Louisiana News

Stories and interviews from across the state.

Alex Winter Fete Begins Tonight

Nov 30, 2017
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The city of Alexandria’s Christmas festival starts tonight as Alex Winter Fete kicks off with downtown being illuminated with Christmas lights. Community Services Director for Alexandria, Robert Weeks, says the festival runs through Saturday night and visitors will enjoy live music, food, an Indie Village — and everyone’s favorite; ice-skating.

 

http://gov.louisiana.gov/page/meet-the-governor

Slidell Senator Sharon Hewitt is asking the state auditor to review the state’s sexual harassment policies, including the hiring of Johnny Anderson. The governor’s former aide resigned last week amid accusations of sexual harassment.  Hewitt says she wonders why Governor Edwards hired him in the first place.

 

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Louisiana health officials are skeptical the state could save sizable sums of money by reworking the way it runs the prescription drug program for Medicaid patients.

State Medicaid Director Jen Steele and Jeff Reynolds, the health department's chief financial officer, responded to questions Tuesday from a legislatively created study group.

Steele said the method Louisiana uses to pay for Medicaid prescription drugs is an industry standard and administrative costs are capped.

Louisiana High School Football Player Shot To Death

Nov 29, 2017
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Louisiana police say a high-school football player has been shot and killed.

News media report that Springhill police identified him as 17-year-old Jaylen Thomas of North Webster High School.

Police Chief Will Lynd tells KTBS-TV and KSLA-TV that at least 16 shots were fired from a 45-caliber pistol Monday night, and police are looking for an adult suspect.

He says the shooting was behind Brown Upper Middle School and near Harrison Chapel Baptist Church, and tells KTBS that it was just out of range of the church's security cameras.

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Louisiana State Police say a boat trailer came unhitched from a pickup truck and crossed the center line of a highway, slamming into another vehicle and killing the driver.

The agency says 49-year-old David Burvant of Slidell died at a hospital in Gonzales after the crash Monday afternoon on Louisiana Highway 18.

Trooper First Class Jesse LaGrange says in a news release that investigators were looking into why the boat trailer detached from the 2016 Chevrolet Silverado driven by 20-year-old Jeremiah Allee of St. Amant.

Court Tie Means Louisiana Planned Parenthood Keeps Funding

Nov 29, 2017
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A tie vote among 14 federal appeals court judges in New Orleans allows Planned Parenthood facilities in Louisiana to keep receiving Medicaid funding.

The money in question goes to health services other than abortion for low-income women. However, abortion opponents have opposed any government funding for the organization.

In 2015, a federal judge blocked a move by then-Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration to cut off the funding. A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals later upheld that block.

The state sought a rehearing.

Kennedy: 'Zero Confidence' In Louisiana Corrections Agency

Nov 29, 2017
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U.S. Sen. John Kennedy slammed Gov. John Bel Edwards' criminal justice overhaul, saying he doesn't believe the corrections department can properly administer the changes to protect public safety.

The Republican senator released a video and statement Tuesday from Washington, where the Democratic governor participated in an event championing the law changes.

Kennedy cited "numerous scandals" at the corrections department, including allegations of nepotism and theft. He called the agency "unfit to administer" legislation that includes early release of some inmates.

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A federal judge in New Orleans has sentenced a man to more than four years in federal prison for illegally re-entering the U.S. after his 2013 deportation, and for possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

Acting U.S. Attorney Duane Evans says in a news release that the 51-month sentence was handed down Tuesday in the case of 58-year-old Salvador Ordonez-Maldonado.

Ordonez had pleaded guilty in the case.

Evans' statement says the Mexican native will face deportation proceedings by immigration officials after he completes his sentence.

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Federal prosecutors and lawyers for a former Louisiana congressman who famously hid $90,000 in his freezer are working on an agreement for his resentencing on corruption charges.

Former Democratic U.S. Rep. William Jefferson was convicted in 2009. He received a 13-year sentence, but was released earlier this year after a Virginia judge dismissed seven charges based on a Supreme Court ruling that made it more difficult to convict public officials on bribery-related offenses.

April Hiring Planned For Louisiana Higher Education Leader

Nov 29, 2017
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Louisiana's top college board intends to choose the state's next higher education commissioner in April.

The Advocate reports that Robert Levy, chairman of the Board of Regents' six-member search committee, said Tuesday the panel hopes to have final interviews with contenders around April 4.

Joseph Rallo, in the commissioner's job since January 2015, plans to retire from the position that pays him $364,000 a year. Although his contract ends in December, Rallo has agreed to stay until June while the board searches for a new commissioner.

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