HAPPENING TODAY: Water board faces questions; Confederate monument debate continues

HAPPENING TODAY: Water board faces questions; Confederate monument debate continues
Thursday arraignment for accused accomplice of Darren Sharper

One of Darren Sharper's accused accomplices heads to federal court Thursday for an arraignment.

In a new superseding federal indictment, investigators added additional drug charges against former St. Bernard Parish deputy Brandon Licciardi.

Federal officials say Licciardi tried to distribute ecstasy with the intent to commit rape.

Another alleged accomplice, Eric Nunez, also faces charges that he tried to obstruct justice.

Both men face state charges of aggravated rape.

Darren Sharper took a plea deal on charges that he drugged and raped women in Louisiana, California, Arizona and Nevada. He's expected to spend about nine years in prison

New Orleans water board, Entergy face questions after boil advisory

The New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board faces questions Thursday following last week's boil advisory.

Officials of the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans and Entergy New Orleans will appear before a special meeting of City Council's Utilities and Public Works Committees on Thursday.

Committee Chair Jason Williams says he wants answers about the lack of communication, inconvenience and potential threat to public health.

"It's not acceptable for us to be unable to notify the public more quickly in events like this," Cedric Grant, Executive Director of the Sewerage and Water Board, said. "So in response to this from previous events, we've added more monitoring to our pumping stations around town."

The Sewerage and Water Board reported a power failure at the Carrollton Gauge, which caused water pressure to drop. A boil order was issued at 10 a.m. Friday for New Orleans' East Bank.

Power surges caused pressure equipment to fail at around 3:20 a.m., but the pressure as low as 15 psi wasn't detected until 8 a.m. at various city pumping stations, causing a six-and-a-half-hour lag before the boil water notice went out.

Residents were told not to bathe in or drink tap water without boiling it first. It remained in effect through late Saturday afternoon.

Thursday's meeting starts at 2 p.m. in city council chambers.

Pickup crashes into Metairie fire station

A pickup truck crashed into Jefferson Parish Fire Station 18 on Thursday morning, according to deputies.

The crash happened around 6:30 a.m. Thursday at the fire station, located in the 3400 block of N. Causeway Blvd. in Metairie.

No injuries were reported. There has been no word on damage to the fire station at this time.

FOX 8 will update the story as details become available.

Debate over New Orleans Confederate monuments continues behind closed doors

The debate over Confederate monuments in New Orleans continues Thursday behind closed doors.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu has invited civic leaders to join him Thursday for a private roundtable discussion.

Landrieu has proposed the removal of four Confederate monuments around the city. But first, he wants to sit down with area leaders to hear their thoughts on the controversial issue.

"How can we inspire a nation when our most cherished public spaces are dedicated to those who held in bondage our fellow Americans?" Landrieu said.

However, many disagree with the removal of the monuments, stating that the statues are of historic significance.

"Confederate monuments are not a public nuisance, they are history," said Jason Sutton, an opponent of the removal of Confederate monuments.

Landrieu outlined a plan to relocate prominent Confederate monuments and rename Jefferson Davis Parkway.

These monuments include the Robert E Lee statue at Lee Circle; the Jefferson Davis statue on Jefferson Davis Parkway; the PGT Beauregard equestrian statue on Esplanade Avenue at the entrance to City Park; and the Battle of Liberty Place Monument at Iberville Street.

He also proposed renaming Jefferson Davis Parkway to Dr. Norman C. Francis Parkway, who served as president of Xavier University for 47 years – the longest tenure of any university president in the nation.

Former Destrehan High School teacher returns to court

A former Destrehan High School teacher accused in a sex scandal involving a student is expected back in court Thursday.

Shelley Dufresne has a scheduled hearing in Jefferson Parish.

Dufresne and another former teacher, Rachel Respess, are accused of having sex with a teen at Respess' apartment in Kenner.

So far, Jefferson Parish's district attorney has not decided whether to formally charge the women.

Showers, thunderstorms to develop mid-afternoon

On Wednesday night, Mother Nature gave us a light show with lots of lightning, gusty winds and heavy downpours.

Thursday we will see a similar situation in some areas. We will start out dry with partly cloudy skies as highs rise back to the middle 90s.

By mid to late afternoon, more showers and thunderstorms will develop and some could strong to severe. The pattern will hold on through Friday.

Over the weekend, we will see some drier air move in as rain chances go back down and temperatures will go back up. Highs Saturday and Sunday will be in the 92-97 range.

In the tropics, we have no worries in the Gulf. The Hurricane Center is keeping their eye on a spin in the Atlantic off of the Florida/Georgia coast.

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