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Governor-elect John Bel Edwards grew up on small-town values, taught that politician is a noble calling

Not quite a tow-headed boy carrying a pole to the fishing hole with his father the sheriff, but Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards grew up the son of the most important man in Tangipahoa Parish, running around a small rural town where everyone knew everyone else. “I grew up in… Continue reading →

Les Miles tells ESPN he didn't tell Gridiron Club he's stepping down or would be fired after A&M game

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Les Miles holds his weekly press conference amidst growing speculation of his dismissal.

Les Miles met with Gridiron Club members Friday and expressed gratitude for their service, but the 11th-year LSU coach did not indicate whether he’d be coaching the Tigers in the future, Miles said on ESPN on Friday night. Miles disputed the account during an interview on ESPN, saying, “I had no suggestion this was going to be my last… Continue reading →

Scott Rabalais: Les Miles ... championship coach or leader of unimaginative offense? Debate to continue until the end

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU head coach Les Miles waves to fans as he brings the team down Victory Hill before the game Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Tiger Stadium.

It’s never been easy with Les Miles. Never easy to give him the credit he deserved. Never easy to know when enough criticism was enough. Never easy for multitudes of passionate LSU fans to pledge unquestioned allegiance to the winningest (by percentage) football coach in LSU history. Never easy to typecast him as a coach with no… Continue reading →

St. Martinville priest's decommmissioned ambulance turned mobile confessional offers a different kind of healing

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK -- Fr. Michael Champagne talks about the Spiritual Care Unit, a mobile confessional made from a used ambulance, Monday, November 23, 2015, at the Community of Jesus Crucified in St. Martinville, La.

The Rev. Michael Champagne wears his vestments while traveling, so it’s not unusual for strangers to approach the St. Martinville priest for prayer and confession, which he delivers. Now, Champagne can accommodate those wanting confessions on the go with a decommissioned ambulance that’s been transformed into a mobile confessional. The Spiritual Care Unit debuted this… Continue reading →

Fire at Baton Rouge apartment unit deemed arson

Firefighters extinguished a blaze at a Baton Rouge apartment Friday evening after someone set fire to a pile of trash inside the vacant unit. Firefighters responded to the fire at 11614 Sherwood Valley Court just before 6:30 p.m. and quickly put it out before it could spread, the Baton Rouge Fire Department release says. The apartment… Continue reading →

Black Friday in Lafayette: ‘You snooze, you lose’

Advocate Photo by LEE CELANO  - Shoppers with large bags crowd the floor of he Mall of Acadiana  during Black Friday in Lafayette Friday, Nov. 27 2015.

U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond part of bipartisan push to address incarceration rates, associated costs

Cedric Richmond

It’s rare, as a member of the Democratic minority in the U.S. House, to play a significant role in pushing major legislation to approval, U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, acknowledged this week. Rare, but for him, he said, not unprecedented: He teamed up with Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, in the House, along… Continue reading →

Eight booked on DWI in East Baton Rouge between Thursday and Friday

Authorities arrested at least eight people suspected of driving while intoxicated in East Baton Rouge Parish and booked them into Parish Prison between noon Thursday and noon Friday, booking records show. Those booked and the counts against them: Kenneth Dean, 22, 40237 Coontrap Road, Gonzales, first-offense DWI and careless operation. Alando Gilkes,… Continue reading →

Construction continues on South Louisiana Community College’s St. Martinville site and to begin soon on the health sciences building in Lafayette

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK -- Construction continues Monday, November 23, 2015, on the South Louisiana Community College Evangeline campus in St. Martinville, La.

South Louisiana Community College plans to open its new campus in St. Martinville in time for the fall 2016 semester; meanwhile, construction will start soon on its health sciences building in Lafayette. The $9.2 million, 38,000-square-foot building in St. Martinville is expected to be completed by July, said Bryan Glatter, SLCC vice chancellor of administration and… Continue reading →

City of Walker building toward baseball field for children with special needs; working with Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation

Advocate staff file photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Children ride the carnival-style rides and climb the rock wall during a 2912 National Night Out Against Crime at Sidney Hutchinson Park in Walker. City officials are now planning fundraisers to build a baseball field in the park for special-needs children.

As city officials prepare to host a star-studded fundraiser to build a baseball field for children with special needs, the mayor hopes a partnership with the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation will drive the project home. Some 80 children with mental and physical disabilities already participate in the Walker recreation department’s Challengers Division,… Continue reading →

Lafayette Police seeking to identify man shot, killed Friday

Police are working to identify a man shot and killed early Friday in Lafayette. Officers responding around 2:15 a.m. to a fight in a parking lot at 3103 W. Pinhook Road learned that the man and a 38-year-old woman had been fighting before they both fell to the ground, at which point the woman shot the man… Continue reading →

Pedestrian struck by car, killed on Airline Highway

A 57-year-old pedestrian died Thursday after a car hit him in the 7100 block of Airline Highway, police said. The incident took place shortly after 6 p.m. when the man walked onto the road from the west side and was struck by a 2010 Ford Taurus, said Cpl. L’Jean McKneely, a Baton Rouge Police Department spokesman.… Continue reading →

Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards’ Medicaid expansion timeline hits bump in road; here's what's next

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Louisiana Governor Elect John Bel Edwards speaks about his plans after winning the election the day before at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans, La. Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015.

On the campaign trial, Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards promised time and again that he would expand the rolls of Medicaid on his first day in office. His promise to reverse repeated rejections of expanded Medicaid by Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal and open the government health insurance program to more low-income workers was a cornerstone… Continue reading →

One suspect in Bunny Friend Park mass shooting ID'd, to be booked on 17 counts of attempted murder

New Orleans police say Friday that they’ve identified one of the suspects -- Joseph “Moe” Allen, 32 -- in last Sunday’s mass shooting during a block party at Bunny Friend Park.

Joseph “Moe” Allen, the man New Orleans police named Friday as the first confirmed suspect in Sunday’s mass shooting at Bunny Friend Park, has ties to “more than one organization,” NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison said, hinting at a possible gang motive for the shooting spree that left 17 people wounded as bullets sprayed through a Continue reading →

Which bowl game is LSU headed to? 1 of 3 options appear likely

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU running back Leonard Fournette (7) juggles a pass before bringing it in, as Mississippi defensive back Kendarius Webster (15) moves in in during  he first half, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015 in Oxford, Miss.

Whether Les Miles is still LSU’s coach or not, at some point over the holidays, the Tigers will have a bowl game to play. LSU’s potential postseason address, speculation over which has been drowned out by the spotlight on Miles’ embattled tenure at the school, is pure guesswork at this point considering the Tigers’ current… Continue reading →

Edwin Edwards leaving hospital after pneumonia treatment

Former Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards waves with his wife Trina Scott Edwards as they arrive onstage with family and supporters for Louisiana Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards, at his election night watch party in New Orleans, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015. John Bel Edwards won the runoff election for Louisiana governor Saturday, defeating the once-heavy favorite, Republican David Vitter, and handing the Democrats their first statewide victory since 2008. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Former Gov. Edwin Edwards is headed home from the hospital after treatment for pneumonia. “Edwin is up and around and feeling much better thanks to the doctors, nurses, and rest of the hospital staff. He received excellent treatment and everyone was so kind and helpful, but we’re happy to be headed home,” Edwards’ wife Trina wrote on… Continue reading →

With drones hot Christmas list items, Baton Rouge-area enthusiasts unsure how new regulations should work

In this photo taken June 11, 2015, a hexacopter drone is flown during a demonstration in Cordova, Md. An aviation industry task force plans to recommend Friday that operators be required to register drones weighing as little as a half of a pound, a threshold that could capture some remote-controlled toys, industry officials said. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Remote-controlled drones are on the minds of many this holiday season, topping wish lists and crowding shelves at area retailers. But eager hobbyists and retailers aren’t the only ones with drones on their minds as Christmas approaches: The Federal Aviation Administration is scrambling to put together new regulations for recreational drones. Exploding popularity of the unmanned,… Continue reading →

Academic rigor and close-knit atmosphere two biggest memories as LSU Lab School celebrates its centennial

LSU Lab School's first football team 1932

The University Laboratory School today is a world of artificial turf, computers in the classrooms and a state-of-the-art auditorium. It all looks different to Bill and Betty Norris, who graduated from the school in the early 1950s. Back then, the lab school was in Peabody Hall on LSU’s campus, and students spent their… Continue reading →

Lafayette arrest report for Nov. 27

Arrests posted Nov. 26, 2015, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s website: MICHAEL BELLARD: 52, of the 100 block of Hebert Road, Lafayette. He was booked on operating a vehicle while under suspension and open container of alcohol in a vehicle. THOMAS LARSEN BILLEAUD: 23, of the 200 block of Old Settlement Road, Lafayette.… Continue reading →

Suspect named in Thanksgiving day killing in Plaquemine

Suspect Jerome Anderson Gray

Police named a suspect Friday in the killing of a Plaquemine man who was found dead Thanksgiving Day near Canal and Church streets. Police believe Jerome Anderson Gray, also known as Dusty, killed Derick Askins and that he may be in the New Orleans area, though his motive is still undetermined, a Plaquemine City Police news… Continue reading →

Ex-Baton Rouge school employee, Congo refugees just some of those grateful for area's Thanksgiving charity

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- First in line and pooped out after waiting for several hours, Baton Rouge's Cynthia Addison, 76, center, is helped through the door of the Society of St. Vincent dePaul dining hall by Baton Rouge Police Dept. Officer James Rowe, right, and followed by others including Kerry Smith, left, as they get ready to sit down for the annual Thanksgiving luncheon there.

Cynthia Addison arrived at the St. Vincent de Paul dining hall off Government Street at 8 a.m. Thursday to claim a spot at the front of the line for Thanksgiving dinner. The 76-year-old Baton Rouge resident said her legs “were about to give way” when the doors finally opened three hours later.… Continue reading →

Jimbo Fisher on Florida State: 'I’m very happy here. I’ve got a great job. I love this place.'

LSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher, left,  and  head coach Les Miles talk football practice in New Orleans, Saturday, Dec. 30, 2006. LSU  is getting ready to play Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl football game on Jan. 3.  (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

. Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher experssed his affection for Florida State on Wednesday night when asked on his radio show if he'd consider leaving Tallahassee for Baton Rouge. “I’m happy where I’m at,” Fisher said, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. “I’m very happy here. I’ve got a great job. I love this place.… Continue reading →

Diversity House: LGBT homeless teens in Baton Rouge area to get support via new housing just for them

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Apartment building that will offer housing to LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) youth in a new program, Diversity House, through Youth Oasis, a Baton Rouge youth shelter. Youth Oasis executive director Rafael de Castro said that transgender youth, who frequently have a tough 'fit' with foster families in Louisiana, can live there, and receive life skills training from a social worker and case managers.

When Amanda Cloyd began looking at the files on teenagers being referred to Youth Oasis during her first year or so as a social worker at the Baton Rouge shelter, she started to notice a pattern. Homeless youth who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender were apparently being rejected from state foster care in greater… Continue reading →

Advocates for criminal justice reform, hot-button issue in governor’s race, hope John Bel Edwards sticks to promises

John Bel Edwards

. The red-meat rhetoric about John Bel Edwards unleashing thousands of “dangerous thugs” upon Louisiana neighborhoods has settled into the campaign dustbin. Now, as the governor-elect moves into transition mode, advocates for criminal justice reform in the state with the nation’s biggest per-capita prison population are hoping he’ll breathe life… Continue reading →

Report: Man aims stolen gun at Baker couple

Two men are spending Thanksgiving in Parish Prison after one of them brandished a stolen handgun at a married couple in Baker over a funny look, Baker Police said. Baker police found drugs and the stolen weapon in the men’s car after the couple, who told police they didn’t know the suspects and had no idea… Continue reading →

Two men shot, injured Wednesday night in St. Martin Parish

Casey Wiltz, 28

A St. Martinville man who allegedly shot two others at a St. Martin Parish crossroads Wednesday night has surrendered to authorities and has been booked on two counts of attempted second-degree murder. Casey Mark Wiltz, 28, shot 34-year-old Andre Narcisse and 31-year-old Kelvis Narcisse shortly after 10:30 p.m. at the intersection of Loreauville Highway and Cemetery Highway,… Continue reading →

Southern might be peaking just in time for Bayou Classic, but Grambling will be true test

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Southern defensive tackle Gabe Echols (90) sacks Alabama A&M quarterback Damion May (3), Saturday, November 14, 2015, at Southern's A.W. Mumford Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.

Southern won’t be going to the Southwestern Athletic Championship game for the first time in three years. Grambling (8-0 in the SWAC) already has clinched the West division title going into the regular-season finale against the Jaguars (6-2) in the Bayou Classic on Saturday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. But as it has done in the past two seasons, Southern… Continue reading →

Lafayette arrest report for Nov. 26

Arrests posted Nov. 26, 2015, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s web site: WILLIE MARKEL ANGELLE: 20, of the 100 block of Dutch Street, Carencro. He was booked on armed robbery and warrant/bench warrant. DALEAH L. BELLARD: 17, of the 100 block of Clara,… Continue reading →

Two Abbeville motorcyclists dead after collision with 18-wheeler

An Abbeville man and his nephew died Wednesday evening when their motorcycles collided with an 18-wheeler on La. 14 west of U.S. 90 in Iberia Parish, State Police said. Jones Mitchell, 45, and Gerald Mitchell, 25, both of Abbeville, were riding Suzuki motorcycles westbound on La. 14 around 6 p.m. Wednesday when a Peterbilt 18-wheeler turned onto… Continue reading →

Five booked on DWI in East Baton Rouge from Wednesday to Thursday

Authorities arrested at least five people suspected of driving while intoxicated in East Baton Rouge Parish and booked them into Parish Prison between noon Wednesday and noon Thursday, booking records show. Those booked and the counts against them: Angela Forbes, 33, 10600 Lakes Blvd., Baton Rouge, first-offense DWI, reckless operation, driving left of center… Continue reading →

Photos: Baton Rouge Police Department participates in 5th annual Thanksgiving Adopt a Family

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie loads up his food items ahead of distribution to their designated families during the 5th Annual Thanksgiving Adopt a Family Giveaway, Wednesday, November 25, 2015, at Bayou Cafe on Airline Highway in Baton Rouge. Baton Rouge Police teamed up with the Capital Area chapter of the Magnolia State Peace Officers Association, the Lambda Kappa Kappa Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., the Xi Nu Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., and Nu Gamma Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., to adopt and feed nearly 70 needy families throughout the Baton Rouge community.

The Baton Rouge Police Department participated in the 5th Annual Thanksgiving Adopt a Family Giveaway on Wednesday. This year, the BRPD partnered with the Capital Area chapter of the Magnolia State Peace Officers Association, the Lambda Kappa Kappa Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., the Xi Nu Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., and Nu… Continue reading →

Cajuns seniors have nothing, everything to lose

Advocate photo by BRAD KEMP -- Louisiana-Lafayette's Otha Peters Taboris Lee (92) sack South Alabama quarterback Cody Clements on Thursday night at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala..

LAFAYETTE — It wasn’t clear whether Louisiana-Lafayette linebacker Otha Peters misspoke or not, but the words held meaning either way. “We have nothing to lose,” Peters said. “We have everything to lose.” He issued both thoughts back-to-back, not a pause between them. Normally, they’re two completely contradicting statements, but in this case they… Continue reading →

Students try to drive home the need for flu shots to their peers

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Middle and high school students are not the easiest to persuade to get vaccinated for the flu. To up rates of vaccination, middle and high schools have clubs of students who go out and try to evangelize other students on the need to get vaccinated. Nate Batiste, holding a "STOP THE FLU" button,  is one of the students at Woodlawn High who is doing just that. The club has put up posters and are trying to get students to sign consent forms to that end.

For the eighth year in a row, East Baton Rouge Parish public schools are providing students with flu vaccinations free of charge. But while the price is hard to beat, the effort is nevertheless proving a tough sell, especially to older students. Nate Batiste thinks he knows why. “When adults talk to kids, they are… Continue reading →

Need a gig? John Bel Edwards launches new website, seeks applications for political positions

Looking for a job in Louisiana Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards’ administration? Edwards’ transition team launched a website Wednesday where people can apply on-line for a variety of politically appointed positions in the governor’s office and state agencies. The governor-elect’s website -- -- contains a form for job seekers to fill out.… Continue reading →

Danny Heitman’s “At Random”: On holiday, give thanks for life itself

Kindergartner Riley Rushing nibbles on a rice and marshmallow treat made in the shape of a turkey drumstick as she and her classmates dress as Pilgrims and Indians to celebrate Thanksgiving in their classroom in Soldier Creek Elementary  School in Midwest City, Okla., on Wednesday, Nov. 24,  2015. (Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman/via AP)

If Thanksgiving is America’s culinary Super Bowl — an event hyped for days, then unfolded as an annual spectacle — it seems that those of us who live in south Louisiana must rank as national champs. We are, after all, perhaps better than other Americans at the art of the feast — the meal so mythically grand… Continue reading →