5) State Judge Arrested
The FBI arrested St. Bernard Parish District Judge Wayne G. Cresap on allegations that he was part of a bond-rigging scheme along with two unnamed attorneys. The FBI has accused Cresap of taking bribes to allow inmates at St. Bernard Parish Prison to be released without having to put up bond money. Information from a review of bond practices conducted by the local Metropolitan Crime Commission led to the federal investigation.
4) Hornets End Milestone Season
The New Orleans Hornets ended their season after a trouncing by the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the NBA’s playoffs. The team’s short-lived playoff drive was the finale of an injury-marred season that nonetheless saw the Hornets rack up a 49-33 record and score major achievements in building the local fan base. In a stunning turn-around from earlier seasons, the Hornets reported that fans packed the New Orleans Arena to approximately 99 percent capacity, foregoing the need for state subsidies to the team as established in an incentive deal with the state.
3) Landrieu Supports Letten
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu announced that she wants Jim Letten to retain his post as U.S. Attorney for Louisiana’s Eastern District. Speculation had been rampant about what recommendation Landrieu would make to President Obama about Letten, who is a Republican. Such positions typically change hands when a different political party takes office in Washington. Landrieu said she based her decision on Letten’s experience and records of accomplishment and that she was impressed by the broad range of support behind him. U.S. Sen. David Vitter also backed Letten for the post, though Obama will make the final decision on the appointment.
2) Swine Flu Threat Raises Local Anxieties
Global worries over the spread of swine flu triggered a series of steps by local and state officials to respond to the health threat. International health officials believe swine flu had killed more than 150 people in Mexico by the end of the week, and made more than 2,400 ill while cases and suspected cases have popped up in areas around the U.S. The state Department of Health and Hospital has been reviewing suspected cases reported by doctors in Louisiana. Officials around the state have taken a series of what they term precautionary measures against the spread of the flu, including distributing vaccine for potential future use.
1) Saints, State Announce Downtown Plan
Officials with the New Orleans Saints and the state announced a new agreement designed to keep the NFL team in the city through 2025 and revive a cluster of downtown buildings that have sat neglected since Hurricane Katrina. The state currently pays the Saints $23 million a year in subsidies, but under the new proposal the state would make $85 million in renovations to the Superdome while team owner Tom Benson and his family would buy the Dominion Tower and New Orleans Centre, two large commercial buildings next to the Dome. Benson would then lease office space in those buildings back to the state, while other portions of the real estate would be turned into a new sports entertainment district. The proposal requires legislative approval.
Ian McNulty is a freelance writer in New Orleans and contributing writer for New Orleans Magazine. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.