Press Release of the Day

Monday, October 1, 2012

Press release: Full funding secured for New Orleans East Hospital

Posted By on Mon, Oct 1, 2012 at 3:45 PM

More on the hospital at

NEW ORLEANS, LA — Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued a commitment to insure a $97.6 million mortgage loan for the New Orleans East Hospital. The mortgage insurance ensures that the financing package will be completed and construction can progress on time. The mortgage, insured under the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Section 242 Hospital Mortgage Insurance program, will support the construction of a full service hospital in New Orleans East.

Since he took office in May 2010, Mayor Landrieu has worked aggressively to open a full-service hospital at the former Pendleton Memorial Methodist Hospital site. The $130 million project will restore full-service healthcare to residents in New Orleans East.

“This is an important milestone that could not have been achieved without the commitment, collaboration and hard work of the board and local legislators,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “We are now one very important step closer to achieving our goal. The strength of the U.S. Government is now behind the financing of the New Orleans East Hospital and we will continue to move forward to bring this full service hospital to the New Orleans East community.”

(More after the jump)

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Press release: National Guard opens three emergency supply sites

Posted By on Thu, Aug 30, 2012 at 5:07 PM

NEW ORLEANS, LA— This afternoon, the City of New Orleans provided a status update on the ground conditions as Tropical Storm Isaac moves out of south Louisiana. Mayor Mitch Landrieu urged residents to remain patient and continue to be on guard as hazardous conditions remain outside and on the roadways. The City also announced that the National Guard has opened three Point of Distribution (POD) sites where citizens can pick up critical supplies including ice, water, and MREs. The Mayor also announced that the dusk-to-dawn curfew has been lifted.

“Tropical Storm Isaac is moving out of our area and the worst of the storm is behind us,” Mayor Landrieu said. “However, there are still dangerous conditions outside. Our city remains under a tornado watch and flash flood watch and there are many downed trees and power lines. Conditions on the roadways are hazardous. I urge you to stay off them as much as possible. And when you move around the city, please stop at every intersection. Please drive with extreme caution.”

The National Guard is now opening three emergency POD sites where citizens can pick up critical supplies including ice, water, and MREs in New Orleans East, Bywater, and on the West Bank. POD sites will be open from 6am until approximately 8pm or until daylight allows. Those locations include:

5501 Read Blvd in New Orleans East near the intersection of Read and Lake Forrest Blvd;
2730 Vespasian Blvd on the West Bank; and
700 Poland Avenue in the Bywater.
The dusk-to-dawn curfew for New Orleans has been lifted. However, residents are urged to use caution. Crews are working to clear debris from the streets and repair traffic signals throughout the city. Residents are asked to stop at every intersection out of an abundance of caution. The NOPD will be out in full force tonight enforcing the law.

The City of New Orleans has deployed approximately 2,900 emergency personnel that are on the ground maintaining order and assisting with recovery. At day break today, more than 1,500 responders have fanned out across the city to begin clearing debris, fixing traffic signals and street lights, placing temporary stop signs, and restoring power.

More than 250 Parks and Parkways and Sanitation workers and contractors are clearing debris and downed trees. They are clearing major corridors, problem areas called into 311 and 911 and others identified during assessment.

Dozens of Public Works employees and contractors are restoring stop signs and street signals at intersections.

Property Management is assessing the condition of City buildings and moving to repair damage from the storm.

The most impacted areas of the city were outside the levee protection system. The City has dispatched crews to Lake Catherine, Irish Bayou, Fort Pike, and Venetian Isles to provide assistance and supplies as the water subsides. Mayor Landrieu visited the area earlier today.

The City’s Emergency Operations Center, which has operated around the clock since Monday, is continuing to coordinate damage assessments and cleanup efforts. The City’s 311 hotline is also operating around the clock for residents seeking information and for residents to report street flooding, malfunctioning traffic signals or other issues of concern. The 311 hotline has received over 16,000 calls since Monday.

An emergency declaration has been declared that includes Orleans Parish for public assistance for debris removal and emergency protective measures. FEMA is not reimbursing individual home owners. For home insurance purposes, the City encourages citizens to closely track their recovery costs and activities by taking pictures and keeping all receipts and other documents.

(Continued after the jump)

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

City press release: No RTA, Greyhound bus service today; city completes about 50 medical needs transfers

Posted By on Tue, Aug 28, 2012 at 6:25 AM

NEW ORLEANS, LA— At 11:00 p.m. Monday, August 27, the City of New Orleans provided an update on the City’s readiness in advance of Tropical Storm Isaac potential landfall in southeast Louisiana on Tuesday.

At this time, there is no mandatory evacuation order for New Orleans. Mayor Landrieu has strongly encouraged residents who live outside the City’s levee protection system or in low-lying areas (like Venetian Isles and Irish Bayou) to get to higher ground. Residents who live inside the levee system that have not left the city should prepare to take shelter with essential supplies including food, water, and medications. Residents will need to prepare to be self-sufficient for at least three days in the event of street flooding and power outages.

The City will not operate shelters of last resort. However, four local homeless shelters have added additional capacity to serve homeless residents.

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Press release: City update on storm readiness

Posted By on Mon, Aug 27, 2012 at 6:39 PM

NEW ORLEANS, LA— Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu urged residents to brace for severe weather conditions as Tropical Storm Isaac moved toward an expected Tuesday morning landfall as a strong Category 1 or Category 2 hurricane. Mayor Landrieu has declared a state of emergency and mobilized City departments and partner agencies to prepare for a significant storm.

“We have a plan in place to secure the City, and we have a plan to respond quickly in the event of emergencies,” Mayor Landrieu said. “We’re confident that the work we’ve done in the last few years makes us fully capable of handling this type of storm.”

At this time, there is no mandatory evacuation order for New Orleans. However, Mayor Landrieu strongly encouraged residents who live outside the City’s levee protection system or in low-lying areas (like Venetian Isles and Irish Bayou) to get to higher ground. Residents who live inside the levee system should prepare to take shelter with essential supplies including food, water, and medications. Residents will need to be self-sufficient for at least three days in the event of street flooding and power outages.

“Now is the time to take every precaution that you have been prepared to take over the past few years because that will determine our success in getting through this event,” Mayor Landrieu added. “Stay calm, take this seriously and execute your plans."

The City will not operate shelters of last resort. However, four local homeless shelters have added additional capacity to serve homeless residents.

(Continued after the jump)

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

97% of NOPD survey respondents say the department has insufficient manpower

Posted By on Tue, Jul 10, 2012 at 3:51 PM

Or to put it a bit more precisely, 97 percent of the 463 verified New Orleans Police Department employees who took Dr. Peter Scharf's job satisfaction survey disagree with the statement, "The overall department has sufficient manpower."

That's one of several teaser results Scharf's office sent in a press release today. Here's another, which is quite possibly related to that manpower issue: 80 percent of respondents said that if they could switch to another department without losing their current pay and benefits, they would.

Scharf and his staff will give a more detailed summary of the results at a press conference tomorrow afternoon.

Read the full press release, with more results from the survey, after the jump.

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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Press release: City creates new office to coordinate NOPD's "aorta of corruption"

Posted By on Thu, May 31, 2012 at 4:32 PM

Moments after Travers Mackel broke the news on WDSU, Mayor Mitch Landrieu's office sent out a press release (below) announcing the creation of the Office of Police Secondary Employment, which will oversee paid details for New Orleans Police Department officers. It will be headed up by John Salomone, a retired Amy lieutenant colonel. Salomone will report to Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin.

Such a paid detail office, outside of the police department, has been expected for a while, as part of a consent decree between the NOPD and the US Department of Justice. Negotiations on the long-awaited agreement are "98 percent" complete, Landrieu said in his May 22 State of the City address.

You can access last year's report on the NOPD by the U.S. Department of Justice, which says the following — "It is widely acknowledged that NOPD’s Detail system is corrupting; as stated by one close observer of the Department, the paid Detail system may be the 'aorta of corruption' within NOPD" — here.


Retired Army Lieutenant Colonel John Salomone to Run Police Secondary Employment Office; Will Report to CAO

NEW ORLEANS, LA—Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced a major step forward in his efforts to reform the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) by creating the Office of Police Secondary Employment to be run by retired Army Lieutenant Colonel John Salomone. Salomone, who has 21 years of military service and who never served as a police officer, will report to Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin. Landrieu first announced that the City would move forward with the independent office last week in his 2012 State of the City Address.

“We have not waited on the consent decree to reform the NOPD,” said Mayor Landrieu. “I have confidence that Lieutenant Colonel Salomone will be able to set up a new, independent organization that better manages secondary employments for police officers. This will be a complete overhaul of the old paid detail system.”

Last year, Mayor Landrieu gave NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas a mandate to completely and totally overhaul the NOPD paid detail system, which he had already included in his 65-point plan for transforming the department in summer 2010. Since that time, Administration officials and the U.S. Department of Justice have been negotiating the terms of a consent decree that will guide systemic reform of the NOPD. The overhaul of the paid detail system is a key part of those reforms.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

More with less

Posted By on Thu, May 24, 2012 at 11:25 AM

In light of today's announcement from the newly created NOLA Media Group, I'd like to draw everyone's attention to this 2008 column by the American Journalism Review's Rem Rieder, slamming the dishonest language of newspaper layoff press releases, which often appear as a "news item" in the business pages.

Inevitably, the publisher accompanies news of the bloodletting with the solemn declaration that the cutbacks in no way suggest that the paper is backing off from its commitment to world-class public service journalism.

There's not really a problem, you see. The paper is going to do more with less.

This nonsense is repeated so often that it's amazing anyone can still say it with a straight face. Certainly no one believes it.

(Continued after the jump)

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Three important facts about American Idol's Joshua Ledet

Posted By on Fri, May 18, 2012 at 4:08 PM

After making it to the top three in the singing competition, Westlake, La. native Joshua Ledet was eliminated from last night's American Idol. The 20-year-old throwback crooner must have been a popular contestant, because now teenagers on the Internet are yelling about how the elimination process is clearly rigged (controversy among viewers about the show's viewer controlled voting process has existed since the beginning).

Let us pay tribute to Ledet with the scholarly journal Us Weekly, who earlier this week sent over a press release including 25 facts about the remaining Idol contestants. Here are three important things to know about Ledet:

“I’m terrified of feathers.”

“I just recently found out that unicorns weren’t real.”

“I once fell asleep on a roller coaster.”

Good thing he chose singing, and not unicorn biology or pillow-making, as a vocation.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Photos: Alleged criminal looks bemused-on-the-way-to-annoyed after mild crime

Posted By on Tue, Apr 17, 2012 at 4:40 PM

"Why is the NOPD — which, from time to time, takes as much as three days to get around to making a homicide announcement — sending out a press release about a goddamn parked car hit and run?" is what I thought at first.

Then I realized that this everyday crime about which I couldn't care less came with these delightful pictures, which I love. Presumably taken by the victim with his or her phone camera, the alleged perpetrator and her companion are captured in an emotional sweet spot precisely halfway between bewildered and pissed.



(Full press release after the jump)

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

SPLC on jail building closure: "Tragically, this incremental reform occurred only after the abusive conditions at OPP destroyed countless lives"

Posted By on Wed, Apr 11, 2012 at 9:55 AM

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which filed a federal class-action lawsuit against the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office last week, today issued the following statement in response to Sheriff Marlin Gusman's decision to close the Orleans Parish Prison's House of Detention:

New Orleans, La. – The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) commends Sheriff Marlon Gusman’s decision to close the Orleans Parish Prison (OPP) House of Detention today but calls for the Sheriff’s Department to make additional reforms to better protect the community and save taxpayer dollars.

The SPLC brought a federal class action civil rights lawsuit against the Orleans Parish Sheriff earlier this month. The lawsuit charged that Sheriff Gusman’s indifference created brutal and inhumane conditions at the Orleans Parish Prison where prisoners endured rampant violence, multiple sexual assaults and neglect.

“The closure of the House of Detention represents an important first step on the way to real reform in the Orleans Parish Prison,” said Katie Schwartzmann, managing attorney of SPLC’s Louisiana office. “Sheriff Gusman took this action in the wake of federal marshals removing their prisoners from his custody about three weeks ago, the Department of Justice investigative tour of OPP that occurred last week, SPLC’s class action lawsuit also filed last week, and the scathing report on OPP issued yesterday by the federal Review Panel on Prison Rape.”

“The Sheriff should be commended for finally recognizing the intolerable and inhumane conditions at OPP,” said Schwartzmann. “Tragically, this incremental reform occurred only after the abusive conditions at OPP destroyed countless lives. Resolving the crisis at OPP will require more than moving people from one jail to another. It’s time to recognize that New Orleans and the Sheriff’s Department invests far too many resources in imprisonment—at the expense of alternatives that could better protect our communities and save taxpayer dollars.”

The federal complaint filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana describes a facility where violence and wide-spread contraband are the norm, and details the abusive treatment endured by prisoners with mental illness, including denial of mental health services that leave the prisoners extremely vulnerable to physical attacks. It also noted the facility is understaffed and that deputies are poorly trained and supervised – often complicit in the abuses suffered by the prisoners.

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