October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Louisiana consistently leads the U.S. in domestic homicides. Louisiana ranked No. 1 for the rate of women killed by men in 2009 with a rate of 2.53 per 100,000, according to the Violence Policy Center. The state ranked at No. 4 in 2010, and No. 9 in 2011. According to the Louisiana Coalition on Domestic Violence, 81 percent of female homicides are committed by a partner or an ex-partner.
At New Orleans City Council's health, education and social services committee meeting this afternoon, members of local domestic violence prevention and aid organizations presented their efforts to curb the epidemic in the New Orleans area.
"Louisiana is one of the most dangerous, violent places to be a wife, a mother, a girlfriend," said Kati Bambrick Rodriguez, director of the New Orleans Health Department's Domestic Violence Program. According to Rodriguez, Orleans Parish has issued 3,420 personal protective orders (compared to Baton Rouge, which issued 2,088), though only 24 percent of people seeking protection actually get it, she said. Rodriguez added that no LGBT victims of domestic violence have received a protective order.
In a damning 129-page order, U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt granted a new trial for the five New Orleans Police Department officers convicted of shooting at unarmed people on the Danziger Bridge and covering up the events in the days following Hurricane Katrina. James Brissette and Ronald Madison were killed. Four others were wounded.
Engelhardt granted the motion filed by former NOPD Sgt. Archie Kaufman, as well as Kenneth Bowen, Robert Faulcon, Robert Gisevius and Anthony Villavaso.
Engelhardt largely based his ruling on what he calls a campaign to influence the media of NOPD's culture of corruption, and the "carnival atmosphere" of online comments from former prosecutors who used several aliases to discuss the case. The commenters — Sal Perricone and Jan Mann — were not directly involved with the case, but Engelhardt noted in his order that the case was intended to be about the gross misconduct of NOPD officers and ended with other acts of misconduct on the prosecuting side.
In 2011, a federal jury found the officers guilty on 25 counts, including falsification of witness statements, fabrication of evidence, making false statements to the FBI, deprivation of civil rights, and obstruction of justice. The jury did not find the shootings constituted murder, though Bowen, Falucon, Gisevius and Villavaso were convicted of firing their weapons. They were sentenced in April 2012 to up to 65 years in prison. Kaufman was sentenced to six years in prison for his role in the cover up.
DJ Soul Sister is among the organizers and a performer for a concert benefitting Gambit second line correspondent Deborah "Big Red" Cotton taking place at Gasa Gasa next Friday, July 26.
Cotton, who was one of the 19 people injured at the mass shooting that occurred at a second line in the Seventh Ward on Mother's Day, is out of the hospital but still faces a long rehabilitation. There is a $10 cover and 100% of the proceeds from the event will go to help Cotton with her medical expenses.
Those who cannot attend the benefit but still wish to help can donate to Deb's medical fund here.
Brothers Akein and Shawn Scott pleaded not guilty this morning to 20 counts of attempted second-degree murder.
The New Orleans Police Department charges that Akein Scott, 19, fired into the crowd at the Original Big 7 Social Aid & Pleasure Club second line parade on Mother's Day, injuring 20 people. Akein and Shawn — who allegedly appears with Akein in video surveillance footage — were charged with 20 counts of attempted second-degree murder and 14 counts of aggravated assault with a firearm. The brothers are represented by the Orleans Parish Public Defenders Office.
Following a federal class action lawsuit filed last year by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and others, a settlement was reached with the state of Louisiana to remove hundreds of people from sex offender registries because of "crimes against nature" by solicitation (CANS) convictions.
Among the defendants in Doe v. Caldwell: Louisiana attorney general Buddy Caldwell, Department of Public Safety and Corrections Secretary James LeBlanc, and Louisiana State Police Superintendent Michael Edmonson.
People convicted under Louisiana's centuries-old law against solicitation of "crimes against nature" no longer have to register as sex offenders, thanks to a law passed in 2011 that equalizes the penalties for prostitution and solicitation of "crimes against nature" (oral and anal sex) — but the law was not retroactive.
5 p.m. Thursday, June 6 update: The New Orleans Inspector General's office issued a report saying the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office (OPSO) is "adequately funded" and recommends that the city "not appropriate funds for the jail unless OPSO provides it with a detailed, functional budget that identifies the specific jail expenditures the revenues support." Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux said in a statement, "The root cause is a dysfunctional structure that gives OPSO a blank check that the City must sign, and ensures that neither the City nor OPSO can be held wholly accountable for conditions in the Jail. The Jail will remain as it is until that structure is changed.”
U.S. District Judge Lance Africk approved a federal consent decree this afternoon between the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Department of Justice to address the controversial conditions at Orleans Parish Prison.
The consent decree, to be assessed and overseen by an independent monitor, is welcomed by Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman, though he has repeatedly stressed that his office and the jail are run constitutionally. Gusman instead has claimed that the jail's conditions are due to a lack of funding and leadership from Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the city. Landrieu's office has objected to the consent decree, which his office argues will cost the city $110 million over five years.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
A Message 2 Musicians who think MUSIC is NEW ORLEANS: In order for, you musicians,…
more on the signing at http://www.octaviabooks.com/event/phillip-…
The Noise Ordinance should meet the needs of an economically viable New Orleans that can…
And don't forget that Ignatius drank tooo, treee or more of Dr Nuts!!!. Dr Pepper…
The guy is Snooki with a beard. The fact that some people take him so…
God's speed, Rodrigue
A word to the wise. NEVER celebrate after you have been declared cancer free. You…
to "Clancy's Reckoning;" If you have any doubt about Gambit's judgement of character chew on…
George was a rare person who never said a bad thing about anyone and likewise…
From the Spin article: "While Hope Road legally has the trademark to the phrase in…