Tuesday, November 21, 2017

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
  • 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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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Landrieu meets with Jeff Sessions, Sen. Kennedy to discuss 'sanctuary' policies

Posted By on Thu, Nov 16, 2017 at 5:56 PM

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. - PHOTOS BY GAGE SKIDMORE/NICK PRETE / CREATIVE COMMONS
  • U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

The dispute between Mayor Mitch Landrieu and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions over New Orleans' compliance with federal immigration authorities has seemingly hit another wall.

It's been a caustic back and forth, following hardline immigration policies and rhetoric from President Donald Trump, lawsuits over cities and "sanctuary" policies, and aggressive Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) action.

Landrieu says the city and New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) do communicate with ICE, and nothing in NOPD policy prohibits the department from sharing information with the feds. Sessions says the city harbors people living in the country illegally through NOPD policy that effectively gives them "sanctuary." Landrieu says NOPD arrests people regardless of status and that "New Orleans is not a sanctuary city." Sessions says NOPD policy doesn't go far enough to open communication between the city and the feds when an undocumented person is in custody.

On Nov. 16, Landrieu, City Attorney Rebecca Dietz and NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison met with Sessions and U.S. Sen. John Neely Kennedy. Landrieu said the meeting went well — once again assuring that the feds agree with Landrieu that the city does not have "sanctuary" policies.

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

'Know Your Rights' ACLU workshop series returns Aug. 31

Posted By on Wed, Aug 30, 2017 at 3:06 PM


ACLU's training series on interacting with authorities returns Thursday to Algiers Regional Library. It's an adult program, but teens are welcome to attend.

This is part of a series designed to instruct citizens on what our legal rights are when dealing with police. Past workshops have been driven by participants' questions, but generally ACLU is able to offer information on common points of confusion such as: Do you have to produce ID when asked? Can you photograph a police officer? How long can you be held for questioning without being charged with a crime? Can a police officer enter your home or search your car without your consent?

Knowing the answers to these questions can help you remain calm during traffic stops and any other incidents that involve authority figures.

The workshop begins at 6 p.m. Admission is free.

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Monday, August 28, 2017

Landrieu urges New Orleanians to stay home Tuesday due to anticipated weather

Posted By on Mon, Aug 28, 2017 at 4:39 PM

At a press conference this afternoon, Mayor Mitch Landrieu urged New Orleanians to stay home tomorrow due to what is expected to be some heavy rain.
  • At a press conference this afternoon, Mayor Mitch Landrieu urged New Orleanians to stay home tomorrow due to what is expected to be some heavy rain.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu is recommending New Orleans residents stay home tomorrow in anticipation of what may be heavy rainfall from feeder bands related to Tropical Storm Harvey. At today's press conference of city leaders, Landrieu said that the likelihood of heavy rain and possible tornado activity was what led him to make the call.

"Out of an abundance of caution, I recommend that everyone stay home tomorrow," Landrieu said.

All Orleans Parish public schools and Catholic schools will be closed, as will the University of New Orleans and Delgado College. All New Orleans Public Library branches will be closed. The Louisiana SPCA also will not be open, nor will the New Orleans Museum of Art. Jefferson Parish announced its schools and offices would be open.

Today's rainstorm brought minor street flooding to parts of the city that were most affected by the Aug. 5 flood, including Gentilly, Lakeview and Mid-City. According to the National Weather Service, parts of the city received two inches of rain today.

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Thursday, August 24, 2017

New Orleans youth who commit minor crimes will face warnings or summonses instead of arrests

Posted By on Thu, Aug 24, 2017 at 1:40 PM


New Orleans youth who commit minor offenses could receive a summons or warning instead of an arrest under an ordiannce unanimously passed by the New Orleans City Council Aug. 24.

District A City Councilmember Susan Guidry said the Policing Alternatives for Youth (PAY) ordinance adds "more tools in the tool chests for officers in dealing with our youth" and aids in "preventing unnecessary arrests and their consequences." She called its passage "one of the more exciting moments" in her career on the Council.

The ordinance covers 11 types of misdemeanors eligible for juvenile warning notices. Offenses eligible for a court summons include any of those 11 offenses after a juvenile already has been issued a warning, outstanding warrants, and traffic violations with the officer's discretion whether the violation rises above a warning.

The laws go into effect Jan. 1 (for warnings) and March 1 (for summonses).

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Massive crowd in New Orleans marches against white supremacy and in solidarity with Charlottesville

Posted By on Sat, Aug 19, 2017 at 7:00 PM

Large crowds filled Decatur Street in front of Jackson Square and on the steps across the street. - PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • Large crowds filled Decatur Street in front of Jackson Square and on the steps across the street.

As temperatures reached above 100 degrees, Nana Anoa Nantambu sang from a microphone to a growing crowd at Congo Square. Hundreds of people sang along as she led them through "we're gonna stand" and replaced "this little light of mine" with "standing for justice and freedom."

Rev. Marie Galatas asked the crowd to bow its head and pray in silence for Heather Heyer, the woman killed by in Charlottesville, Virginia, during protests against neo-Nazis and fascists rallying in the city to support a Robert E. Lee monument.

On Aug 19, hundreds of people in New Orleans gathered to honor Heyer and victims of attacks in Charlottesville and also challenge city leaders to reconsider Jim Crow-era landmarks with a renewed call for their removal, particularly as the city begins to celebrate its tricentennial. Take 'Em Down NOLA — the latest incarnation of local activists and civil rights advocates demanding the removal of Confederate monuments — organized the Charlottesville solidarity march from Congo Square in Armstrong Park to Jackson Square.

"To the people of Charlottesville, we stand with them," said Take 'Em Down NOLA organizer Malcolm Suber from the steps across from Jackson Square, "and we stand against oppression, we stand against exploitation, and we stand against racism."

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Editorial: After Charlottesville

Posted By on Thu, Aug 17, 2017 at 6:09 PM

Charlottesville, Virginia, Aug. 12, 2017. - CREATIVE COMMONS/ANTHONY CRIDER
  • Charlottesville, Virginia, Aug. 12, 2017.

Watching the images and hearing the words out of Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend was depressing, sickening, infuriating — and necessary. Necessary because the country got a good look at the people who call themselves the “alt-right,” which is their sanitized term for neo-Nazis, white supremacists, Klansmen and other haters who feel emboldened in America today. It’s also necessary because some of them are planning similar rallies in Boston, San Francisco and elsewhere in the coming days and weeks.

Some of the malefactors who caused harm in Charlottesville also were in New Orleans during the weeks surrounding the hotly contested removal of four Confederate monuments. It’s easy to say New Orleans was lucky it didn’t have the chaos and death that marked Charlottesville, but it was more than luck. It was planning.

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Monday, July 24, 2017

Youth who commit misdemeanors could receive warnings or summonses under proposed ordinance

Posted By on Mon, Jul 24, 2017 at 5:45 PM

New Orleans youth who commit misdemeanor offenses could receive warnings or summonses to appear in court with a guardian, under a proposed ordinance aimed at preventing young people from entering, and often re-entering, the criminal justice system after an arrest.

The ordinance was supported by the New Orleans City Council's Criminal Justice Committee July 24, and it also has the support of Orleans Parish Juvenile Court judges and, for the most part, Mayor Mitch Landrieu. It now heads to the full City Council for approval.

Committee chair and District A Councilmember Susan Guidry said "police have no alternative but to handcuff the child [who commits minor offenses]. I mean that is a serious, traumatic event.”

Under the ordinance, youth who have committed a status offense (truancy, running away, displaying "ungovernable behavior") would receive a juvenile warning notice (JWN). Police also would write JWNs or issue summonses for 11 types of misdemeanor crimes — including simple assault and simple possession of marijuana, misdemeanor theft, criminal mischief and criminal trespassing — at the officers' discretion.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Landrieu fires back at Sen. John Neely Kennedy's criticism of New Orleans' crime rate

Posted By on Wed, Jul 12, 2017 at 3:55 PM

U.S. Sen. John Neely Kennedy.
  • U.S. Sen. John Neely Kennedy.

U.S. Sen. John Kennedy has lately been critical of New Orleans’ crime rate and Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s crimefighting strategy, giving an interview to Fox 8 News and writing a guest column for on the subject. "Crime is stealing the soul of New Orleans," Kennedy wrote. "It's choking the life and livelihood out of it. I used to live in New Orleans, and now I'm a little scared to go for a walk there. Our mayor seems preoccupied with other things and other ambitions,” Among the remedies Kennedy has suggested is implementation of a "stop-question-frisk" policy for the New Orleans Police Department.
Today Landrieu fired back, citing what he saw as the city's accomplishments since he's been in office. "Murder and violent crime rates are down over 60 percent from their historic peak in the 1990s," he said in a statement. "I have been to too many funerals and consoled too many mothers at crime scenes, for a career politician like John Kennedy to pander from the peanut gallery, especially when he can actually do something to help."

(Both Kennedy and Landrieu have been involved in Louisiana politics since the late 1980s.)

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Friday, July 7, 2017

Sen. John Kennedy calling for 'stop and frisk' in New Orleans, FOX 8 reports

Posted By on Fri, Jul 7, 2017 at 8:33 PM

  • Sen. John Neely Kennedy.
In an interview with FOX 8 News today, Sen. John Neely Kennedy said Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) should implement a "stop and frisk" policy in order to combat crime in the city.
"It worked in New York," he said. "It's the only way I know left to get the guns and thugs and dopes off the street. We got young people killing young people and now other citizens, and the reason is they got these guns, and until you get the guns you're not going to stop it. The criticism of it is it's racial profiling. No, not when it's done correctly. When it's done correctly, race has nothing to do with it." 

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