Mar 072018

Rendell Brown (via Orleans Parish jail)

A teenager pleaded guilty on Tuesday to killing a Domino’s Pizza driver in Mid-City and robbing a woman in a Newcomb Boulevard driveway the previous day in 2014, and he has been sentenced to 40 years in prison, prosecutors announced. Continue reading »

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Feb 022018

Isaac Fields (via Orleans Parish District Attorney)

A man nicknamed the “Ring Robber” by police during a spree of attacks on women in the Uptown, Irish Channel and Lakeview areas in the late 1990s and early 2000s was indicted this week on rape and kidnapping charges in connection with two incidents more than 17 years ago, Orleans Parish prosecutors said. Continue reading »

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Jan 262018

Johntrell Washington (via upon arrest in 2014)

A 21-year-old man was found guilty by a New Orleans jury on Thursday of killing one woman in Central City in 2014, then plotting to kill another woman he erroneously thought was a witness a year later, according to Orleans Parish prosecutors. Continue reading »

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Jan 042018

Judicial candidates (top from left) Richard Perque, Ellen Hazeur and (bottom left) Taetrece Harrison qualified by Thursday morning, and Richard Duplantier was expected to do so soon. (photos by Danae Columbus for

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

New Orleans attorney and former judicial candidate Richard Perque was waiting in the cold yesterday with his family to be the first candidate to qualify for Civil District Court Division A. The seat was formerly held by Tiffany Chase who was recently elected to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal. The Louisiana Supreme Court appointed longtime civil rights activist Henry Julien, husband of CDC Judge Ethel Julien, to sit ad hoc. Continue reading »

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Nov 232017

Newly elected Judge Nicole Sheppard and supporters. (submitted photo)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Newly elected judge Nicole Sheppard, Civil District Court Division J, has the common touch. In a relatively low budget campaign with few paid consultants, Sheppard coasted to a very comfortable victory over attorney Omar Mason by conducting an old-fashioned grassroots campaign in the churches and the streets.

“We definitely worked hard. The voters believed in me, my sincerity and my independence. They could feel my passion to serve the people,” Sheppard reflected yesterday. The CDC vacancy occurred due to the election of Judge Paula Brown to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal. Continue reading »

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Oct 062017

Attorney Mike Whitaker (left) speaks to mayoral candidate Troy Henry in the Leche family kitchen about damage to the home during the drainage canal construction outside on Jefferson Avenue. A crack is visible in the wall behind Whitaker. (Robert Morris,

A group of mayoral and City Council candidates promised Friday morning to try to find out if the Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans still has the $115 million reserve fund intended to pay damages from its major Uptown drainage-canal construction projects, as well as to try to push the entity toward mediation of their claims rather than continuing in a costly legal fight against them. Continue reading »

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Jun 122017
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

Tensions have been boiling over between District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro and Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

On June 7, an opinion piece ran in the New Orleans Advocate by Cannizzaro accusing Landrieu of having “repeatedly placed politics above public safety.”

“The only objective of this policy has been to create the illusion of public safety, regardless of what is actually occurring on the streets,” Cannizzaro continued. “In so doing, he has ultimately endangered the citizens of New Orleans.” Continue reading »

Mar 272017

Paula Brown won election to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and a close race for Civil District Court between Suzy Montero and Rachael Johnson will require a runoff in an election Saturday that drew barely 10 percent of registered voters in New Orleans. Continue reading »

Jan 092017
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

Victoria Coy, the executive director of the Louisiana Violence Reduction Coalition, went on a bit of a tear this past week over Louisiana’s so-called “Stand Your Ground” (SYG) law. In an opinion piece written for The Lens, Coy made claims that, if true, would indeed be quite disturbing:

  • Stand Your Ground was tacked on to Louisiana’s Justifiable Homicide rules in 2006, upending centuries of common-sense definitions of self-defense.”
  • Under the revamped rules, you no longer have the duty to retreat from a threat before using lethal force. You need only ‘perceive’ a threat in order to justify meeting force with force — even if you could easily escape that threat.”
  • Stand Your Ground has codified prejudice. . . . If black men are the scary ones, then why should they be afraid? It’s this exact logic that is not only encouraged, but required under the disastrous Stand Your Ground law.”

Continue reading »

Dec 192016
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

The cutest Internet video of the week from New Orleans was, inarguably, that of “disco cop.” NOPD Sgt. L.J. Smith was providing security at the Luna Fete light/art festival as electronic dance music brayed from a nearby DJ when he began enthusiastically dancing along with the crowd.

In a city beset by violent crime that has been braced with recurring police scandals, the sight of a cop stepping side-to-side and blowing his whistle in time with the music was a welcome diversion. Continue reading »

Dec 052016
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

Personally, I’ve never been one to armchair quarterback murder investigations or second-guess police when their actions could be described as “restrained.” I’m not a cop and I have no law enforcement training. My relevant expertise as an attorney is limited to simply whether police are operating within the law, and that’s a limited scope.

However, it is difficult not to look a little cock-eyed at the investigation into the killing of Joe McKnight down in Terrytown. Publicly-released information makes one wonder: Why hasn’t the perp been charged yet? Continue reading »

Oct 252016
Peter Gold tries to talk to a man now identified as 21-year-old Euric Cain on Friday, Nov. 20, moments before Cain shot Gold. (still image from surveillance video released by NOPD)

Peter Gold tries to talk to a man now identified as 21-year-old Euric Cain on Friday, Nov. 20, moments before Cain shot Gold. (still image from surveillance video released by NOPD)

Euric Cain (via NOPD)

Euric Cain (via NOPD)

The man charged with shooting a Tulane medical student who tried to stop him from dragging a woman off of Magazine Street pleaded guilty Monday to attempted murder and multiple rapes in what prosecutors are calling “one of the most horrific crime sprees in recent memory in this city.” Continue reading »

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Oct 212016
Verret's Lounge at 1738 Washington Avenue, photographed in April 2016 (via Google)

Verret’s Lounge at 1738 Washington Avenue, photographed in April 2016 (via Google)

Powell Miller, an attorney for Verret's Lounge, questions the need for armed security guards before the city Alcohol Beverage Control board on Tuesday, Oct. 18. (via City of New Orleans)

Powell Miller, an attorney for Verret’s Lounge, questions the need for armed security guards before the city Alcohol Beverage Control board on Tuesday, Oct. 18. (via City of New Orleans)

An attorney for Verret’s Lounge — the Central City bar where a man was fatally shot in January — asked the city’s alcohol board this week how long they would be required to maintain an armed security guard on the weekends. Continue reading »

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Sep 152016
McKinley "Mac" Phipps, Jr. and son (via YouTube)

McKinley “Mac” Phipps, Jr. and son (via YouTube)

Former No Limit Records recording artist McKinley “Mac” Phipps, Jr., who is currently serving a 30-year sentence for 2nd Degree Manslaughter, has filed an application for clemency, according to an article published by Huffington Post. Phipps, an Uptown native, has served 16 years of the 30-year sentence for the crime, for which he maintains his innocence. Continue reading »

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Aug 292016
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

It’s almost as though Terrebonne Parish Sheriff Jerry Larpenter were spat out of central casting.  The portly, arrogant, hot-headed lawman is the archetype of the corrupt Southern sheriff.  “You ain’t from ‘round here, boy,” might as well be tattooed on his forehead.

Playing to form, Larpenter doesn’t appreciate being criticized.  His thin skin was certainly on display when a local muckraking blog called “Exposedat” suggested that Larpenter had misused public funds due to a conflict of interest. Continue reading »