Jefferson Parish

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Metairie Family Gras lineup announced

Posted By on Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Fitz and the Tantrums (Moneygrabber) will be playing the first day of Family Gras in Jefferson Parish.
  • Fitz and the Tantrums ("Moneygrabber") will be playing the first day of Family Gras in Jefferson Parish.

If you want a taste of Carnival during Super Bowl weekend, you'll have to leave Orleans Parish and head to Jefferson, where there are three parades on the East Bank and one on the West Bank. Or you can go to the Veterans Memorial Boulevard neutral ground in front of Lakeside Shopping Center, where the parish's annual Family Gras festival will be held Fri.-Sat. Feb. 1-2, featuring plenty of live music both days. The first day's theme is "Fun Friday" (wear your Carnival colors), while the second day is "Sports Saturday," where attendees are encouraged to break out the colors of their favorite teams. (In response to the commenter below: Family Gras has been abbreviated to two days this year because of the Super Bowl, but the festival plans on going back to three days next year.)

Under the jump: the lineups for both days. They're still working out some of the times, but here's what we know:

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Broussard's ministry

Posted By on Fri, Sep 21, 2012 at 10:51 PM

The latest rumor about former Jefferson Parish president Aaron Broussard is that he has decided to form a prison ministry in anticipation of his conviction on federal criminal charges. He faces several dozen felony counts, including conspiracy, fraud and bribery, among others.

Several of Broussard’s friends have told me they heard “prison ministry” talk from Broussard himself, so it’s more than just a rumor. Of course, most of those same friends also shake their heads when they tell that story. Some wonder if Broussard has lost his senses.

It’s not unusual for those who have found the Lord to be accused of insanity. Broussard’s well-documented penchant for showing his emotions publicly merely adds a measure of believability to such talk. After all, the other rumor — which I have heard from attorneys who I believe know a thing or two about this case — is that the feds offered Broussard a plea deal that would have let him off with probation … and he turned it down.

If that’s true, the presiding judge should appoint a sanity commission forthwith. After all, you don’t have to be an inmate to have a successful prison ministry. Just ask Sister Helen Prejean.

Meanwhile, Broussard’s last remaining co-defendant, former Jefferson Parish Attorney Tom Wilkinson, proved this past week that he’s no loon. Wilkinson cut a deal to plead guilty to a single charge of conspiracy to commit misprision of a felony. In return for his expected testimony against Broussard, the feds are dropping 22 more serious felony counts against him.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Broussard co-defendant has charges drastically reduced, may be cooperating with feds

Posted By on Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 2:56 PM

Court filings indicated that former Jefferson Parish Attorney Tom Wilkinson, who last month pleaded not guilty to more than 20 counts of fraud and conspiracy for his alleged role in the ongoing corruption case centered around former parish president Aaron Broussard, may be cooperating with federal investigators.

U.S. Attorney Jim Letten today filed a superseding bill of information against Wilkinson. A bill of information generally indicates that a defendant has decided to cooperate. He was formerly charged in an indictment along with Broussard. What's more, the bill of information contains only one charge, misprision of a felony, the same, lesser charge to which Broussard's ex-wife Karen Parker and former parish Chief Administrative Officer have already pleaded guilty. Whitmer and Parker are both listed as witnesses for the prosecution in the case.

Read the bill of information: WilkinsonBOI.pdf

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Friday, August 3, 2012

Broussard, Wilkinson plead not guilty (again)

Posted By on Fri, Aug 3, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Aaron Broussard outside U.S. District Court following todays not guilty plea.
  • Aaron Broussard outside U.S. District Court following today's not guilty plea.

Former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard and former parish attorney Tom Wilkinson today pleaded not guilty to more than twenty federal charges including payroll fraud, theft of federal funds, conspiracy and, as of a second superseding indictment released by the U.S. Attorney's Office this week, bribery. Broussard, who has been receiving treatment for prostate cancer since March, revealed to federal Magistrate Judge Frances Stacy that he has recently been diagnosed with skin cancer.

Today marks the third time Broussard and Wilkinson pleaded not guilty before Stacy in an arraignment hearing, as the government's case has continued to evolve.

"This indictment's a bit different from the former indictment in that accusations have been added," Stacy said before reading out the charges.

(More after the jump)

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Aaron Broussard, Tom Wilkinson face new charges

Posted By on Fri, Jul 27, 2012 at 2:30 PM

Former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard and former parish attorney Tom Wilkinson face new charges from federal prosecutors, according to this morning's indictment, which adds six new charges to the duo's pending fraud charges. (Read the Aaron Broussard/Jeff Parish scandal FAQ here.)

Today's superseding indictment charges Broussard and Wilkinson with conspiracy to commit bribery, and Broussard was additionally charged with five counts of substantive bribery — unrelated to the 2003 conspiring to hire Broussard's then-girlfriend Karen Parker as a paralegal supervisor (despite not having any experience) and bumping up her salary significantly. (Parker pleaded guilty; Broussard and Wilkinson did not, to any of the 30-plus charges against them.)

In March, former parish chief administrative officer Tim Whitmer pleaded guilty to one count of concealment of a felony as part of a plea deal to cooperate with the prosecution in the Broussard case.

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mitt, Bath and Beyond

Posted By on Thu, Mar 22, 2012 at 10:46 AM

From the cartoon Awkward Voter Encounters With Mitt Romney.
  • MATT BORS
  • From the cartoon "Awkward Voter Encounters With Mitt Romney."
In Louisiana's GOP primary race, Rick Santorum may be leader of the pack coming up to Saturday's election, but Mitt Romney's going to be putting forth his best effort in Metairie Friday morning when he holds a mini-rally against President Barack Obama's health care plan at Clearview Mall's Clearview Room. The name of the rally: "Repeal and Replace Obamacare."

For Romney fans, this will be a great chance to get a close-up look at the candidate; the Clearview Rooms are two modest meeting spaces that are normally the home of baby and bridal shows.

"Boasting an elegant feel with over 3,000 square feet in two meeting rooms," the combined spaces can accommodate up to 300 people, and provide direct access to both the food court and Serrano's restaurant. Just remember: no confetti, glitter, rice, birdseed, streamers or open flames are allowed. Oh, and no DJs.

The rally is is scheduled to start at 9 a.m and is open to the public. Under the cut: A list of Louisiana politicos who are supporting or who have endorsed Romney, according to the campaign.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Broussard, Wilkinson plead not guilty

Posted By on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Broussard.jpg

Former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard and former parish attorney Tom Wilkinson pleaded not guilty to 38 counts — in theory carrying maximum sentences totaling 695 years each if convicted for all of them — of conspiracy , wire fraud and theft of programs receiving federal funds today in U.S. District Court before Magistrate Judge Frances Stacy.

According to the indictment, Broussard and Wilkinson in late 2003 improperly hired Broussard's then-girlfriend, now-ex-wife Karen Parker as paralegal supervisor for the parish attorney's office, despite the fact that Parker was unqualified for the position and was actually working in ID management for parish employees.

Read the indictment here: Broussard__Aaron___Wilkinson__Thomas_sind.pdf

Between 2003 and 2010, the government charges, Broussard increased Wilkinson's salary from $100,000 to $184,000 and in return, Wilkinson kept Parker on his staff, gradually increasing her salary from $48,000 to $64,000.

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Jefferson Parish bombshells

Posted By on Fri, Jan 20, 2012 at 11:45 AM

When the feds indicted former Jefferson Parish president Aaron Broussard, former parish attorney Tom Wilkinson and Broussard’s ex-wife Karen Parker for payroll fraud on Dec. 2, some courthouse observers wondered if that was all that the government had against Broussard.

Wonder no more.

With Parker’s guilty plea last week to a single count of misprision (failure to report a felony), followed quickly by a single count of misprision against former parish administrator (and top Broussard aide) Tim Whitmer, federal investigators signaled that there’s a whole lot more to come.

Meanwhile, Whitmer and the former Mrs. Broussard are cooperating with the feds against Broussard and probably River Birch landfill co-owner Fred Heebe.

That should make Broussard, Wilkinson, Heebe and a lot of others in Jefferson politics very uncomfortable.

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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Metairie dog park opens Saturday

Posted By on Thu, Jan 5, 2012 at 10:54 PM

An artists rendering of Lafreniere Bark.
  • An artist's rendering of Lafreniere Bark.

Lafreniere Bark, a new five-acre dog park, opens Saturday, Jan. 7, on the north side of Lafreniere Park (3000 Downs Blvd., Metairie) with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and event from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Everyone is welcome to attend the free event, and pet owners are encouraged to dress their dogs in Saints or LSU gear (You can choose another team if you dare.) and enter them in a pet sports costume contest. If you're ready to add a pet to your family, the Jefferson Parish SPCA will have animals available for adoption. Other activities also are planned.

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Friday, December 2, 2011

Press release: Former Jefferson Parish president indicted for conspiracy, wire fraud, theft

Posted By on Fri, Dec 2, 2011 at 12:43 PM

According to the indictment, ex-Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard, who resigned last year, allegedly overpaid his then-wife Karen Parker — who worked as a paralegal for the parish even though she wasn't qualified — by more than $20,000 per year.

The indictment says Parker earned over $320,000 working for Jefferson Parish from 2004-2010.

The feds allege that ex-parish attorney Thomas Wilkinson, who also resigned last year, was part of the scheme as well. According to the indictment, he authorized Parker's hiring at an inflated salary and then her subsequent raises. Here's how they say he did that:


THOMAS G. WILKINSON directed a subordinate employee to cross out the pay rate for defendant KAREN PARKER of $28,838.00 and write $48,000.00 on an official Parish of Jefferson, Department of Human Services, Request to Fill a Vacant Job Form.

Her salary would jump to $64,000 by 2012 under Wilkinson's watch, despite the fact that Parker wasn't trained or certified as a paralegal, according to the indictment. And while that was allegedly happening, Broussard approved more than $80,000 in pay raises for Wilkinson.

The press release, just in from U.S. Attorney Jim Letten's office:

aaron_broussard__thomas_wilkinson_and_karen_parker.jpg

(Complete press release plus the full indictment after the jump)

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