Louisiana News

Stories and interviews from across the state.

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Gov. John Bel Edwards and other Louisiana officials are heading to Washington to talk about the state's efforts to revamp the criminal justice system and lessen its top-of-the-nation incarceration rate.

The Democratic governor will speak at a Pew Charitable Trusts' event Tuesday. He'll be joined by Corrections Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc; Republican state Rep. Tanner Magee, a sponsor of the legislation; and Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre.

Louisiana Colleges Offering Scholarships To FFA Students

Nov 27, 2017
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Louisiana's community college system is creating a scholarship program for students in the future farmers' association.

The Louisiana Community and Technical College System will give a $500 one-time scholarship to each high school graduate who belongs to the Louisiana Future Farmers of America Student Association .

Each state champion in the organization will get a $1,000 scholarship.

Wildlife And Fisheries To Build New Oyster Reef

Nov 27, 2017
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The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will build a new oyster reef in Calcasieu Lake soon to help increase oyster habitat and fisheries production.

The project, known as cultch planting, will consist of spreading about 12,500 cubic yards of crushed limestone on the lake bottom to create about 100 acres of artificial oyster reef near Long Point on the east side of the lake.

Construction is tentatively set to begin Monday and should be finished in about two weeks.

Confederate Monument Pedestals Repurposed For Music Video

Nov 27, 2017
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The pedestals of confederate monuments taken down in New Orleans and North Carolina are being repurposed for a video made for singer and civil rights activist Mavis Staples.

In one scene, a black woman approaches the pedestal that once showed off the Confederacy's first president and finding a larger-than-life statue that looks like her.

The pedestals of statues for Generals Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard also are used, along with one pulled down in Durham, North Carolina.

Judge Moves Trial Of Men Accused Of Killing 2 Deputies

Nov 27, 2017
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A judge has ordered a 75-mile move for the trial of a man accused of killing two Louisiana sheriff's deputies in 2012 and disabling two others.

Brian Smith is scheduled for trial Feb. 15 on charges of murder and attempted murder. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty on the murder charges.

Smith's lawyer said he couldn't get a fair trial in St. John the Baptist Parish.

The Advocate reports that Judge J. Sterling Snowdy moved the trial to St. Martin Parish.

Town's Water May Be Safe To Drink By Mardi Gras

Nov 27, 2017
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By Mardi Gras, residents of a Louisiana town may have a huge reason to celebrate: drinkable tapwater, for the first time in more than a year.

The Advocate reports that the new wells, pipes and other equipment have been installed in St. Joseph, and should be hooked up by Christmas.

But testing to ensure that the water is lead-free could take another six or seven weeks. If tests find lead from a building's own pipes, the owner must replace them.

And water rates will go up, in a town where nearly 40 percent of households are under the poverty line.

Van Driver Arrested In Hit-And-Run Death Of Bicyclist

Nov 27, 2017
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Louisiana officers followed a trail of fluid to find a van they believe was involved in a fatal hit-and-run crash.

A Louisiana State Police news release says 59-year-old bicyclist Calvin Lefort Jr. of Slidell was hit by a van Saturday on U.S. Highway 190 and became lodged in the windshield.

The news release says the van's driver, 48-year-old Larry Dean Kellett of Slidell, allegedly removed Lefort from the windshield, left him near a ditch and fled. A passer-by called 911. Lefort died in a hospital.

5 Found Dead In 3 Separate Incidents North Of Baton Rouge

Nov 27, 2017
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Five people have been found dead following three incidents north of Baton Rouge.

Authorities did not immediately say whether they believe the slayings are connected.

News outlets report that three bodies were found Sunday evening at a house in East Feliciana Parish, near the East Baton Rouge Parish line. Earlier that morning, sheriff's deputies had found a woman's body in a wooded area in East Feliciana Parish, near Clinton. Authorities called the woman's death "suspicious" but did not release further details.

Group Could Screen Police Chief Candidates In Baton Rouge

Nov 27, 2017
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A former police department leader from one Louisiana city could help screen candidates for a chief's job in another city.

The Advocate reports that a community group called Together Baton Rouge wants to hire former New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas as a consultant.

Leaders of the nonprofit group say that questioning the top candidates in private meetings will help them gauge which are the most likely to pursue changes that the group wants the police department to make.

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Louisiana's newest state treasurer will be sworn into office Dec. 5.

Treasurer-elect John Schroder's swearing-in ceremony will be held in Kenner that evening, followed by a reception. It falls the day after the election results are official, according to the Secretary of State's office.