Mixing beats, writing lyrics gives Orleans Justice Center inmates a healthy outlet

Gary Delton’s fingers curled around the metal lattice on top of the large glass windows of the Orleans Justice Center. From the fourth floor, he pressed his head close to the bars, watching the city below him.

The white concrete walls of the jail separated him from the chaos of the colorful city. But the high ceilings and bright fluorescent lights in the room where Delton and other inmates gathered offered a stark contrast from the sterility of jail and the feeling of being locked up. An audio amplifier, a drum and bass machine, a keyboard synthesizer and a microphone were in the front of the room, amid pages of lyrics piled on the desk.

“Rewind, take it slow,” Delton sang into the microphone, as he recorded the hook to an original R&B beat during a weekly music therapy session offered by the jail. He crossed his tattoo-covered arms over his orange jumpsuit as the clip played back. He nodded his head while he listened to his voice synthesized with the voices of his fellow inmates.

Delton is one of about 70 jailed people at the Justice Center enrolled in the music therapy program, which allows both men and women an opportunity to express themselves through music and collaborate with other inmates to create original tracks.

Teen fatally shot on Lake Forest Boulevard was ‘bubbly,’ ‘ambitious' and ‘all about family,' sister says

The sister of a 19-year-old woman shot to death in New Orleans last week remembered her as a bubbly and ambitious person with wisdom beyond her years.

“She was my baby sister, but she acted like the oldest,” Dawana House said. “She kept me on the right path.”

Her sister, Toneya Young, didn’t come home from working the night shift on the morning of Dec. 16. That’s when House began to worry.

Hours later, she learned that her sister was fatally shot and found lying face-down on the side of Lake Forest Boulevard.

“It just hurt so bad that somebody would take her life so brutally,” House said. “And they don’t know that they took a beautiful spirit.”

Vigil for Pittsburgh mass shooting victims draws hundreds to Metairie synagogue

Inside a Metairie synagogue, a woman stretched her arm across the pew behind her to hold her friend’s hand. Behind her, a teary-eyed woman and a young girl sang a prayer of peace and healing, as the sound of a clarinet blended with guitar filled the standing-room-only community vigil Sunday (Oct. 28) evening.

Approximately 500 people filled the sanctuary of Shir Chadash Conservative Congregation for a vigil to honor the 11 killed and six wounded in a mass shooting on Saturday at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, one of the deadliest attacks on Jews in U.S. history.

'She was always putting family first' says cousin of woman killed in double homicide

After her uncle died in 2014, Darnisha DeSilva became the glue for her family, knowing that her uncle would want the family to stay close. 

"She was always putting family first," Ashley DeSilva said of her 22-year-old cousin, Darnisha DeSilva who was fatally shot Tuesday (Oct. 9) inside her Little Woods house along with her 23-year-old fiance.

"It's a hard pill to swallow," Ashley DeSilva said of the double homicide that left her cousin's three young children without parents.