5) State’s ICF Contract Ends
This Thursday, June 11, marks the official end of the state’s contract with ICF International, the Virginia-based company hired after hurricanes Katrina and Rita to manage the mammoth Road Home program. ICF has been paid more than $900 million by the state over the life of its three-year contract. The Louisiana Recovery Authority announced earlier this year that the Lutcher-based firm Hammerman & Gainer Inc. (HGI) would take over Road Home program administration. LRA executive director Paul Rainwater promised new contracts with HGI and other firms would include clear performance goals from the beginning, which ICF’s lacked.
4) Claiborne Plans Unveiled
A slate of design changes are in the works for South Claiborne Avenue as part of a streetscape improvement project and tonight the public will get a chance to preview the plans. An open house to present the plans is scheduled from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Second Zion Baptist Church No. 1, 2929 Second St., hosted by All South Consulting Engineers, the firm hired by the city to develop the project. Community development block grants from the federal government are paying for the $1.6 million project, which will encompass a stretch of South Claiborne from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Napoleon Avenue.
3) NORA Properties Gets Rolling in Lakeview
The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) and the Lakeview Civic Improvement Association are working together to get empty properties into the hands of new owners, and this Wednesday, June 10, the groups hold a meeting to detail the process. The two groups are working with single lot properties that may not be eligible under the city’s Lot Next Door Program but are owned by the state through the Road Home program. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at St. Dominic’s gym, 775 Harrison Ave., and details are available online at www.lakeviewcivic.org. NORA is also seeking proposals from those interested in buying and rehabilitating Mid-City properties, and the agency has a list of about 65 properties in the area available for individuals, developers and nonprofits. The deadline for proposals is July 10. For details see www.noraworks.org.
2) Three Fests In One
The French Quarter will host three simultaneous festivals this weekend, June 13 and 14. The French Market hosts its long-running Creole Tomato Festival with music and vendors serving Creole tomato-based dishes. Right next door at the Old U.S. Mint, the third annual Louisiana Seafood Festival will feature seafood vendors while the Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival, also in its third year, will provide the tunes on the same festival grounds. For more information on the Louisiana Seafood Festival, visit www.louisianaseafoodfestival.com. For more information on the Creole Tomato Festival, visit www.frenchmarket.org. And for more information on the Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival, visit www.jazzandheritage.org/cajun-zydeco.
1) Trial Set for Ex-Congressman Jefferson
The long-awaited, oft-delayed trial of former New Orleans congressman William Jefferson is expected to begin Tuesday, June 9, in a federal court in Alexandria, Va. Jefferson was indicted in June 2007 on 16 counts of bribery, racketeering, conspiracy and other charges by the government, which accuses him of seeking payments in exchange for his help securing business deals in Africa. FBI agents found $90,000 in marked bills in a freezer in Jefferson’s Washington, D.C. apartment. Last month, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal filed by his defense team seeking to throw out some of the charges against him.