Mitch Landrieu

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Under City Council plan, citywide surveillance could expand to places that sell alcohol

Posted By on Wed, Dec 13, 2017 at 4:15 PM

PHOTO BY HARRY FODOR
  • PHOTO BY HARRY FODOR

Bars, breweries, music venues, restaurants, corner stores and any of the hundreds of businesses selling booze in New Orleans would be required to install street-facing cameras outside their doors and submit that footage to the city’s new crime camera nerve center, shared with the New Orleans Police Department and state and federal law enforcement, under the current language of a proposed ordinance that could face the New Orleans City Council as early as Dec. 14.

That proposed requirement falls under a section titled “Participation in Community Security Systems” inside a 22-page ordinance that aims to reconfigure how the city handles permits and violations for businesses selling alcohol.

The requirement — introduced by At-Large Councilwoman Stacy Head at the request of Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration — would supplement the more than 200 city-owned crime cameras, piped into a recently opened Real Time Crime Monitoring Center on the edge of the French Quarter. Under Head’s ordinance, the city’s cloud-based platform would archive the footage for no less than two weeks.

That one paragraph in a measure ostensibly tied to streamlining permitting for alcohol vendors has sounded an alarm for police watchdogs, community groups, bars and restaurants — and the ACLU of Louisiana, which announced Dec. 13 that it has “condemned” the measure, which “would threaten privacy rights without effectively reducing crime.”

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

New Orleans launches Blue Bikes bike rental program

Posted By on Tue, Dec 5, 2017 at 5:00 PM

Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced the launch of Blue Bikes, a citywide bike rental program, Dec. 5. - PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced the launch of Blue Bikes, a citywide bike rental program, Dec. 5.

New Orleans officials celebrated the official launch of a citywide bike rental program Dec. 5, opening 15 kiosks that dispense bright blue cruisers for hourly or annual use available 24 hours a day.

The city has selected 70 locations for the bike stations, totaling 700 bikes, expected to roll out over the next several months. Depending on rider demand, the city could expand to 90 stations with 900 bikes.

Dubbed Blue Bikes, the program operates with support from Blue Cross Blue Shield with bikes from bike rental company Social Bikes, which has launched bike rental programs across the U.S. and Canada. According to City Hall, the program is funded entirely through sponsorships, ads and rental fees.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

As Mayor-elect Cantrell begins City Hall transition, Landrieu plans to "finish strong" and glimpses life after term

Posted By on Tue, Nov 21, 2017 at 7:25 PM

Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell with Mayor Mitch Landrieu. - PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell with Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

New Orleans District B City Councilmember LaToya Cantrell celebrated her victory in the mayoral election over the weekend, but City Hall has been working on the transition from Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration to the next mayor-elect for several months.

When Landrieu entered office in 2010, inheriting a City Hall in “dysfunction” and “nearly bankrupt” under Mayor Ray Nagin, “We spent an inordinate amount of time just trying to understand how government was organized, what existed, and where things even were,” he said. “So much of our work in the early days was just trying to organize … I vowed to never leave the city in that shape for folks coming after us.”

In a joint press conference and display of harmony between the two politicians who often were at odds with the other through their terms in office, mayor-elect Cantrell ensured that after an abnormally long transition period, they’ll “not only come out on top but shine for the citizens of New Orleanians, because the people will definitely come first,” she said.

Exactly what will happen in the Cantrell camp within that long transition period (more than 160 days) and who will be a part of it — have not been announced, but some details emerged Nov. 21.

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Surveillance cameras in bars, homes could feed into New Orleans crime monitoring center

Posted By on Tue, Nov 21, 2017 at 6:32 PM

The city's Real Time Crime Monitoring Center oversees a citywide crime camera network. - PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • The city's Real Time Crime Monitoring Center oversees a citywide crime camera network.

A time stamp appeared above each person wandering into the live feed of Jackson Square, streaming into a command center overseeing citywide crime cameras monitored in real-time.

On Rampart Street on the edge of the French Quarter, the city’s new Real Time Crime Monitoring Center hopes to centralize a “blanket” of surveillance cameras — all of them, from city-owned crime cameras and license plate readers to cameras installed by residents and bars — for round-the-clock monitoring.

On Nov. 21, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and officials announced the opening of the center, a $5 million renovation and a “major phase” of Landrieu's sweeping $40 million crime prevention package announced in January. That plan includes 40 cameras planted in crime “hotspots,” with another 250 planned by spring 2018, and 22 license plate readers, with another 80 coming online in the coming months, along with tightened security measures on Bourbon Street and around the French Quarter.

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Landrieu writing a book on race relations, Confederate-era monuments

Posted By on Tue, Nov 21, 2017 at 1:56 PM

Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
  • Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

Here's something for your spring reading list: According to an Associated Press report, Mayor Mitch Landrieu is writing a book "about his views on race and his support for taking down four Confederate monuments earlier this year."

In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History will be published by Viking Press in March 2018. Here's what the publisher has to say about it:
“There is a difference between remembrance of history and reverence for it.” When Mitch Landrieu addressed the people of New Orleans in 
screen_shot_2017-11-21_at_1.52.09_pm.png
May 2017 about his decision to take down four Confederate monuments, including the statue of Robert E. Lee, he struck a nerve nationally, and his speech has now been heard or seen by millions across the country. In his first book, Mayor Landrieu discusses his personal journey on race as well as the path he took to making the decision to remove the monuments, tackles the broader history of slavery, race and institutional inequities that still bedevil America, and traces his personal relationship to this history. His father, as state senator and mayor, was a huge force in the integration of New Orleans in the 1960s and 19070s. Landrieu grew up with a progressive education in one of the nation’s most racially divided cities, but even he had to relearn Southern history as it really happened.

Equal parts unblinking memoir, history, and prescription for finally confronting America’s most painful legacy, In the Shadow of Statues will contribute strongly to the national conversation about race in the age of Donald Trump, at a time when racism is resurgent with seemingly tacit approval from the highest levels of government and when too many Americans have a misplaced nostalgia for a time and place that never existed.
Landrieu's predecessor in office, Ray Nagin, wrote his own memoir, Katrina's Secrets, and former Gov. Bobby Jindal penned two books, Leadership and Crisis and American Will: The Forgotten Choices That Changed Our Republic-And Offer Lessons for Its Future.

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Monday, November 13, 2017

Backed by tax incentives, massive IT company to open in New Orleans, hire 2,000 people

Posted By on Mon, Nov 13, 2017 at 5:56 PM

From outside the Superdome Nov. 13, Gov. John Bel Edwards and officials announced DXC's plans to open an office in New Orleans in 2018 with 2,000 hires over the next several years.
  • From outside the Superdome Nov. 13, Gov. John Bel Edwards and officials announced DXC's plans to open an office in New Orleans in 2018 with 2,000 hires over the next several years.

A multi-billion dollar IT company expects to open its New Orleans office in January 2018, with plans to hire 2,000 people within the next several years — all part of a multi-tiered effort among state and local politicians and business groups, tax incentive programs, local higher education systems, and the company itself, DXC Technology, which courted several states before landing with New Orleans.

At an announcement outside the Superdome Nov. 13, city and state officials didn’t mince words about the company’s arrival.

Gov. John Bel Edwards called it a “historic” announcement, expected to create more permanent direct jobs than any other development in recent Louisiana history. Mayor Mitch Landrieu called it a “game changer” and “a transformational moment” for the city in advance of its 300th anniversary, with the company’s decision signaling a flag-planting moment for the city and large investors, that there’s “no way city will ever be turned around again.” Greater New Orleans Inc.’s Michael Hecht said the arrival of DXC “emphatically validates New Orleans as a place for business and tech.”

The company’s arrival follows the state’s post-Katrina push for tech profusion, bolstered by tax credits and an ongoing narrative among city leaders and public-private partnershipping programs that the city can and will “win” in the highly competitive tech industry.

The city’s last “win” with General Electric followed gains with Gameloft and IBM, among others. DXC is likely to be its biggest “win" yet.

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

DOJ gives New Orleans "last chance" on NOPD immigration policy

Posted By on Thu, Oct 12, 2017 at 5:33 PM

New Orleans demonstrators rallied to support DACA and immigrant communities in September. - PHOTO BY KAT STROMQUIST
  • PHOTO BY KAT STROMQUIST
  • New Orleans demonstrators rallied to support DACA and immigrant communities in September.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is not convinced the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) complies with federal immigration rules, despite Mayor Mitch Landrieu's repeated assurance that policies limiting officers' involvement in immigration issues are well within bounds.

In a letter to Landrieu, Acting Assistant U.S. Attorney General Alan Hanson said NOPD policies — which include preventing officers from inquiring about immigration status — "may violate" a section of federal law involving local authorities communicating with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). unless it can prove that the policy does not "restrict New Orleans officers and employees from requesting information regarding immigration status from federal immigration officers."

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Landrieu issues endorsements in Saturday's election

Posted By on Tue, Oct 10, 2017 at 6:05 PM

Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
  • Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

Without press conference or fanfare, Mayor Mitch Landrieu this afternoon announced his endorsements in Saturday's election.

Most notably, Landrieu did not issue an endorsement in the mayoral race, nor in the race for City Council District A. In the City Council races, he endorsed Helena Moreno and Jason Williams for the At-Large Division 1 and At-Large Division 2 seats respectively, as well as Jay Banks in District B, Nadine Ramsey in District C, Jared Brossett in District D and James Gray in District E. He also urged renewal of three Orleans Parish School Board millages on the ballot.

Under the jump: Landrieu's statement.

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Friday, October 6, 2017

Mandatory curfew kicks in Saturday night in New Orleans as Nate approaches

Posted By on Fri, Oct 6, 2017 at 4:45 PM

Nate's forecast as of 4 p.m. Oct. 6 - NOAA/NWS
  • NOAA/NWS
  • Nate's forecast as of 4 p.m. Oct. 6
Update: City Hall and NOPD clarified the start of the curfew will be moved up from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced a curfew for New Orleans residents to stay off the streets from 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7 through Sunday morning — and possibly later — to avoid potential wind damage and floodwaters from Tropical Storm Nate, which is expected to become a Category 1 hurricane over the weekend. "Do the best you can to stay off the streets," Landrieu said at a City Hall press conference Oct. 6.

New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) will enforce that curfew; NOPD Chief Michael Harrison urged residents to "adhere to that curfew."

At that time, NOPD will set up barricades and close all underpasses. City officials told residents to find alternate routes. NOPD announced that officers will take "strong enforcement action against anyone found circumventing barricades or found in violation of curfew." Once winds go above 35 mph, the city will suspend public transit.

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Thursday, October 5, 2017

State of emergency issued for New Orleans as Tropical Storm Nate prepares to enter Gulf of Mexico

Posted By on Thu, Oct 5, 2017 at 6:40 PM

Tropical Storm Nate's trajectory as of 4 p.m. Oct. 5. - NOAA/NWS
  • NOAA/NWS
  • Tropical Storm Nate's trajectory as of 4 p.m. Oct. 5.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu has declared a state of emergency for New Orleans, which could endure heavy rains and winds as Tropical Storm Nate moves into the Gulf of Mexico before making landfall as a Category 1 hurricane.

By early Saturday morning, Nate is expected to move into the Gulf, where the National Weather Service (NWS) expects the storm will strengthen to Category 1 hurricane before it makes landfall on Sunday.

City officials expect the storm to bring 3 to 6 inches of rain over the weekend, and the NWS warns "the threat of direct impacts from wind, storm surge and heavy rainfall is increasing from Louisiana through the Florida panhandle." A hurricane watch and storm surge watch will likely be issued Friday.

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