solar installation will deliver clean power for City Hall to reduce energy… Continue reading →

Idea Village, Propeller among recipients of federal grants unveiled Thursday

Two New Orleans-based nonprofits that support entrepreneurs were among four recipients of nearly $2.1 million in federal grants announced Thursday. U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Matt Erskine discussed the funding in New Orleans to mark the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Through the awards, the Idea Village will receive $400,000 to provide… Continue reading →

East St. John Elementary students will go back to class Monday for first time since fire damaged campus

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- An early morning fire at East St. John Elementary did extensive damage and canceled classes Friday, August 14, 2015.

East St. John Elementary School students will return to the classroom Monday after missing two weeks of school because of an Aug. 14 fire that badly damaged their campus. The classes will meet at Leon Godchaux Junior High School in nearby Reserve, which hasn’t been used on a permanent basis in years, officials said… Continue reading →

Louisiana contractor licensing board continues 84 Lumber investigation

Last week, 84 Lumber avoided losing its Louisiana contractor’s license, but the Pennsylvania company’s problems with state regulators aren’t over. The State Licensing Board for Contractors is now investigating whether 84 Lumber has lost lawsuits to any Louisiana construction firms and hasn’t paid those judgments, said Michael McDuff, the board’s executive director. The board… Continue reading →

Gretna issues boil advisory after tests find E. coli in water

Gretna officials issued a boil-water advisory for the city Thursday after a routine inspection by the state found E. coli and other coliform bacteria in the water supply. The state collected the samples Wednesday and got the positive test results Thursday morning. It notified the city about 9:30 a.m., and Mayor Belinda Constant’s… Continue reading →

President Obama highlights the work of residents, government in the region’s recovery

President Barack Obama greets residents in the the Tremé neighborhood in New Orleans, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, for the 10th anniversary since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.  Tremé is one of the oldest black neighborhoods in America, which borders the French Quarter just north of Downtown.(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

President Barack Obama marked the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina Thursday with a speech that highlighted the work that residents, local officials and his administration have done to help New Orleans recover from one of the worst disasters the nation has ever faced. At the same, he acknowledged that the rebuilding is not over,… Continue reading →

Couple catches man sleeping in their bed on Carondolet Street

. An apparent burglar may have decided it was time for a quick nap on the job. When entering an apartment in the 700 block of Carondelet Street about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, a man and woman found a man sleeping in their bed, according to New Orleans police. Mitchell Absher, 46, was held by the… Continue reading →

Two men shot in midday attack on Wednesday in Mid City

Two men including a bystander who witnesses said was working on his truck were shot about 3 p.m. Wednesday in the 2900 block of Banks Street. Neighbor Neil Mitchell said he was inside his house when he heard about seven rounds fired. When he went outside to investigate, he found his neighbor, who had been fixing his truck’s taillight, lying on… Continue reading →

Woman kills her cousin on porch Tuesday

. When Homicide Detective Gregory Johnson arrived on the porch of a Clouet Street house early Tuesday morning, he found a dead man, two open beer cans, a kitchen knife and a woman whose clothes were soaked in blood. Shamira Menendez said she was inside when her cousin, Derrick Green, 38, was stabbed to death on… Continue reading →

Jindal blasts Obama for 'politicizing' Katrina anniversary in letter

Marking a major milestone in the recovery from Hurricane Katrina, city and state officials including Gov. Bobby Jindal celebrated the opening of the new, $1.1 billion University Medical Center in Mid-City on Wednesday, promising a world-class facility that will treat rich and poor alike. The event saw Jindal, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination, and… Continue reading →

Jury gets case against alleged ‘Ride or Die’ gang members in federal court

A jury began deliberating Wednesday in a federal racketeering case against three accused members of a St. Roch neighborhood street gang dubbed “Ride or Die” who are charged with committing several murders, shootings and robberies over a six-year span to bolster the group’s violent reputation and drug selling. The jury had the case for… Continue reading →

Orleans Parish court officials, sheriff: Scammer posing as deputy, telling people to pay missed jury duty fine

Orleans Parish court officials are warning people about an apparent scam by someone posing as an Orleans Parish sheriff’s deputy who calls people on the phone and tells them they must pay a fine for failing to report for jury duty or else face the possibility of jail. Officials with the criminal and civil district courts said… Continue reading →

Marrero man booked in Harvey shooting that left man in critical condition

Durrell Golman

A Marrero man was arrested by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s office in connection with a shooting in Harvey that sent another man to University Medical Center in critical condition. Deputies believe Durrell Golman, 20, shot Treon Florence, 22, near the intersection of Scottsdale and Glasgow drives in Harvey at around 6:45 p.m. Sheriff’s office… Continue reading →

NASA event targets small businesses

NASA needs some help to reach for new heights and reveal the unknown so that what it does and learns will benefit all humankind. NASA officials held a networking event Wednesday in New Orleans for small business owners who are interested in doing business with the federal space agency or its major contractors. The daylong event,… Continue reading →

Former Mayor Marc Morial, now Urban League CEO, urges stronger efforts to employ black workers in New Orleans

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Urban League President and former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial and current Mayor Mitch Landrieu had a conversation on the city post-Katrina at the National Urban League Conference in New Orleans Wednesday, August 26, 2015.

Former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial said Wednesday that city officials should do more to require major development projects to provide jobs to black workers as part of a larger effort to employ the estimated 52 percent of African-American males who are disengaged from the local workforce. “Every new initiative and project that comes to fruition in… Continue reading →

Woman killed her cousin on Upper 9th Ward porch, New Orleans police believe

Shamira Menendez

When Homicide Detective Gregory Johnson arrived on the porch of a house near the old Desire projects early Tuesday morning, he found a dead man, two open beer cans, a kitchen knife and a woman named Shamira Menendez whose clothes were soaked in blood. Menendez told one cop that she was inside when her relative, identified by… Continue reading →

Couple catches alleged burglar sleeping in their bed

An alleged burglar may have decided it was time for a quick nap on the job. When entering an apartment on the 700 block of Carondelet Street at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, a man and woman found an unknown man sleeping in their bed, according to the New Orleans Police Department. The 46-year-old man was held by the victims until… Continue reading →

A tale of two recoveries: Urban League report shows stark differences in post-Katrina recovery for black and white New Orleanians

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Urban League President and former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial and current Mayor Mitch Landrieu had a conversation on the city post-Katrina at the National Urban League Conference in New Orleans Wednesday, August 26, 2015.

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina, half of New Orleans’ working-age black men are unemployed. Median income for black New Orleanians is about $25,000 a year, not much better than it was before the storm, and far behind the $60,000 average income of white residents. And the gap has gotten bigger, not smaller, in the past decade.… Continue reading →

Behind the Numbers: Is decline in New Orleans arrests the result of manpower issues or deliberate policing strategy?

A recent disagreement between the City of New Orleans and the Metropolitan Crime Commission (MCC) provides an interesting analytic opportunity. The MCC on May 20th released its annual “Orleans Parish Criminal Justice System Accountability Report,” which measures “performance accountability” of the NOPD and the DA’s office “by monitoring arrest trends and the outcomes of all felony arrests.” It’s an… Continue reading →

Tropical Storm Erika headed toward Leeward Islands; some slow strengthening expected

Tropical Storm Erika continues to move toward the Caribbean and could reach the Leeward Islands tonight. (Photo from National Hurricane Center)

Tropical Storm Erika continues to move toward the Caribbean and could reach the Leeward Islands tonight. As of 4 a.m. Wednesday, the storm is centered about 390 miles east of Antigua, moving west at 18 miles per hour. Maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph with higher gusts, according to the National Hurricane Center. Some slow strengthening during the next 48… Continue reading →