Two enormous bloodmobiles — one in neon chartreuse, the other, well, blood-red — stretched down Frenchmen Street from the Apple Barrel to the Spotted Cat this afternoon. The event was called “Frenchmen Street: Roll Up Your Sleeves,” and it was a replacement blood drive for the 19 victims of the Mother’s Day second line shooting in the 7th Ward.
More than 100 people had preregistered to give blood between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m., according to Amanda Chittenden, the Blood Center’s public relations manager. “But the first 12 people we got were all walkups,” said Erica Dudas of the New Orleans Musicians' Assistance Foundation, the group that staged the blood drive.
The event — held in the concrete pad that’s home to the Frenchmen Art Market — was busy from the kickoff, with would-be donors lining up and musicians David and Roselyn serenading the crowd with a song appropriately called “Kiss It and Make It Better.”
“New Orleans has given us a lot,” said Roselyn. “Helping other musicians is just what you do.”
The New Orleans Police Department is asking for the public’s assistance in locating a stolen statue of a pig in a chef’s outfit. The statue was stolen on the morning of May 1, 2013 during Jazz Fest weekend.
Possible scenario: Swept up in the reverie of a musical weekend, the thieves stumbled upon their new pig friend and invited it to their Hawaiian shirt and straw fedora Bacchanalia. Or, a hooded Chik-Fil-A employee removed the statue as a message — the consequence of slogan copywright infringement. Or, the pig was a witness. To what? We may never know.
Anyone with information as to the location of the pig is asked to notify Detective Robert Stoltz, First District Investigations, 504-658-6012, email@example.com, 911, or Crime Stoppers at 504-822-1111 or toll free at 1-877-903-7867.
In his commentary tonight on WWL-TV, Gambit political editor Clancy DuBos discussed the New Orleans Mother's Day shootings and Thursday night's benefit for "The 19 Fund," which will benefit the victims. Donald Harrison, Jr. and The Congo Square Nation, Hot 8 Brass Band, Bonerama, Stooges Brass Band and others will perform.
New Orleans Police Department officers arrested another suspect related to the Mother's Day second line shootings. This afternoon, Monique Pepe, 19, was charged with being an accessory to attempted second degree murder for allegedly hiding 24-year-old Shawn Scott, who was arrested along with his 19-year-old brother Akein Scott. Authorities identified the brothers as the shooters.
Pepe also was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of heroin, and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, according to the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office.
Pepe's arrest brings the number of arrests to seven in connection to the shootings. Yesterday morning, authorities also arrested Justin Alexander, 19, Brandy George, 28, Bionca Hickerson, 22, and Nekia Youngblood, 32, who allegedly helped hide Akein Scott. They all were charged with accessory after the fact to attempted second degree murder and obstruction of justice for harboring a fugitive.
Gambit’s Foundation for Entertainment Development and Education, Tipitina’s Foundation, United Way of Southeast Louisiana and Silence Is Violence have joined forces to host a special benefit concert for the 19 victims of the May 12 shooting. The concert will be next Thursday (May 23) at Tipitina’s, 501 Napoleon Ave., and will feature local brass bands, Mardi Gras Indians, and other musicians and entertainers. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Tickets to the benefit are $40 in advance and are available online via Ticketweb.
The organizations also announced formation of The 19 Fund, a special fund-raising effort to aid the 19 victims of the May 12 shooting — and future victims of violence in greater New Orleans. The 19 Fund was the brainchild of representatives of the four nonprofits as well as several concerned citizens who volunteered to help victims of the shooting. The mission of The 19 Fund is “to help victims of violence heal physically, financially and emotionally.”
All proceeds from the May 23 benefit concert — and all funds raised by The 19 Fund — will be turned over to United Way, which will serve as fiscal agent for The 19 Fund at no charge. Silence Is Violence will coordinate victim services, which will include financial aid as well as help accessing other free and discounted social services from governmental and nonprofit sources. Details of how The 19 Fund will provide assistance to the 19 victims of the May 12 shooting (and future victims) are available on the Ticketweb page for the concert.
The benefit concert has drawn support from several notable entertainers. Fats Domino, actor Wendell Pierce of HBO’s “Tremé” series, and Big Chief Donald Harrison Jr. have volunteered to serve as honorary co-chairs of the benefit. Harrison also will perform with his band, The Congo Square Nation, in full Mardi Gras Indian dress. Other performers include The Hot 8 Brass Band, The Stooges Brass Band and Bonerama. Tipitina’s Foundation is lining up additional performers, who will be announced in the coming days.
All proceeds of the benefit — 100 percent of ticket and drink sales — will go to The 19 Fund to assist victims.
Returning to the intersection of Frenchmen and North Villere streets, city officials and law enforcement announced the capture of second line shooting suspect Akein Scott as well as his brother, 24-year-old Shawn Scott, and four others.
New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Ronal Serpas confirmed Shawn Scott as the second shooting suspect. In 2007, Scott pleaded guilty in possession of cocaine and heroin and was sentenced to five years probation. In 2008, he pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute heroin and was to serve an eight year sentence. He was out on parole until December 2015. Like his brother Akein, Scott was charged this morning with 20 counts of second degree attempted murder. (A person was trampled by the crowd following the shooting and has been identified among the victims, hence the 20 counts of attempted second degree murder.)
"Shawn has a lengthy record and has demonstrated his contempt for New Orleans," Serpas said.
Serpas also announced Justin Alexander, 19, Brandy George, 28, Bionca Hickerson, 22, and Nekia Youngblood, 32, allegedly helped hide Akein Scott. They all have been charged with accessory after the fact to attempted second degree murder and obstruction of justice for harboring a fugitive.
Akein Scott, the 19-year-old suspect in the Mother's Day second line shootings, was arrested from a home in the Little Woods neighborhood in eastern New Orleans late last night. He appeared in Orleans Parish Magistrate Court this morning with bail set at $500,000 for each charge — Scott was booked with 20 counts of attempted second degree murder. His bail is set at $10 million.
Scott was scheduled to appear in court today on unrelated charges from an arrest in March, when he was allegedly found with a stolen gun and heroin. He was charged with possession of stolen firearms, possession of heroin and resisting an officer. He was released on bail last month, which Mayor Mitch Landrieu said "was a mistake." Landrieu has requested judges to set bail no lower than $30,000 on gun charges. "Unfortunately, some judges in this building have ignored that request," Landrieu said.
At around 3 a.m. Thursday, Scott was booked with 20 counts of attempted second degree murder.
New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Ronal Serpas said he believes Scott has ties to gang activity, and WWL-TV reports NOPD is searching for a possible second gunman.
A press conference with Landrieu, Serpas and other city officials is set for noon at the corner of N. Villere and Frenchmen streets, where the shooting occurred.
Original Big 7 Social Aid & Pleasure Club organizers announced it will "re-do" its second line parade, interrupted by the shooting at its Mother's Day procession, at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 1. It will follow the same route.
At Monday night's community rally on Frenchmen Street, Big 7 manager Dismas Johnson said the group had been in talks with Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the New Orleans Police Department to find an appropriate day to schedule the parade. "It's something that's got to go on," Johnson said.
The group announced it also is accepting donations at this fundraising website or by mail to 1823 Elysian Fields Ave., New Orleans, LA 70117.
The Original Big 7 Social Aid and Pleasure Club community is deeply saddened by the foolish violence that took place during our annual Mother’s Day’s Parade. Our hearts and prayers go out to all of the victims of this tragedy and their families. We are with them in the struggle for health, wellness, and justice.
We are proud to announce that we will be doing a Re-Do Mother’s Day Parade On Saturday June 1, 2013 at 1pm on the same exact route. ... We are starting a donation fund for the Original Big 7 Social Aid and Pleasure Club to Re-Parade; the donations are to pay for the brass bands and for the victims affected by the violence that accorded on Mother’s Day.
On Sunday, hours after the Mother’s Day shooting in the Seventh Ward, FBI New Orleans spokeswoman Mary Beth Romig told the Associated Press the gunfire that injured 19 people was, as far as federal investigators knew, not an act of terrorism. “It’s strictly an act of street violence,” Romig said.
Today, on the WWL Eyewitness Morning News, Mayor Mitch Landrieu disagreed. Asked by Sally-Ann Roberts if he considered the shooting to be terrorism, Landrieu said, “I think so. I’ve talked about whether people are terrorized by activities. People use that term in a dramatic way, like it has to be somebody from outside threatening us on the inside. But the truth of the matter is, every day in neighborhoods across the city — this city and other cities — you have families that are afraid of going outside.”
So what defines an "act of terror" versus an act that causes a neighborhood or a city to live in terror?
A few hours following a community rally at the site of the Mother's Day second line shooting, New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) officials named Akein Scott, 19, as the suspect, seen in the surveillance footage.
This is not Scott's first brush with the law. In March, Scott was charged with possession of heroin, possession of stolen firearms and resisting an officer, according to Orleans Parish Criminal Court records. The charges were refused. He was released on bond April 29.
At a press conference yesterday afternoon, NOPD superintendent Ronal Serpas urged the suspect to turn himself in. "We know a lot more about you than you think we do," he said. "My recommendation is to collect yourself and turn yourself in to the nearest police facility, DA’s office or anywhere you may want."
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