5) Lafayette Square Concert Series Returns
The outdoor, after-work concert series Wednesday at the Square holds its final event of the season this Wednesday, June 17, with free performances by the local rock band Galactic and by the Hot 8 Brass Band. The event is from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Lafayette Square in the heart of the Central Business District. Hosted by the Young Leadership Council and presented by the New Orleans Saints, the 12-week concert series has grown into a popular draw for music lovers and people who work in the downtown area. For more information, go to www.wednesdayatthesquare.com.
4) Legal Conference Takes Up Chinese Drywall
Attorneys interested in faulty Chinese-made drywall will gather in New Orleans for a June 18 conference at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel to discuss liability questions. The building material has been in the news and been brought up in Congress after fumes from the wallboard were blamed for corroding copper pipes, causing silverware and jewelry to blacken and possibly making residents ill. Reports suggest up to 100,000 American homes were built or renovated using the material, including many in the Gulf Coast after hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Some homeowners have sued builders, and builders have in turn filed their own suits against suppliers and manufacturers. HB Litigation Conferences, a Philadelphia-based company that produces legal programs on complex litigation issues, hosts this week’s conference to address liability issues, health damage claims and legislative developments. Details are at www.litigationconferences.com.
3) Trailer Sites to Return to Playgrounds
This Wednesday, June 17, marks the date by which FEMA had earlier pledged to reopen the last of the New Orleans playgrounds that had served as emergency housing trailer sites post-Katrina. FEMA set the deadline to transition these 11 New Orleans Recreation Department (NORD) playgrounds back to their original purpose at a meeting with city officials last month concerning the pace of repairing local recreation resources. City Council President Arnie Fielkow convened that meeting to help the city and FEMA come to terms more quickly on playground repair, and FEMA also pledged to have agency officials embedded within city administration to expedite the process.
2) Vote on Extra Money for Law Enforcement
The New Orleans City Council this week is expected to take up the issue of extra funding for the police department and the district attorney’s office. An ordinance introduced late last month would provide an extra $1 million to the police to fund officer overtime for 12-hour shifts this summer, which Police Superintendent Warren Riley says helps put more officers on the street. A separate ordinance would provide the DA’s office with $150,000 to hire extra investigators. DA Leon Cannizzaro sought this funding from the council to hire more staff to go after cold-case murder files after Riley rejected his request to borrow several police investigators for the job. The council is scheduled to vote on the ordinances at its June 18 meeting.
1) Jefferson Siblings Seek Dismissal on Political Grounds
A U.S. District Judge is scheduled to hear arguments on Wednesday from the legal defense team of Mose Jefferson seeking to have the indictment against him dismissed. One of Jefferson’s lawyers filed a claim last week that the government’s racketeering charges against him, his sister New Orleans tax assessor Betty Jefferson, former New Orleans City Councilwoman Renee Gill Pratt and his niece Angela Coleman are politically motivated. Jefferson is the brother and political strategist of former congressman William Jefferson, who is on trial for separate corruption charges. Mose and Betty Jefferson, Pratt and Coleman are accused of conspiring to take hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money intended for charitable and educational programs to help poor people in New Orleans.