Kenner man arrested in connection with Carousel Garden vandalism, second suspect at-large

Two people broke into City Park’s Storyland and Carousel Gardens on Oct. 4, breaking windows, damaging the carousel and writing racial slurs on the rides.

NEW ORLEANS — One suspect has been arrested and an arrest warrant has been issued for another after two people were caught on camera vandalizing City Park’s Carousel Garden and Storyland.

According to New Orleans police, officers arrested Pablo Amador, 24, at his Kenner home. When investigators searched the home, they found a plaque that had been stolen from the Carousel according to police.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Monica Okada, 22, as well in relation to the crime.

Two people broke into City Park’s Storyland and Carousel Gardens on Oct. 4, breaking windows, damaging the carousel and writing racial slurs on the rides.

Photos from City Park show broken glass, graffiti and tails ripped from carousel horses. Officials say it also looks like someone stabbed the antique band organ and one of the carousel horses with a screwdriver.

The racially-charged graffiti includes the N-word and the phrase “Hitler Salute.”

Both suspects are accused of simple burglary, simple criminal damage to property and criminal damage to historic buildings or landmarks by defacing with graffiti.

New Orleans police said tips through Crimestoppers aided in the investigation.

Okada, also believed to reside in the Kenner area, remains at large and remains wanted for arrest in connection with this incident.

Anyone with additional information on this incident or on the whereabouts of Monica Okada is asked to contact NOPD Third District detectives at 504-658-6030 or call anonymously to Crimestoppers of Greater New Orleans at 504-822-1111 or toll-free 1-877-903-STOP.

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A Space for Memory and Community Connection

IKAR publishes a Yizkor book every year that features members’ stories of loved ones who have died. Reading these reflections during Yom Kippur services — along with the Yizkor service — was a way to connect deeply with other IKARites, and to serve as witnesses to their loss and learn more about how they became the people they are today. 

This year, as with everything relating to the High Holy Days in the era of COVID-19, the space that IKAR carves out for grief had to be rethought. The result is IKAR’s Yizkor Memorial Garden, a physical space on IKAR’s patio off La Cienega Boulevard, with an exhibit that holds people’s memories and limits the number of visitors at any one time for health and safety reasons.

IKAR Assistant Rabbi Keilah Lebell, who created the space with co-chairs and IKAR members Samara Hutman and Sarah Goldfinger, said the goal was to create “a way for people to come to a physical space and have a Yizkor moment that didn’t have anything to do with a screen.” 

Photos courtesy of Samara Hutman

Feedback from several mourners shaped a more interactive experience that also adhered to safety guidelines. Hutman, who had been a set decorator for years, suggested a garden, Lebell said, and created “something that’s alive, where people could visit and spend time there.” Lebell credited Goldfinger for knowing “how to create sacred space and a sense of beauty.”  

“[The experience] had to be something touch-free,” Goldfinger said. “How do you create a space that feels interactive even if you’re not touching anything?” 

 “We were groping for how people can be together because it’s been so painful to mourn in isolation.” — Samara Hutman

The team settled on asking visitors to take a stone with them from the entrance and deposit it in a mandala’s spiral before they exit. “When you go to a cemetery, you leave a pebble,” Goldfinger said. “With our stone activity, the idea is to pick one up and carry it through and put it in a spiral in a sacred community of mourners. So even though you didn’t touch anyone, you see people mourning with you.” She added, “The sculptures and mandalas on the ground do the job of ushering you into the space.”

Hutman said, “We were groping for how people can be together because it’s been so painful to mourn in isolation.” 

Lebell noted that one guiding idea was the wall of candles present in many churches. “You might be completely alone but you light a candle and see the other candles that are lit and know that others have been there,” she said. “We are all part of this space together, creating connection between community members.” 

Photos courtesy of Samara Hutman

On Monday afternoon, the garden was empty of people, but the breeze carried sounds that you only hear when human voices are absent: air lightly whipping at sheltering tarps, wind chimes tinkling idiosyncratically, the bubbling fountains creating a spa-like calm. 

“It is

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Male Connecticut College student charged with voyeurism in connection with incident in dorm bathroom, police say

A Connecticut College student was arrested Saturday night and charged with voyeurism after an incident in a dorm bathroom, police said Monday.

Nicholas Spellman, 19, was charged with voyeurism and disorderly conduct after police seized multiple electronic devices, New London police Capt. Brian Wright said.

Police were called to the dorm a few minutes after 10 p.m. Saturday after a reported incident in the bathroom, but police did not release further details Monday. 

Spellman, who is from Wilbraham, Mass., was released on bond and is scheduled to appear Nov. 20 in Superior Court in New London.

Police have asked anyone who has reason to believe they were a victim of of this type of crime or who has information about this incident or others like it to contact the detective bureau at 860-447-1481 or submitting an anonymous text tip to “Tip411” at 847411.

Police made a similar arrest in March 2019 when they charged former student Carlos Antonio Alberti, then 21 years old, with seven counts of voyeurism for allegedly recording female students in dorm bathrooms from October 2018 to January 2019. Alberti pleaded not guilty and pre-trial proceedings are scheduled to begin next month in Superior Court in New London.

Zach Murdock can be reached at [email protected]

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