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    WDSU / 01.01.2018 07:50
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  • Transgender service member undergoes gender reassignment surgeryTransgender service member undergoes gender reassignment surgery

    Officials said a waiver was approved for the surgery to be done in the private hospital. Waivers are routine for procedures that military facilities aren't able to perform.

    WDSU / 1 h. 23 min. ago
  • Election Day: Get live updates from WDSU news teamElection Day: Get live updates from WDSU news team

    It's Election Day in Louisiana and WDSU-TV is providing extensive coverage.

    WDSU / 1 h. 26 min. ago
  • Father left sitting in own feces for weeks, police sayFather left sitting in own feces for weeks, police say

    A Florida man was arrested after police say he left his father in a chair for so long, his skin began to rot.

    WDSU / 1 h. 30 min. ago
  • Nov. 18 election: Historic mayor's race; state and local races to watchNov. 18 election: Historic mayor's race; state and local races to watch

    It's Election Day in Louisiana and one of the closely watched races is that of who will be New Orleans' next mayor.

    WDSU / 1 h. 32 min. ago
  • Judge orders city to pay back $28 millionJudge orders city to pay back $28 million

    New Orleans says it plans to appeal

    WDSU / 2 h. 6 min. ago
  • Months after clashes, free speech rally held in BostonMonths after clashes, free speech rally held in Boston

    The rally moved from the Boston Common to the steps of the State House, chanting "USA" and "All Lives Matter."

    WDSU / 3 h. 49 min. ago
  • 'Partridge Family' star David Cassidy reportedly in organ failure'Partridge Family' star David Cassidy reportedly in organ failure

    A rep for the singer and actor says he is out of an induced coma and surrounded by family.

    WDSU / 3 h. 55 min. ago
  • Father finds man in teen girl’s closet with her underwear and pictures, police sayFather finds man in teen girl’s closet with her underwear and pictures, police say

    PHOENIX – A Phoenix father came home to find a man inside his daughter’s closet with the girl’s underwear and pictures, according to KTVK. Police arrested Michael Zabalza Ruelas, of Glendale, who is facing one count of second-degree burglary. Police said on Thursday, Nov. 9, the family arrived home when they noticed their dog was barking at the closet. The father went to investigate and found Ruelas inside with photos of his 16-year-old daughter, her underwear and lotion, police said. The father then threatened to hit Ruelas with a crowbar and he took off out of the house, court documents said. He then drove away and the mother was able to get his license plate number, police said. Officers later spotted the suspect driving by the house and he was pulled over. After being arrested, police said Ruelas admitted to getting into the house through a window and “collected panties from different laundry baskets inside the house.” Ruelas said he took some of the underwear with him when he left the house, and the clothing items were inside the car when he was pulled over, according to police. He made his first court appearance and bond was set at $3,500. He’s had several run-ins with the law, including DUI, false reporting and failure to appear for a driving on a suspended license charge.

    WGNO / 4 h. 26 min. ago more
  • Oklahoma mom arrested for child neglect after feces, urine stains found ‘all over the home’Oklahoma mom arrested for child neglect after feces, urine stains found ‘all over the home’

    OKLAHOMA CITY - Authorities say the home in rural southeast Oklahoma City stood out from the rest in the neighborhood. An anonymous tip led officers to a driveway covered in shell casings, a front yard littered with toys and other items and a foul stench coming from inside the home, according to KFOR. Investigators say three young children lived in those conditions with their mother. "When officers arrived, they found deplorable conditions inside the home. The home was filthy and they described that there was feces and urine stains and trash all over the home,” Megan Morgan, with the Oklahoma City Police Department, said. According to the arrest affidavit, there were no beds for the children, who were between 5 years old and 10 years old. Also they found opened alcohol bottles throughout the home. Officers arrested 32-year-old Cynthia Parker on one count of child neglect. "The mother actually said that her husband was deployed and had been for several months," Morgan said. "She made a comment that led officers to believe that's why she was saying conditions were what they were at the time.” The Department of Human Services placed the children with a neighbor.

    WGNO / 4 h. 27 min. ago more
  • Teen rocks out with KISS front man Gene Simmons Teen rocks out with KISS front man Gene Simmons

    "I got some high-fives and 'good jobs' from other fans. It felt pretty good."

    WDSU / 4 h. 30 min. ago
  • Boy found wandering Michael’s store reunited with parents after 6 hours; nanny chargedBoy found wandering Michael’s store reunited with parents after 6 hours; nanny charged

    ENCINITAS, Calif. — A 42-year-old California woman has been charged after a young boy was found wandering alone inside a Michael's craft store on Thursday, according to KSWB. The boy, Connor, was mistakenly left at a Michaels store on North El Camino Real, a San Diego County Sheriff’s Department official said. The boy was unharmed. Desirae Harris, the child's nanny, is charged with one count of felony child endangerment. Connor was reunited with his parents at Polinsky Children’s Center nearly six hours after he was found. Employees told deputies they found Connor alone in the store around noon. Workers made an announcement over the store’s public address system, as well as searching the parking lot and surrounding businesses for the boy’s parents. A law enforcement helicopter also made announcements to surrounding neighborhoods. Harris posted bail and is scheduled to be arraigned Friday afternoon.

    WGNO / 6 h. 58 min. ago more
  • Deadly sugar addiction – why carbs, not fats, are the problemDeadly sugar addiction – why carbs, not fats, are the problem

    ST. LOUIS -- Some doctors say sugar may be the number one killer in America right now. That may sound like a stretch, but you can see why they make that claim. Diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and obesity can all be partially attributed to too much sugar. Mike Norton, 51, had been an athlete most of his life. He thought he was doing everything right with diet and exercise, but then he suffered a heart attack just over five years ago. “I consumed carbs all the time, not knowing that they were bad for you until I had some medical issues, then I found out otherwise,” he said. Norton was a ticking time bomb. “I know factually it was my diet,” he said. Norton thought he was eating healthy: low fat, low calories, but loads of carbs – which means lots of sugar. “Load up on pasta before a run or a ride,” he said. “So that’s what I did and I did that for decades. After I finished eating a heavy carb meal, within an hour I was hungry, so I would eat more. And it was self-perpetuating.” That is one of the main symptoms of a carb addict. You can't stop eating, especially after a high carb big meal, because carbs turn into sugar. If some sugar sensitive people have just one piece of candy, they have intense cravings for more. So after his health scare, Norton cut out all carbs and started eating fattier, more calorie dense foods. “My energy level is much higher. My mental acuity. My weight has gone down about 25 pounds and I have sustained that weight loss,” he said. And his test results back that up. “I was a pre-diabetic. I’m not anymore. My cholesterol is down tremendously since being on this diet,” Norton said. Dr. Rick Lehman, Orthopedic Surgeon and Director with the U.S. Center for Sports Medicine in Kirkwood, works with athletes every day. And he agrees that sugar addiction is a big problem. “I think sugar in and of itself is one of the worst foods you can possibly eat,” he said. Research shows that sugar affects the brain in the same ways as cocaine or heroin. Scans show identical areas of the brain light up when exposed to drugs or sugar. “Sugar addiction is really no different than opioid addiction. People have looked at all these things that are similar to opioid addiction,” Lehman said. “It’s a real effort, it’s not as easy as saying, ‘Hey, I’m going to eat junk food.’” So how did all the companies get it so wrong with the low-fat craze? The American Medical Association Journal reported last year sugar companies paid researchers in the 1960s and 1970s to downplay the role sugar has on health. And with that research, the blame shifted to fatty foods. So to make low fat foods taste better, sugar-based additives were put in most everything. “When we all believed that fats are bad and carbs were good, so we were eating low-fat cookies and low-fat food, and what happened to America? We got immense. We got giant,” Lehman said. And for people like Norton, who have cut carbs out, life has gotten so much sweeter. “For me personally, it’s all about quality of life. I now have the ability to exercise at not quite the intensity I once did, but without worrying about having a heart attack,” Norton said. “So for me, that gave me a level of freedom that I didn’t have prior to being on this diet.” Of course, some say that sugar addiction is a cop-out for people who simply lack the will power to say no to certain foods. Doctors said that's the same excuse made in the 70s as research started coming out about smoking. When you engineer foods to make you dependent upon them, you can really see how hard it is for some people to stop.

    WGNO / 7 h. 4 min. ago more
  • Special education teacher arrested for selling heroin at Maryland school, officials saySpecial education teacher arrested for selling heroin at Maryland school, officials say

    SALISBURY, Md. – A Maryland special education teacher was arrested Tuesday, accused of dealing drugs at the same high school where she worked for 17 years. Monica Snee, 51, faces multiple heroin-related charges, including possession and distribution on school property, according to the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office. While officials believe she used the Parkside High School grounds to sell drugs, Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis said there isn’t evidence she dealt to students or teachers. During a press conference Wednesday, Lewis called Snee’s alleged crimes “the worst act of betrayal.” Lewis said deputies found 173 capsules of heroin, 340 oxycodone pills, several suboxone strips and nearly $3,000 worth of cash inside her 2016 Nissan Rogue. Deputies started investigating her in October after a recovering addict came forward to reveal his source of drugs “during a dark time in his life,” Lewis said. During the investigation, officials say they learned that Snee was dealing drugs at Parkside High and several other locations. Snee is believed to have used a parking lot behind the school, near the bus ramp as her distribution point. Lewis said he believes she wasn’t working alone, adding that there is no evidence to suggest she was collaborating with anyone at the school. The court initially set her bond at $50,000, but later issued a bench warrant for her arrest. She’s currently being held at the Wicomico County Detention Center without bond, the sheriff’s department said.

    WGNO / 7 h. 6 min. ago more
  • Rare treasures of Carnival are up for auctionRare treasures of Carnival are up for auction

    Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Missing Attachment NEW ORLEANS —  Most modern Carnival krewes– think Muses or Bacchus– wouldn’t dare parade down St. Charles Avenue without fiber optic lights on floats and blinged-out throws. But back in the day —  way back — in the earliest days of Carnival, the parades thrilled crowds with something fiber optics don’t have: an air of mystery. That’s what you’ll find at Neal Auction Company tomorrow (Nov. 19), when rare items collected by Carnival historian and float designer Henri Schindler will be sold to the highest bidders. There’s a papier-mache mask, crafted in Paris to look like the scowling face of a woman wearing green spectacles. She’s one of a pair– her partner has the face of a disgruntled, mustachioed man.  Kim and Kanye on a bad date?  Hardly. The two masks represent mythical characters from the “Metamorphosis of Ovid”– the brainiac theme of the Comus parade — in 1878. Then there’s Schindler’s scrapbook of costume designs and float descriptions, including clippings from “L’ Abeille de la Nouvelle-Orleans,” the popular French language newspaper in New Orleans in 1882. Neal Auction Company Vice President Katie Hovas says the treasures for sale represent just a small fraction of Schindler’s vast collection.  Other pieces  are in museums, and some are kept in locked cases belonging to old-line krewes like Comus and Rex. But the auction is a chance for mere mortals to buy baubles from a time when  Carnival was strictly for the one-percent’ers. After all, in the late 1800s you couldn’t buy a ticket to a Carnival ball. The invitations, dance cards, party favors, and doubloons were few and coveted — even more so, today.  Some of each will be auctioned on Sunday. Try selling a string of plastic beads or a glow-stick wand from last year’s Mardi Gras and see how far you get.  Or go to the auction to glimpse mementos of Mardi Gras that have grown in value-  for more than a century.

    WGNO / 7 h. 41 min. ago more
  • Search for man who held up Metairie business at gunpointSearch for man who held up Metairie business at gunpoint

    METAIRIE – Jefferson Parish detectives are searching for a man they say tried to rob a business at gunpoint. It happened Nov. 14 in the 7800 block of Airline Drive in Metairie. Deputies say Delvin Hutchinson, 23, pointed a gun at a man and tried to steal from the business but was unsuccessful and ran off. Hutchinson is wanted for one count of attempted armed robbery and for being a felon in possession of a gun. Anyone who knows where Hutchinson is at is urged to contact the JPSO Robbery Section at (504)-364-5376 or Crimestoppers at (504)-822-1111.

    WGNO / 10 h. 5 min. ago more
  • Love game: Serena Williams reportedly marries in New OrleansLove game: Serena Williams reportedly marries in New Orleans

    The couple got married at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans, according to a story and photos posted on Vogue's website on Friday night. She and Ohanian were engaged in December.

    New Orleans News / 16 h. 10 min. ago
  • Firefighter accused of leaving his dog locked in crate to die after evictionFirefighter accused of leaving his dog locked in crate to die after eviction

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A dog found dead in a crate inside a bedroom closet has led to charges against a Missouri firefighter who police say left the pet behind when he was evicted from his apartment. Blayne Trevor Theunissen, a 25-year-old firefighter with the Kansas City Fire Department, is charged with animal neglect and animal abuse, a misdemeanor. According to the charging documents, animal control officers made the grisly find Sept. 17 when they were called out to The Crossing at Barry Road, an apartment complex south of I-29 and Barry Road in the Northland. Officials say they found the decomposing body of a female chocolate Labrador retriever mix inside a crate in the abandoned apartment. (Facebook) The apartment manager told the animal control officer that after Theunissen was evicted, they went into the apartment and found the dog dead and decomposing in the bedroom closet. The dog was a female chocolate Labrador retriever mix. The dog's body was examined by a veterinarian, who determined she was severely emaciated at the time of death. Her 'body condition score' was a 1 out of 9. The veterinarian's report said there were large maggots found on her of more mature larvae. The investigator noted he tried to reach Theunissen numerous times through the firefighters union and by the phone number that had been given by apartment management. "At this time, Blayne Theunissen is refusing to cooperate with the investigation involving animal abuse and neglect," said the special investigator in his report. The fire department declined to comment on this story. The eviction notice went up on Theunissen's  door on June 30, according to apartment management. The eviction was executed on Sept. 7, although Theunissen was not there. It is unclear how long the dog had been left alone, unfed in her crate in the apartment closet.

    WGNO / 20 h. 22 min. ago more
  • Miss Universe 2017: Here are the favorites to win this yearMiss Universe 2017: Here are the favorites to win this year

    LAS VEGAS – A new Miss Universe will be crowned on November 26, as the annual international beauty pageant comes to The Axis theater at Planet Hollywood Las Vegas. And since Sin City is playing host, it’s only natural to break down the betting odds on who will be crowned Miss Universe 2017. At the top of the board is “Miss South Africa” Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters at +250, followed closely by “Miss Thailand” Maria Poonlertlarp at +300, according to sister site Covers.com. Miss South Africa won her title under controversy, after fellow contestants stated that she had a “special relationship” with two judges and received preferential treatment during the national competition. While she is the betting favorite, it’s always nice to have a bad guy to root against. Behind those frontrunners are Miss Philippines at +600, Miss Columbia at +800, and Miss Venezuela and Miss USA, both at +1,100 odds. Could the home-field advantage give current “Miss USA” Kára McCullough an edge? That last Miss USA to win Miss Universe was Olivia Culpo, who won the 2012 crown at The Axis in Las Vegas – the same venue for this year’s pageant. The United States does claim the most Miss Universe titles at eight, followed by Venezuela with five. Rounding out the notables are Miss France at +1,400, Miss Mexico, Miss Brazil, Australia, Indonesia and Miss India all at +1,600, Miss Jamaica at +2,000, and Miss Canada – Lauren Howe – at +2,200. Miss Puerto Rico, Danna Hernández, presents good value at +3,300 odds to win Miss Universe. Not only would a Puerto Rico win be a rare bright spot for the Hurricane-ravaged country, but Puerto Rico has a history of Miss Universe success, boasting five winners– the last coming in 2006. Looking for a live long shot? How about “Miss Iraq” Sarah Idan, who will be the first Miss Iraq to compete in the Miss Universe pageant since 1972. The musician from Bagdad, priced at +10,000, was actually the runner-up for her national crown. But when it was discovered that original winner was married and divorced, which is against the Miss Iraq pageant rules, she was stripped of her title and Idan was crowned the new Miss Iraq. Seems like beauty pageants are all a little crazy no matter the county. Editor’s note: This piece was originally published on Covers.com, a site also owned by Tribune. You can follow @Covers on Twitter.

    WGNO / 20 h. 35 min. ago more
  • Lane closures on I-10 high-rise bridge in New Orleans likely to continue after fire damageLane closures on I-10 high-rise bridge in New Orleans likely to continue after fire damage

    Commuters who take the Interstate 10 high-rise bridge over the Industrial Canal should be ready for continued delays, with two eastbound lanes shut down out of concern for the span's structural integrity, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development said Friday. Following a large tire fire Wednesday under the bridge on the east side of the canal, crews have shut down two of the three eastbound lanes on the bridge, and the work could continue into early next week.

    New Orleans News / 20 h. 40 min. ago more
  • Marriage proposal flashmob Saturday in the French QuarterMarriage proposal flashmob Saturday in the French Quarter

    NEW ORLEANS — We’re hoping she says yes!  If the organizer’s track record has anything to do with it, she definitely will. On Saturday, Nov.17, Kenneth Kynt Bryan will lead a flashmob for a marriage proposal in the French Quarter. Bryan is an instructor with FitNola/Flashmob.  He’s also the guy who organizes the annual Thriller flashmob at city hall during the Halloween season.  If you’ve ever see his work, you know how he teaches and inspires his dancers to do their best. So here’s the details on the proposal.   It’s set to begin promptly at 1:10 on Saturday afternoon, and the crew will arrive at about 12:50. If you’d like to watch, just head to Saint Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square. Here’s all we know about the couple at this point.  They’re arriving from out of town, and the groom-to-be will pop the question to his longtime girlfriend, Rimi. The flashmob will be set to the Bruno Mars song Marry You.

    WGNO / 23 h. ago more
  • Donna Brazile slams Clinton campaign at New Orleans luncheon, touts her book as road map for Dems - The AdvocateDonna Brazile slams Clinton campaign at New Orleans luncheon, touts her book as road map for Dems - The Advocate

    The AdvocateDonna Brazile slams Clinton campaign at New Orleans luncheon, touts her book as road map for DemsThe AdvocateDonna Brazile greets city councilmember and mayoral candidate LaToya Cantrell as Brazile took part in the Independent Women's Organization members annual event to talk to us about her new book Hacks, women in politics, at the Cannery in New Orleans, ...and more »

    Google News / 23 h. 14 min. ago more
  • Born after Katrina, Prospect.4 aims for stability, star power in New Orleans - The AdvocateBorn after Katrina, Prospect.4 aims for stability, star power in New Orleans - The Advocate

    The AdvocateBorn after Katrina, Prospect.4 aims for stability, star power in New OrleansThe AdvocateChris Berntsen secures a snail monument by the conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas, for Prospect.4 at the Old U.S. Mint in New Orleans, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017. The snail monument is based on a sculpture by Jeremias Ritter, "Snail with Nautilus Shell" ...3-month citywide arts exhibit opens Sunday in New OrleansSeymour Tribuneall 6 news articles »

    Google News / 23 h. 14 min. ago more
  • New Orleans Saints fans come to grips with an unexpected reality: This team is really good - The AdvocateNew Orleans Saints fans come to grips with an unexpected reality: This team is really good - The Advocate

    The AdvocateNew Orleans Saints fans come to grips with an unexpected reality: This team is really goodThe AdvocateHe spent nearly a week in south Florida for the Saints' lone Super Bowl appearance following the 2009 season. “Miami had music and food — it was like being in Spanish New Orleans," he said. "Miami was fun. I really don't see Minnesota as being that ...New Orleans Saints: Rams present biggest upcoming challengeNFL Spin Zoneall 56 news articles »

    Google News / 1 d. 0 h. 29 min. ago more
  • New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation Stake Out for Justice is...New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation Stake Out for Justice is...

    For attendees of the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation 22nd annual Stake Out for Justice Luncheon, it wasn't hard to live up to the event's motto: "Love Blue, Live NOLA." With the room filled with the city's business leaders and politicians, the men in blue - members of the New Orleans Police Department such as Police Superintendent Michael Harrison and the newest recruits - were the honorees, with the crowd acknowledging their importance to the city.

    New Orleans News / 1 d. 1 h. 16 min. ago more
  • Video from 2006 shows Al Franken and Leeann Tweeden during USO Iraq visitVideo from 2006 shows Al Franken and Leeann Tweeden during USO Iraq visit

    NEW YORK – A chill filled the air as a Blackhawk helicopter landed with a roar in Iraq that afternoon in 2006, carrying a USO troupe from Ramadi where fierce fighting was underway. Inside the aircraft was a group that included a couple of Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders, model Leeann Tweeden and then-comedian and radio host Al Franken. The crew landed that afternoon at Camp Anaconda, in Balad, Iraq, a sprawling military base north of Baghdad, five days before Christmas. Local New York City television station WPIX recorded the event over a week as they met with local troops from New York, bringing them a taste of the Big Apple — hot dogs, bagels and cheesecake – and putting them on live to speak to their families back home. Leeann was still in battle gear, wearing her Kevlar vest and helmet, Franken in a red sweater. What she was wearing looked to be the same as the gear she was wearing in the photograph in which Franken is seen groping her. Separated by the two cheerleaders standing between them, Franken and Tweeden both appeared quite upbeat, expressing their pleasure that they could visit the troops. "They really needed it out there in Ramadi today," Tweeden said. "They don’t get a lot of visitors and it's tough for the — their mission is really tough — so I’m glad we could be here to visit.” Franken echoed her sentiments: "We go to show that we love and support our troops." It's believed that the groping incident was during a rehearsal for their show hours after they spoke with WPIX that Franken allegedly forcibly kissed Tweeden. The alleged groping incident in that picture didn't occur until a few days later, during their military flight back to the United States. Franken has apologized for his actions and Tweeden has accepted it, but the potential impact on his political career remains to be seen amid calls for a Senate ethics investigation.

    WGNO / 1 d. 1 h. 29 min. ago more
  • I-10 High Rise traffic headaches could continue through next weekI-10 High Rise traffic headaches could continue through next week

    NEW ORLEANS -- Heads up, motorists. The headache on I-10 East continues as crews continue emergency repairs on the High Rise. It was damaged in a large tire fire that broke out under the bridge Wednesday night. The fire started at an old vehicle inspection site that hasn't been used in years. As of Friday afternoon, just one lane is open eastbound, near Downman Road. The other lanes will be closed until sometime next week, according to officials with the state Department of Transportation and Development. If you want to avoid the traffic restrictions on I-10 East, DOTD recommends that you take Chef Menteur Highway as an alternate route. The bridge crosses the Industrial Canal. Watch the video at the top of this page to see drone footage of the traffic.

    WGNO / 1 d. 2 h. 5 min. ago more
  • Argentine navy says it’s lost contact with submarineArgentine navy says it’s lost contact with submarine

    The Argentine navy is looking for one of its submarines after it lost contact with the vessel off the country’s Atlantic coast, the military service said Friday. The ARA San Juan submarine was last spotted Wednesday in the San Jorge Gulf roughly 432 kilometers (268 miles) off the east coast, the navy said. At least 44 crew members were on board, state-run news agency Telam reported Friday. Crews are searching for the vessel by air and sea near its last known location, navy spokesman Enrique Balbi told reporters. “We have ordered all terrestrial communication stations along the Argentine coast to carry out a preliminary and extended search of communications and to listen in to all the possible frequencies of the submarine,” the navy said in a statement Friday. The vessel had been traveling from far southern Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego archipelago to its home base in Mar del Plata, a coastal city hundreds of miles to the northeast. “The submarine knows that if it does not have communication with land for this long, it has to surface,” Balbi said.

    WGNO / 1 d. 3 h. 11 min. ago more
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  • Work begins on new Covington shopping centerWork begins on new Covington shopping center

    Construction has started on a 60,000-square-foot neighborhood shopping center in Covington that will be anchored by Rouses Market.

    New Orleans City Business / 1 d. 3 h. 18 min. ago
  • VA exploring idea of merging health system with PentagonVA exploring idea of merging health system with Pentagon

    As part of its effort to expand private health care, the Department of Veterans Affairs is exploring the possibility of merging its health system with the Pentagon's, a cost-saving measure that veterans groups say could threaten the viability of VA hospitals and clinics.

    New Orleans City Business / 1 d. 3 h. 41 min. ago
  • Ultra-wealthy win in Senate tax bill, other face hikesUltra-wealthy win in Senate tax bill, other face hikes

    The ultra-wealthy, especially those with dynastic businesses — like President Donald Trump and his family — do very well under a major Republican tax bill moving in the Senate, as they do under legislation passed this week by the House.

    New Orleans City Business / 1 d. 3 h. 43 min. ago
  • Keystone pipeline leak won’t affect last regulatory hurdleKeystone pipeline leak won’t affect last regulatory hurdle

    Discovery of a 210,000-gallon oil leak from the Keystone pipeline would seem to be poor timing four days before regulators in Nebraska decide whether to allow a major expansion of the system, but officials say state law does not allow pipeline safety to be a factor in their decision.

    New Orleans City Business / 1 d. 3 h. 44 min. ago
  • Louisiana’s jobless rate keeps falling, but payrolls shrinkLouisiana’s jobless rate keeps falling, but payrolls shrink

    Unemployment fell for the sixth straight month in Louisiana, but payrolls moved in the wrong direction in October.

    New Orleans City Business / 1 d. 3 h. 45 min. ago
  • Louisiana Medicaid managed-care contracts rejected againLouisiana Medicaid managed-care contracts rejected again

    Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration has lost its latest effort to persuade House Republicans to back contract extensions for Louisiana's Medicaid managed-care companies.

    New Orleans City Business / 1 d. 3 h. 47 min. ago
  • Body found in rubble after fire in St. TammanyBody found in rubble after fire in St. Tammany

    SLIDELL, La. — A body was found in the rubble of a residential fire this morning in Slidell. According to the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s office, detectives were called to to 37476 Brownsvillage Road, a boarding house, just after 9 a.m. after fire personnel located the body of a man while putting out a fire in one of the units at that address. According to the state Fire Marshal’s Office, the victim is 63-year-old Bernard Walker. A release from St. Tammany Parish Fire District No. 1 said a resident of the boarding house was outside on his porch when he reported smelling smoke. When he turned around, he noticed that his neighbor’s room was on fire. Several residents tried to come to the aid of the victim, by breaking his bedroom window and attempting to pull him out. Their efforts were unsuccessful due to the amount of smoke and fire in his room. Several witness statements and evidence found at the scene indicate that the victim may have been smoking while lying in his bed. It should be noted there were no working smoke detectors in the facility. The Red Cross was called to assist the other victims who were living in the facility. The fire is still under investigation at this time, with a collaborated effort between the STFPD #1 Fire Prevention Division and the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office. No injuries to any of the other tenants or firefighters were reported.   Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Missing Attachment

    WGNO / 1 d. 3 h. 56 min. ago more
  • New Orleans Saints, Pelicans making switch to SeatGeek as primary ... - The AdvocateNew Orleans Saints, Pelicans making switch to SeatGeek as primary ... - The Advocate

    The AdvocateNew Orleans Saints, Pelicans making switch to SeatGeek as primary ...The AdvocateNew Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) synchs up the team before the game against the Panthers in an NFL football game in the Superdome in New ...and more »

    Google News / 1 d. 5 h. 30 min. ago
  • A watershed election in New OrleansA watershed election in New Orleans

    Although the 2017 mayoral election gave us a painfully uninspiring field of candidates, it still produced a political watershed in several ways. Here are my takeaways one day before the election, assuming LaToya Cantrell wins easily, as suggested by every poll.

    New Orleans News / 1 d. 5 h. 54 min. ago
  • With vote to close Mahalia Jackson, school board continues to whittle away at traditional schoolsWith vote to close Mahalia Jackson, school board continues to whittle away at traditional schools

    After it closes next spring, just three traditional schools will remain in the city.

    The Lens / 1 d. 8 h. 19 min. ago
  • Analyst: Cantrell to defeat Charbonnet by landslide in NOLA mayoral electionAnalyst: Cantrell to defeat Charbonnet by landslide in NOLA mayoral election

    The election for the New Orleans mayoral race is tomorrow and polls show Democratic councilwoman LaToya Cantrell beating fellow Democrat and former judge Desiree Charbonnet by a landslide. Political Analyst Clancy Dubos says Charbonnet has raised nearly twice as much money as her opponent but Cantrell has spent her money more wisely.

    New Orleans News / 1 d. 8 h. 23 min. ago
  • In only 4 days, Taylor Swift sells the most albums of 2017In only 4 days, Taylor Swift sells the most albums of 2017

    In just four days, Taylor Swift's new album has sold more traditional albums than any other release this year.

    New Orleans City Business / 1 d. 9 h. 11 min. ago
  • Comcast talking to Fox about a deal, source saysComcast talking to Fox about a deal, source says

    Comcast is in discussions with 21st Century Fox about buying its movie studio, some cable channels and its international arms, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press.

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  • NPR changes leadership as harassment issues lingerNPR changes leadership as harassment issues linger

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  • 2018 New Orleans Wine and Food Experience set for May 23-272018 New Orleans Wine and Food Experience set for May 23-27

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  • Serena Williams' New Orleans wedding the celebrity event of season with Kim Kardashian, Beyonce - The AdvocateSerena Williams' New Orleans wedding the celebrity event of season with Kim Kardashian, Beyonce - The Advocate

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  • What's on New Orleans' ballot for Saturday's election? Mayor, treasurer, more - The AdvocateWhat's on New Orleans' ballot for Saturday's election? Mayor, treasurer, more - The Advocate

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  • Wrestlemania 34 still 5 months away, but it's never too early for New Orleans wrestling fans to celebrate - The AdvocateWrestlemania 34 still 5 months away, but it's never too early for New Orleans wrestling fans to celebrate - The Advocate

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  • WWL-TV: Tennis star Serena Williams' wedding draws a crowd inside and outside New Orleans Contemporary Arts CenterWWL-TV: Tennis star Serena Williams' wedding draws a crowd inside and outside New Orleans Contemporary Arts Center

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    New Orleans News / 1 d. 20 h. 17 min. ago more
  • New Orleans man pleads guilty to possession of child pornographyNew Orleans man pleads guilty to possession of child pornography

    Tim Nall, 62, pleaded guilty to receipt of images and videos depicting the sexual exploitation of children, the United States Attorney's Office announced Thursday . Following a search of Nall's New Orleans residence on July 25, numerous electronic items including a desktop computer and other storage media devices were seized.

    New Orleans News / 2 d. 0 h. 53 min. ago
  • Body wrapped in rug on I-10 ramp in New Orleans could be missing Mississippi man, police sayBody wrapped in rug on I-10 ramp in New Orleans could be missing Mississippi man, police say

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  • Accused cop killer Darren Bridges indicted for 1st degree murderAccused cop killer Darren Bridges indicted for 1st degree murder

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    New Orleans News / 2 d. 5 h. 34 min. ago
  • New Orleans Holiday Gift Guide 2017: Awesome unplugged gifts for kidsNew Orleans Holiday Gift Guide 2017: Awesome unplugged gifts for kids

    For your future rock star, the Loog mini guitar is a real, tunable three-string instrument that's easy for small hands to hold. It comes with cards that teach how to play.

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  • 'Girls on the Run' teaches young ladies how to be healthy, confident 'Girls on the Run' teaches young ladies how to be healthy, confident

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  • The rise and fall of fishing camp culture in New OrleansThe rise and fall of fishing camp culture in New Orleans

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  • LaToya Cantrell bashed with 'Straight Outta Compton' mailers aimed at white New Orleans votersLaToya Cantrell bashed with 'Straight Outta Compton' mailers aimed at white New Orleans voters

    Mayoral candidate and city councilwoman LaToya Cantrell arrives at Xavier UniversityA*s Convocation Center to participate in a debate against Desiree Charbonnet, a former Municipal Court judge, moderated by high school students in New Orleans, La., Friday, Nov. 3, 2017. The event was organized by the Lower 9th Ward Voters Coalition to get kids involved with the political process.

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  • Orleans DA’s office is searching 150,000 case files to find fake subpoenas, arrest warrants for witnessesOrleans DA’s office is searching 150,000 case files to find fake subpoenas, arrest warrants for witnesses

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  • Mahalia Jackson Elementary is one step away from closing at the end of the school yearMahalia Jackson Elementary is one step away from closing at the end of the school year

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  • Commentary: Our endorsements in Nov. 18 electionsCommentary: Our endorsements in Nov. 18 elections

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    WDSU / 5 d. 6 h. ago
  • Media probe puts spotlight on Louisiana state troopersMedia probe puts spotlight on Louisiana state troopers

    Louisiana State Police Superintendent Kevin Reeves has suspended three state troopers and is investigating a fourth after a scathing report by a local news station that has unearthed what appears to be chronic payroll fraud at the state’s top law enforcement agency. The four state troopers are suspected of abusing a ticket-writing agreement the LSP has with many local parishes. FOX 8 News reported last week that the details program has also been suspended as a result of its investigation pending an internal review. It is known as LACE, which stands for “Local Agency Compensated Enforcement.” LACE allowed 44 parishes — including Orleans, St. Tammany, St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, Ascension and Calcasieu parishes — to hire troopers to write tickets on highways in those parishes. After months of undercover surveillance, FOX 8 News learned that some state troopers earning huge paychecks from the LACE program actually weren’t patrolling the roads. Hours after FOX 8 News shared its findings with the Louisiana State Police, the agency launched a criminal investigation into the four troopers. Among the four officers is Trooper Daryl Thomas, who earns more money than any other law enforcement officer in Louisiana and more than any district attorney, police chief, the attorney general, or even his boss, the LSP superintendent. Last year taxpayers paid this trooper $240,000. But FOX 8 News’ undercover surveillance investigation, backed up by timesheets and traffic citations, shows Thomas may not have legally earned much of that money. “I’m so fed up and sick,” says Patrick Lynch, a CPA with Rogers, Lynch and Associates who comments frequently on cases of public impropriety. “I’m outraged,” Tulane law professor Joel Friedman told FOX 8. “This is absolutely, as a matter of criminal law, theft.” For August 17, Thomas claims on his timesheet that he started work at 7:00 a.m. But FOX 8 News’ undercover camera spotted him leaving for work two and a half hours later, at 9:35 a.m. For 155 minutes, Thomas stayed at home while earning money from taxpayers. “You should be patrolling or doing a patrol function,” LSP Superintendent Kevin Reeves, when FOX 8 asked him about the discrepancy. FOX 8 News had an undercover camera at Thomas’ house for 12 different work days over the past few months. It found, for those 12 days when Thomas claimed hours on his timesheet, he didn’t work all of them: For September 4, Labor Day, Thomas billed taxpayers for 16 hours. The first six hours, he worked a ticket-writing overtime shift in St. Charles Parish. From noon to 10:00 pm, his timesheet shows, he worked his regular state police shift. But FOX 8 News’ undercover camera caught Thomas at home from 11:10 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. — almost six hours of that work day, Thomas didn’t work. The next day, September 5, Thomas’ timesheet shows he worked until 10:00 p.m. But he arrived home at 6:00 p.m. and stayed there until 9:12 a.m. — three of the last four hours of his shift, Thomas’ car remained in his driveway. And on September 6, Thomas claims, he worked 6:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. But FOX 8 News’ surveillance unit spotted him arriving home at 9:26 a.m. He left at 12:43 p.m., but less than six hours later, he once again pulled into his driveway, and his car stayed there for three hours, until he left just after 9:00 p.m. Of the 16 hours Thomas billed taxpayers that day, six of them, he remained in his house. “You don’t have to take a class in criminal law to know that you can’t submit fraudulent time-sheets,” Friedman told FOX 8. “The allegations are very concerning,” LSP Supt. Reeves says. “They’re very troubling.” After FOX 8 News brought its findings to LSP, Supt. Reeves placed Thomas on administrative leave and launched a criminal investigation. “We have to conduct an investigation here to see exactly what we’re looking at with these troopers,” Reeves told FOX 8 “What we’ve seen on the camera is of great concern.” Thomas has historically been the highest overtime earner in the state and has consistently ranked among the state’s highest-paid employees. The last two years, he’s made $240,000. Each year, that included $147,000 in overtime. The numbers are startling: that means Thomas billed taxpayers for, on average, 83 hours of work a week. “These are red flags that screaming to somebody to look into,” Lynch told FOX 8. Those overtime levels caught FOX 8 News’ attention seven years ago, when it asked then-LSP Supt. Mike Edmonson about Thomas’ workload and overtime. “Know him well, good trooper, very hard worker,” Edmonson told FOX 8 in 2010. “I can assure you, every one of those hours he put down, he worked.” Edmonson guaranteed his work product then. Now, FOX 8 News has unearthed proof that Trooper Thomas may not have worked all the hours he claimed. “You’re committing payroll fraud and you’re being paid like executives are being paid,” Lynch says. According to FOX 8 News, this is not the first time a question has been raised about Thomas’ timesheets. Twenty years ago, Thomas received a four-day suspension for a discrepancy on his timesheet. The Louisiana State Police reportedly caught Thomas claiming work on his timesheet he never performed. This article originally published in the November 13, 2017 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

    The Louisiana Weekly / 5 d. 6 h. 44 min. ago more
  • Justice advocates, D.A.s spar over parole for juvenile lifersJustice advocates, D.A.s spar over parole for juvenile lifers

    The Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights says the state of Louisiana is violating federal law by denying most murderers convicted as juveniles an opportunity to make parole, Nola.com reported last week. The advocacy group says that Louisiana district attorneys are trying to block too many inmates convicted of murder as juveniles from getting a shot at parole for Louisiana to be in compliance with the recent Supreme Court decision that supports the right of juvenile killers to be considered for parole. Both justice advocates and prosecutors expect the matter to be resolved in the court system. The Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights maintains that the state’s district attorneys are trying to block about one-third of the state’s juvenile killers who qualify for parole after being in prison for 25 years and fulfilling certain requirements from getting a shot at being released. The group said prosecutors have been successful in doing so in a number of cases. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that juveniles should be sentenced to life without parole only in rare and extreme cases in which the offender is considered the “worst of the worst” and cannot be rehabilitated. Jill Pasquarella, an attorney for the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights, told Nola.com that it is unreasonable to think that one-third of all juveniles sentenced to life — 82 of 258 current Louisiana prison inmates — would meet the high court’s “worst of the worst” designation. She added that prosecutors’ efforts to block juvenile lifers from getting a shot at parole means Louisiana will be headed back to court and that the cash-strapped state will have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for a second defense of Louisiana law and legal counsel for some juvenile lifers. Pete Adams, executive director of the Louisiana District Attorneys Association, told Nola.com that the Supreme Court needs to better clarify its definition of the “worst of the worst” juvenile offenders. “Eventually, the U.S. Supreme Court will say what’s acceptable and what’s not,” Adams said. “If the U.S. Supreme Court says that no one can get life without parole or who can’t get it, we will abide by that.” The challenge of the state’s district attorneys comes amid efforts to implement prison and sentencing reforms that led to the release of an estimated 1,900 Louisiana prison inmates this month. Some of the state’s district attorneys, among them Orleans Parish D.A. Leon Cannizzaro, have expressed resentment and reluctance about being brought into a legal squabble over juvenile lifers. Cannizzaro told Nola.com that the state’s Department of Corrections, which oversees the parole board, is better qualified to determine which juvenile murderers should be deemed eligible for parole. “We’re basically guessing on these cases,” Cannizzaro said. “I think this is an unfair call for the district attorney.” The Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office has reviewed 64 cases involving juvenile murderers — more than any other Louisiana Parish — and has reportedly filed motions in to block parole eligibility in 32 of those cases. Cannizzaro, who was elected D.A. in 2008, said some of the cases involving juvenile murders in Orleans Parish date back as far as the 1970s and present a major challenge to him as the city’s chief prosecutor. “We are trying to make the best decision we can without really seeing this person,” Cannizzaro said. “I think it puts an unfair burden on the district attorneys.” Cannizzaro said that four of his office’s 32 challenges to parole eligibility for juvenile lifers may be dropped because they were filed because the office didn’t have enough information on the juvenile lifer at the time. But he said that the 28 remaining challenges will likely stay because of objections and concerns expressed by victims’ loved ones, survivors of the crime or former prosecutors who tried the cases. Nola.com reported that the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office is also attempting to block parole for any offender who has had a poor disciplinary record in prison. The Orleans Parish D.A. said that the state’s Department of Corrections is in a better position than district attorneys to determine whether an inmate has matured and changed for the better. “I do recognize that over the course of time, that a person might change,” Cannizzaro said. Nola.com reported that the Louisiana District Attorneys Association lobbied during the spring legislative session for the right to block juvenile lifers from gaining parole eligibility, which is the reason it was included in the new law passed by state legislators this summer in Baton Rouge. The U.S. Supreme Court had already told Louisiana twice in the past five years that its handling of juveniles convicted of murder was not in compliance with federal law. In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled in a case brought by an Alabama inmate that states had to offer some parole to people convicted of committing murders as juveniles. The high court reasoned that juvenile murderers, in particular, should be granted a shot at being paroled because science has proven that they haven’t fully matured and are more likely to make bad decisions. Louisiana responded by granting parole eligibility to juvenile lifers convicted of murder after 2012, but not those who were already in prison at the time. In 2015 the Supreme Court clarified that Louisiana has to grant parole to all juvenile murderers and not just those convicted since 2012. The Louisiana law governing juvenile lifers was rewritten during the 2017 state legislative session granting offenders a shot at parole beginning on Nov. 1, 2017. provided that they have served 25 years behind bars and meet some other requirements like earning the equivalent of a high school diploma. After learning that Louisiana district attorneys are seeking to block one-third of juvenile lifers who are qualified for parole eligibility from being considered for release, the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights determined that the matter would have to be resolved in federal court. This article originally published in the November 13, 2017 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

    The Louisiana Weekly / 5 d. 6 h. 44 min. ago more
  • La. families could get $1,000 tax cut under GOP bill, while the state’s cities will sufferLa. families could get $1,000 tax cut under GOP bill, while the state’s cities will suffer

    By Christopher Tidmore Contributing Writer As one of the poorer states in the nation, the average Louisianian stands to gain under the proposed House GOP tax reform’s middle-class tax cuts, and even more under the Senate plan, yet both Bills end the federal deduction for historic preservation—endangering the neighborhood renaissance in New Orleans. An analysis by the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation finds that in 2019, the year that U.S. House’s proposed “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” would fully take effect, 58.2 percent of households nationwide would receive a meaningful tax cut, while 8.3 percent would face a hike. In other words, doubling the standard deduction, increasing the Child Tax Credit to $1,600, and creating a new 12 percent tax bracket (up to $90,000) would give an average $1,182 tax cut for a family of four making $59,000. The vast majority of the aforementioned 8.3 percent live in high-income and property tax states, where the average mean income is also above $70,000. The House GOP tax reform plan caps the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction at $10,000 and limits the deduction to only property taxes. In the Pelican State, the average income is $45,727, and thanks to the homestead exemption, only a small number of homeowners pay more than $10,000 in property taxes. Moreover, the $500,000 reduction in the mortgage interest deduction, a key element of the House bill (reducing by half the current $1 million threshold), likely harms wealthier states where housing property values are far higher than Louisiana. Only a very select group in the Pelican State own homes worth more than a $500,000. Above is the before and after snapshot of the former Straight University Boarding House and Dining Hall, buitl between 1866 and 1871, located at 1424 N. Claiborne Avenue. The historic building was restored by the Preservation Resource Center using Historic Tax Credits that are on the chopping block under the proposed GOP tax plan. It was the last remaining building associated with Straight, one of the first African-American universities in the state of Louisiana. The Joint Committee does suggest that the middle class could see a tax hike after 2027 which could impact Louisianians making $40,000 to $50,000 — if a $300 tax credit for families enacted by the bill expires in 2023, as it is scheduled to under the text of the legislation. This provision has fueled Democratic criticisms that the GOP bill will ultimately raise taxes on the middle class, or at least 11.6 percent of them, in six years. However, the expiration date is an accounting gimmick, designed to keep the entire tax cut package under $1.5 trillion in cuts over 10 years, the maximum allowed under budget resolution last at the end of October. “It will never go away,” House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, the bill’s lead author, recently said. Bipartisan pressure to not raise taxes on the middle class will cause future Congresses to renew the credit, he reasons. One of the ironies of the legislation, for a GOP Bill at least, is that the top rate of taxation does not fall. In fact, the House Republicans, shockingly enough, seek to raise taxes on the rich. The current maximum rate of 39.6 percent will remain in place for married couples making more than $1 million per year, but they will also be subject to a surcharge. In an effort to fill a gap of $50 billion, to keep the total tax cut under $1.5 trillion over 10 years, the legislation “claws back” the tax cut the super rich received from the 12 percent and 25 percent “middle-class” brackets. This extra charge enacts an effective tax rate of 45 percent for those making from $1 to $1.4 million. The surcharge amounts to $100 for every $10,000 in revenue between those amounts. Call it the Triumph of the new Trump populists over the old Wall Street-GOP establishment. Nevertheless, very few Louisianians would be subject to the so-called high-income “Bubble Tax” simply because there are little more than a handful of people in the state who earn between $1 and $1.4 million. For the “Tom Bensons” of La.’s super-rich club, the effective rate falls proportionately back closer to 40 percent for incomes in excess of $2 million, as the surcharge phases out once the lower rate tax cut is paid back. House GOP leaders, especially Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Jefferson, argue that the new “territorial” corporate tax rate of 20 percent will incentivize companies to repatriate profits and headquarters to the U.S., a direct benefit to a port city like New Orleans. (The first corporate inversion that began the trend of relocating corporate HQs offshore was the New Orleans-based McDermott International in 1983.) Scalise also contended that the new “pass through” LLC rate of 25 percent will financially empower small firms to create jobs. In both cases, Democrats counter that the lower rates will have minimal impact on the economy. Yet, the real animus of the opposition party has focused around the termination of the Estate Tax by 2024. Democrats call phase out a “handout to the super rich,” not worth the deficits it would create. Whether the “death tax” ends in six years or not, though, in 2019, the inheritance threshold not subject to taxation will double from $5.49 million to $11 million per individual inheritance, double for married couples. This expanded exemption does have some Democratic support from Senators representing agricultural producing states, and would likely remain, even if the 40 percent tax on estates above that figure is reinstituted in a decade. More specifically, that $11 million exemption per person ($22 million for couples who properly structure) would take most Louisiana small businesses with high inventory stores off the estate tax list, companies who are subject to the tax regardless of their profitability—and, as noted, would especially aid the agricultural sector. Family farms remain a key part of the Pelican State’s economy, and more than a few sugar farmers in the South and cotton producers in the North are land rich and cash poor. The $11 million — $22 million exemption would cover the value of most local landed agricultural properties. In order to pay for these cuts, and keep them below the $1.5 trillion tax cut total required under their budget resolution, the House Republicans opted to do away with several popular deductions to make “ends meet,” None of the changes, however, quite impacts the Louisiana economy more than the loss of the Historic Restoration Tax Credit. This deduction of 20 percent of the cost of rehabilitating an historic property has fuelled the restoration of New Orleans’ historic neighborhoods and Central Business District. And, it has done the same for small-town main streets across the state. As Erin Holmes of the influential Crescent City-based Preservation Resource Center observed, “Louisiana is the national leader in historic preservation. In 2016, Louisiana was number one in the nation in the number of Historic Tax Credit projects underway. Since 2002, HTC projects have totaled over $2.3 billion in development costs and created over 39,000 jobs. If you live outside of Louisiana, these credits also have a huge impact on your state as well. We have already seen tremendous success, but we must retain the HTC to continue revitalizing our towns and urban centers.” “The HTC is the most significant investment the federal government makes to preserve our nation’s underutilized, historic properties and is a vital economic development tool for the revitalization of blighted areas across the nation,” Holmes continued. “Since 1981, the credit has leveraged more than $131 billion in private investment, created more than 2.4 million jobs, and rehabilitated more than 42,000 historic buildings for new and productive uses. Research by the National Trust for Historic Preservation has shown that the credit generates over $1.20 to $1.25 in new tax revenue for every $1.00 of tax credit utilized, meaning not only does it pay for itself, it also creates revenue for the federal government.” She added, emphasizing the PRC opposition to the HTC phase out, “It is critically important that members of the Louisiana congressional delegation understand the very positive impact the federal HTC has made in communities across our state, and that its elimination would be a tremendous loss for economic development and cultural preservation efforts throughout Louisiana.” The most recent beneficiary of the tax credit was the restoration of the Former Boarding House and Dining Hall of Straight University at 1423 N. Claiborne Ave. The Historic Home under the interstate housed the first Black University in the city and was the direct forerunner of Dillard. According to the PRC, the tax credit made its preservation possible. As it did other locations of African-American pride such as the Pythian Temple on Loyola Ave. and countless other historic properties. Pres Kabacoff, founder of HRI Properties, whose firm has overseen projects from RiverGarden to the Hibernia Tower, maintained that the HTC drove revitalization of entire neighborhoods. The rehab of one historic building led investors to see potential in another building on the block. “And then another,” Kabacoff said. And, not just New Orleans would be affected. As Nola.com noted, Carling Dinkler, vice president of business development at Enhanced Capital Partners, explained that 40 percent of historic tax credit projects over the last 15 years have been in communities with fewer than 25,000 people, including dozens of small Louisiana towns. Late Thursday, Senate Republicans revealed their version of tax reform, differing in several areas from the House. The Senate plan would retain the current seven rate structure, though at lower rates and at higher thresholds of income, rather collapsing the system into just the four rates proposed in the House version (10, 12, 22.5, 25, 32.5, 35 and 38.5 percentages versus 12, 25, 35 and 39.6). The top rate would still kick in at $500,000 for individuals, $1 million for married couples, but the Child Tax Credit would increase to $1,650 per child, and the bottom rate of taxation would be 10 percent rather than the House’s 12 percent, both benefiting poorer Louisiana taxpayers. One estimate suggests that a family of four making less than $73,000 could see its tax bill fall by $1,500 under the Senate plan. The Upper Chamber’s proposal would fully repeal of the SALT deduction, yet leave the $1 million mortgage deduction alone (dismissing the House GOP cap at $500,000) as well as retain deductions for catastrophic medical costs which was jettisoned under the House plan. It also cuts the corporate tax rate to 20 percent, but its implementation is delayed by one year. The Senate did reject the House’s 25 percent tax rate for LLC “pass-throughs” in favor of a 17.5 percent tax credit on individual taxes for the self-employed—which would provide an even lower effective tax rate for Louisiana’s middle-income, small-business people. The Senate would retain the 40 percent Estate Tax, though the exemption would increase to $11 million per person and $22 million for surviving spouses who properly structure. Nevertheless, the Senate plan would completely eliminate the Historic Tax Credit just as the House proposal. With both versions killing the HTC after this year, the chances of retaining the popular program remain slim. Still, public pressure can make a difference. The original version of the House GOP bill would have ended the popular $13,574 adoption tax credit. Surrendering to a bipartisan tide of phone calls and letters, that program was restored last Thursday afternoon in the House Ways and Means Committee—and the Senate tax reform legislation did even propose its removal. This article originally published in the November 13, 2017 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

    The Louisiana Weekly / 5 d. 6 h. 44 min. ago more
  • How to squeeze payback politics out of city contracts for professional servicesHow to squeeze payback politics out of city contracts for professional services

    Tulane public interest lawyer would engage college presidents in selection process.

    The Lens / 7 d. 19 h. 26 min. ago
  • Research on ideal oyster habitat continues debate over possible damage from river diversionsResearch on ideal oyster habitat continues debate over possible damage from river diversions

    The oyster and fishing industries have opposed the state’s plan to rebuild its coast by directing river water into eroding wetlands. New research could help oystermen adapt if the diversions make waters inhospitable to oysters. Oystermen say the research is solving the wrong problem.

    The Lens / 8 d. 5 h. ago
  • The Big Sleazy: Let’s make sure our next mayor doesn’t suit up for ‘pay-to-play’ contracting gamesThe Big Sleazy: Let’s make sure our next mayor doesn’t suit up for ‘pay-to-play’ contracting games

    The bad old days could be right around the corner.

    The Lens / 10 d. 12 h. 27 min. ago
  • The Lens settles public-records lawsuit over city of New Orleans’ purchasing databaseThe Lens settles public-records lawsuit over city of New Orleans’ purchasing database

    The Lens will get a database it has sought for more than two years.

    The Lens / 11 d. 6 h. 7 min. ago
  • Compare 2017 school performance scores for New Orleans schoolsCompare 2017 school performance scores for New Orleans schools

    Schools run by the Orleans Parish School Board and the Recovery School District received a C this year.

    The Lens / 11 d. 7 h. 48 min. ago
  • Young cross-country skiers, Olympians go head-to-head in roller ski competitionYoung cross-country skiers, Olympians go head-to-head in roller ski competition

    Top ranked cross-country skiers got the chance to race alongside Olympians

    WDSU / 11 d. 7 h. 53 min. ago
  • National champions discuss ski jumping, 2018 Winter OlympicsNational champions discuss ski jumping, 2018 Winter Olympics

    Ski jumping and Nordic Combined national champions discuss the sport and getting ready of the 2018 Olympics.

    WDSU / 11 d. 8 h. 30 min. ago
  • She said, she saidShe said, she said

    A war of words — and accusations — in the race for New Orleans mayor Campaign attacks and counter­attacks are nothing new, but the volleys exchanged in the Nov. 18 mayoral runoff will make that race historic for more than the election of New Orleans' first female mayor.…

    BestOfNewOrleans.com / 12 d. 2 h. 42 min. ago more
  • I-10: Ten Things to Know in New Orleans this Week Nov. 7, 2017)I-10: Ten Things to Know in New Orleans this Week Nov. 7, 2017)

    1. FATS SENT HOME, WITH LOVEFrom Vaughan's Lounge in Bywater to the gates of his black-and-yellow former home-turned-landmark on Caffin Avenue in the Lower 9th Ward, an enormous crowd joined an All Saints' Day second line parade honoring New Orleans rock 'n' roll legend Antoine "Fats" Domino, who died Oct. 24 at age 89.…

    BestOfNewOrleans.com / 12 d. 2 h. 42 min. ago more
  • The count: rate of premature births in Louisiana in 2016The count: rate of premature births in Louisiana in 2016

    12.6 percent Louisiana received a grade of "F" last week on March of Dimes' annual Premature Birth Report Card for its high rate of premature births. According to the report, 12.6 percent of Louisiana babies were born prematurely in 2016.…

    BestOfNewOrleans.com / 12 d. 2 h. 42 min. ago
  • Commentary: Mayor's race a mud pitCommentary: Mayor's race a mud pit

    Neither candidate inspires confidence in her ability to manage City Hall or its annual budget of more than $600 million The final weeks of the 2017 mayoral election appear to be less a race to the finish line than a long, uncontrolled slide into a mud pit. LaToya Cantrell and Desiree Charbonnet are exchanging accusations of poor money management and even poorer judgment.…

    BestOfNewOrleans.com / 12 d. 2 h. 42 min. ago more
  • N.O. City Council to push for funding of early childhood educationN.O. City Council to push for funding of early childhood education

    By Fritz Esker Contributing writer New Orleans City Council President Jason Williams is calling for a $750,000 budget allocation for early childhood education across the city. The long-term goal of emphasizing early childhood education is to reduce poverty and increase the number of middle-class New Orleanians, which would in turn increase the city’s tax base. Williams said this strategy will address the causes of poverty and crime, as opposed to something like building more jails, which addresses the symptoms. He added that the council is “united” on this issue. “Funding for early childhood education is one of my budget priorities,” said Susan Guidry, Councilmember for District A. “I know that Councilmember Head has been working on this program for a number of years. We are one month from voting on the budget, the revenue projections are not yet clear, and there are a few multi-million dollar priorities that have not yet been budgeted, but I am hopeful that we can find the funding for 2018.” The City Council will have to pass a budget for 2018 before December. Williams said the council will work with the mayor on where to allocate money. While he acknowledges that they may not get the $750,000 they want, he is optimistic that they will get some funding. “Our goal is at least to fund it on some meaningful level,” Williams said. “We have a real opportunity here to place our city at the national forefront of early childhood education… We can create generations of educated, prosperous New Orleanians by putting children on a track for success with high-quality early care and education.” Williams emphasized that this funding would not come from any tax increase. It would just move money from the general fund to early childhood education. It would not create new programs, but it would instead help place poor or at-risk children in early childhood education programs. As of right now, less than 16 percent of at-risk New Orleans children ages 0-3 have access to a publicly-funded child care seat. “When children start kindergarten with a learning gap or deficit, the entire system (support staff, teachers, administrators, etc.) becomes stressed as they work diligently to get and keep the child on grade reading level,” said Dana Henry, New Orleans director of Stand for Children. “So, by the time they get to 4th grade, they’re likely off grade level and the gap continues to grow, if the necessary interventions are scarce. That’s why we need to invest in the foundation.” Henry said Stand for Children is one of over 100 non-profit organizations calling on New Orleans to take a progressive step towards early childhood education funding. “For every $1 invested, economists show at least a $13 return on the civic side in terms of reduced dropout rates, lower SPED (special education) seats, workforce expansion for parents, and higher earnings in life for college graduates,” Henry said. Williams echoed Henry’s sentiments. He also stated that many mothers leave the workforce to care for their children during the pre-kindergarten years. If more children have access to early childhood education programs, it can reduce a financial burden on the family by allowing the mother to return to work. Williams said a challenge politicians face when addressing these issues is a tendency to measure progress by whether or not it happens within an elected term. He said politicians have to put these concerns aside and think about what will benefit the city in 20 to 30 years. He pointed to strategies Atlanta made in the 1970s that helped secure its prosperity today. The additional investments in early childhood education may not have immediate dividends, but the positive results will happen. “It’s a long game, but it’s a smart game,” Williams said. This article originally published in the November 6, 2017 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

    The Louisiana Weekly / 12 d. 6 h. 53 min. ago more
  • School drinking water will be tested for lead — after filters are installed to remove itSchool drinking water will be tested for lead — after filters are installed to remove it

    By Marta Jewson The Lens Last year, administrators who oversee public schools in New Orleans couldn’t settle on a way to test drinking water for lead, so they dropped it and decided to install filters. The Orleans Parish School Board is finally moving ahead with the filters. But it looks like they will not meet a self-imposed deadline to have them installed this fall. They plan to test water fountains and kitchen fixtures after the filters are installed. At that point, the tests are virtually guaranteed to show no lead in the water because the filters are certified to remove more than 99 percent of the neurotoxin. “Where’s the outrage?” asked Gail Fendley, the executive director of Lead Safe Louisiana, after learning the board has not yet signed a contract with the water filter vendor. “Every time the school board delays a decision of testing water and procuring filters, they continue to put our children at risk for lead poisoning at facilities where they can make a difference,” Fendley said. The Orleans Parish School Board doesn’t know whether there’s a problem with lead in its schools’ drinking water. It appears that the last time school water was tested was shortly after the Lead Contamination Control Act became law in 1988. The Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans is responsible for checking its water system for lead. Those tests have shown it is in compliance with EPA guidelines. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency “strongly recommends” schools test drinking water for lead. State law says schools and daycares are required to provide an environment “free of lead contamination.” Thursday night, the Orleans Parish School Board budgeted $800,000 for filters on drinking fountains and kitchen faucets. “What drove us to adding the water filtration systems?” asked board member Leslie Ellison. Eric Seling, chief operating officer for the school district, said employees considered testing last year, but experts steered them to filters after questions were raised about how the tests would be conducted. “There were concerns around what the exact testing protocol would look like — whether people would agree with or disagree with testing results,” Seling said. “And so we made the choice for the most conservative approach, to install water filtration systems.” Documents show that Sewerage and Water Board officials raised questions about the testing plan after the Recovery School District told them about it. Water board employees said they would want to collect their own samples, spurring the schools’ consultant to wonder if they’d end up with dueling test results. The schools’ testing plan said they would take action if they found a lead level of 10 parts per billion or more. Sewerage and Water Board employees said they shouldn’t act unless the reading was at least 20 parts per billion, the EPA’s threshold for school drinking water fixtures. The school district compromised at 15 parts per billion. Both are substantially higher than the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation to shut off any school water fountain with a lead level higher than 1 part per billion. A local lead expert has told The Lens that the higher EPA guideline has no medical basis. Exposure to even low concentrations of lead can do lasting damage to children’s brains, research shows. The Sewerage and Water Board “never discouraged testing at schools,” Tyronne Walker, a spokesman for New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, told The Lens. Instead, the water board “advised the Recovery School District and Orleans Parish School Board that it was essential that all water testing protocols be in line with the state and federal standards for drinking water.” Walker also said the water board “recommended all fixtures used for drinking water be tested.” That is not reflected in the documents from the water board and the two school districts. At Thursday’s board meeting, Seling said the filters will “ensure that the lead levels are certainly below [the] action level by the EPA, which is 15 parts per billion.” Ellison responded, “In our testing did we find any lead in any of the water at any of the schools?” Superintendent Henderson Lewis Jr., who was sitting at the board table, turned to her and said quietly, “We didn’t test.” Seling also answered. “We opted to do the proactive installation as opposed to testing because we thought there that would be a substantial cost” to test. It would’ve cost $24,336 to test water at 10 schools. They planned to check similar buildings and water fixtures if they found elevated levels. At that rate, it would cost about $212,000 to test the district’s 87 school buildings, compared to the $800,000 budgeted for the filters. But experts say testing isn’t a sure thing. Even if a fixture shows no lead exposure, roadwork can disturb water lines and dislodge lead. Filters, on the other hand, remove almost all of it. Marc Edwards, a professor of environmental and water resources engineering at Virginia Tech University, agreed that filters were the right course of action. “If they get a good test, it doesn’t prove the water is safe relative to lead,” he said. “What proves the water is safe is if the filter is there and installed properly.” A certified residential filter costs less than $50, but the systems the school district is buying are more elaborate. They will make the water safe to drink even during “boil water” advisories, which have caused schools to be canceled. The drinking fountain filters cost between $584 and $694 each, depending on how many the district purchases. Kitchen faucet filters are much more expensive, at $5,999 each. Seling estimated the district would buy between 700 and 1,000 drinking fountain filters. The district is surveying schools to find out how many drinking fountains they have and how many aren’t working. Seling said the filters will be installed late this year or early next year. “After the installation of the filters,” he said, “we will test to ensure they are meeting the requirements.” Asked about what could happen in the time that has passed since the testing was originally proposed more than a year ago, Edwards responded, “Nothing good.” But after the filters are in, “they will protect kids, and that’s more than we can say for a lot of school systems around the country.” The above article originally appeared on The Lens website (www.thelensnola.org). The Louisiana Weekly enjoys a partnership with The Lens. This article originally published in the November 6, 2017 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

    The Louisiana Weekly / 12 d. 6 h. 53 min. ago more
  • Hundreds of La. prisoners released due to criminal justice reform initiativeHundreds of La. prisoners released due to criminal justice reform initiative

    By Della Hasselle Contributing Writer Nearly 2,000 convicted inmates in prisons throughout Louisiana were released early on Nov. 1, kicking off a comprehensive criminal justice reform initiative state lawmakers approved earlier this year. Among those released were hundreds of people from Greater New Orleans area, all of whom had been convicted of nonviolent and non-sex offenses. The new reforms aim to reduce prison populations in a state that have the highest incarceration rate in the United States, which has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Under the reform, called the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, the offenders became eligible for “good time” release after serving 35 percent of their sentence. Before, the mandate was 40 percent. On average, eligible prisoners will be released 60 to 90 days early. Gov. John Bel Edwards was among those who praised the initiative. Ultimately, he touted, the 10-bill package is estimated to save approximately $262 million. More than $180 million of the money is to be reinvested in programs that reduce the recidivism rate and “empower offenders to leave a life of crime,” Edwards said. “Louisiana’s label as having the highest incarceration rate in the nation may be part of our past, but it will not be a part of our future,” Edwards said. Edwards said the state’s criminal justice system underwent “thorough review” to make the state a “safer place for our children” and also “smarter on crime.” “Today, we begin implementing the reforms that a powerful, bipartisan coalition of legislators passed this year,” Edwards added. “Along the way, we will, undoubtedly, find areas where we can improve these changes, but our goal remains the same – increase public safety, reduce over-incarceration for nonviolent offenses, and make smarter investments in alternatives to incarceration.” Other states that have enacted reforms have experienced drops in crime and imprisonment rates, Edwards said. They include Southern states such as Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina. In Texas, for example, since their 2007 reforms, the imprisonment rate is down 16 percent, and crime is down 30 percent. South Carolina, since their 2010 reforms, has seen imprisonment go down by 16 percent, and crime down by 16 percent. In North Carolina, the imprisonment rate is down three percent and crime is down 20 percent since 2011 reforms. And since their 2012 reforms, Georgia’s imprisonment rate is down seven percent and crime is down 11 percent. The bill had the support of Democrats and Republicans, as well as some faith-based and business communities, law enforcement and prosecutors. Rep. Walt Leger (D-New Orleans), a former prosecutor and author of the bill, said that many prisoners have been historically “underserved” with mental health and other issues that could have been “better addressed within the community” rather than in jail or prison, where there are few such services. “I’ve been on the ground, I’ve seen it up close, and when I came to the Legislature I realized this was something we could do a better job on,” Leger said. Sen. Danny Martiny (R-Kenner), praised the initiative’s spending plan. “This is the first time that we’ve mandated that the funds that we save are invested back into the system, to make sure that we can improve on our ability to cut down on the recidivism rate, cut down on the number of nonviolent offenders that we have to incarcerate, and it provides the funds for alternatives to incarceration,” Martiny said. However, the reforms have received backlash as well. Critics raised concerns that the probation and parole system would quickly get overwhelmed by the increased number of people being released. Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator, too, was outspoken against the state’s approach to reform. Earlier this year, he said that the state was rushing into the early-release program without properly taking into consideration implications for repeat offenders. He pointed to one prisoner who had been arrested 52 times but would still qualify for early release from jail. “I’m not saying we don’t need to reform what we do, but certainly we need to take our time and do like some of the other states and have some programs to work on rehabilitation before we just open the gates and flood the streets with some of these people that don’t need to be out,” Prator said then. Prator came under fire for categorizing prisoners as either “bad ones” or “good ones,” saying those who were “good” were helpful because they were often sentenced to hard labor. “They’re releasing some good ones that we use every day to wash cars, to change oil in our cars, to cook in the kitchens, to do all that where we save money,” Prator said in a speech many criticized for evoking racism and even slavery. “Well, they’re going to let them out, the ones that we use in the work-release program.” New services for those released are expected to be implemented starting in July 2018. This article originally published in the November 6, 2017 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

    The Louisiana Weekly / 12 d. 6 h. 53 min. ago more
  • Have Louisianians lost their taste for the Alphabet soup?Have Louisianians lost their taste for the Alphabet soup?

    By Christopher Tidmore Contributing Writer North Louisiana Republican State Sen. Neil Riser had a curious strategy to earn a runoff slot in the La. Treasurer’s race. Actively campaign for—and pay to have his name and image put atop of—nearly every ballot of the ‘acronym’ Black political organizations in New Orleans. Call it the John McKeithen strategy. The legendary Governor merged his Northern base with Crescent City Black support to form an unbeatable electoral coalition. The problem encountered by the State Senator (and Columbia, La. funeral home owner) was that COUP, SOUL, LIFE, TIPS, and BOLD failed to deliver him the votes on October 14, 2017. Should their failure constitute a growing institutional weakness, instead of an aberration in backing a Republican, the electoral collapse of the city’s traditional African-American political organizations has major implications for Council contenders Jay Banks and James Gray. Traditionally, the “Alphabet Groups” in New Orleans grew out of the Civil Rights struggles to organize Black voters and later elect the first African Americans to local office. Through the publication of pro-rata funded sample ballots, these groups promised to turn out the traditional Democratic electorate on behalf of an endorsed candidate. Specific areas of the city tended to be stronger with one organization than the others. (BOLD in Central City, TIPS in Tremé, COUP in most of the rest of the 7th Ward, and SOUL as one progresses towards the 9th Ward and N.O. East; though, LIFE, as the oldest, enjoyed the most ubiquitous appeal across town.) The support of all, though, usually made a candidate. As recently as the 2003 Governor’s Race, the endorsements of several of these “alphabet organizations” pushed Republican Bobby Jindal into the highest result which a GOP contender for the top state office had ever enjoyed in Orleans Parish against a viable Democrat. This year, when the La. State Democratic Party declined to endorse Derrick Edwards in the primary, despite his status as the sole Democrat in the Treasurer’s race, Sen. Riser wooed the leadership of these “Alphabet groups.” He spent thousands of dollars in Orleans Parish underwriting their ballot efforts, yet the Caldwell Parish Undertaker ended up statistically tied at 12 percent in New Orleans with his closest GOP opponent, former State Rep. John Schroder of Covington, who advanced to the runoff. Riser’s pro-rata share for “printing and distribution” amounted to $15,000 for BOLD (Black Organization for Leadership Development), $15,000 for LIFE (Louisiana Independent Federation of Electors), $5,000 to TIPS (Treme Improvement Political Society), $14,500 to the New Orleans East Leadership PAC, and $6,000 for Algiers PAC. (State Senators J.P. Morrell, Wesley Bishop, and Troy Carter all backed Riser over Edwards, and have ties to the respective groups.) To also court Black voters in the suburbs, $5,000 went to Jefferson United, which is affiliated with Jefferson Parish Councilman Mark Spears. [Pro-rata expenditures for SOUL, ‘The Southern Organization for Unified Leadership’, were not available when this newspaper went to press, but the group also backed Riser.] The cross-party wooing did not stop local Democrats from supporting the Democrat. Attorney Derrick Edwards won 62 percent of the vote in Orleans Parish, claiming the lead runoff spot in the Treasurer’s race thanks mainly to the 46,122 votes he received in his home parish. He won 125,500 votes from across the state after spending almost no money, proving what political prognosticator Jeremy Alford believes “showed us what could be the floor for Democrats running statewide.” “While an inflated turnout in Orleans may skew that analysis,” Alford continued, “the Big Easy only had the third-highest turnout for the treasurer’s race, behind Pointe Coupee and St. James parishes.” It’s arguable that Riser’s plan failed because simply most African-American voters will always choose a Democrat over a Republican, if such a choice exists. (There is even compelling evidence from past races that Black voters will skip runoff ballots where there is not a Democratic option, and still vote on down-ticket races where one exists.) Or maybe it was simple disinterest in the Treasurer’s race. In Orleans Parish, the collective Treasurer candidates received 7,700 fewer votes than those for Mayor. Statewide, 4,200 ballots were cast in the October 14 election for the first proposed constitutional amendment than for Treasurer, despite the fact that the contenders were the first race listed on ballots throughout Louisiana. Even more ironically, Riser enjoyed the support of the Orleans Parish Republican Party, and yet did no better than the Jefferson Parish-born, St. Tammany native John Schroder in the Crescent City. Still, the demise in power of the “Alphabet Soup” groups cannot be underestimated. For more than a generation, they stood as kingmakers in New Orleans politics. It was unthinkable that their universal support at this grassroots level would not translate into significant votes on election day, even in a statewide contest. Perhaps, their collapse in influence comes as a factor of Hurricane Katrina. Long-standing neighborhood “influence chains” were disrupted as Black voters were dispersed across the city. The same family rarely counts multiple generations in the same block—or even the same home—as was common prior to the storm. Moreover, many of these neighborhoods, from Central City to Tremé to Gentilly have undergone massive gentrification, with much of the original population replaced by upwardly mobile professionals. The new Caucasian and African-American homeowners feel little connection to the neighborhood political dynamics of the pre-storm era, nor any sympathy for the political groups who drew their power from them. Lastly, federal housing projects, where poorer African-American voters could be geographically organized with relative ease, effectively no longer exist in the city. Their replacements, the subsidized HOPE6 “townhouse developments,” only count a fraction of the former residents as current inhabitants. The ability to motivate an affinity group of voters within the same housing project was a particular skill of the “Alphabet Soup” organizations. An impossible task, if the voters are no longer there to organize. Consequently, electoral ‘warning signals’ flash for the two remaining runoff candidates most dependent upon the ballots of Black political organizations, Jay Banks and James Gray II. Banks, a member of BOLD as well as a former aide to the organization’s standard-bearers Jim Singleton and Dorothy Mae Taylor, counts on the group’s Central City pull to help him counter Seth Bloom’s money and GOP support Uptown and in the Garden District. Yet, Banks can take consolation from his auxiliary networks of backers — whose loyalty comes from far more current sources than most of BOLD can inspire. From Banks’ perch at the Dryades YMCA, the District “B” contender has maintained a closer connection to the neighborhood than most first-time candidates. As this year’s Zulu King, his connection to African-American voters across the city has a particularly royal resonance. Perhaps more importantly, that Carnival influence has extended to an unexpected degree of white support. His years of logistical and charitable work on behalf of the historically Black Krewe have brought Banks strong endorsements—and money—from many of the corresponding leaders of the Rex organization, thus cutting into a portion of Bloom’s natural backing from conservative Caucasians Uptown. Still, a diminished BOLD hardly helps Banks, yet the impact on his campaign is minor compared to James Gray II. The current District “E” Councilman’s bare 40 percent result in the October primary would normally be the death-knell for an incumbent. Gray’s opponent, Vietnamese community activist Cyndi Nguyen, has so effectively organized her own community as well as New Orleans East neighborhoods that have been completely redefined since the storm, that Gray’s re-election is in serious danger. The momentum favors Nguyen in the runoff. As the African-American incumbent in a majority-Black district, Gray would normally enjoy a racial advantage, but only if his African-American base turns out to vote on November 14. In the past, Black political organizations like SOUL and LIFE would step into the breach, sponsoring GOTV efforts, but as their influence may have finally waned post-Katrina, Gray might not have this safety net to push him over the proverbial electoral “finish line,” even against an ethnic Asian challenger. Likely, though, the waning of these organizations’ influence should not impact the mayor’s race since, effectively, LaToya Cantrell and Desiree Charbonnet have divided the “Alphabet Soup” endorsements. Cantrell enjoys SOUL’s and BOLD’s backing, and Charbonnet has COUP. (TIPS declined to endorse in the mayor’s race in the primary, but has long ties to the Charbonnet family.) Since the two runoff contenders already have divided so many core constituencies in the City, it is little surprise that contest is as close as it is to become the first woman mayor of New Orleans. This article originally published in the November 6, 2017 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

    The Louisiana Weekly / 12 d. 6 h. 53 min. ago more
  • National reparations conference to convene in N.O.National reparations conference to convene in N.O.

    Attendees will include reparations pioneer John Conyers, actor-activist Danny Glover and daughters of Frantz Fanon and Kwame Nkrumah As the issue of reparations for the historical crimes of African enslavement in the United States and the rest of the Americas continues to gather momentum, the National African American Reparations Commission (NAARC) will convene two major events in New Orleans, a Benefit Reception on Thursday, November 30, and an Area/Regional Town Hall meeting on Saturday, Dec. 2. Among the national and international dignitaries scheduled to participate in the New Orleans gathering are actor/activist and humanitarian Danny Glover; Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Chairman of the CARICOM Reparations Commission and Vice Chancellor/President of the University of the West Indies from Jamaica; Ms. Mireille Fanon, daughter of Frantz Fanon, Paris, France; and, Ms. Samia Nkrumah, the daughter of Kwame Nkrumah, first President of Ghana. Ms. Nkrumah has become a vocal advocate for reparations, particularly focusing on engaging Africans from the continent in the movement. “Reparations is an issue whose time has come,” said Dr. Ron Daniels, President of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century and Convener of NAARC. “In November all roads will lead to New Orleans which for a few days will become the epicenter for the growing U.S. and global reparations movement. This gathering will build on recent developments in this global movement including the recent launch of the Center for Reparation Research at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica.” Established by the Institute of the Black World 21st Century in April of 2015, NAARC is comprised of a group of distinguished professionals and activists from across the U.S. with outstanding accomplishments in the fields of law, medicine, journalism, academia, history, civil rights and social justice advocacy. Several Commissioners will participate in this milestone gathering including: Kamm Howard, National Co-Chairperson of the National Coalition for Reparations for Blacks in America (NCOBRA), Chicago; Atty. Nkechi Taifa, veteran reparations activist and human rights lawyer, Washington, D.C.; Dr. Julianne Malveaux, Black America’s leading political-economist and President Emeritus, Bennett College for Women, Washington, DC.; Dr. Iva Carruthers, General Secretary, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, Chicago; Nana Dr. Patricia Newton, CEO of the Black Psychiatrists of America, Baltimore; Rev. Jo-Ann Watson, former Detroit City Council Member; Yvette Modestin, Founder and Executive Director of Encuentro Diaspora and an IBW board member, Boston; and, Dr. V.P. Franklin, Faculty Member, Tulane University and Editor of the Journal of African-American History(JAAH), New Orleans. A delegation of Afro-descendants from Colombia will also participate in this historic gathering and will present a report on racist attacks and human rights atrocities being suffered by the large Black population in that South American country. A number of Afro-Descendant leaders and organizations from Colombia have expressed an interest in forming a National Reparations Commission to seek compensation and repair for enslavement and generations of crimes perpetrated against their communities. The New Orleans events will kick off with a Benefit Fundraising Reception Thursday, November 30, 7:00 p.m. at the Conference Center of Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO), featuring presentations by Danny Glover, Samia Nkrumah, Mireille Fanon Mendes France and Dr. Julianne Malveaux and cultural performances by Sullivan Dabney, Jr. & Muzik Jazz Band, Chief Shaka Zulu of the Yellow Pocahontas and Mr. Michael “Quess” Moore. Susan Henry, General Manager of WBOK Radio, will serve as the Master of Ceremony. The Reception is being hosted by Dr. Clyde Robertson, Director of the Center for African and American Studies. On Saturday, December 2, the main event: an Area/Regional Town Hall Meeting, will take place from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Auditorium of the Administration Building on the campus of Xavier University. The Town Hall Meeting will feature a Keynote Address by Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, who has emerged as the voice of the global reparations movement, and Remarks by Samia Nkrumah. Congressman John Conyers, Dean of the Congressional Black Caucus and Sponsor of HR-40, the Congressional bill to assess reparations proposals, has also been invited to address the gathering. The Keynote Address and Remarks will be followed by a Listening Session where the audience will have an opportunity to voice their opinions on reparations and provide suggestions and recommendations to the Commissioners on NAARC’s preliminary 10-Point Program for Reparations for African Americans. The Listening Session is considered the most important part of the program. The Town Hall Meeting is being hosted by Dr. Cirecie A. West-Olatunji. The Commissioners will also be hosted for a meeting at the Ashé Cultural Arts Center by Carol Bebelle. The Benefit Reception and Town Hall Meeting are free and open to the public, but participants are encouraged to come prepared to make tax-deductible donations to support the work of NAARC. For further information, call (504) 363-1106 or visit www.ibw21.org and the NAARC Facebook page. This article originally published in the November 6, 2017 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

    The Louisiana Weekly / 12 d. 6 h. 53 min. ago more
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  • I-10: Ten Things to Know in New Orleans this Week (Oct. 31, 2017)I-10: Ten Things to Know in New Orleans this Week (Oct. 31, 2017)

    1. MUSIC LEGEND FATS DOMINO DIES AT 89 Rock 'n' roll and rhythm and blues legend Antoine "Fats" Domino died Oct. 24.…

    BestOfNewOrleans.com / 19 d. 4 h. 12 min. ago
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  • New Orleans’ legendary ambassador, Fats Domino, dies at age 89New Orleans’ legendary ambassador, Fats Domino, dies at age 89

    By Geraldine Wyckoff Contributing Writer When Fats Domino sat at the piano to perform, his vocal microphone was always at the side closest to the audience. Each time he began to sing, he’d look up from the keyboard and offer the crowd a big, loving smile. People around the globe beamed right back at the amiable musical icon from New Orleans. Antoine “Fats” Domino, a rock ‘n’ roll pioneer who, like trumpeter Louis Armstrong, put his hometown on the map and on the music charts, died on Tuesday, October 24, 2017, at the age of 89. “It was something just to see this man walk across a stage and see how the people responded to him and how much love he to them,” says saxophonist Roger Lewis who joined Domino’s band in 1971. “Everybody loved Fats Domino all over the world. Playing with Fats was the highlight of my career.” Born in New Orleans, Domino spent most of his life living in the Lower 9th Ward. It’s where he first laid hands on a piano, there in his family’s modest shotgun home. The instrument, on which he found instant affinity, had been inherited by his family and he received instructions from his brother-in-law, guitarist and banjoist Harrison Verret. At age 10, he was already playing at parties and barbecues in his neighborhood. Meanwhile, he also worked odd jobs including delivering ice. When Domino was 18, bandleader and bassist Billy Diamond, who called the chubby young musician Fats, hired the pianist to play with his group at its regular gig at the Hideaway Club, a noted spot in the Lower 9. “He was creating a sensation in the nightclubs where he was performing,” vocalist/guitarist/bandleader Deacon John remembers. Deacon, the current president of the local musician’s union, notes that Domino was a lifelong union member joining the organization in 1946 when it was still segregated. It was at the Hideaway that trumpeter/bandleader/producer/arranger and talent scout Dave Bartholomew and Lew Chudd, the founder and president of the Imperial record label, first heard the pianist and vocalist everybody was screaming about – Fats Domino. The same night, they asked Fats if he wanted to make a record and soon Domino signed with Imperial. The rest is rock ‘n’ roll history. “When I first saw him playing, I just knew he had something special,” says Bartholomew who teamed with Fats as co-writer on his first recording, “The Fat Man” that hit the R&B charts in February 1950. “He was a natural – he just had a natural gift. Fats had a gift from God that he could sing and play.” The collaboration between Fats and Bartholomew, who also acted as Domino’s producer and arranger, was magic as is evident by Fats’ million selling hits and rise to fame. Fats boasted 11 Top 10 records in the five years between 1955 and 1960. “I made the music fit him so we could get together to sell it – you see what I’m trying to say?” Bartholomew offers. “We made it a commercial type thing. I took the music and sounds that we heard from the street and arranged it to fit dance halls but also to fit Fats!” “The reason he made it so big is that he had a simple style that appealed to a whole generation of teenagers that were growing up and dancing to the rhythm and blues that his music provided,” Deacon John suggests. “He was the guy who provided the beat. As a producer, Dave knew how to put all the parts together. He was like the architect and Fats provided the talent, songwriting and vocal delivery that appealed to the people of that era. Fats had a producer who was up to selecting the right material for him to succeed in show business. Dave was an expert and in his collaboration with Fats they came up with the right songs. After you put out a hit, you have to have one to follow that. Once you have ‘Blueberry Hill’ what are you going to follow up with that one… ‘I Want to Walk You Home.’ It was mostly sing-a-long songs. With sing-a-long songs you’ve got the audience in the palm of your hand. Fats sang about the kind of themes that appeal to people during their teenage years – cars, dating, falling in love, falling out of love.” “You know, his music was non-threatening – all clean lyrics,” Lewis adds then as an example he mentions “I’m Gonna Be a Wheel Someday.” On the bandstand Lewis remembers Domino as being a perfectionist. “He had perfect pitch so if you played a wrong note, he could figure out where it came from and who played it. He’d say, ‘Hey, boy, don’t play that note.’ His voice was like a fine-tuned instrument and he had that kind of Creole thing in his voice – very unique. His memory was also incredible. Fats was something else, I’m telling you.” Fats’ talent went beyond the bandstand and straight into the kitchen. “He’d always tell you to come over to his house to eat,” Lewis recalls. “I remember one day he was making some hog head cheese – you know he liked pork products. He had three kinds of hog head cheese – mild, medium and hot. He’d always be cookin’ – it was his pastime. He might have a big old pot of butter beans with ham hocks in ‘em or be making rum cake. Eat a slice of that rum cake, you’d come out a different person than you went in. Fats was a beautiful human being.” “I was so blessed getting to play with Fats Domino,” says Deacon John, who performed several gig with the pianist’s band. Though Deacon was a guitarist, he, like musicians around the world, was highly influenced by Fats. “I used to listen to the guitars on Fats Domino’s records. I got to know Papoose (Walter “Papoose” Nelson), Fats Domino’s guitar player. I went over to his house and he’d be showing me this shit,” Back in the day, Deacon says he played many of Domino’s hits like “The Fat Man” and “Valley of Tears” with his own band and they still remain in his repertoire today. His favorite: “Going to the River.” Fats Domino was among the first 10 musicians inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, sold 36 million records and he became a musical icon who was known and admired throughout the world. With all of that, he remained down home in his nature. According to Deacon John, it was in a shoe box that Fats kept his numerous diamond rings that shined on his fingers when he masterfully played his signature triplets on the piano. “Great people come from humble beginnings and Fats was one of them,” Deacon proclaims. “He was blessed with humility. Fats was never a flashy cat – he kept a kind of low profile. Fats spent his life helping people. He was taking care of so many musicians, giving them jobs and giving them money to support their families. He paid them well and kept them working all the time. Fats Domino and Louis Armstrong are originators. They perpetuated the indigenous culture of New Orleans.” The image of Fats Domino bumping a piano across a stage at the end of a show always brings a smile. It’s a smile that mirrors his own broad grin when he joyfully connected with his fans who he loved and who loved him. “This time I’m walkin’ to New Orleans…” This article originally published in the October 30, 2017 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

    The Louisiana Weekly / 19 d. 8 h. 50 min. ago more
  • Grambling State shooting suspect turns himself inGrambling State shooting suspect turns himself in

    The suspect in a shooting that killed a Grambling State University student and his friend after an altercation on the historically Black college’s campus turned himself in Thursday. According to the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office, Jaylin M. Wayne was arrested in this case and charged with first-degree murder. Wayne was arrested Thursday night around 8:30 p.m. Officials say he turned himself in after learning of the arrest warrant that had been issued.WAYNE The warrant was issued after LPSO investigators gathered vital evidence and conducted many interviews from witnesses. The investigation revealed this incident happened as a result of an disagreement, which led to a fight between Andrews and Wayne. At some point during the fights, officials say Wayne produced a handgun and shot Andrews and Caldwell. Officials say it appears Caldwell was coming to Andrews’ aid when he was shot. “I feel confident that our investigators have put together a strong case. As a department, we offer our condolences to the families and friends of the deceased. I want to thank our team of investigators for their dedication and the determined effort that they put forth in working this case. I would also like to thank the Grambling State University Police Department, Grambling Police Department, Monroe Police Department, Ruston Police Department, the Louisiana State Police, and numerous other public safety entities for their assistance with this investigation,” said Sheriff Mike Stone. The suspect is reportedly a Grambling State University student. Lincoln Parish Sheriff Mike Stone said a day before the arrest that the suspect and victims knew each other “to some extent” and stressed that the shooting wasn’t random or an act of terrorism. “There are no indicators that this incident bears any resemblance to any of the random acts of violence or domestic terrorism that have been experienced around our country in recent weeks,” Stone said in a statement. University spokesman Will Sutton identified the victims as Grambling junior Earl Andrews and Monquiarious Caldwell, both 23 and from Farmerville, Louisiana, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) from Grambling. Andrews’ brother, Ledarius Heard, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that Andrews and Caldwell were friends from high school and cousins by marriage. Heard, 31, said his brother, who lived with him off campus in Ruston, was studying criminal justice and hoped to move to Texas after graduation to be closer to his one-year-old son. “Earl didn’t bother nobody,” Heard said. The deadly shootings happened during the school’s homecoming week. Heard said Andrews typically came home immediately after classes ended but had been on campus Tuesday night to hang out with friends during homecoming week. Heard said he didn’t know of any conflicts between his brother and anyone else. “If he ever had any problems, he would let me know,” he added. Grambling State President Richard Gallot Jr. said the college would have “increased police and security” on campus last week but would proceed with a normal academic schedule and wasn’t canceling homecoming events. A student-led prayer vigil was planned for Wednesday evening. Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s spokesman Stephen Williams said detectives joined Grambling State’s campus police in investigating the double homicide after getting 911 calls starting at 12:04 a.m. Wednesday. The university in northern Louisiana has an enrollment of nearly 5,000 students. “It was an altercation that started inside one of the dorm rooms and spilled out into the courtyard,” Williams said. “We’re interviewing witnesses.” The university posted a message on Twitter that said offices would be open Wednesday with normal business hours and students were expected to attend classes as scheduled. A Grambling State student was wounded last month in a separate shooting on the campus. Grambling spokesman Will Sutton told news outlets then that a student let another person into a dorm and there was a fight that ended with a student being shot in the left arm on Sept. 21. No suspects have been named in that shooting. Gallot said the latest shooting was an “isolated incident.” “In the coming weeks, we will work with you to get your input on how we can maintain and enhance campus safety,” he said. This article originally published in the October 30, 2017 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

    The Louisiana Weekly / 19 d. 8 h. 50 min. ago more
  • I-10: Ten Things to Know in New Orleans this Week (Oct. 24, 2017)I-10: Ten Things to Know in New Orleans this Week (Oct. 24, 2017)

    1 . CHARBONNET, CANTRELL SET RUNOFF DEBATESDistrict B Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, who is facing off against former Municipal Court Judge Desiree Charbonnet in the mayoral runoff election, last week challenged Charbonnet to three live debates before the Nov. 18 general election. She cited low election turnout as part of the reason, saying in a statement, "I feel it's up to us to give the people a reason to vote.…

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