5) Lafayette Square Concert Series Returns
The outdoor, after-work concert series Wednesday at the Square begins Wednesday, April 1, with free performances by the Bucktown All-Stars and the Soul Rebels 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, across from Gallier Hall. Hosted by the Young Leadership Council, the concert series has grown into a popular draw for music lovers and people who work in the downtown area. The series continues each Wednesday evening through June 17. For more information, go to www.wednesdayatthesquare.com.

4) Sentencing for Former State Senator

Derrick Shepherd, the convicted former state senator from Marrero, is due in court this Wednesday, April 1, for his role in a money-laundering scheme. Last year, Shepherd pleaded guilty to conspiring with Gwendolyn Moyo to launder $141,000 to conceal her unlicensed insurance business. Shepherd faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The indictment against Moyo also named former Congressman Bill Jefferson and his sister Betty Jefferson, a New Orleans assessor, as unindicted co-conspirators in the case.

3) Future of Bywater Navy Base
A report is due to federal officials this week on local recommendations to redevelop the Naval Support Activity-East Bank, a naval installation at Poland Avenue and the Industrial Canal in the Bywater. A group called the New Orleans Advisory Task Force has until Tuesday, March 31, to submit its recommendations to the federal government for the 25-acre waterfront property. Ideas floated during earlier meetings on the matter include parking for a cruise ship terminal the Port of New Orleans hopes to build on the river nearby, a technical school or a site for neighborhood business development. For more information, go to www.nsaeb.com.

2) Census Comes Calling
The U.S. Census Bureau plans to begin canvassing the New Orleans area this week in preparation for the ten-year Census count coming in 2010. The official tally of residents will be especially important since it will be the most comprehensive measure of population since Hurricane Katrina spurred massive demographic upheaval. Census counts are used to determine Congressional representation and when calculating a community’s share of federal funding for everything from education to law enforcement to social services. Census employees will walk the area’s neighborhoods block-by-block to confirm and update addresses to receive a 2010 Census questionnaire, which are expected to begin arriving in March of next year. The city has challenged past Census population estimates as too low.

1) Hearing Begins in Katrina Flood Suit 
A Katrina-related court hearing that could impact many residents and property owners is scheduled to begin Thursday, April 2. New Orleans attorney Joseph Bruno is representing up to 500,000 potential plaintiffs in the case related to settlements for Hurricane Katrina flood damages from three local levee districts. The case concerns the question of whether a proposed $21 million settlement from the districts is fair. The case will also have to address how to divide the settlement between approximately half a million property owners. Potential plaintiffs were sent notices by mail earlier this year explaining the process to follow in order to testify at this hearing.

Ian McNulty is a freelance writer in New Orleans and contributing writer for New Orleans Magazine. Reach him at imcnulty@cox.net.