High demand expected for city’s free COVID-19 testing in Central City

The COVID-19 testing site Monday (July 6) was closed as soon as it opened at 8 a.m., with the last person to be tested already in the long line at Dillard University. Tests are limited to 150 a day. The free testing will be held Tuesday (July 7) and Wednesday in Central City at the YMCA, 2220 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. The noninvasive nasal-swab tests will be provided through New Orleans East Hospital. Results are expected to be online or delivered in two to three days.

Man shot to death in parking lot outside Dollar General

A man was killed in a shooting Friday afternoon in front of the Dollar General store on South Claiborne Avenue near Toledano Street, the New Orleans Police Department reported. At around 3:30 p.m., NOPD Sixth District officers arrived at the Dollar General, 2841 S. Claiborne Ave. In the store parking lot, they found Kevin Thomas Jr., 35, suffering from a single gunshot wound to the chest. Emergency Medical Services transported Thomas to the University Medical Center, where he died. The homicide was the second in New Orleans on Friday afternoon, following one in New Orleans East.

Viewpoint: Longtime watchdog gives Chief Ferguson an A for handling of NOPD during pandemic and protests

Metropolitan Crime Commission President Rafael Goyeneche said yesterday that NOPD Superintendent Shaun D. Ferguson deserves the highest accolades for his handling of the department since the pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests began. “Chief Ferguson has been dealing with an issue that no police chief has had to deal with in 100 years,” Goyeneche said. “In the context of New Orleans, look at some of the unrest in other cities around the country. I want to give him nothing but an A as to the way things have gone here. “New Orleans had our George Floyd awakening 15 years ago on the Danzinger Bridge.

Uptown homes featured in PRC’s virtual Shotgun House Tour

The COVID-19 shutdown this spring resulted in the cancellation of many popular events, including the Preservation Resource Center’s annual Shotgun House Tour, a major fundraiser for the nonprofit devoted to the historical preservation of New Orleans architecture and cultural identity. Now the PRC is bringing back the beloved tour in a safe and entertaining way — online. This virtual event will present Shotgun Sundays featuring a different house every Sunday at 4 p.m. in July and August. Participants can take a guided virtual tour through each home. From the comfort of their couch, they can learn about the history each home and the individual use of space to suit a modern lifestyle.

Walk-up COVID-19 testing held this week in Broadmoor, Lower Garden District

The city’s free walk-up testing for COVID-19 will be held in Broadmoor and the Lower Garden District this week. Anyone, with or without symptoms, is eligible to receive a test. No ID or health insurance is required. Testing at the Andrew Wilson Elementary School at 3617 Gen. Pershing St. in Broadmoor takes place Monday (June 29) and Tuesday (June 30) from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. — or whenever tests run out.

Viewpoint: Early and mail-in voting draws record crowd

Nearly half-way through this year’s extended early voting period, 7,669 New Orleanians, including 2,275 white voters and 5,047 black voters, have already cast their ballots for presidential nominees, First City Court judge and political party committees.  Almost half of those individuals voted by mail. Due to COVID-19, more citizens are meeting the early voting criteria — which, coupled with a longer voting period, will result in the largest early voting turnout in New Orleans history.    

In the race for judge in Division B First City Court, five candidates have been struggling to remain visible at a time when voters are focused on staying healthy and earning a living. Marissa Hutabarat and Sara Lewis appear to be leading the pack in terms of endorsements, overall donors and money raised.  

Hutabarat is the only candidate in this race who has begun airing a television commercial. She has raised the most funds, including from a personal loan, and has been endorsed by City Council members Joe Giarrusso, Cyndi Nguyen and Kristin Palmer as well as legislators Jimmy Harris, Royce Duplessis and Jason Hughes. Louisiana Human Rights Commissioner Richard Perque is also among her supporters.

Lusher looks at changing its name amid protests over honoring lead segregationist

As protesters nationwide storm the symbols of the Confederacy and institutional racism, a movement to rename the revered Lusher Charter School has received a renewed boost. This time, however, the administration has said it will consider the idea of removing the name of staunch segregationist Robert Mills Lusher. A petition on Change.org garnered more than 2,600 signatures by Wednesday evening. Commentary on the petition describes the racist legacy of the school’s namesake, who advocated using public education to promote white supremacy while serving as the state’s superintendent of education after the Civil War. The petition does not suggest an alternative name for Lusher, a K-12 charter that consistently ranks among the city’s highest performing, other than opting for one that “honors the diverse experiences, hopes and dreams of the children who they purport to care for and educate every day.”

Lusher engineering teacher creating medical masks with Tulane medical students

From Lusher Charter School

In true collaborative spirit, Lusher Charter School engineering teacher Matthew Owen and his wife, Laura, are working with Tulane Medical School and local hospitals to create much-needed personal protective equipment, or PPE, for New Orleans hospital employees to protect them from COVID-19. The Owens are working with medical students and other engineers and students on designs for PPE. Laura Owen, a support services teacher at Lusher, spearheaded the effort with medical students who contacted hospitals about their needs. When they discovered that the teachers had access to Lusher’s 3D printers, the med students planned a Zoom call with the couple and developed a design to print. With permission from the school, the Owens brought three 3D printers and supplies home to begin the project.

Viewpoint: Stimulus benefits too slow for some idled workers

By Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

While some New Orleanians will soon begin receiving the much-heralded extra $600 unemployment benefits and other stimulus checks Congress authorized in response to the global pandemic, many self-employed and Form 1099 contract workers — including those in the short-term rental industry — received rejection letters from the Louisiana Workforce Commission. Still other eligible workers who were not able to apply online are encountering long wait times to speak with a staffer. “I haven’t been able to work in three weeks,” said one small business owner. “If I didn’t have a small nest egg, I don’t know how I would feed my family,” she said. Though the CARES Act states that self-employed and contract workers are eligible for unemployment, thousands of Louisiana workers have been caught in the cross-hairs between conflicting state and federal laws and available funding.

Walmart on Tchoupitoulas closed today to sanitize, restock

Walmart is temporarily closing three stores in the New Orleans area today (Thursday, April 9) to sanitize them and restock shelves. The stores include the Walmart on Tchoupitoulas Street, as well as stores in New Orleans East and Harahan. They will reopen Friday at 7 a.m.

Third-party sanitation specialists will thoroughly clean and disinfect the stores according to guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Protection and other health experts, according to a press release. Walmart employees will be restocking the shelves. The Walmart press release states: “When the stores reopen on Friday we will conduct associate health screens and temperature checks, and all associates will be provided with face masks and gloves.