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Entries in New Orleans (28)

Sunday
Jun092013

Body of Missing Teacher Found

New Orleans Police(NEW ORLEANS) -- The body of missing teacher Terrilyn Monette was found today in her car, which was discovered submerged in a Louisiana bayou, New Orleans officials said Saturday.

Monette's body was found in the driver's seat of the vehicle, according to ABC News affiliate WGNO-TV in New Orleans.

Monette, 26, has been missing since March, when she was last seen leaving a popular bar early in the morning hours. No suspects have been named in connection with her disappearance.

Her family, based in Long Beach, Calif., have been traveling to New Orleans for months in an attempt to bring more attention to her disappearance. On Friday they held a prayer vigil and asked that the FBI be brought in to handle the case.

Previously Monette's mother, Toni Enclade, had asked authorities to widen the search to a national level to find her daughter.

On Saturday, divers revisited a bayou that had already been searched, after sonar picked up an object in the water

State Rep. Austin Badon, who helped to organize many of the underwater searches in the area, was also there.

"It was not the outcome we had looked for, but we did find her. It allowed the family to have some sense of relief and closure," Badon told WGNO-TV.

After hearing that the car was being pulled out, Monette's family gathered to watch as the teacher's car was pulled to dry land.

"I don't understand why it took them so long to find her car," Enclade told The Times-Picayune. "This is supposedly one of the first places they would have checked. I'm just overwhelmed. It doesn't make sense."

At the time of her disappearance, Monette had recently become a second-grade teacher at the Woodland West Elementary school in Jefferson Parish.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Mar232013

Jogger Sought in Case of Missing New Orleans Teacher

Images Courtesy of Amy Hoyle(NEW ORLEANS) -- New Orleans police believe that a jogger seen on surveillance video may have information about the disappearance of elementary school teacher Terrilynn Monette.

"If anyone knows who that jogger was, or if you were jogging in City Park that morning, please come forward. Maybe that person saw something that can help the investigation," Lt. Christopher Kalka told ABC affiliate WGNO News.

Police have also released a sequence of events on the night the second grade teacher disappeared.

Police say that on the night of March 1, Monette, 26, originally of Long Beach, Calif., joined a friend for dinner in a New Orleans area restaurant. The two then joined several other pals at Parlay's bar about midnight.

"She did not consume any excessive number of alcoholic beverages while she was there," the police statement said. Police say they interviewed several people who were at the bar including the two bartenders on duty that night, bouncers and other patrons at the bar.

According to the police statement, Monette's phone ran out of battery life and stopped working just before 1 a.m.

Around 3:30 a.m., she went to her car for 45 minutes with a man who has since been interviewed and ruled out as a suspect, the police said.

"He said, at the time, that she was passed out in the driver's seat and appeared intoxicated. He thought it was best for her to 'sleep it off,'" the statement said.

The young teacher left the parking lot around 5:15 a.m. on Saturday morning, March 2.

Police say several unreleased surveillance cameras reveal that no cars followed Monette after leaving the bar, but a jogger was spotted at one of the intersections 10 minutes after her car was last seen on the surveillance tape.

Police also checked a traffic camera near her apartment but there is no sign of her returning home, police said.

Detectives are interviewing "aggressive sex offenders within a 2 mile radius" of the area, Kalka said.

Earlier this week, Monette's mother urged authorities to expand their search beyond the New Orleans area.

"It should be nationwide now," Toni Enclade told ABC News. "As a mother, my instincts were leading me to know that she is not in any of the areas where they've been searching. I feel and believe that someone has Terrilynn."

Anyone with information is asked to call New Orleans Police at 504-658-4000.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar072013

New Orleans Schoolteacher Missing After Leaving Bar

Click to name Right: Terrilyn Monnette on the night she disappeared. (Images Courtesy of Amy Hoyle)(NEW ORLEANS) -- New Orleans police and family members are frantically searching for an elementary school teacher who has been missing since last Saturday.

Twenty-six-year-old Terrilynn Monnette was last seen with friends at a bar in the Lakeview section of the Crescent City last Friday evening. She left the bar around 4 o’clock Saturday morning with a male acquaintance,  reported ABC’s New Orleans affiliate WGNO, telling her friends that she was going to take a nap in her car before driving home because she’d had a few drinks.

The bar’s general manager told WGNO that the two talked in the parking lot “for a little while,” but the bar’s video surveillance showed they left in separate cars. “He went one way, she went the other,” the bar manager said.

An eyewitness has told police that he saw the missing teacher with an unidentified man in the bar’s parking lot, according to information on the missing person’s flyer that Monnette’s family has been distributing.

Police detectives are searching for Monnette’s car -- a black Louisiana-registered Honda Accord with license plate number WUN494, according to the missing person’s flyer.

They are also looking at area surveillance tapes, including one from an adjacent bank, reported WGNO.  

Thursday morning a handful of people fanned out in the area near the bar, where the 5 feet 8 inch 180-pound woman was last seen. Monnette’s longtime friend and sorority sister Lezette Montion, a sergeant in the U.S. Army, has taken time off to help with the search.

”I have the experience to deal with land navigation and hunting -- and that’s kind of in a sense what we are doing,” Montion told ABC News. “We’re hunting for clues. Anything that will kind of tip us off, because all we have to go off is the video from the bar.”

"We’ve already found a calculator and brief case," said Monnette, items friends hope will help police in their investigation. "And, you know, we women...carry our whole world in our cars sometimes, and none of us know what she had in her vehicle."

 It is not clear whether the located items belonged to the missing teacher.

"It’s a huge area to cover in the search,” said Montion. “I would just like as many people as possible to come help us look.”

The search was to continue for the next couple of days, but, according to Montion, the detectives investigating the case asked her team of volunteers to stop the search out of fear that it would “contaminate” evidence.  According to Montion, police told her they would resume the search Saturday -- a full week after Monnette disappeared.

“New Orleans is huge and it’s surrounded by water.  How could you stop searching for a loved one?” Montion told ABC News.

Calls to the New Orleans Police Department by ABC News were not immediately returned.

A native of California, Monnette had been teaching in the New Orleans area for two years, and recently became a second-grade teacher at Woodland West Elementary school in Jefferson Parish. Woodland West Principal Amy Hoyle said Monnette showed outstanding promise.  

"She came after the school year started, which is usually hard for teachers.  But she handled it great, and she emerged quickly as a teacher leader," Hoyle told ABC News.

"She took the lowest-performing classes, and in a matter of four months, she turned those students into some of our highest achievers."

Hoyle said Monnette's colleagues and second-grade students were, "all very aware that this is going on."  Woodland West Elementary has provided grief counselors, Hoyle said.

Police urge anyone with any information to call 504-821-2222.

 

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb102013

New Orleans Police: 4 Wounded in Bourbon Street Shooting

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW ORLEANS) -- New Orleans police are searching for three men who fled the scene of a quadruple shooting on the city's famed Bourbon Street, which was packed with revelers in the final weekend leading up to the Mardi Gras festivities.

Gunfire rang out Saturday night on the street, sending locals and tourists, many of whom are in town for Mardi Gras, running for cover.

Susan Talbot, manager of Rita's Tequila House, which is located on the block where the shooting happened, said her staff heard the gunshots and locked their doors.

"People just started running because the streets are jam packed," she said. "So you can't really see if you're standing at street level, but where the gunshots were from, people just took off running."

Two men and two women were wounded in the shooting, which appeared to stem from an argument, New Orleans police said.


One male victim was in surgery Saturday night, with shots to the abdomen, thigh and pelvis, New Orleans Police Department spokesman Frank Robertson said. The other three victims were listed in stable condition, he said.

Despite the interruption, partying continued well into the night for many on Bourbon Street.

"It was pretty much a big damper on the festivities but everything's back to normal," Talbot said. "I mean it's party as usual."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug292012

Hurricane Isaac Batters Gulf Coast With Rain, Winds

NOAA-NASA GOES Project(NEW ORLEANS) -- Hurricane Isaac pounded the Gulf Coast Wednesday, overtopping a levee southeast of New Orleans, knocking down trees and cutting power to more than 400,000 homes.

There were no reports of injuries but dozens of residents of Plaquemines Parish, La., were stranded atop a levee, while there were multiple reports of people trapped in attics by rising waters. Thus far, fewer people were evacuated than during Hurricane Katrina, which hit New Orleans seven years ago today.

But the Category 1 slow-moving storm is expected to stay over the region all day with its drenching rains and high winds. As of 9 a.m. the storm's center was about 40 miles southwest of New Orleans, according to the National Hurricane Center.

At 9 a.m., 30 to 40 vehicles were stranded atop the levee in Plaquemines waiting for a ferry, with water all around, according to a contractor who works for the parish. That ferry is the only way off that flooded spit of land. A source told ABC News that nearly the entirety of the area has been flooded, and winds still howling at 35-40 mph, prevented a ferry from approaching.

It is estimated that it will be six to eight hours before it's safe for the ferry to motor out to the stranded people, who were without power but do have cell phone service.

Thousands who live in the area are still stuck in their homes or attics, and rescuers are out in boats helping those who need it most.

"I've got a four-by-four hole in my roof, several pieces in the front yard, the back wall of my house moved a couple of feet, and with each gust of wind, it's like you're breathing in and out," William Harold "Billy" Nungesser, president of Plaquemines Parish, told Good Morning America.

Nungesser confirmed that a levee in Plaquemines Parish was overtopped with water, causing flooding. So far there were no reports that the $14 billion of levees and pumps put up around New Orleans after Katrina have been breached, but officials have not yet fully assessed the situation.

"The water came up so quickly and overtopped the levees from Breakaway to White Ditch on the east back of the north end of the parish. It's an area that we called for a mandatory evacuation," he said.

At daylight, parish officials were out examining the damage, according to James Madere, a parish geographic information system analyst. The Plaquemines Parish Public Information Office tells ABC News that rescue operations will not start until it is safe, possibly as late as 1 p.m. ET.

In New Orleans, power lines were down, snaking and sparking across city streets after transformers exploded across the city Tuesday night.

The city saw handfuls of arrests early as looters took advantage of the chaos, sheriffs and police and National Guard were all out in force. The hurricane promised to lend even more solemnity to commemoration ceremonies Wednesday for Katrina's 1,800 dead in Louisiana and Mississippi, including the tolling of the bells at St. Louis Cathedral overlooking New Orleans' Jackson Square. This storm is far less powerful at Category 1 than Katrina, which caused at least $81 billion in damage and was rated as the most powerful Category 5 storm.

As of 9 a.m., Isaac was still packing winds of 80 mph. Isaac is moving at near 6 mph and has already dropped more than six inches of rain on New Orleans. Hurricane force winds extend 60 miles from the center of the storm.

The hurricane had moved back into the Gulf of Mexico after making its initial landfall Tuesday evening. Isaac's center remained over water where it was almost stationary before making landfall again this morning.

The 200-mile wide hurricane is expected to gradually weaken and move inland in a northwestward motion, dumping seven to 14 inches of rain across Louisiana, with some places receiving up to 20 inches, according to forecasters.

The greatest concern is an expected storm surge of between six and 12 feet off the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts, four to eight feet along the Alabama coast and three to six feet on the Florida Panhandle, according to the Hurricane Center located in Miami.

A storm surge of 11 feet was reported at Shell Beach, La., late Tuesday while a surge of 6.7 feet was reported in Waveland, Miss., according to the Hurricane Center.

The highest wind gust was recorded at 113 miles an hour overnight in Belle Chasse, Plaquemines Parish, La.

Thursday night into Saturday, Isaac will move into the Mississippi Valley and eventually into Illinois and Indiana with possibly six inches of rain for the drought-stricken Midwest.

Isolated tornadoes are possible along the central Gulf Coast region and part of the lower Mississippi River Valley through Wednesday, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Entergy New Orleans has listed more than 400,000 homes and businesses without power as of 5:30 a.m., according to their website. The Red Cross reported 18,000 people in 70 shelters across five states Wednesday morning.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug292012

Isaac Makes Second Landfall; Levee Overtopped in Southeast Louisiana

NOAA-NASA GOES Project(NEW ORLEANS) -- The center of Hurricane Isaac made a second landfall over Port Fourchon, La., early Wednesday, overtopping a levee southeast of New Orleans and leaving thousands in the dark.

Emergency management officials in Plaquemines Parish reported "overtopping of a levee from Braithwaite to White Ditch," according to the National Weather Service.  "This will result in significant deep flooding in this area."

As of 6 a.m. Wednesday, Isaac is still packing winds of 80 mph and the eye of the storm is about 50 miles south-southwest of New Orleans.  The storm is moving at just 6 mph and has already dropped more than six inches of rain on New Orleans on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  

The hurricane had moved back into the Gulf of Mexico after making its initial landfall Tuesday evening.  Isaac's center remained over water where it was almost stationary before making landfall again Wednesday morning.

Entergy New Orleans listed more than 400,000 homes and businesses without power as of 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to their website.  The Red Cross, meanwhile, reported 18,000 people in 70 shelters across five states Wednesday morning.

Hurricane Isaac is expected to gradually weaken and move inland, dumping seven to 14 inches of rain across Louisiana, with some places receiving up to 20 inches, according to forecasters.

The greatest concern is an expected storm surge of between six and 12 feet off the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts, four to eight feet along the Alabama coast and three to six feet on the Florida Panhandle, according to the Hurricane Center located in Miami.

A storm surge of 11 feet was reported at Shell Beach, La., late Tuesday, while a surge of 6.7 feet was reported in Waveland, Miss., according to the Hurricane Center.

Isolated tornadoes are possible along the central Gulf Coast region and part of the lower Mississippi River Valley through Wednesday, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Thursday night into Saturday, Isaac will move into the Mississippi Valley and eventually into Illinois and Indiana, bringing possibly six inches of rain to the drought stricken Midwest.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug282012

Isaac Gains Hurricane Strength, Bears Down on Gulf Coast

NOAA-NASA GOES Project(NEW YORK) -- Forecasters Tuesday upgraded Tropical Storm Isaac to a Category 1 hurricane just hours before it's expected to make landfall on the Gulf Coast, while warning that the biggest threat will be the rainfall and storm surge, not the wind.

Isaac, a massive and slow-moving storm, will make landfall as early as Tuesday night, a day short of the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said Isaac's path is similar to Katrina's and the anniversary has left much of the Gulf Coast on "a high level of anxiety."

Winds are now 75 miles per hour and are expected to rise to at least 80 mph when Isaac makes landfall. Forecasters say the big threat will be the storm surge around New Orleans and Biloxi, Miss., where water might rise six to nine feet. The hurricane is forecasted to hover over the Gulf Coast and could punish coastal areas with up to 20 inches of rain.

"The models show [Isaac's] forward speed slowing down, and that's not good, when a large system moves slowly, that means a lot of rainfall," Rick Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, told Good Morning America today.

As of 11:20 a.m. ET, the center of the hurricane was 80 miles from the mouth of the Mississippi River and moving northwest at 10 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug282012

Storm Surge, Rainfall Biggest Concern as Isaac Nears

NOAA-NASA GOES Project(NEW ORLEANS) -- Isaac remains a tropical storm with a chance of becoming a weak Category 1 hurricane before it makes landfall, but forecasters say the biggest threat will be rainfall and the storm surge.

Forecasters have projected landfall as early as Tuesday night -- a day short of the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  On Monday, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said Isaac's similar path as Katrina and the anniversary was leaving much of the Gulf Coast on "a high level of anxiety."

Winds will be an issue initially when Isaac makes landfall with gusts up to 75 mph.  Forecasters say the big threat with Isaac will be the storm surge around New Orleans and Biloxi, Miss., where water might rise six to nine feet.  The slow moving storm could punish coastal areas with up to 20 inches of rain, which was one of Louisiana's Gov. Bobby Jindal's main concerns on Monday.

As of 2 a.m. ET Tuesday, the center of the storm was 145 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and moving northwest at 12 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Despite hurricane warnings extended across more than 330 miles from Louisiana to western Florida, all eyes are still on New Orleans as this will be its first big test since Katrina.

Since the levees failed seven years ago over $14 billion have been spent on the 133-mile long floodwalls, spillways, gates and pumps surrounding New Orleans.  While officials say the city is more prepared now than they were in 2005, they're still taking no chances when it comes to evacuations.

Jindal warned people in low lying areas to get out of Isaac's way.

"Today is the day," the governor said on Monday.  "Today is the final day you should be taking any final precautions.  If you want to evacuate, today is the day to do that."

Jindal said over 4,000 National Guardsmen will be mobilized in case of emergency, but said he does not anticipate having to activate contraflow highway rules for evacuation purposes.

He also said that President Obama called him on Monday to say that the governor's request for a pre-landfall federal disaster declaration had been approved.  The approval opens up federal funding to potentially help Louisiana cope with any damage.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug272012

Tropical Storm Isaac's Slow Pace Makes It More Dangerous

NOAA-NASA GOES Project(NEW ORLEANS, La.) -- Tropical Storm Isaac's plodding pace through the Gulf of Mexico means the slow-moving storm could punish coastal areas with up to 36 hours of tropical winds and 10 to 16 inches of rain, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal warned Monday.

Isaac, which is packing winds of 65 mph, is expected to strengthen to a Category 1 hurricane with winds of at least 74 mph by the time it reaches land late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

Jindal said the threat that New Orleans would be inundated on the seventh anniversary of the devastating Hurricane Katrina was lessening.

FEMA director Craig Fugate and the National Hurricane Center's Dr. Rick Knabb say there has been too much focus on New Orleans bracing for Isaac on the anniversary of Katrina.

"I think people need to understand this is not a New Orleans storm. This is a Gulf Coast storm," Fugate said today.

Fugate and Jindal warned people in low lying areas to get out of Isaac's way.

"Today is the day," Jindal said. "Today is the final day you should be taking any final precautions. If you want to evacuate, today is the day to do that."

Overnight, 50,000 people had already evacuated from southeast Louisiana's St. Charles parish. In addition, 2,000 jail inmates have been moved out of Isaac's expected path.

Jindal said over 4,000 National Guardsmen will be mobilized in case of emergency, but said he does not anticipate having to activate contraflow highway rules for evacuation purposes.

While not packing winds of some stronger hurricanes, Isaac's slow pace means it "could actually cause more damage," the governor said.

He said the storm could batter areas with tropical winds for up to 36 hours and could dump more than a foot of rain while lingering over some areas.

Jindal said he is skipping the Republican National Convention in Florida where he was expected to speak because of Isaac. "I will not be speaking or attending the Republican National Convention in Florida. There is no time for politics here in Louisiana," he said.

Fugate warned that Isaac's biggest punch may land in Alabama or Mississippi. The National Hurricane Center said to expect a storm surge of at least six feet with the possibility it could reach up to 12 feet.

Alabama and Mississippi have already joined Louisiana in declaring states of emergency. A tropical storm warning is in effect along the Texas and Louisiana border.

The storm is currently off the west coast of Florida and is moving in the direction of the northern Gulf Coast.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr052012

Former New Orleans Cops Sentenced for Bridge Shootings

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW ORLEANS) -- A federal judge in New Orleans handed down long sentences on Wednesday to five former cops who were found guilty last year of obstruction of justice charges in the shootings of six people on the Danzinger Bridge following Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the Gulf Coast in late August 2005.

Four of the ex-New Orleans cops, Sgts. Kenneth Bowen and Robert Gisevius and officers Robert Faulcon and Anthony Villavaso, received terms of 38 to 65 years from U.S. District Court Judge Kurt Englehardt.

Former Sgt. Arthur Kauffman was given six years behind bars for taking part in the ensuing cover-up.

After responding to a radio call that fellow officers were under fire, prosecutors said Bowen, Gisevius, Faulcon and Villavaso fired on an unarmed family on the bridge, killing James Brissette, and wounding four others.

Two brothers were also shot at, with Ronald Madison hit in the back and then kicked and stomped on before he died.  His sibling, Lance Madison, was first charged with attempting to kill police officers and was then released three weeks afterwards when it was determined that he was falsely charged.

The incident prompted the Justice Department to launch a probe of the New Orleans Police Department, leading to its finding that officers "show a lack of respect for the civil rights and dignity" of the people they serve.

While the officers will likely appeal their sentence, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said the convictions brought "significant closure."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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