New Orleans, LA

White Louisiana Judge draws fire for blackface, inmate costume

November 10, 2003
A white judge is under fire for going to a Halloween party costumed in blackface makeup, an afro wig and a prison jumpsuit with shackles around his wrists and ankles.
     State District Judge Timothy C. Ellender's costume stereotyped blacks as criminals and convicts, said Jerome Boykin, president of the NAACP's branch in southern Louisiana's Terrebonne Parish, where Ellender's court is located.
     "For a judge to take the time to paint his face black with shoe polish, put on an afro wig, a prison jumpsuit and shackles ... and walk around in public, I feel he ain't fit to be a judge," Boykin said Monday.

N.O. Housing Authority, fair housing group, settle fair housing complaint

October 10, 2003
A HUD fair housing complaint filed in December 2002 against the Housing Authority of New Orleans and the City of New Orleans has been resolved in the form of a conciliation agreement. The complaint was filed by 10 former residents of the St Thomas Housing Development (joined later by 8 more residents).
     All parties to the conciliation agreed to provisions that will maximize the number of affordable units that will be available to former residents of St. Thomas on the site of the “new St. Thomas.” By removing income restrictions, the agreement effectively increases the number of units available to former residents from 181 to 304 on site, with 100 more affordable rental units planned for off site. Now 31.6% of the total rental units on site will be available to former residents in good standing with HANO, a 12% increase in on site rental units available to former residents. 38% of the total on and off site rental units will be available to former residents.

New Orleans center settles familial status, race cases

March 06, 2002
In addition to the $100,500 jury verdict in favor of an African American victim of discrimination, FHAC announces the resolution of two additional housing discrimination matters filed in federal court.
     In October 2001, the Chestnut Condominium Owners' Association and certain members of its Board of Directors agreed to be held in Judgment for $27,500 and injunctive relief in a fair housing case alleging familial status discrimination. The case was filed by a family who had contracted to purchase a condominium, the owners of the condominium unit, and the Realtors who listed the property. The Fair Housing Act provides relief for all persons aggrieved by discriminatory housing practices.
      Also, the owners of a Tickfaw, Louisiana apartment complex will pay $30,500 in compensatory damages to an African-American male student at Southeastern Louisiana University and $1,000 in civil penalties to resolve a housing discrimination lawsuit filed by the Justice Department.
     The consent decree, filed January 7, 2002 in the U.S. District Court in New Orleans, resolves an April 2001 lawsuit, which alleged that the defendants, Louis and Frances Milazzo, co-owners and co-mangers of the Green Meadow Apartments, violated the Fair Housing Act by refusing to rent apartments to African-American applicants on account of race. In addition to the payment of compensatory damages and civil penalties, the consent decree requires the defendants to complete fair housing training, adopt non-discriminatory rental policies and inform the public that they are equal housing opportunity providers.

FBI offers reward to find killer

January 16, 2002
The FBI announced a $40,000 reward Wednesday for information leading to an indictment in the killing of a black deputy sheriff in south Louisiana in 1965.
      The FBI last year reopened an investigation into the shooting death of Oneal Moore, the first black deputy in Washington Parish. The case is among several being reinvestigated that occurred at the height of civil rights unrest in the Deep South.
      Moore and his partner Creed Rogers were on routine patrol in Varnado, about 60 miles north of New Orleans, when a black pickup bearing Confederate emblems drove alongside. Shots fired from the truck killed Moore and seriously injured Rogers, who was the parish's only other black deputy.

HUD Confirms HANO Takeover

December 20, 2001
In a letter sent to Mayor Marc Morial Wednesday, the Department of Housing and Urban Development confirmed that it will soon take over the Housing Authority of New Orleans.
      HUD says that the takeover is justified by the inspector general's recommendation that HANO has not yet taken significant steps to provide decent housing to its 22,000 tenants.
      HUD says it will review management practices to ensure the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars.

NAACP president critical of Bush

July 10, 2001
The Supreme Court ruling that lets Casey Martin ride a golf cart apparently doesn't extend to disabled caddies.
     The U.S. Golf Association denied a request to allow cerebral palsy sufferer Lee Penterman to use a cart Monday while caddying for a friend in the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.
     Penterman, who walks with a limp and has a gnarled right hand because of the disease, was on the bag anyway as his pal Ben Flam shot an even-par 71 in the first of two days of stroke play in the six-day event.
     "I still think the ruling was unjust," Flam said. "He has a disability. It's like not giving a wheelchair to someone to get up a ramp." 

La. court to hear sodomy law case

January 08, 2001
Gay rights activists are seeking to overturn Louisiana's 196-year-old law barring sodomy, maintaining that it unfairly targets gays and lesbians. 
     In 1999, Judge Carolyn Gill-Jefferson upheld the law, ruling that it violates Louisiana's right to privacy but does not violate other rights protected by the state Constitution. 
     An appeal was filed by the Louisiana Electorate of Gays and Lesbians Inc., and nine gay or lesbian individuals, on grounds that the law "denies us the right to have sex under any circumstances," said John D. Rawls, LEGAL's attorney. 
     State attorneys, however, contend the law is needed to promote marriage and encourage procreation. 

Ruby Bridges still fighting racism

November 14, 2000
These days Ruby Bridges embodies that rare educational commodity known as living history.
      The vibrant 46-year-old travels the country, embraced by educators who want their students to meet the woman who inspired the likes of writer John Steinbeck and painter Norman Rockwell.
      It's a sharp contrast from 40 years ago Tuesday when Bridges, then 6, had to be escorted to school by federal marshals.
      She was the first black child to attend the all-white William Frantz Public School in New Orleans, and the hostility and tumult that defined her first day there made it a national story.
      Bridges was bombarded with jeering – even death threats – from parents who hauled their children out of class, leaving young Ruby nearly alone in school. The white students eventually returned that year, and other blacks arrived in following years.
      The bitterness from those traumatic school days lingered for more than three decades, she said, hindering her ability to appreciate her place in the fight to desegregate the South.

Professor compiles slave research on CD

August 05, 2000
In her younger days she was a political radical who couldn't hold a job, a civil rights lawyer's daughter who was disgusted by the oppression of American blacks and intrigued by their stories.
     Now 71 and a retired history professor, Gwen Midlo Hall is on a mission to shed light on America's slaves and their personal histories through thousands of pages of handwritten colonial-era documents salvaged from courthouse basements across Louisiana and as far away as France and Spain.
     The records, now compiled on a CD-ROM database, cover more than 100,000 slaves in what is believed to be the largest collection of its kind.
     ``I'd use the word tremendous - one of the more useful academic services someone could have performed,'' says Donald DeVore, director of the Amistad Research Center, an archives center on black history at Tulane University. 

LSU Title IX ruling overturned

January 28, 2000
Louisiana State University's athletic department intentionally violated federal law requiring equal opportunities for male and female college athletes, a federal appeals court ruled.
    The decision released Thursday by the panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals means five women who filed a discrimination lawsuit can seek unlimited monetary damages from the university.
    The ruling reversed a 1996 finding by U.S. District Judge Rebecca Doherty. She found that the college's athletic department had "archaic and antiquated" views about female athletes but did not intend to violate Title IX, the federal law requiring equal athletic opportunities at schools accepting federal funding.


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