A cousin of Mayor Mitch Landrieu was arrested Monday and booked on counts of aggravated assault and impersonating a peace officer after an alleged road rage incident last week in the Lower Garden District, according to New Orleans police.
Police said a man driving toward the Central Business District on Magazine Street pulled around a blue Cadillac DeVille near First Street to avoid striking it. Several blocks later, near the corner of Sophie Wright Place and St. Mary Street, the driver of the Cadillac, Kenneth Landrieu, of Metairie, pulled in front of the man, police said.
Landrieu was wearing a six-pointed brass star pinned to the collar of his orange polo shirt and had a black pistol in his hand, according to a warrant sworn out by Police Sgt. Frank Denton.
Landrieu, 52, who according to a law enforcement source is the son of the mayor’s aunt Phyllis Landrieu, assumed “a two-handed shooting grip” and approached the victim’s vehicle, police said. Landrieu then allegedly told the victim that he was driving like a “maniac.”
After asking the victim whether he had been drinking beer or smoking marijuana, Landrieu claimed that his “boys” were going to search the car and that he would have the man arrested, the man claimed.
Throughout the confrontation, the man told police, Landrieu had his handgun pointed at him and behaved in a “very erratic” manner. The man told police that he feared Landrieu would shoot him.
As a crowd gathered, police said, Landrieu cursed at the man, got back in the Cadillac and pulled away.
The victim was able to catch the man’s license plate, police said. The vehicle is registered to a public relations company owned by Phyllis Landrieu, who is also a former Orleans Parish School Board member.
The victim later was able to identify Kenneth Landrieu in a photo lineup, police said.
While there has been a long-standing practice of law enforcement officials in Louisiana handing out honorary badges or “commissions” to friends and relatives, the practice has come under fire in recent years and has been ended by many officials.
It’s not clear whether Landrieu’s badge was granted by such an agency, and if so, which one.
Landrieu was released on his own recognizance Monday by Criminal District Court Judge Franz Zibilich.
Reached by phone, Landrieu denied that he is related to the mayor and refused to talk about his arrest.
A Mayor’s Office spokesman declined comment.
An NOPD spokesman said the badge was not one issued by that agency.
Kenneth Landrieu is a brother of Gary Landrieu, a frequent political candidate who has long been at odds with the mayor.