New Orleans City Hall

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Desiree Charbonnet plans 'important announcement' Mon. May 22

Posted By on Tue, May 16, 2017 at 3:17 PM

Desiree Charbonnet.
  • Desiree Charbonnet.

Former Municipal Court Judge Desiree Charbonnet, who stepped down from her judgeship last month in what was seen as preamble to joining the New Orleans mayor's race, has invited supporters to "an important announcement" May 22 at the Sheraton Hotel New Orleans.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Federal judge blocks Trump's order to pull funding from "sanctuary" cities

Posted By on Tue, Apr 25, 2017 at 6:08 PM

Protesters in New Orleans march against Trump's immigration orders in January.
  • Protesters in New Orleans march against Trump's immigration orders in January.

As Mayor Mitch Landrieu and other U.S. mayors met with Attorney General Jeff Sessions over "sanctuary" cities, a federal judge in California halted an order from President Donald Trump that threatens to withhold federal funds from those cities.

U.S. District Judge William Orrick granted a preliminary injunction in two lawsuits against Trump's order to halt funding to cities with so-called "sanctuary" policies that prevent local law enforcement from complying with federal immigration authorities over immigration issues. New Orleans was listed among nine jurisdictions targeted by the Trump administration, despite Landrieu and other officials repeatedly assuring the city's compliance with the feds. Santa Clara County and San Francisco said billions of dollars in funding could be at stake; New Orleans similarly relies on several million federal dollars annually for citywide funding.
Trump is unable to withhold federal funding "that bears no meaningful relationship to immigration enforcement ... merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration enforcement strategy of which the President disapproves," according to the ruling.

"These constitutional violations are not limited to San Francisco or Santa Clara, but apply equally to all states and local jurisdictions," the ruling says. "Given the nationwide scope of the Order, and its apparent constitutional flaws, a nationwide injunction is appropriate."

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Monday, April 24, 2017

New Orleans removes first of four Confederate-era monuments, announces funding to take down the rest

Posted By on Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 9:03 AM

The Battle of Liberty Place statue at Canal Place was removed in the early morning hours April 24.
  • The Battle of Liberty Place statue at Canal Place was removed in the early morning hours April 24.
A few hours after construction crews began removing a statue intended to recognize "white supremacy in the South," Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced that the city should "truly remember all of our history, not part of it." The Battle of Liberty Place obelisk — one of four statues targeted for removal by the city, and what Landrieu called the "most offensive" of the four — was the first to come down.

The statues — which Landrieu said were "first erected as an affront to America, intended to deny the humanity of millions of Americans" — will be moved to a city-held warehouse before they move to a museum or similar building. Other statues to be removed include Robert E. Lee at Lee Circle, P.G.T. Beauregard at the entrance to City Park, and Jefferson Davis on Jefferson Davis Parkway in Mid-City.

Debate over their removal has swirled over the last several decades, but it came into sharp focus when Landrieu announced their removal in 2015. Debates continued at City Hall and elsewhere as officials mulled a "nuisance" ordinance under which the monuments could be removed, arguing their construction "suggests the supremacy of one ethnic, religious, or racial group over any other, or gives honor or praise to any violent actions taken wrongfully against citizens of the city to promote ethnic, religious, or racial supremacy of any group over another."

“The removal of these statues sends a clear and unequivocal message to the people of New Orleans and the nation: New Orleans celebrates our diversity, inclusion and tolerance,” Landrieu said in a statement early this morning. “Relocating these Confederate monuments is not about taking something away from someone else. This is not about politics, blame or retaliation. This is not a naïve quest to solve all our problems at once. This is about showing the whole world that we as a city and as a people are able to acknowledge, understand, reconcile — and most importantly — choose a better future. We can remember these divisive chapters in our history in a museum or other facility where they can be put in context — and that’s where these statues belong.”

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Friday, March 31, 2017

LaToya Cantrell is running for mayor

Posted By on Fri, Mar 31, 2017 at 1:03 PM

City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell speaks at the Women's March New Orleans in January. - KAT STROMQUIST
  • KAT STROMQUIST
  • City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell speaks at the Women's March New Orleans in January.

As was widely speculated, District B Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell will be running for mayor in the municipal election this fall. A spokesman for Cantrell confirmed today that an announcement will be coming soon.

Though Cantrell has made no formal announcement, she's dropped hints over the past few months about feeling a “call to serve.” Today a slick election website was unveiled seeking donations and highlighting her accomplishments as a Broadmoor community leader and city councilwoman.

The only other announced candidate is former Judge Michael Bagneris, though many familiar names are expected to join the race. Among the possibilities: State Rep. Walt Leger, State Sen. JP Morrell, State Sen. Troy Carter, Councilman At-Large Jason Williams, Judge Desiree Charbonnet and real estate developer Sidney Torres.

Qualifying takes place in July.

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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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