Associated Press

After months of working through the federal bureaucracy, Louisiana has access to the $1.6 billion in federal aid earmarked by Congress for flood recovery.

Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration says the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, officially released the dollars to the state Monday. Louisiana can now start withdrawing dollars to pay for recovery projects approved by HUD.

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Victims last August's flooding who are still living in hotels and motels are getting a one-month reprieve.

 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says they now have to check out of their rooms by May 11.

 

The previous checkout deadline was April 11.

 

Nearly 250 households are currently staying in rooms paid for by the agency's Transitional Sheltering Assistance program.

 

The hotels bill FEMA directly for the rooms. It's designed as short-term housing while people look for some place more permanent to live.

 

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Louisiana State Police say a man killed in a motorcycle crash near Hicks appears to have been traveling at high speed.

 

The Alexandria Daily Town Talk reports 22-year-old Austin T. Chandler of Leesville died Friday after losing control of his Kawasaki motorcycle on state Highway 121.

 

A news release by state police said Chandler crashed while crossing a bridge at high speed and hit a guard wall on the side of the road. Chandler was thrown off the motorcycle and died, even though he was wearing a helmet.

 

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Police say two men showed badges and shouted "police, get on the ground" as they burglarized a home in Baton Rouge.

 

The Advocate reports the burglars kicked down a back door and waved pistols inside the home after a resident refused to let them in after they showed a badge.

 

osfa.la.gov

Louisiana lawmakers, struggling with budget shortfalls, are again looking to restructure the TOPS college tuition program to lessen costs.

Proposals include boosting the grade point average required to get the award or steering more of the money to needy students. Another measure would require students who receive TOPS to work in Louisiana after college or repay some money spent on their tuition.

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Gov. John Bel Edwards is accusing a Baton Rouge congressman of spreading myths about flood recovery money and leading a partisan effort that could harm Louisiana's long-term rebuilding.

The Democratic governor's office released a memo Thursday saying Republican U.S. Rep. Garret Graves "can no longer be trusted" to convey accurate information about Louisiana's recovery from last year's flooding.

The memo came a day after Edwards attended a congressional hearing in which GOP members of Congress, including Graves, blasted Louisiana's response to the floods.

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Louisiana lawmakers soon will again be asked to approve what amounts to a minimum age of 21 for strippers.

A law passed last year was blocked in March by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier.

Barbier said the law was unconstitutionally vague. And, he noted inconsistencies in state law defining a naked breast.

lpomusic.com

The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra's upcoming concert will literally be on the water.

Musicians will perform from the decks of a moored barge and moving shrimp boats on Lake Ponchartrain — the big tidal basin bordering New Orleans. More than a dozen additional shrimp boats will move in patterns and dip and raise their nets in a stately ballet.

This version of Yotam Haber's "New Water Music" is so complex it required work with the Coast Guard and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

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Sixteen New Orleans inmates being brought back to the city from a north Louisiana jail were aboard a bus involved in a morning accident.

The Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office says the accident happened Thursday morning on Interstate 55 in Tangipahoa Parish, northwest of New Orleans. Two correctional officers from East Carroll Parish also were aboard.

The Sheriff's Office news release says no inmate or officer required hospitalization but a medical team was standing by in New Orleans to examine them upon their arrival.

A 74-year-old man has confessed to killing his son-in-law in North Carolina on the 24th anniversary of the crime.

Maj. Tom Effler of the Wayne County Sheriff's Office in North Carolina says Allen Deaver admitted to authorities Feb. 7 to killing Sydney Maurice Gregory on Feb. 7, 1993.

Gregory, who was in his 20s, was beaten and left inside a mobile home that was set on fire in Seven Springs, North Carolina.

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