Neighbors hold nightly vigils in solidarity with Black Lives Matter

Protests and demonstrations calling for social justice have continued across the country for months now, including here in New Orleans. Every night, groups in neighborhoods throughout the city come together at 6 p.m. on-the-dot to silently kneel, sit or stand for nine minutes to demand justice for George Floyd, who was murdered by police officers in late May, and to show solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement. “The Kneeling for 9 Minutes movement is bringing together neighbors from all walks of life and various backgrounds who all want to see our country make more progress toward ending systemic racism and creating a more just and equitable society,” said resident Angie Breidenstine, an organizer of one of the Uptown nightly vigils. “Meeting every night is a way to keep the issues visible and central–for ourselves and for our community.”

Purposely gathering on neutral grounds during high-traffic hours at main intersections—such as Oak Street at Carrollton Avenue, Magazine Street at Napoleon Avenue, and Bonnabel Boulevard at Metairie Road — the demonstration is blatantly visible to the hundreds of cars that pass each evening. While some respond with snickers and shouts of opposition from rolled-down windows, most responses come in forms of car honks and chants of support.

Live explosive found in Broadmoor neighborhood

The New Orleans Police Department in coordination with the FBI disposed of a live explosive device found in a Broadmoor area home on Sept. 1. At around 3:40 p.m., Second District officers responded to a home in the 4100 block of Walmsley Avenue after a hand grenade was discovered in a garage by family members cleaning out the home of a deceased relative. At that time, homes near the location were evacuated and a safety perimeter was set up as the NOPD and FBI bomb squads responded. Upon further investigation, the device was determined to be a military-grade explosive.

Viewpoint: Arthur Hunter positions himself as the people’s candidate for district attorney

Long before the honorific “criminal justice reformer” came in vogue, Arthur L. Hunter Jr. was earning a national reputation for identifying alternative solutions to incarceration aimed at decreasing recidivism. After four years as a New Orleans police officer, 12 years as a lawyer in private practice, and 23 years as the Section K Criminal District Court judge, Hunter decided the only way he could bring greater systemic change was to run for district attorney. “I am the clear choice for New Orleans voters who want a fair criminal justice system that truly addresses the needs of victims and defendants while creating programs that reduce crime,” Hunter said. A former St. Augustine High School football star, Hunter said he is running as “a candidate of the people, not a candidate of the bosses.”
Hunter, 61, said he earned the trust of the community during his stint as a police officer.

Free COVID-19 testing offered at two Central City sites

 

The city is offering free walkup COVID-19 this week at two Central City churches. Testing at the New Zion New Zion Baptist Church, 2319 Third St., will be held today (Sept. 1), Wednesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. or until tests run out. An hour after Monday’s site opened, city officials sent out a message that there was no line for the tests. The non-invasive nasal swabs are offered at this site by LCMC, LSU, New Orleans Health Department.

Free sandbags offered at Dryades YMCA

The New Orleans City Council is partnering with the Mayor’s Office to offer free sandbags to residents across the city to help them prepare for Tropical Storm Laura. There will be four distribution sites today (Tuesday, Aug. 25) until noon, including one in Central City. No documentation is required, and sandbags are limited to four per person. Bags will be distributed in Central City from 8 a.m. until noon at the Dryades YMCA, 2220 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.

Viewpoint: Proactive policing needed to combat surge in violent crime, MCC says

The Metropolitan Crime Commission (MCC), New Orleans’ premier criminal justice watchdog agency, is urging the New Orleans Police Department to refocus on violent offenders during a time when shootings and murders are surging and fewer arrests are being made for violent and weapons felony offenses. A new MCC analysis shows that there is currently a high community demand for police services. They recommend that the NOPD reinstitute a centralized task force model that allows police to strategically identify and target violent felons who continue to pose a threat to community safety. “Every violent crime that goes unresolved by arrest fuels the vigilante cycle of retaliatory justice, thereby diminishing public confidence in law enforcement,” said Rafael Goyeneche, MCC president. “The foundation for prosperity is built upon public safety.

Viewpoint: Longtime watchdog gives Chief Ferguson an A for handling of NOPD during pandemic and protests

Metropolitan Crime Commission President Rafael Goyeneche said yesterday that NOPD Superintendent Shaun D. Ferguson deserves the highest accolades for his handling of the department since the pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests began. “Chief Ferguson has been dealing with an issue that no police chief has had to deal with in 100 years,” Goyeneche said. “In the context of New Orleans, look at some of the unrest in other cities around the country. I want to give him nothing but an A as to the way things have gone here. “New Orleans had our George Floyd awakening 15 years ago on the Danzinger Bridge.