As the city and state released statements on the removal of hazardous waste from beneath the surface of a Gert Town street, WVUE Fox 8 News revealed documents indicating the Mayor’s Office and Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality knew the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had detected 100 times the normal level of radium at the street surface. Residents of the area surrounding the site filed a class-action lawsuit in June claiming the city knew about the radioactive materials as far back as 2013 and did nothing. In a 2010 report, the EPA estimated that there are about 15 brownfields — former industrial sites with potential contamination — in Gert Town and 40 in Central City. Mayor’s Office statement on the hazardous waste removal:
The City announced Wednesday that the final four of six total containers with underground material from the work site in the Lowerline and Coolidge area have been removed for transport to Anders, Texas. In May 2018, the Cantrell administration learned about the presence of underground material producing radiation below the road surface at the intersection of Lowerline Street and Coolidge Court.
The city of New Orleans has released a statement on the removal of hazardous materials in Gert Town about two weeks week after about 1,000 Gert Town neighbors filed a class-action suit against the city, according to media reports. WWL-TV first reported on the hazardous waste early in June. Later in the month, neighbors filed a suit claiming the city knew about the materials and did nothing to notify the neighborhood. Crews in hazmat suits dug up the material without alerting residents to its dangers, the neighbors claim. The materials were below the road surface on Lowerline Street and Coolidge Place.
Investigators from the Uptown-based NOPD Second District made two arrests Monday in violent crimes reported last week, a carjacking in the Broadmoor neighborhood and a shooting in Gert Town. In the carjacking — in which a man who pulled over near General Taylor and South Rocheblave had his car taken at gunpoint Thursday evening by a group of people he knew — police identified 20-year-old Carl Tate Jr. as “the suspect believed to be responsible,” according to a news release issued Wednesday. Tate was arrested on a charge of carjacking (which carries a mandatory sentence of two to 20 years) as well as two outstanding warrants and a parole violation, jail records show. The shooting, which also took place Tuesday during the day, involved two men in their 20s being shot in the legs from a white vehicle in the 8000 block of Olive Street, according to the original police report. Michael Nickerson, 37, was identified as a suspect in the case and arrested on charges of attempted second-degree murder, aggravated battery and illegal use of a weapon, according to jail records.
A school that Gert Town residents have begged at repeated public meetings to see reopened was quickly approved for demolition by a city panel Monday. Throughout the planning process last year for the allocation of federal school-rebuilding money, Gert Town residents begged education officials to reopen the Mary Church Terrell Elementary School at 3411 Broadway Street. In January, they brought the director of nearby Lafayette Academy charter school to say he could use the space to expand, and in July they argued that a school forms the heart of a community and could help the neighborhood recover. The schools plan moved forward without a role for the campus, however, and on Monday, Recovery School District capital-improvements director Lona Hankins appeared before the city’s Neighborhood Conservation District Committee to request permission to demolish the building, “to remove blight from neighborhoods that are trying to recover,” she said. Committee member Helen Jones pointed out that the demolition still goes against the wishes of many Gert Town residents.
Investigators have released a computer sketch and detailed description of the suspect in a robbery and shooting in Gert Town, and are urging anyone who may have seen the man to call with information. At 6:20 a.m. Monday, a man was walking to work near the intersection of Fern Street and Mars Place when he noticed a bicyclist conferring with the driver of a white Dodge Charger, police have said. The Charger made the block and returned, and the driver got out with a handgun, demanding the victim’s money. The victim said he had none, and the gunman replied that he was dressed for work, so he must have money, said Sgt. Shaun Ferguson of the NOPD Second District persons-crimes division.
The father of a toddler gunned down in a shootout after a Central City second-line last fall is now wanted in connection to a shooting that wounded a woman earlier this month, and police say he may have been involved in a spree of recent Uptown shootings from Gert Town to River Garden. Jeremy “Noonie Man” Williams, 21, is wanted on a warrant as a principal to attempted second degree murder in a March 18 shooting near Louisiana Avenue Parkway and South Broad, police said Thursday. Two women were walking on the sidewalk about 7:30 p.m., when someone in a black vehicle on the street began firing in their direction, said Sgt. Sandra Contreras of the NOPD Sixth District persons-crime unit. One of the women was shot in the back, but witnesses were able to give a strong enough description of the shooters that police were able to identify them, Contreras said.
Most of the hundreds of attendees who turned out for a meeting on the future of Uptown school buildings wanted one of four things: renovations for Sophie B. Wright Charter School, a permanent commitment for Samuel J. Green Charter School, the reopening of the Mary Church Terrell campus in Gert Town or a new school in the Hoffman Triangle.
The former Allen School building on Loyola Avenue, meanwhile, is being sought by three different charter schools: Lusher, Audubon and the New Orleans Charter Science and Math High School, its current occupant.
The Original New Orleans Ladies, Men and Junior Buckjumpers annual second line will begin at noon today and roll through Gert Town, into Milan and finish in Central City. The parade is expected to disband at A.L. Davis Park at 4 p.m. The king is Kermit Ruffins, queen is Latoya Louis, Ms. LBJ 2010 is Ruby Love. Here’s a more detailed map of the section through Milan:
For turn-by-turn directions, see Red Cotton’s post at bestofneworleans.com.