Louisiana News

Stories and interviews from across the state.

GOP Sen. Thad Cochran Grappling With Illness

Oct 16, 2017
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Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran is continuing to grapple with a urinary tract infection that has delayed a planned return to Washington.

 The GOP veteran, 79, has been absent from Washington for a month.

 Cochran's chief of staff Brad White came as Republicans controlling the Senate had hoped to pass a budget measure that's a key step toward the party's goal of rewriting the tax code. It's unclear whether Cochran's absence will delay the budget debate. Republicans control the Senate with a narrow 52-48 margin.

Arkansas Prisons Could See Jump In Restricted Housing

Oct 16, 2017
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A proposal by the Arkansas Department of Correction to add 400 lockdown cells to reduce prison violence would mean that about one-in-six cells would be for restrictive housing.

 The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Monday that the state prison system already has more than 2,000 cells for use to quell prison violence or to hold inmates with medical issues. It said that, if Arkansas adds 400 lockdown cells, at least 16 percent of the prison system beds would be dedicated to inmates with certain restrictions.

Arkansas Mental Health Centers Behind Schedule

Oct 16, 2017
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Arkansas counties expected to sponsor mental health centers are behind schedule. 

 The effort is aimed at keeping people with mental illnesses from a cycle of incarceration. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that some progress has been made, but the centers won't be ready for their expected startup date in November.

 Gov. Asa Hutchinson's administration says counties are working to open the centers "as soon as possible," though no new projected target date scheduled.

Father Charged After Baby Found Dead With Stab Wounds

Oct 16, 2017
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 Police say an 11-month-old was found dead at a Louisiana home and the baby's father faces charges. 

 Zachary Police Chief David McDavid told The Advocate that 33-year-old Fabian Smith was arrested Saturday on one count each of first-degree murder and second-degree cruelty to a juvenile in the death of Jericho Smith. 

 Jericho had stab wounds across the forehead and signs of blunt force trauma to the back of the head. The child was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators found a knife and firearm inside. Autopsy results will determine if the firearm was used. 

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The Latest on the oil rig explosion near New Orleans (all times local):

 9:25 a.m.

 A Louisiana sheriff says three people remain in critical condition, with two of them in a burn unit after an explosion at an energy plant on a lake near New Orleans.

 At a Monday morning news conference, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto said a fire on the rig was still burning. Authorities expected the blaze to eventually burn itself out.

 Authorities say one person remained missing after the blast and U.S. Coast Guard crews were searching for him.

Drug Cases Fuel Uptick In Sebastian County Court Cases

Oct 16, 2017
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Sebastian County has seen its number of court cases jump in recent years, and a large share of them are drug-related.

 Prosecutor Dan Shue told the Times Record newspaper that many property crimes and assaults could also be connected to drugs.

 The state prison system says that, in 1970, only 27 inmates were locked up for drug crimes. Crack and methamphetamine epidemics in later decades boosted the population. Dina Tyler of the Arkansas Community Correction office says that as much as 80 percent of the criminal activity state is drug-related.

Woman Arrested For Attempting To Defraud Insurance Company

Oct 16, 2017
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A Mississippi woman accused of attempting to defraud an insurance company out of thousands of dollars has been arrested. 

 News outlets report 30-year-old Kyomi M. Fulton, of Fayette, was arrested Wednesday and charged with one count of insurance fraud for allegedly attempting to defraud Geico Insurance out of more than $3,200.

It Is Time To Get Your Annual Flu Shot

Oct 16, 2017
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State health officials are reminding Louisianans it’s time to get your annual flu vaccination. Assistant Secretary for the Office of Public Heath Dr. Parham Jaberi says the flu season has begun and doctors are starting to see a small number of cases.

Louisiana Department of Health will host flu vaccination clinics until December in all parts of the state and residents can visit LDH’s website for locations and dates. Jaberi says walk-ins are welcome. He says the flu shot is free for individuals with insurance and 10 dollars for those without insurance.

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With Halloween only two weeks away, Louisiana residents rush to find the hottest costumes. DeMarcus Cox, Manager of the Halloween Express store says the most common costume so far is Pennywise the clown from the movie IT.

Cox says most guys are going for scarier, more realistic looking costumes while girls are going for female superheroes and empowering figures.

However, for children the trend seems to be less scary but still real. Cox says most children want to be Policemen this Halloween.

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Baton Rouge Republican Congressman Garret Graves authored legislation seeking to protect Cajuns, saying they are endangered, because of coastal land loss.  He is pushing for them to be protected under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.  Graves believes the federal government has been mismanaging the Mississippi River system for years, endangering the Cajun’s way of life.

Graves claims endangered species are given extra protections and since the Cajun culture is threatened, he wants them to be afforded the same opportunity