Inmate had long history of abuse | The New Orleans Advocate – Orleans Parish Prison drops its controversial “keep on person” medication policy, allowing inmates to self-administer potentially dangerous psychotropic pills. Inmate Ricky Russell, who was given several days’ worth of Wellbutrin by jail medical staff, died in his cell earlier this year. His death certificate lists “Wellbutrin toxicity” as a contributing factor, The New Orleans Advocate reports.
Immigration raids causing fear among many in N.O., area | The New Orleans Advocate
Louisiana already had a high level of immigration enforcement before this year, when it seems to have intensified. According to 2012 data from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, Louisiana had the highest number of ICE arrests per capita in the country. It has one of the highest rates of deportation proceedings. …
While ICE agents across the nation are assigned to find and deport specific individuals, the New Orleans raids allegedly cast a wide net toward anyone who looks Latino in local gathering spots such as laundromats, grocery stores, parks, nightclubs and apartment complexes.
Tour guides protest aggressive permit enforcement tactics | The New Orleans Advocate
Nearly 100 tour guides and cabbies denounced tactics used by inspectors with the city’s Taxicab Bureau, alleging a month-long harassment campaign aimed at appeasing Vieux Carre residents bitter over the number and size of street-clogging tourist groups.
Among the protesters was Wendy Bosma, who claims taxi inspector Wilton ‘Big Will’ Joiner tossed her against a car and wrenched her arm, causing severe bruising, while wresting her permit from her during a night tour on Nov. 9.
Government & Politics
Director had ties to contractor convicted of theft in Katrina recovery program | WWL-TV– WWL-TV continues its investigation of Praveen Kailas, who pleaded guilty last year to theft from a publicly funded post-Katrina recovery program. The reports have found strong connections between Kailas’ wealthy family and Gov. Bobby Jindal. David Hammer: “Jindal’s administration responded to a WWL-TV report exposing theft in a Katrina recovery program by having one of the thief’s business partners look into it, public records show.”
State plans to go after bank accounts, licenses of officials with pending Ethics fines, treasurer says | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – Louisiana Purchased, the joint investigative series on campaign contributions by Fox 8 News and NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune, prompts the state to go after candidates and political action committees for overdue ethics fines.
American Zombie | What wicked webs we weave… – In a trial over who should control of millions in proceeds from the Edward Wisner Donation, lawyers for Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration successfully argued in September that the city, rather than an outside advisory board, should be responsible for administering the money. Blogger Jason Berry presents court transcripts showing that the city’s argument rested in part on the “checks and balances” provided by City Council oversight. But the mayor’s office later told the council that it would have no such oversight. And even though it won, the city is now going back to the advisory board for approval of a new round of Wisner grants, including $250,000 for the NOLA for Life Fund.
Amid rejuvenation, some city neighborhoods struggle with blight, abandonment | The New Orleans Advocate –The Advocate takes a look at the 7th Ward.
In 2010, five years after the storm, more than 2,600 properties in the neighborhood — or more than 38 percent of all structures — were vacant, more than doubling the pre-storm vacancy rate. More than half of those buildings would need repairs before they could become habitable again, according to the Community Data Center.
Crescent Park Management Draft CEA – Last week, the board of the French Market Corporation authorized its executive director to sign an agreement to manage the long-delayed downriver Crescent Park. According to The New Orleans Advocate, the board made the decision even though the agreement was not yet “ready to be made public.” The Lens obtained a copy of the draft agreement, which hands the park over to the French Market Corporation for two years.
Former school voucher foe heads pro-voucher group | The New Orleans Advocate – Former state Sen. Ann Duplessis tells how she went from opposing publicly funded private school vouchers to advocating for them as the head of the Louisiana Federation for Children.
Judge opens door for greater federal scrutiny of Jindal’s voucher program | The New Orleans Advocate – U.S. Distict Judge Ivan Lemelle orders the state and the federal government to develop a process to strengthen the vetting process for schools receiving state voucher money in order to minimize or eliminate the possibility of school segregation as a result of the program. The Jindal administration says federal involvement will hurt the program.
La. lawsuits may portend shifting political tide | Associated Press – The AP reaches out to John Barry, Garret Graves, Billy Nungesser and others about the recent coastal loss lawsuits against the oil and gas industry.