Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Gusman: We're just gonna re-brand our way out of this consent decree

Apparently just some idea he came up with on his own.
There are indications — in booking records and on the Sheriff’s Office website — that Gusman decided, at least for a time, to call the lockup the “Ortique Justice Center,” an apparent reference to Revius Ortique Jr., the New Orleans civil rights giant who served as the first black justice on the Louisiana Supreme Court.

If that’s the case, it’s news to the Ortique family.

“I don’t know anything about this,” Ortique’s widow, Miriam, said by phone Tuesday.
One of Ortique’s grandchildren said he also had heard nothing from the sheriff and declined to comment.

On Tuesday afternoon, after The New Orleans Advocate’s most recent inquiries, the Sheriff’s Office removed one of the references to “Ortique Justice Center” that accompanied an online listing of attorney visitation hours, replacing it with “Orleans Justice Center.” However, the sheriff’s online booking records still listed inmates as being housed at “OJC Ortique Justice Center.”
When was he planning to notify the family of this honor?  What do you think could have caused him to be maybe a little shy about saying something?
Naming a jail after Ortique could prove a dicier proposition, though, particularly in a city with a history of civil rights abuses behind bars and a notoriously high incarceration rate.
Update: Here's a Gambit item from September where Gusman hints at the naming deliberations. 
Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman is preparing to move prisoners into the new jail facility this week, but one thing's still missing — a formal name for the 1,400-bed facility. That's by design, Gusman says: "We'll be naming it soon, probably at a small ceremony." The name, he says, will pay tribute to a "deceased, prominent New Orleanian."
 "Small ceremony" for the name.  Bigger ceremony for the old jail, also pending. 
Gusman says when the last of the buildings is closed and all the prisoners have been transferred, he plans to have a jazz funeral for the old OPP. "It deserves it," he said
Oh dear. Maybe he'll re-think that one too, eventually.  

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