-- In a region where gambling is being asked to keep the economy afloat, a casino that pays $5 million a month in taxes reopened Monday to hundreds of patrons.
Treasure Chest Casino, a three-story riverboat on the southern shore of Lake Pontchartrain in suburban Kenner, La., was spared by Hurricane Katrina but was closed for six weeks for lack of employees. Before Katrina, the casino attracted 5,000 gamblers a day, who wagered about $9 million a month. It employs more than 1,000 people, about 400 of whom were back to work Monday. All but 20 are accounted for and are still getting paychecks while they repair homes or search for new housing.
Some residents of the city's devastated Lower Ninth Ward will be allowed access to their homes Wednesday, city officials said. Residents will be allowed to salvage belongings but not to stay.
Retired schoolteacher Robert Davis, who was repeatedly punched in the head by police in an incident caught on videotape, said he was not drunk, put up no resistance and was baffled by what happened. Davis, 64, said he had returned to check on property his family owns and was en route to buy cigarettes when he was beaten and arrested Saturday night on Bourbon Street.
Police have said Davis was publicly intoxicated, but he denied that, saying, "I haven't had a drink in 25 years."
A federal civil rights investigation was opened into the beating of Davis, who is black, by two white officers. They and a third officer accused of grabbing and shoving an Associated Press Television News producer who helped document the confrontation, pleaded not guilty Monday to battery charges.
Meanwhile, police said another officer, Ronald Mitchell, fatally shot Danny Brumfield, 45, on Sept. 3 outside the city's convention center just before the National Guard arrived to evacuate the increasingly chaotic building. How the shooting occurred is in dispute. Police said Mitchell and his partner heard an apparent gunshot before a man jumped onto the hood of their squad car swinging something shiny. They said he appeared to be attacking an officer.
Relatives said Brumfield jumped into the street after a commotion. They said he was nudged and then struck by a police car, then shot as he brandished scissors after leaping onto the hood.