New Orleans City Hall

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Landrieu: "NOPD's policy on immigration complies with federal law"

Posted By on Wed, Mar 22, 2017 at 7:15 PM

Protesters outside City Hall following Trump's January immigration order. - KAT STROMQUIST
  • KAT STROMQUIST
  • Protesters outside City Hall following Trump's January immigration order.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu stood by New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) policy following a report that puts New Orleans on a list of U.S. cities that "limit cooperation" with federal immigration authorities.

Landrieu says targeting immigrant communities is likely to break any trust between them and police, which could prevent people from reporting crimes or testifying as witnesses, under threat of their immigration status being questioned.

“First and foremost, the NOPD does now and will continue to follow federal laws and focus on arresting people who commit crime, regardless of their immigration status," Landrieu said in a March 21 statement. "The NOPD’s policy on immigration complies with federal law and makes New Orleans safer because individuals are more likely to report crime, and victims and witnesses can testify without fear of being questioned about their immigration status. That’s why the NOPD will continue to focus on arresting those who commit violent crimes, not enforcing civil immigration laws."

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Landrieu selects old VA hospital for low-barrier homeless shelter

Posted By on Wed, Mar 15, 2017 at 6:05 PM

PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER
  • Photo by Cheryl Gerber
Following debate among city officials and residents over the placement of a proposed low-barrier homeless shelter, Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced on March 15 an expansion of homeless services at the former Veterans Affairs hospital on Gravier Street. The expansion is expected to add 100 overnight beds with little or no barrier for entry, including no cost of admission or sobriety test, and 24-hour access.

In 2015, Landrieu announced the city had effectively eliminated homelessness among veterans by using a housing-first model and partnering with a broad group of federal, state and local agencies and nonprofit groups. It has since housed nearly 500 veterans. Landrieu said 44 people experiencing homelessness died in New Orleans last year, and the inclusion of 100 new low-barrier beds — in the same building with nearby health and housing services — "can be critical as we seek to connect even more homeless to the necessary services they need to get into stable housing.”

"Today’s announcement allows us to deliver on our promise to expand services and reduce barriers that prevent the homeless in our city from accessing care,” Landrieu said in a statement.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

City Council defers vote on rental registry to March 9

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 4:35 PM

New Orleans City Councilmembers LaToya Cantrell and Jason Williams at a press conference outside City Hall before debate over a proposed rental registry.
  • New Orleans City Councilmembers LaToya Cantrell and Jason Williams at a press conference outside City Hall before debate over a proposed rental registry.

The New Orleans City Council will delay a vote on a rental registry and inspection program to next month. At-Large Councilmember Jason Williams and District B Councilmember LaToya Cantrell sponsored a measure that would require landlords of most private rentals to register their properties with the city and subject them to inspections that must meet a checklist of health and safety requirements before they can be rented out. The City Council deferred voting on the measure last month, and it will defer the measure again to March 9 at its meeting on Feb. 23.

Cantrell and Williams will "continue to work on the legislation with their fellow Councilmembers and with New Orleans citizens to ensure the best ordinance going forward," according to the City Council's agenda announcement.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

New Orleans City Council proposes resolution against immigration order

Posted By on Wed, Feb 8, 2017 at 4:40 PM

A protest at City Hall Jan. 29. - KAT STROMQUIST
  • KAT STROMQUIST
  • A protest at City Hall Jan. 29.

New Orleans District C Councilmember Nadine Ramsey, with all six other members of the Council signing on, will introduce a resolution opposing President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration and refugee entry. In a statement, Ramsey says the resolution declares the order an "unconstitutional travel ban against people of Muslim faith, contrary to American ideals and values that poses a security risk to Americans at home and abroad." Ramsey will introduce the resolution at the Council's next meeting at 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9.

"The United States has made similar mistakes in the past, which should not be repeated," Ramsey said. "This is a moment in history when an international and welcoming City such as New Orleans should not be silent."

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Sunday, January 29, 2017

New Orleans joins nationwide immigration ban protests

Posted By and on Sun, Jan 29, 2017 at 8:45 PM

Several hundred people marched from City Hall to Lee Circle to protest anti-immigration measures targeting people from majority-Muslim countries. - KAT STROMQUIST
  • KAT STROMQUIST
  • Several hundred people marched from City Hall to Lee Circle to protest anti-immigration measures targeting people from majority-Muslim countries.

"I couldn't stay home another day watching the news," said Maha Buchholz, holding back tears as she spoke through a megaphone to several hundred people outside New Orleans City Hall. Thousands of people around the U.S. continue to protest Donald Trump's executive order banning immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries, leaving families in customs limbo in several airports and raising constitutional questions as a campaign promise of a "total and complete ban" on Muslim entry turned into "extreme vetting." A rally outside City Hall Jan. 29 joined the growing nationwide protest against the Trump administration's freeze on refugee and immigrant entry.

"The president is supposed to be the grown-up in the room, not a bratty child," said Buchholz, whose family immigrated to New Orleans in the 1970s. "These refugees are escaping war. They had homes like us. They are teachers. They are doctors ... I've lived in New Orleans all my life. I grew up going to Mardi Gras, and I met my New Orleans husband here. And we are raising our family here. And guess what? I am a Muslim."

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Landrieu: Trump's "sanctuary cities" policy won't endanger federal funding for New Orleans

Posted By on Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 6:48 PM

CHERYL GERBER
  • CHERYL GERBER

As President Donald Trump prepares to deny entry to immigrants and funding to cities he believes are harboring criminals living in the country illegally, Mayor Mitch Landrieu says New Orleans has complied with federal law and isn't in danger of losing federal funds. Landrieu also said the New Orleans Police Department "will not be coerced into joining Trump’s deportation army" via a deputized Homeland Security force.

Trump's executive orders likely will make "sanctuary cities" ineligible to receive federal grants, and the administration plans to publish, on a weekly basis, "a comprehensive list of criminal actions" allegedly committed by immigrants.

"The NOPD is focused on arresting those who commit violent crimes, not enforcing civil immigration laws," Landrieu said in a statement. "Those who commit a crime will be arrested — political theatrics have no bearing on the serious work at hand."

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Monday, January 23, 2017

Landrieu calls for expanded surveillance, strict bar rules under citywide crime plan

Posted By on Mon, Jan 23, 2017 at 6:00 PM

surveillance-2-1540939.jpg

A sweeping surveillance plan calls for 200 cameras throughout several New Orleans neighborhoods, while New Orleans bars will have to close their doors (but not close for the night) at 3 a.m. as a network of law enforcement tightens pedestrian traffic. The rules are part of a citywide plan from Mayor Mitch Landrieu with the cooperation of the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD), Gov. John Bel Edwards, the Louisiana State Police (LSP), the FBI and members of the New Orleans City Council.

The $40 million plan adds surveillance cameras to 20 "hotspots" through the city to be monitored by NOPD, as well as license plate readers at more than 100 intersections, "remote sensing technology" to detect weapons, and bomb-sniffing K-9 units. Bourbon Street will be pedestrian-only for major events and will go permanently pedestrian-only when the city finalizes a traffic plan, likely within four to six months. Bourbon Street will also have more lighting.

"When you go on Bourbon Street, everything you do will be seen," Landrieu said at a press conference Jan. 23.  "Do I need to let that sink in?"

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Friday, January 20, 2017

Hundreds march against Trump in New Orleans and "inaugurate the resistance"

Posted By on Fri, Jan 20, 2017 at 9:15 PM

Hundreds of protesters march on Canal Street Jan. 20.
  • Hundreds of protesters march on Canal Street Jan. 20.

A day of protest in New Orleans began with a mock funeral at the Mississippi River and ended with dozens of protesters linking arms at Duncan Plaza. On Jan. 20, as Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President, hundreds of New Orleanians marched in the streets, offering satire in the morning and a massive call to organize against threats to marginalized communities in the afternoon. On Jan. 21, a Women's March in solidarity with similar events around the U.S. is expected to attract thousands more people,

"Staying at home and being a political armchair quarterback — that's not going to work," said Chuck Perkins, addressing a crowd after dark in Duncan Plaza. "We have to organize."

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

New Orleans rental registry and inspections gets City Council support, but debate will continue

Posted By on Wed, Jan 18, 2017 at 7:30 PM

New Orleans City Councilmembers LaToya Cantrell and Jason Williams at a press conference outside City Hall before debate over a proposed rental registry.
  • New Orleans City Councilmembers LaToya Cantrell and Jason Williams at a press conference outside City Hall before debate over a proposed rental registry.

A program to register and inspect most rental units in the city will head to the New Orleans City Council, but councilmembers are likely to make changes to the measure in the coming weeks.

A 4-0 vote from the Council's Community Development Committee Jan. 18 sends the 15-page plan — an ordinance outlining the fees for rental unit registration and requirements for inspection — to the full Council for a vote, but councilmembers, residents and landlords raised several questions about how it'll work and whether there could be significant negative impacts to the city's affordable housing stock. "The bottom line is, our citizens deserve better," said District B Councilmember LaToya Cantrell, who co-authored the ordinance with At-Large Councilmember Jason Williams. "Housing that doesn’t meet quality standards impacts everybody."

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Friday, December 23, 2016

American Can and the future of affordable housing in New Orleans

Posted By on Fri, Dec 23, 2016 at 2:00 PM

americancan.jpg

New Orleans housing advocacy groups demand the owners of the American Can Company apartments halt evictions after low-income tenants there were told to leave their homes, with an end-of-2016 deadline.

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS) and the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC), representing Michael Esnault, a Vietnam War veteran and tenant at the building for more than six years. and other tenants at the Mid-City apartment building, demand the owners extend the deadline and help ease affordability options for the dozens of tenants facing the loss of their housing.

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