Council members to give away 16,000 masks citywide on Saturday

The Councilmembers representing the city’s five districts — Joe Giarrusso, Jay H. Banks, Jared C. Brossett, Kristin Gisleson Palmer, and Cyndi Nguyen — will host a free citywide mask giveaway at 10 a.m. this Saturday, June 13. Uptown locations include the Notre Dame Seminary, 2901 S. Carrolton Ave., and Kingsley House, 1600 Constance St. The event is set to provide 16,000 face coverings to the public, many of which are washable and reusable, to prevent further spread of COVID-19. This joint mask giveaway by the five District Councilmembers is their way of encouraging the wearing of masks or face coverings as the City of New Orleans continues its phased reopening. “As New Orleans works to reopen the doors for our local business, industries, and community organizations, many citizens still need face coverings or masks to reduce the likelihood of spreading COVID-19,” said District D Councilman Jared Brossett in a statement.

Viewpoint: Free COVID 19 and antibody tests offered at DePaul Community Health Centers

DePaul Community Health Centers, formerly known as Daughters of Charity Health Centers, are offering free COVID 19 and antibody tests at nine of their 10 locations in metro New Orleans.? DePaul is working in partnership with Louisiana Health Care Connections and Quest Diagnostics to test both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals in under-served communities. Tests available include the COVID 19 PCR test, which will confirm an active virus, and the COVID 19 IgG serology test, which will identify a previous infection. Though free PCR tests are offered at several locations across the city, DePaul is currently the only provider of free antibody testing. Because I might have contracted the virus before Mardi Gras, I signed up for the serology blood test at the DePaul Uptown campus, 3201 S. Carrollton Ave.? I had previously tested negative for the virus. The health center’s attending physician, Dr. Frank Pascualin DePaula, provided clear and concise information about the antibody test and its benefits.

Police blotter: Shootings reported in Central City and Leonidas

Sixth District officers were called to a shooting at Magnolia and Sixth streets Wednesday night at 10:51 p.m. When they arrived, however, no victim was found at the scene. In the Leonidas neighborhood on Monday (June 1), a 25-year-old man was shot by three men in a white four-door Dodge Charger with a black bumper. The victim was walking near Green and Eagle streets with the men began shooting from the car. He was hit in the left foot. On Monday at about 7:15 a.m., two victims were shot during a burglary in the 1200 block of Freret Street in Central City.

‘We all mask for you’: Audubon Zoo reopens with restrictions in place

The Audubon Zoo reopened to the public on Wednesday, June 3. Zoo visits, however, are now a little different than in the past. All visitors will follow a one-way trail through almost all of the zoo to see many of their favorite animals and wildlife habitats. The interactive and indoor exhibits remain closed. Due to state and city reopening guidelines, all zoo admissions, including member admission, must be reserved online in advance for a specific date and entry time.

NOPD seeks suspect in theft of tools

The NOPD has obtained an arrest warrant for Stephen Hamilton, 50, in the investigation of a simple burglary that occurred on May 29 in the 1800 block of Washington Avenue. NOPD Sixth District officers responded to a call regarding a duplex under renovation that had tools stolen. During the course of the investigation, Sixth District detectives developed and positively identified Hamilton as a suspect. Prior to the officers’ arrival, Hamilton reportedly fled the scene. The supplied photo of Hamilton is believed to be an older photo, and he is currently believed to have a Mohawk-style haircut.

Viewpoint: In the midst of a pandemic, we need to prepare for an active hurricane season

With all the rain we’ve had recently and Monday’s official start of hurricane season, I spent time yesterday ensuring my closest catch basin is in good working condition. After all, New Orleans is a city that floods, especially during hurricane season. With this year’s ongoing pandemic along with predictions of even more storms than usual, getting prepared for the inevitable deluge and updating our personal evacuation plan are especially vital. Weaker trade winds and warmer than normal ocean temperatures might be the official reasons that the National Hurricane Center expects 13 to 19 named storms and three to six Category 3 or greater hurricanes this year. Yet we can’t forget the impact of weather disasters farther up the Mississippi River or the impact of a storm that sits above our city for days at a time.

Viewpoint: Workers required to take risks during pandemic deserve hazard pay

City Council President Jason Williams said last night that “all our essential workers deserve hazard pay during these unprecedented times. Everyone is singing the praises of our front line and thanking them for their sacrifice. They deserve more than just a pat on the back.”

In dozens of towns and cities across America, essential workers on the forefront of the pandemic are participating in protests, walk-outs and strikes to strengthen their demands for hazard duty pay and safer working conditions. Industries including food service, meat processing, retail, manufacturing, transportation and health care have been targeted by labor unions that view the pandemic as a unique opportunity to address core grievances. For more than three weeks, New Orleans sanitation workers who are contracted to Metro Services Group (also known as Metro Disposal) have been walking the picket line to press for more pay and personal protective equipment, or PPE.

Police blotter: Robberies in Milan, Fontainebleau, Hoffman Triangle

Robberies and purse snatchings were reported in the Milan, Fontainebleau and Hoffman Triangle neighborhoods. In the Hoffman Triangle, a man was arrested in an armed robbery on Wednesday (May 13) while a second suspect remained at large. At about 9:30 p.m. in the 2300 block of South Roman Street, the victim, a 36-year-old man, was approached from behind. A man stuck a pen knife in his abdomen while a woman took his wallet and other items from his pocket. The woman fled with the stolen items. Gregory Garmany, 53, was arrested at the scene.