Viewpoint: Arthur Hunter positions himself as the people’s candidate for district attorney

Long before the honorific “criminal justice reformer” came in vogue, Arthur L. Hunter Jr. was earning a national reputation for identifying alternative solutions to incarceration aimed at decreasing recidivism. After four years as a New Orleans police officer, 12 years as a lawyer in private practice, and 23 years as the Section K Criminal District Court judge, Hunter decided the only way he could bring greater systemic change was to run for district attorney. “I am the clear choice for New Orleans voters who want a fair criminal justice system that truly addresses the needs of victims and defendants while creating programs that reduce crime,” Hunter said. A former St. Augustine High School football star, Hunter said he is running as “a candidate of the people, not a candidate of the bosses.”
Hunter, 61, said he earned the trust of the community during his stint as a police officer.

Free COVID-19 testing offered at two Central City sites

 

The city is offering free walkup COVID-19 this week at two Central City churches. Testing at the New Zion New Zion Baptist Church, 2319 Third St., will be held today (Sept. 1), Wednesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. or until tests run out. An hour after Monday’s site opened, city officials sent out a message that there was no line for the tests. The non-invasive nasal swabs are offered at this site by LCMC, LSU, New Orleans Health Department.

Free sandbags offered at Dryades YMCA

The New Orleans City Council is partnering with the Mayor’s Office to offer free sandbags to residents across the city to help them prepare for Tropical Storm Laura. There will be four distribution sites today (Tuesday, Aug. 25) until noon, including one in Central City. No documentation is required, and sandbags are limited to four per person. Bags will be distributed in Central City from 8 a.m. until noon at the Dryades YMCA, 2220 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.

Viewpoint: Proactive policing needed to combat surge in violent crime, MCC says

The Metropolitan Crime Commission (MCC), New Orleans’ premier criminal justice watchdog agency, is urging the New Orleans Police Department to refocus on violent offenders during a time when shootings and murders are surging and fewer arrests are being made for violent and weapons felony offenses. A new MCC analysis shows that there is currently a high community demand for police services. They recommend that the NOPD reinstitute a centralized task force model that allows police to strategically identify and target violent felons who continue to pose a threat to community safety. “Every violent crime that goes unresolved by arrest fuels the vigilante cycle of retaliatory justice, thereby diminishing public confidence in law enforcement,” said Rafael Goyeneche, MCC president. “The foundation for prosperity is built upon public safety.

Viewpoint: Longtime watchdog gives Chief Ferguson an A for handling of NOPD during pandemic and protests

Metropolitan Crime Commission President Rafael Goyeneche said yesterday that NOPD Superintendent Shaun D. Ferguson deserves the highest accolades for his handling of the department since the pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests began. “Chief Ferguson has been dealing with an issue that no police chief has had to deal with in 100 years,” Goyeneche said. “In the context of New Orleans, look at some of the unrest in other cities around the country. I want to give him nothing but an A as to the way things have gone here. “New Orleans had our George Floyd awakening 15 years ago on the Danzinger Bridge.

‘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.

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.