All posts tagged: Louisiana News

A Teen Said a Deputy Threatened Him as He Filmed His Mom’s Arrest. A Jury Awarded Him 5,000.

A Teen Said a Deputy Threatened Him as He Filmed His Mom’s Arrest. A Jury Awarded Him $185,000.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A teenager who video-recorded his mother’s forceful arrest by Louisiana sheriff’s deputies in 2020 has been awarded $185,000 by a federal jury in a lawsuit filed over one deputy’s attempt to interfere with the recording. De’Shaun Johnson was 14 when deputies arrived at his family’s home in St. Tammany Parish to question his mother, Teliah Perkins, about allegations she had ridden a motorcycle without a helmet — a charge her attorneys said was baseless and that was never prosecuted. The confrontation turned physical, and video showed the woman being forced to the ground. A lawsuit against the deputies was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the law firm of Reid Collins & Tsai as part of the ACLU’s Justice Lab project, aimed at addressing allegations of police abuses. A federal appeals court largely sided with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office on many of the allegations, squelching much of the lawsuit over the deputies’ use of force. But it allowed the litigation to continue over allegations that one deputy …

It’s Cinco De Mayo Time, and Festivities Are Planned Across the US. but in Mexico, Not So Much

It’s Cinco De Mayo Time, and Festivities Are Planned Across the US. but in Mexico, Not So Much

The United States is gearing up for Cinco de Mayo. Music, all-day happy hours and deals on tacos are planned at venues across the country on Sunday — May 5 — in a celebration with widely misunderstood origins that is barely recognized south of the border. In the U.S., the date is largely seen as a celebration of Mexican American culture stretching back to the 1800s in California. Typical festivities include parades, street food, block parties, mariachi competitions and baile folklórico, or folkloric dance, with whirling dancers wearing shiny ribbons with braids and bright, ruffled dresses. For Americans with or without Mexican ancestry, the day has become an excuse to toss back tequila shots with salt and lime, and gorge on tortilla chips smothered with melted orange cheddar that’s unfamiliar to most people in Mexico. The focus on drinking and eating has brought some criticism of the holiday, especially as beer manufacturers and other marketers have capitalized on its festive nature and some revelers embrace offensive stereotypes, such as fake, droopy mustaches and gigantic straw …

New Orleans’ Own PJ Morton Returns Home to Jazz Fest With New Music

New Orleans’ Own PJ Morton Returns Home to Jazz Fest With New Music

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and producer PJ Morton comes home with a new album and memoir dropping soon amid a Saturday afternoon performance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which nears the end of an eight-day run. Morton, a preacher’s kid whose parents — the Revs. Paul and Debra Morton — are well-known in the city, said he looks forward every year to taking the stage at the Fair Grounds. “Jazz Fest always feels like home,” Morton said in an interview with The Associated Press. “It feels like a family reunion. We want the food, just like everyone else does. You get to see all your friends, see everybody. There’s nothing better than that.” Morton said he does not take for granted the love he feels in his hometown or in performances done around the world. “I’m amazed at the crowds and the rooms we get to play,” he said. “The joy started in small clubs where we were playing to 20 to 50 people. Now it’s thousands. I …

These Cities Raised Taxes — for Child Care. Parents Say the Free Day Care ‘Changed My Life’

These Cities Raised Taxes — for Child Care. Parents Say the Free Day Care ‘Changed My Life’

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Last summer, Derrika Richard felt stuck. She didn’t have enough money to afford child care for her three youngest children, ages 1, 2 and 3. Yet the demands of caring for them on a daily basis made it impossible for Richard, a hairstylist, to work. One child care assistance program rejected her because she wasn’t working enough. It felt like an unsolvable quandary: Without care, she couldn’t work. And without work, she couldn’t afford care. But Richard’s life changed in the fall, when, thanks to a new city-funded program for low-income families called City Seats, she enrolled the three children at Clara’s Little Lambs, a child care center in the Westbank neighborhood of New Orleans. For the first time, she’s earning enough to pay her bills and afford online classes. “It actually paved the way for me to go to school,” Richard said one morning this spring, after walking the three children to their classrooms. City Seats, she said, “changed my life.” This series on how the child care crisis affects …

The Rolling Stones Set to Play New Orleans Jazz Fest 2024, Opening Thursday

The Rolling Stones Set to Play New Orleans Jazz Fest 2024, Opening Thursday

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — It looks like the third time is the charm as the 2024 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage festival prepares, again, for The Rolling Stones to perform. The festival, which spans two weekends, is set to open Thursday with dozens of acts playing daily on 14 stages spread throughout the historic Fair Grounds race course. The Stones play next Thursday, May 2, tickets for which have long been sold out. In 2019, festival organizers thought they had landed the legendary rock band, but the appearance was canceled because lead singer Mick Jagger had heart surgery. They tried again in 2021, but a surge in COVID-19 cases ultimately forced the fest to cancel. Now, says festival producer Quint Davis, “It’s gonna be special.” This will be the first time the Stones play Jazz Fest. Opening day acts include rock bands Widespread Panic and The Beach Boys, reggae artist Stephen Marley and jazz vocalist John Boutte. Photos You Should See – April 2024 “The talent is great, the weather is projected to be good …

Nebraska’s Governor Says He’ll Call Lawmakers Back to Address Tax Relief

Nebraska’s Governor Says He’ll Call Lawmakers Back to Address Tax Relief

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen threatened from the beginning of this year’s legislative session that he would call lawmakers back for a special session if they failed to pass a bill to significantly ease soaring property taxes. On the last day of the 60-day session Thursday, some lawmakers who helped torpedo an already anemic tax-shifting bill said they would welcome Pillen’s special session. “We’re not going to fix this bill today,” said Omaha Sen. Megan Hunt, the lone independent in Nebraska’s unique one-chamber, officially nonpartisan Legislature. “The time we’re going to fix this is going to be in a special session where we start from scratch.” Pillen followed through in his address to lawmakers just hours before they adjourned the session without taking a vote on the property tax relief bill he backed, saying he planned to issue a proclamation for a special session. “I will call as many sessions as it takes to finish the long overdue work of solving our property tax crisis,” he said. Nebraska law requires that a …

Louisiana Governor Urges Lawmakers to Pass Tough-On-Crime Legislation

Louisiana Governor Urges Lawmakers to Pass Tough-On-Crime Legislation

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — As Louisiana’s crime-focused special legislative session kicked off Monday afternoon, Republican Gov. Jeff Landry urged the GOP-dominated Legislature to pass tough-on-crime policies, assuring lawmakers that he would sign the bills into law. The aggressive agenda could reshape parts of the criminal justice system and public safety sector in a state that has struggled with violent crime. Some lawmakers say the proposed policies prioritize victims and will keep criminals behind bars and off Louisiana streets. Others say the legislation won’t address crime, especially at its core, and worry that it will undo bipartisan and historic reforms that were passed under Landry’s Democratic predecessor. “Our criminal justice system has lost balance,” Landry said during his address to the Legislature. “The steps we take to restore that balance are difficult to accept for some. However, when promises are made to a victim’s family and friends, granting them that justice restores balance.” In the audience for Landry’s speech were police officers, victims of violent carjackings and family members of homicide victims. Photos You Should …

Louisiana’s Crime-Focused Special Legislative Session Begins

Louisiana’s Crime-Focused Special Legislative Session Begins

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Under a new era of conservative leadership, Louisiana’s GOP-dominated Legislature will gather Monday for a special legislative session that could reshape the state’s criminal justice system and the public safety sector. Among the more than two dozen bills filed ahead of session is legislation that proposes expanding methods to carry out death row executions, restricting parole eligibility, harsher penalties for carjackings, “immunity from liability” for law enforcement based upon a certain criteria and publicizing some juvenile court records. Some lawmakers say the tough on crime policy proposals prioritizes victims and will keep criminals behind bars and off Louisiana streets. Others worry the slew of legislation won’t address the immediate issue of violent crimes plaguing the state, but instead would undo bipartisan and historic reforms that were passed under Landry’s Democratic predecessor. Here are some of the bills and topics that will be debated during the scheduled two-and-half week session. DEATH PENALTY METHOD EXPANSION Photos You Should See Like other reliably red states that have seen executions stall, Louisiana lawmakers are …

Ban Lifted on Book Displays Celebrating Black History, Pride Month in SW Louisiana City

Ban Lifted on Book Displays Celebrating Black History, Pride Month in SW Louisiana City

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Book displays highlighting black history or the accomplishments of those in the LGBTQ+ community at libraries in a Southwest Louisiana city have returned after being prohibited in 2022. “I believe it is important that our community be represented in our library,” Interim Library Director Sarah Monroe told The Advocate Tuesday of her decision to allow the displays. “No matter who you are, you should be able to walk in and see yourself represented in the programs, services and collections, including the displays.” Monroe was appointed interim director in August after the Lafayette Parish Library Board fired Danny Gillane who implemented the ban for Pride Month, Women’s History and Black History, to avoid drawing attention to books that some might target for removal from the libraries. Initially, the board had been asked to ban or relocate two books and a documentary film that it received complaints about, including “This Book is Gay,” which discusses growing up LGBTQ+. The library board did not vote on prohibiting the displays and Gillane’s action drew national …

Prosecutors Dismiss Charges Against Louisiana Troopers Who Bragged of Beating a Black Motorist

Prosecutors Dismiss Charges Against Louisiana Troopers Who Bragged of Beating a Black Motorist

Louisiana prosecutors have quietly dismissed charges against state police troopers who were recorded beating a Black motorist and hoisting him to his feet by his hair braids before bragging in text messages that the “whoopin’” would give the man “nightmares for a long time.” The violent 2020 arrest of Antonio Harris was among a series of beatings of Black men captured on body camera that prompted a sprawling U.S. Justice Department investigation into use of force by the Louisiana State Police. It came about a year after the deadly 2019 arrest of Ronald Greene in northern Louisiana, a beating that also resulted in state charges. “The system is rigged against people like Antonio,” said Harris’ attorney, Michael T. Sterling, who first learned about the dismissals on Friday from The Associated Press, which confirmed them in an interview with the district attorney. “The record was clear that these officers senselessly and ruthlessly beat Antonio Harris and lied about it in reports. It’s hard to understand what’s going on here.” Harris’ arrest, which followed a high-speed chase …