Jul 042013
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

We only need to look at former Plaquemine Parish Sheriff Jiff Hingle’s sentencing yesterday — nearly 46 months for accepting bribes from contractors anxious to do business with his parish — to quickly realize that being a Louisiana sheriff with millions of dollars to dole out to greedy contractors and consultants can be a very slippery slope.

One Sheriff who never made a major misstep and could be coming back around for another term is former Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff Charles Foti. Now, in the private practice of law, Foti is bombarded by people every day who are asking him to take on his former protégé, Sheriff Marlin Gusman. It’s even possible that Foti’s cousin, Mitch Landrieu, is one of those speaking with him. Continue reading »

Jul 032013
 

Casa Borrega (submitted photo)

Jean-Paul Villere

Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard has been the on-again, off-again comeback kid for a few decades now in the Central City neighborhood of New Orleans.  Originally a retail corridor known simply as another leg of Dryades, suburban growth and inner city decay atrophied this dusty avenue wedged between the Lower Garden and the Warehouse districts.  In the years I’ve known it, none of the original merchants from yesteryear remain (unlike Freret where the street-namesaked hardware store boasts an unparalleled longevity of operations, over half a century and counting, yes?).  But tomorrow another door opens toward the promising future in a not-so-little venture known as Casa Borrega.  Here’s a quick Q & A I conducted with the owners via email to bring you up to speed: Continue reading »

Jul 022013
 

All reported robberies around Uptown New Orleans in 2013. (map via NOPD)

The procession of high-profile Uptown robberies may seem unabated lately: a Garden District couple held up on their front porch, masked men barging into Cooter Brown’s in search of the safe, or a trio of very young teens in skeleton masks demanding money at gunpoint on Broadway Street, all just in June alone.

But despite the perception these incidents create, and in spite of a generally shrinking New Orleans Police Department, Uptown has seen a dramatic decrease of 50 percent or more in the number of armed robberies reported in 2013 from the same period of time last year, according to statistics compiled from NOPD sources. Continue reading »

Jul 022013
 

jewel bush

Last week, Facebook blocked my account for 12 hours because it alleged that a picture I posted violated its terms of use.  The image in question was a black-and-white still from the early 20th century of a man hung from a lamp post with a sign affixed to his chest that read: “This Nigger Voted.”

Yes, this is graphic, uncomfortable and hard to view, but given last week’s news — the highest court in the land striking down key parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — the context made sense. It wasn’t gratuitous Rambo-esque or Tarantino bloody and gory for brutality’s sake. I shared this historic image of a lynched black person to spark a discussion and to remind the pop culture community that while folks waste brain cells deciphering the lyrics of Kanye West’s new album or who is Twitter beefing with whom, our rights are being stripped away in brazen swoops. Continue reading »

Jul 022013
 

Owen Courreges

Like Mardi Gras beads on a St. Charles crape myrtle, the debate over what to do with the New Orleans World Trade Center has lingered.  The problem is that the World Trade Center, built in 1967, is widely regarded as a landmark.  Nevertheless, its future is in peril.  The city seems determined to see it scrapped.  Others are raising their voices to have it preserved. Continue reading »

Jun 292013
 

Trent Mackey

Trent Mackey — who is awaiting trial on an armed robbery charge related to a home-invasion case on Broadway Street last summer — is suing the New Orleans Police Department over a second arrest, in which he was charged with burglary of a house in the same block of Broadway, according to a report by Ramon Antonio Vargas of The Times-Picayune. The burglary victim awoke to find a bald-headed man in his room and subsequently told police it might have been Mackey, but after prosecutors declined to take the case, Mackey’s attorneys argue that the arrest was wrongful and part of a scheme to discredit him, Vargas reports.

Jun 282013
 

Craig Giesecke

Our brief trip up to Illinois for a long weekend turned out to be every bit the culinary adventure we’d been seeking, not so much because the food was adventuresome but because it gave us a chance to hit some spots that simply don’t exist in this part of the world – at least not yet. Give it time. Continue reading »