July 6, 2016
Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old Black man, was standing in the parking lot selling CDs as he had for years when two white cops arrived on Tuesday night. By Wednesday morning he was dead and protesters were in the city’s streets. Calls erupted from Congress and the NAACP for an independent investigation into the shooting, which the Justice Department announced within hours. District Attorney Hillar C. Moore III said the “officers feel they were completely justified” in the shooting. Alton was the 558th person killed by police in the U.S. this year.
April 10, 2016
New Orleans Criminal Court Judge Arthur Hunter, a former police officer, ruled that seven people awaiting trial in jail without adequate legal defense must be released. The law is clear. The U.S. Supreme Court, in their 1963 case Gideon v Wainwright, ruled that everyone who is accused of a crime has a Constitutional right to a lawyer at the state’s expense if they cannot afford one.
March 3, 2016
Louisiana, which has the highest incarceration rate in the country, no longer provides public defenders to all its people accused of crimes; within months, over half its public defender offices are expected to become insolvent. “It’s a nightmare,” according to James Dixon, the chief Louisiana Public Defender. “You have people in jail that don’t have lawyers. It’s that basic.” The meltdown of the Louisiana public defender system makes it criminal to call it a justice system.
August 31, 2015
The morning of Dec. 7 (2006) found me traveling through the UPPER AND LOWER NINTH WARD of NEW ORLEANS, where hundreds and thousands of homes were destroyed by the aftermath of HURRICANE KATRINA in August 2005! The storm ripped the hearts and souls of residents who fled the City to other parts of the country now waiting to COME BACK HOME.
August 30, 2015
Aug. 29, 2015, of this year marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s lethal brush with New Orleans. Although Katrina did not hit New Orleans head-on, the whip of her tail as she swept past the city’s southeastern perimeter caused a surge of wind and waves that only a head-on Category 3 could deliver. Amongst the survivors of the storm is New Orleans’ oldest resident, Racism.
August 1, 2015
As we approach the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, let’s not ignore the “elephant” in New Orleans, notwithstanding the pressure to do just that. The elephant in our city is the rampant land grab displacing predominantly African American residents to the outskirts of the city, where public safety, reliable transit, nearby schools, accessible job opportunities and neighborhood amenities are lacking.
July 31, 2015
When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29, 2005, the nation saw tens of thousands of people left behind in New Orleans. Ten years later, it looks like the same people in New Orleans have been left behind again. The population of New Orleans is noticeably smaller and noticeably whiter. While tens of billions poured into Louisiana, the impact on poor and working people in New Orleans has been minimal.
July 29, 2015
The New York Times sent Gary Rivlin to Baton Rouge and New Orleans, days after the storm, to cover Katrina as an outsider. Rivlin’s instincts had him looking forward “to the mess ahead. Eventually the flood waters would recede. How would New Orleans go about the complicated task of rebuilding?” This carefully researched, beautifully written book describes that process from then until now.
July 13, 2015
A new 25-foot mural in the City of New Orleans reminds residents that Albert Woodfox, the last imprisoned member of the Angola 3, has been in prison and in solitary confinement for 43 years. On Friday, July 3rd, artist-activist Brandan “Bmike” Odums, put the finishing touches on the portrait of Angola 3 prisoner Albert Woodfox on the side of a stucco building near the Poydras Street intersection. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has the story.
January 31, 2014
New Orleans teachers who lost their jobs in the wake of Hurricane Katrina were wrongfully terminated and deserve two to three years of back pay, an appeals court ruled Jan. 16. The ruling affects more than 7,000 teachers who were fired and comes after years of legal wrangling, The Times-Picayune reported. Katrina catalyzed the ground-up remaking of the New Orleans public school system, of which the mass layoffs of thousands of teachers was just one part. The layoffs also destabilized neighborhoods.
October 19, 2013
The Angola 3 say they were framed and held in solitary confinement for founding a chapter of the Black Panther Party in the Angola State Prison. But, says supporters Marina Drummer: “There was absolutely no evidence whatsoever. All there was was conflicting eyewitness reports and a prison administration that was determined to stop Herman and Albert from organizing in the prison.”
August 29, 2013
Eight years after Katrina, nearly a 100,000 people never got back to New Orleans, the city remains incredibly poor, jobs and income vary dramatically by race, rents are up, public transportation is down, traditional public housing is gone, life expectancy differs dramatically by race and place, and most public education has been converted into charter schools.
July 1, 2013
Bibliotheque Parrainage, a New Orleans based non-profit, is working to rebuild libraries in Haiti. During the July 4th weekend in New Orleans, Bibliotheque Parrainage is hosting a fundraising bus tour of the Louisiana 1811 Slave Revolt, the largest slave revolt in the United States. Funds raised from this July 4th weekend adventure will be used for assistance to the Nationale Bibliotheque in Haiti.
March 16, 2013
Draconian cuts in the budget for lawyers who represent indigent defendants have come back to haunt the Orleans Parish criminal justice system. Upwards of 500 indigent defendants may have been locked up without the benefit of an assigned defense attorney over the past year, according to a brief filed in the state Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal.
March 4, 2013
One morning after Mass at the Poor Claire Monastery, Maria Victoire, a volunteer with the Fourth World Movement, broached the idea of a collaborative book written by extremely poor New Orleaneans scattered to the winds after Hurricane Katrina. She was asking my opinion as an author about what to do with the 50 or so interviews she had conducted and how to get them published as a book.
January 29, 2013
A federal appeals court in New Orleans has overturned the conviction of former New Orleans police officer David Warren, one of the former cops tried and convicted of an assortment of charges related to the murder of Henry Glover, who was shot by police and later burned in an abandoned car by cops just days after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans more than seven years ago.
October 11, 2012
When Hurricane Isaac hit the shores of the states of Mississippi and Louisiana, Operation People for Peace was able to take a truckload of supplies donated by Hillcrest Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla., to Pearlington and Gulfport. Additionally, we visited Plaquemines Parish and LaPlace, La., passing out cleaning supplies, food and personal items to those in need.
September 13, 2012
This photo comes with a sad story. The child with the sign is Olga, Althea Francois’ daughter. This picture was taken by the FBI and sent to Althea’s parents. They told her parents that she was putting their grandchild in dangerous situations. This set off a chain of events that Althea wondered about for many years.
September 5, 2012
When our mayor and police chief show that they don’t care about their citizens’ civil rights, and when our media and politicians treat these violations less seriously than it would be treated in other cities, it adds to New Orleans’ status as a “second-class” city, and gives all of us, as residents, second-class rights.
August 30, 2012
New Orleans has become a national laboratory for government reforms. But the process through which those experiments have been carried out rarely has been transparent or democratic. The results have been divisive, pitting new residents against those who grew up here, rich against poor, and white against Black.