Jul 122013
 

Trent Mackey Sr. hugs defense lawyers outside the courthouse

One year to the day that former Tulane linebacker Trent Mackey was involved in a drug deal turned armed robbery, the 23-year-old was found not guilty on the two armed robbery charges brought against him.

On trial for criminal conspiracy to armed robbery and armed robbery with a firearm, the 12-person jury unanimously ruled he was not guilty on both counts.

There was no question as to whether Mackey was at the scene of the armed robbery. He had planned to meet Megan Wales, a fellow Tulane student, at her apartment on 600 Broadway Street that day to buy marijuana from her.

The question was whether he helped orchestrate the event, which became much more than a simple drug deal when two men burst into the apartment and one pinned Wales on her apartment floor with a gun to her head. Continue reading »

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Jul 122013
 

(map via NOPD)

Keith Williams (via opcso.org)

A trio of bat-wielding robbers attacked three different people walking through the Lower Garden District on Wednesday evening — seriously injuring one of the victims — and a teen has been arrested out of the group, according to New Orleans police.

Meanwhile, investigators are also looking for two other men caught on surveillance camera last weekend, authorities said. Continue reading »

Jul 122013
 

Craig Giesecke

Mymymy.  Last week’s column kicked up a lot of dust, as I criticized what I see as the shrinking creativity of the New Orleans restaurant scene and many jumped to its defense. I stand by my opinion, but the fact I have one does not make me right. It’s an opinion and it’s good to see so many take issue. Thanks for reading and responding.

One reader made the observation I need to go out to eat more often and I certainly agree. But, as mentioned in a previous column, this is tough for us to afford these days. Perhaps the summer’s advent of various fixed-price meals will make this a more available option. I hope so. Continue reading »

Jul 122013
 

A defense witness called in the trial of former Tulane football player Trent Mackey said he pointed the finger at Mackey after police told him Mackey had already thrown him under the bus.

Mackey, 23, has been charged with armed robbery with a firearm and criminal conspiracy to armed robbery. The charges stem from a July 12, 2012, robbery that the defense says was poorly investigated and pegged on Mackey, while prosecutors have argued that Mackey orchestrated. Continue reading »

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Jul 112013
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus


State Senator Ed Murray, D-New Orleans, has been in the Louisiana Legislature for 22 years and says he thinks that Governor Bobby Jindal’s regime has been “a terrible disappointment, especially for the medically indigent and the state’s public education system from kindergarten to the graduate departments of our universities.”

Louisiana’s best hope, he says, is that the 2015 Governor’s race will produce a chief executive for the state who will undo the damage that the Jindal Administration has inflicted on public medical institutions and public education. Continue reading »

Jul 112013
 

Detectives interview Tulane linebacker Trent Mackey (seen behind the investigator on the right) at the scene of a July 12 home invasion on Broadway. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

One year ago, Megan Wales was still a 20-year-old Tulane student and a friend and co-worker of Tulane football standout Trent Mackey when a drug deal between them was interrupted by two intruders who burst into her apartment, pinned her to the kitchen floor with a gun to her head and dramatically altered the course of all their lives.

Police have since charged Mackey in the robbery as well, and prosecutors this week are describing him as a co-conspirator to the gunmen, an accomplice in touch with them minutes before who conveniently left Wales’ apartment door open allowing the men to rush in. Mackey’s defense lawyers, however, say the Tulane football star is the victim of an inadequate investigation focused solely on bagging a high-profile conviction, and that Wales was just as complicit in the events of the day and web of lies afterward as Mackey was. Continue reading »

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Jul 112013
 

The auction’s expected top lot is this Chinese Qianlong jade censer, executed circa 1736-1795 (est. $15,000-$25,000).

An 18th century Chinese Qianlong celadon jade censer with a pre-sale estimate of $15,000-$25,000, items from the living estate of iconic New Orleans artist and photographer George Valentine Dureau (b. 1930), and an untitled glazed ceramic sculpture by Lynda Benglis (Am., b. 1941) are all part of a huge weekend auction planned for July 13-14.

The auction will be conducted by Crescent City Auction Gallery, in the firm’s gallery located at 1330 St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans. Start times both days will be 10 a.m. (CST). Over 1,200 lots will be offered, to include fine art, antique clocks, Chinese objects, Persian rugs, period American and European furniture, antique lamps and lighting and decorative accessories. Continue reading »

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Jul 102013
 

On the downtown side of Samuel Square, where Loyola once crossed Napoleon, the dream of a dead end street is temporarily realized in July 2013. (photo by Jean-Paul Villere for UptownMessenger.com)

Jean-Paul Villere

Once upon a time with my wife and two wee daughters we used to live in a li’l ol’ shotgun in the Riverbend.  We absolutely loved that house, but after the birth of our second child, 1200 sq ft was no longer so quaint or enjoyable.  Too, where we were on the 800 block of Dublin often served as overflow parking for area retail, but worse, the density didn’t always bring the best drivers.  Some days people would whip around the corner off Maple like they were in hot pursuit.  And when you have toddlers and newborns you begin to see traffic and safety in a whole new way.  It was at this point I began to wonder about the pros and cons of living on a dead end street. Continue reading »

Jul 102013
 

A memorial to Officer Rodney Thomas, who was killed Sunday in a hit-and-run crash, stands in front of the Second District station on Magazine Street. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Officers wear black bands over their badges in mourning for Officer Rodney Thomas. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

On Sunday, NOPD Commander Paul Noel went to roll call to tell the Second District dayshift that their fellow officer, Rodney Thomas, wouldn’t be returning to work, that Thomas had been struck and killed in a hit-and-run on the interstate high-rise the night before.

It wasn’t just the hardest moment of his career as a police officer, Noel said. It was the most difficult task he’s ever faced in his life.

“Hopefully I never have to do this again, as long as I live,” Noel said. Continue reading »

Jul 092013
 

The building that housed Pippen Lane (photographed in March 2011 by Google Maps) is slated for redevelopment as a two-story location of national retailer West Elm.

Cornelius Payne proposes a coffee shop for the 800 block of Jackson Avenue before the City Planning Commission on Tuesday. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Two redevelopments on major thoroughfares around the Garden District — an upscale national furniture retailer on Magazine, and a new location of a local coffee shop on Jackson Avenue — both won initial approval Tuesday from the City Planning Commission. Continue reading »

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Jul 092013
 

jewel bush

I was startled to see a self-addressed envelope arrive in my mailbox over the weekend.

Back in January, I wrote a letter to myself as part of a New Year ritual with my writers group. Jamey Hatley, a Memphis transplant and gifted wordsmith, leads what has become a literary sacrament for the MelaNated Writers Collective. We write handwritten notes to ourselves, seal them and then hand them over to her for safekeeping. It’s an individual exercise that we do together. Some MWC members jot down encouraging words or scribble stern reminders to adhere to writing regimens while others list publishing goals. No one reads your letter and you are free to use the paper – space – however you choose. Continue reading »

Jul 092013
 

George Dureau (Photo by Jason Kruppa)

Local artist and icon George Dureau is a definitive New Orleans talent who has given much to the people and the city he loves over the years. Now his fans can return the favor.

The 82-year-old painter, sculptor and photographer spends his days in a nursing home due to the ruthless effects of Alzheimer’s. He’s being well cared for, but long-term financial support is a concern. That’s why close friend Katie Nachod and other acquaintances, who fondly call themselves “Friends of George,” have planned a fundraising event for Dureau. Continue reading »

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Jul 082013
 

After the resignations of two members left the new Lycée Français de la Nouvelle Orléans governing board without any members who are minorities, school leaders said that restoring diversity is a top priority as they seek to replace them over the next month.

“We need a more diverse board,” said board chair Tim Gray. “This board really does not look like a cross-section of the population of New Orleans.” Continue reading »

Jul 082013
 

Broadmoor businesses and homeowners have begun installing the ProjectNOLA anti-crime cameras that the neighborhood hopes will reduce criminal activity as the area continues its commercial rebirth, according to a report by Monica Hernandez of our partners at WWL-TV. The residential cameras are installed by the homeowners and linked in to the private ProjectNOLA surveillance network, while 10 cameras along the Washington and Broad commercial corridor are being sponsored by City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell’s office.