Facing minor criminal charges, some defendants decide to take a plea deal. But they find that the stigma can prevent them from getting jobs and housing. And getting their record expunged later turns out to be almost a difficult as avoiding conviction in the first place.
It took six years for Kimberly James to get Road Home money to rehab her Upper 9th Ward home. This summer, she thought she was months away from inhabiting it. But in July, she learned that the city had demolished the house, concluding that not enough progress had been made in rehabbing it. She says no one told her the house had been targeted for demolition.
The Landrieus' property is across the street from South Market District, a major development expected to boost the surrounding area. Like South Market, the Landrieus' lot is close enough to the Union Passenger Terminal to get a tax break if it's developed. No evidence has emerged to indicate the mayor used his influence to benefit the property, however.
Three years ago, the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority created a program called Near Miss, which opened the door for non-residential property owners to buy Road Home lots. So far, 59 properties have been acquired. But the City Council never approved the program, and most of those properties have not been zoned for commercial use.
Four of the Recovery School District's failing schools will not reopen next year. In most cases, those students will be at other substandard schools. About three-quarters of students leaving Abramson Elementary James Weldon Johnson Elementary are headed to schools graded F or T, which are failing schools that are under new operators. The exception: Benjamin E. Mays Preparatory School students, who were offered preference in RSD's enrollment process.
Several years ago, The Family Center of Hope received more than $2 million to build a community center. Now it's just another half-finished project, beset by cost overruns and legal disputes. The city has decided to give the group $40,000 to provide counseling services as part of its NOLA for Life anti-violence campaign.