Attorneys for the suspended Tulane linebacker accused of orchestrating a July home-invasion robbery on Broadway Street are arguing that a second, unrelated burglary charge against him is based on scant evidence and should be thrown out. Attorneys Rick Kohnke and Rick Kelly requested a preliminary hearing Friday afternoon on the charge that Trent Mackey broke into another Broadway Street residence on Aug. 4 — after the original July 12 home invasion took place in the same block, but before he was charged in it Aug. 18 — stealing watches, an iPhone and cash. The resident awoke from an afternoon nap to see an intruder taking the items from his room, and after Mackey was arrested several weeks later in the July robbery, recognized Mackey’s photo in media accounts and identified him to investigators, police said at the time.
The candidates for the Orleans Parish School Board will meet tonight (Tuesday, Oct. 2) at a forum moderated by Tulane University President Scott Cowen and hosted by a number of local civic groups. The forum begins at 6 p.m. at First Baptist Church of New Orleans, 5290 Canal Boulevard. Hosting organizations include: The Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives, Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans, League of Women Voters, Urban League of Greater New Orleans, The Young Leadership Council and Baptist Community Ministries.
A document governing Tulane University’s use of its new on-campus stadium — including what types of events will be held there and other issues such as parking, lighting and noise — “will likely be finalized by mid to late September,” according to an article by Jessica Appelbaum posted Thursday on the Tulane Hullabaloo student newspaper website.
Suspended Tulane linebacker Trent Mackey, who was arrested late last week on a robbery charge following accusations of orchestrating a July 12 home invasion on Broadway by another suspect in the case, “is confident that once the facts and circumstances surrounding this incident come to light that he will be fully exonerated,” attorneys Rick Kohnke and Rick Kelly said in a statement, according to our reporting partners at WWL-TV.
A Tulane linebacker regarded as one of the best in his conference was arrested Friday on a charge of armed robbery amid accusations that he “orchestrated” a broad-daylight home invasion on Broadway in which he acted as though he was a victim, police said. Trent Mackey, 22, was visiting a fellow Tulane student in the 600 block of Broadway on July 12 when two men burst in, forced her to the floor at gunpoint, ransacked the apartment and left, the victim and police said at the time. The victim followed the men outside, spotted them and demanded her belongings back, and they returned her cell phone and laptop before running away, according to accounts at the time. Investigators said at the time that they had questions about the story provided by Mackey — who was not identified by Uptown Messenger at the time because he was still considered a victim in the crime, not a suspect — but that he may have been targeted because of his status as a “high-profile” football player at Tulane. Some of his behavior the day of the crime drew investigations’ attention, however, such as the fact that he left the scene before police arrived to go to a friend’s house and did not return until they instructed him to do so, they said.
Parking, drainage, noise and litter — the same issues that dominated a series of town hall meetings about the proposed Tulane Stadium hosted by the university — remain major concerns with unanswered aspects for some neighbors of the proposed project, leading some to call for the creation of a permanent venue for the university to hear neighborhood issues. The two dozen or so residents who showed up for a Thursday evening forum on the stadium — hosted this time by the Central Carrollton Association, rather than by the university — mostly expressed skepticism about Tulane’s promises, especially when it comes to their enforcement. Maura Sylvester of Save Our Neighborhoods detailed those concerns, saying that the university years ago signed an agreement for the baseball field similar to the one it is negotiating now for the football stadium, but that the document hasn’t protected neighborhoods. “This is routinely ignored, every single event,” Sylvester says. The Tulane officials replied that both the agreement and Tulane’s own plans are a work in progress, and urged the residents to continue sharing their concerns with the mayor’s office.
After a series of community meetings hosted by Tulane about their plans for a new football stadium, a nearby neighborhood is hosting its own meeting Thursday evening that will pair a university official with one of the most outspoken opponents of the project. The forum will be at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Central St. Matthew United Church of Christ, and will include both Karen Celestan of Tulane University and Audubon Boulevard resident Maura Sylvester of Save Our Neighborhoods. Full details from the forum invitation are below:
Central Carrollton Association presents a community forum on the Tulane stadium. Please join with your neighbors to hear a balanced discussion of Tulane’s stadium plans.
A vacant Tulane fraternity house was damaged in a fire early Friday morning, authorities said, leaving a newly scorched structure directly next door to an empty lot on Broadway Street where a frat house that burned last October was recently torn down. The former Sigma Alpha Mu house at 712 Broadway caught fire around 1 a.m. July 20, said Tulane University spokesman Michael Strecker. The building was unoccupied and undergoing renovations, so there were no injuries, Strecker said. He referred questions about the cause of the fire to the New Orleans Fire Department, which did not have information on the investigation readily available Tuesday afternoon. The Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity has been suspended for several years, Strecker said.
Tulane University officials pledged Wednesday night to reach an enforceable legal agreement with the city of New Orleans governing the activities and operations at its new football stadium — with hopes of resolving most of the issues in it by the end of August. The proposed zoning district that would have forced Tulane to gain the blessing of the New Orleans City Council for its stadium was already off the table prior to Wednesday night’s community forum. On Tuesday, perhaps in tacit acknowledgement that such a district no longer had a viable path to passage, City Councilwoman Susan Guidry announced that she would withdraw the proposal at Thursday’s meeting of the City Council, and she opened Wednesday’s meeting with an explanation of her current stance on it. “We feel at this time that there’s been a lot of movement on the part of Tulane,” Guidry said. “The council is going to remain involved, but the IZD has not been recommended, and we need to remove that and let this process continue as a voluntary process.
Councilwoman Susan Guidry will ask the New Orleans City Council to withdraw plans Thursday for a new zoning district that would have governed the construction of a football stadium on Tulane’s uptown campus, a day after university President Scott Cowen is scheduled to speak to neighbors about the plans. In early May, the council passed an resolution authored by Guidry asking the City Planning Commission to review an “interim zoning district” that would have blocked all major university construction projects in historic areas of the city. The intent, Guidry and her supporters said at the time, was not to stop the stadium, but to ensure that projects of its scale received ample public review. In June, however, the City Planning Commission recommended strongly against such a district, saying that the university should only have to abide by existing zoning rules that allow the stadium. Meanwhile, Mayor Mitch Landrieu — who had vowed to veto any legislation stopping the stadium — was able to appoint Diana Bajoie to a temporary seat on the council, likely preventing such a veto from being overturned.