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Ex-wife makes three who have been arrested in the fraudulent national credit repair scheme

Jessica Clements-Batiste, 26.

The ex-wife of a man accused of orchestrating a national credit-repair fraud scheme was arrested Tuesday, bringing the total number of people facing criminal charges in the conspiracy to three. Jessica Clements-Batiste, 26, faces racketeering counts for helping her former spouse, 24-year-old Donald Batiste, trick hundreds of people into buying stolen Social Security numbers as… Continue reading →

Source: Holding South Carolina vs. LSU game in Columbia 1st choice, neutral site 2nd, Baton Rouge 3rd

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU head coach Les Miles walks down Victory Hill for the game against Eastern Michigan on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, in Tiger Stadium.

The LSU-South Carolina set for Saturday in flood-ravaged Columbia, South Carolina, could be moved, possibly even to Baton Rouge. Continue reading →

Goodwood Plantation to be restored, with high-end subdivision built around it

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Local developer Michael Hogstrom said he has reached a deal to buy Goodwood Plantation, seen here Tuesday  at 7307 Goodwood Blvd., and plans to redevelop the home and build 48 high-end homes on the 16.8 surrounding acres. Hogstrom, whose company Onsite Design has been involved in several infill developments in the area around Goodwood Plantation such as Etage Gardens on Government Street, said the new development will be called Adelia at Old Goodwood. The plan is to preserve and restore the home, making it the centerpiece of the development.

A local developer said he has reached a deal to buy Goodwood Plantation and plans to redevelop the home and build 48 high-end homes on the 16.8 surrounding acres. Michael Hogstrom — whose company Onsite Design has been involved in several infill developments in the area around Goodwood Plantation such as E’tage Gardens on Government Street… Continue reading →

Tempers flare at tense meeting between Glenmore Avenue homeowners, bicyclists over bike lanes

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Vehicles parked  along Glenmore St. block the designated bike path.

Bicycles lined the outside of a Mid City church on Monday evening. Cars were packed into the parking lot and several vehicles parked on the shoulder of the road, blocking the bike lanes at the corner of Capital Heights Boulevard and Glenmore Avenue. The view outside almost perfectly illustrated the fight that was happening inside the… Continue reading →

Weather Channel asks: What do you consider sweater — or, if you prefer, gumbo — weather?

What’s considered “sweater weather”? Depends on whom you ask. The Weather Channel conducted a survey of people in the United States (excluding Alaska and Hawaii) to find out what temperature makes people break out their sweaters. Of 6,586 respondents, 59 percent placed the sweater weather cutoff into the 55 to 65 degree range. The results show… Continue reading →

St. Landry high school principal, basketball coach arrested after physical confrontation with student

The principal and the head basketball coach for a St. Landry Parish high school were arrested on Monday after they reportedly got into a physical confrontation with a student. Principal Keith James 49, of Breaux Bridge, was booked on simple battery, according to the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office. Lorenso Williams, 29, of Breaux Bridge, was… Continue reading →

See Lafayette-area arrests for Oct. 5, 2015

Arrests posted Oct. 5, 2015, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s website. RYAN ARCENEAUX: 44, of the 200 block of Teurlings Drive, Lafayette. He was booked on fugitive. JOHNIE WAYNE BENOIT: 46, of the 100 block of Cabana Row, Lafayette. He was booked on felony simple criminal damage to property; resisting an officer;… Continue reading →

Today's Rundown: Bobby Jindal set to release second book; political strategist James Carville says gubernatorial debate a disaster

. Today in The Rundown: We review Gov. Bobby Jindal’s latest book; Republicans hit the breaks on leadership shuffle in DC; Carville criticizes WDSU debate; and much more. Get The Rundown in your inbox by filling out the form here. Countdown…
Days until the 2015 primary election day: 18
Days until the runoff (as needed): 46
Days until the Iowa caucuses: 120 Where… Continue reading →

Homeless man accused of masturbating on BREC park bench

Francis Peter

A homeless Baton Rouge man was arrested after a woman walking her dog Monday afternoon saw him masturbating on a bench in the Antioch BREC park, the Sheriff’s Office says. East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s deputies went to the park to investigate after the woman reported the incident. She told deputies she was walking her dog in the… Continue reading →

Baker police: Contractor accused of taking advantage of elderly clients to the tune of $500,000

Tanweer Bhatti, 63

A handful of elderly neighbors in a Baker subdivision shelled out nearly $500,000 to a fast-talking contractor for extensive renovations of their homes, but according to city Police Chief Mike Knaps, the contractor pocketed the cash while performing shoddy work. Tanweer Bhatti, the owner of Baton Rouge-based Southern Siding Co. Inc., was arrested Monday on two counts… Continue reading →

Hot Air Balloon Festival turns a profit for second time since moving to Ascension Parish four years ago

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Pilots ignite their burners during the balloon glow, Friday, September 25, 2015, at the Ascension Hot Air Balloon Festival at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales, La.

Two suspected of DWI between Sunday, Monday in East Baton Rouge Parish

Authorities arrested at least two people suspected of driving while intoxicated in East Baton Rouge Parish and booked them into Parish Prison between 2:30 p.m. Sunday and 2:30 p.m. Monday, booking records show. Those booked and the counts against them: Michael Miller, 43, 2120 Hillstone Drive, Baton Rouge, first-offense DWI, driving with a suspended or revoked… Continue reading →

New Iberia woman killed in head-on collision

A New Iberia woman was killed Monday after another car crossed a centerline and collided head-on with her SUV. Marette D. Stevens, 55, died at an area hospital after the crash on La. 3195 near Estate Drive, which happened around 10:30 a.m., according to State Police. Police said they are still investigating why Sharon Witzel, 26,… Continue reading →

Louisiana lawmakers ask for more time to become REAL ID compliant before enforcement begins on some parts of law

With the deadline on Saturday, the Louisiana congressional delegation asked federal authorities to wait a while before forbidding the use of state drivers’ licenses to access federal courthouses, military bases and other facilities, saying the state would be in compliance soon. A majority of the state’s U.S. representatives and senators asked that the enforcement of the… Continue reading →

Ascension deputy: A bad day that led to plans to go out with friends ended in a domestic killing Friday

A fight Friday night over a man’s plans to go out with his friends ended when his girlfriend stabbed him with a kitchen knife, killing him, said Lt. Col. Bobby Webre, of the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office. Jonqualya Benton, 20, was booked into the Ascension Parish Prison early Saturday morning on a count of manslaughter in the… Continue reading →

School superintendent asks community to help children overcome obstacles; looks to future of district

Advocate staff photo by CHARLES LUSSIER -- East Baton Rouge Parish Superintendent Warren Drake gave an update Monday on the school system he took over in June to members of the Baton Rouge Press Club.

East Baton Rouge Parish School Superintendent Warren Drake says he’s enlisting the support of everyone he can in Baton Rouge to assist children in overcoming the many obstacles that keep them from succeeding as adults. “In the past four months, I have reached out and engaged every community organization in Baton Rouge,” Drake told the Baton… Continue reading →

Audit report: UL at Lafayette food services company catered parties for student union director for free

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK --  A Sodexo food service van is parked outside of the student union at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Monday, October 5, 2015, in Lafayette, La.

An audit released on Monday revealed the company selling food services to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette overbilled the school on some occasions, provided free catering for non-university events involving a former school official and brokered unwritten meal deals with university employees in exchange for cleaning services and football tickets. The state Legislative Auditor’s… Continue reading →

Armed man robs Circle K on Brightside Drive early Monday morning

Police search for armed robber who stole from a Circle K at 1910 Brightside Drive on Oct. 5, 2015.

Baton Rouge police are looking for the man who robbed a Circle K convenience store Monday morning armed with a handgun. Around 6 a.m., the man walked into the minimart at 1910 Brightside Drive in Baton Rouge, demanded money from an employee, and fled with cash, said Baton Rouge Police Cpl. Don Coppola, in a news… Continue reading →

Judge rules Louisiana Chemical Association has right to sue over tax exemption rollback, but Jindal dropped from suit

A Louisiana Chemical Association lawsuit attacking the legality of a recent tax exemption rollback will move forward, but not with Gov. Bobby Jindal as a defendant, a Baton Rouge state judge ruled Monday. Attorneys for the Louisiana Department of Revenue and the Legislature asked District Judge Mike Caldwell during a hearing to dismiss the… Continue reading →

House District 70 race pits two-term incumbent against political newcomer

Shamaka Schumake ORG XMIT: 69_bYyVj-pmwsg7D7dTx

A two-term incumbent and a first-time political candidate vying for the House District 70 seat agree that state tax credit programs should be reviewed to help solve Louisiana’s constant budget struggles, but have differing views on other issues they say are important for the south Baton Rouge-based district. Republican Franklin Foil, an attorney, was first elected to… Continue reading →

Bobby Jindal makes his case for presidency in new book 'American Will'

Gov. Bobby Jindal's second book 'American Will: The Forgotten Choices that Changed Our Republic — And Offer Lessons For Its Future'

In a book due out later this month, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal makes a case for why he thinks he should be elected president in 2016 — all wrapped in tales from history. “American Will: The Forgotten Choices That Changed Our Republic — And Offer Lessons For Its Future” is Jindal’s second book. The Advocate received an… Continue reading →

East Baton Rouge RDA moving forward with Entergy site development on Government Street

The East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority is on track to have a developer in place by March to redevelop a 6-acre industrial Entergy site on Government Street. The RDA announced Monday that it secured Portland-based Fregonese Associates to write the request for proposals to redevelop the Entergy site. The agency expects to have the RFP by December.… Continue reading →

U.S. House Republicans delay leadership votes, clouding bid by Majority Whip Steve Scalise to move up

. Washington — In a move that could hurt the chances of U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, to rise to majority leader, voting by Republicans to fill that post and other leadership positions has been pushed back several weeks, until late October at the earliest. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, called off Monday the voting that… Continue reading →

Cortez, Hughes facing off for Senate District 23 seat

Louisiana State Sen. Page Cortez, R-Lafayette

If re-elected to the state Senate for District 23, incumbent Page Cortez said he’d continue to deliver funding for road improvements. His challenger, political newcomer Terry Hughes, said he’d push to end Common Core and seek a major overhaul of state-funded consulting contracts. Cortez is seeking a second term in the Senate. He was first elected… Continue reading →

As many push for more Baton Rouge bike lanes, a tense debate as one neighborhood tries to eliminate them

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- A bicyclist heads down the bike lane marked by a sign near the south end of Glenmore Avenue Friday. Residents who live on Glenmore have long been allowed to park on their curbs. But now they're being told they can't since it's against the law since to park in a bike path. Some are petitioning to remove the bike paths, and others are in turn petitioning to keep them.

Gene Groves has lived on Glenmore Avenue for 40 years. He has a driveway where he parks his car, but, occasionally, when friends and family visit, they park on the street. But Groves’ street is lined with dedicated bike lanes. So when homeowners and their guests park on the curbs, they’re actually illegally parking in a path… Continue reading →

'I heard the baby screaming': Neighbor rushes into burning Baton Rouge apartment to save girl; cause of fire unattended pot on stove

Advocate staff photo by BRYN STOLE  --  An apartment fire, at the top right unit, leaves three hospitalized early Sunday morning at 1433 23rd St., Baton Rouge.

Update: Baton Rouge Fire Department investigators on Monday concluded the cause of this apartment fire was an unattended pot left on the stove. After waking up around midnight Sunday to get a drink, Stacey James smelled smoke in her Baton Rouge apartment. Stepping outside, she saw that an apartment in her six-unit… Continue reading →

March along with the Tiger Alumni Band as members prepare, then perform at halftime of the LSU game

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Tubas await their players before the Golden Band from Tiger Land marches down Victory Hill ahead of kickoff between LSU and Eastern Michigan, Saturday, October 3, 2015, at LSU's Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.

The LSU Tigers’ game against Eastern Michigan on Saturday was the culmination of a reunion weekend for the LSU Tiger Marching Band as alumni band members returned to campus to visit and march with the band at halftime. The band’s videographer, Moe Athmann, captured some of this activity in his video, “LSU Tiger Band Inside the Lines.”… Continue reading →

Film room: LSU's running game takes center stage in its 44-22 victory against Eastern Michigan

Welcome to Film Room, our weekly analysis of LSU’s last football game. Have a seat. No talking. No tweeting. No texting. Pay attention. (click photos to enlarge) How They Happened (big-play analysis) A good pull: On second-and-10 from the Eastern Michigan 21-yard line, LSU QB Brandon Harris kept the ball on a zone-read play and ran around left end for a 21-yard touchdown.

  • Harris… Continue reading →

  • Louisiana chemical industry files suit to block $50,000 raises for Mississippi River pilots

    Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Mississippi River in New Orleans.   File photos of aerials of New Orleans area and landmarks shot July 23, 2013.

    Louisiana’s chemical industry has filed suit to block raises for two groups of Mississippi River ship pilots that would boost their average annual pay more than $50,000 over four years, to $473,692 in 2019. Pay agreements approved by the Louisiana Pilotage Fee Commission include pay hikes of more than $30,000 in 2016, followed by 1.5… Continue reading →