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Nepal shuts airport to big jets

Bodies of people who died a week ago during the earthquake lay alongside blocks of ice in the lobby of a building adjacent to a hospital morgue, where relatives can identify them, Kathmandu, Nepal, Sunday, May 3, 2015. The Kathmandu morgue has been struggling to keep up with the relentless flow of corpses in the aftermath of the April 25 earthquake that left more than a thousand dead just in the capital. (AP Photo/Bernat Amangue)

KATHMANDU, Nepal — Runway damage forced Nepalese authorities to close the main airport Sunday to large aircraft delivering aid to millions of people following the massive earthquake, but U.N. officials said the overall logistics situation was improving. The death toll climbed to 7,276, including six foreigners and 45 Nepalese found over the weekend on… Continue reading →

Eight die in custody of the Iberia Parish Sheriff's office in 10 years

Robert Sonnier, 62, is wheeled out of the Iberia Parish Jail on a stretcher. Sonnier died of a traumatic brain injury after an altercation with an untrained corrections deputy.

Robert Sonnier just wanted to tell the world about Jesus. For at least 10 years, the devout Catholic and Loreauville native had experienced religious visions. The visions didn’t bother him so much as keep him entertained, according to his family. On disability, Sonnier, 62, spent much of his time in the pews at St.… Continue reading →

Last day all about 'local love': New Orleans acts, NOCCA pride, huge crowds, and sunshine close out Jazz Fest 2015

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- Guitarist Leo Nocentelli, left, singer Cyril Neville and bassist George Porter Jr., of The Meters perform on the Acura Stage during the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Sunday, May 3, 2015, at the New Orleans Fair Grounds Race Course.

As local superstar Trombone Shorty closed out the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell for the third year in a row Sunday evening, fans expressed nothing short of adoration for the artist who hails from New Orleans but has become an international sensation at age 29. “It’s so great,”… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge police: One in custody after violent home invasion; three intruders break-in, beat man, rape woman

Willie McCormick

One man is in custody after forensics investigators matched blood taken from him when he was treated at a hospital for a gunshot wound to DNA left at the scene of a violent home invasion and rape early Friday, Baton Rouge Police said. Willie Joseph McCormick III, 23, 3218 Toulon Drive, Baton Rouge, was booked into Parish… Continue reading →

Mississippi River diversion proponents use full-page ad to state their case

A full-page advertisement that ran Sunday in a number of publications in Louisiana, including The Advocate, highlights the need for large, land-building diversions to be built along the Mississippi River as part of the state’s coastal restoration plan. Andy Nyman, a wetland scientist at LSU, said scientists discussed the need to counter misinformation being… Continue reading →

Louisiana legislators want to see more information about Bayou Health

Advocate staff photo by LIBBY ISENHOWER Gov.  Bobby Jindal talks about education during an interview at the Governor's Mansion.   Jindal will be inaugurated for his second term on Monday.

After three years in operation, Gov. Bobby Jindal’s signature effort to privatize Medicaid might be saving taxpayers millions of dollars and providing about 20 percent of the state’s population with better health care. Or it might not. Called Bayou Health, the effort began in 2012, when Jindal started contracting the work that had been… Continue reading →

Dog dies in fire two days after alerting family to blaze

A dog died in a house fire in Ville Platte on Saturday, two days after she alerted the family to another fire in the house, likely saving the family’s lives, the homeowner said. Kevin Argetsinger, the homeowner, said Saturday that he believed someone was trying to burn down his house after he found fires set in his… Continue reading →

Enormous closing weekend crowd raises safety concerns at Jazz Fest, fest-goers say 'cap the ticket sales'

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Louisiana native Jerry Lee Lewis performs to a packed crowd on the Acura Stage on the second Saturday of Jazz Fest in New Orleans, La. Saturday, May 2, 2015.

On Saturday at the Acura Stage, frequent overhead camera shots of the Acura stage flashed a picture on the wide video screens that many people on the ground knew to be true: There were far too many people there. Crowds not only occupied the entire green space for Elton John’s set at the New… Continue reading →

Ask The Advocate: Are there enough fire stations downtown?

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- The Baton Rouge Chief Oliver Sevier Fire Station No. 1 at 3024 Florida Blvd.

QUESTION: In recent years we have seen downtown Baton Rouge continue its growth. However, we have also seen the decrease in the number of fire stations covering the area, from two to just one now. Is there any concern with the number of fire stations covering downtown Baton Rouge with its continued growth there?… Continue reading →

Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office under scrutiny for treatment of inmates, others in custody

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- The Iberia Parish Jail in New Iberia.

In a year that has seen mass protests over the treatment of African-American men by law enforcement — in Ferguson, Missouri; Staten Island, New York; and, most recently, Baltimore, among other places — New Iberia still managed to grab an unwanted moment in the national spotlight. The town’s brief close-up stemmed from the March 2014 Continue reading →

Livingston Parish voters approve four tax renewals on Saturday ballot by wide margins

Livingston Parish voters approved four property tax renewals Saturday, including a scaled-back version of the Health Unit tax voters rejected in November. The margin of victory for the Health Unit was significant, with 4,772 votes, or 66 percent, in favor and 2,460 votes against the proposal, according to complete but unofficial returns posted on the secretary… Continue reading →

Man who eventually confessed to killing two CarQuest Auto Parts workers initially denied it in interrogation video shown to jurors Saturday

Lee Turner Jr. introduced himself to Edward “Eddie” Gurtner III and Randy Chaney the day the two CarQuest Auto Parts employees were slain in March 2011, was in the store “right before closing” and returned to the crime scene that night, Turner admitted in a videotaped interrogation played Saturday at his capital murder trial. “I shook… Continue reading →

Two sought in shooting of New Roads teen

The Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Office is looking for two men in connection with the shooting of a 16-year-old in New Roads Friday afternoon. Arrest warrants were issued for Terrance Montrell Rayford, of New Roads, on a count of attempted second-degree murder and for Richard LeRoy McClain Jr., also of New Roads, on… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge judge rules jury can hear testimony of previous abuse in trial of father accused in boy’s beating death

When Xzayvion Riley’s father stands trial in the June 2012 beating death of the 8-year-old Baton Rouge boy, a jury will be allowed to hear about the broken leg he suffered in his father’s presence four months earlier and about repeated punches his father is accused of delivering to him outside a day care center two months… Continue reading →

Big hats, bow ties and mint juleps abound as Baton Rouge’s Farr Park hosts Derby Day event

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- Sam Castro, left, rolls the die as, from right, Rhonda Baird, Robin Hill and Rowan Baird watch during a game of "Stick Horse Racing" at Farr Park's first Derby Day party Saturday, May 2, 2015.

So it wasn’t the infield at Churchill Downs. The folks who trekked to BREC’s Farr Park Equestrian Center in Baton Rouge for a Derby Day viewing party on Saturday had a fine time anyway. The park’s indoor arena, usually filled with livestock for rodeos, hosted a crowd donned in the derby staples — brightly colored hats and… Continue reading →

Annual Breaux Bridge crawfish festival proves a hit with visitors in seach of food, music, fun

Advocate Photo by LEE CELANO  - John Burns of New Orleans cheers on Geno Delafose & French Rockin' Boogie at the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival Sat., May 2, 2015.

From the lookout atop the Ferris wheel at the 55th annual Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival, Parc Hardy resembled a colorful wave spreading over the grassy field on Saturday. Over a three-day period, more than 35,000 people from around the world were expected at this year’s event. Festivalgoers enjoyed Cajun two-stepping to music like D.L. Menard’s… Continue reading →

Cypress Cedar Street blaze blamed on faulty stove

A faulty stove caused $80,000 damage to a home on Cypress Cedar Street in Baton Rouge Saturday afternoon, according to the Baton Rouge Fire Department. Firefighters arrived at the house in the 10000 block of Cypress Cedar Street at just after 2:30 p.m. Saturday to find smoke in the house. The owner said the stove… Continue reading →

Eight arrested on suspicion of DWI in East Baton Rouge Parish from Friday to Saturday

Authorities arrested at least eight people suspected of driving while intoxicated in East Baton Rouge Parish and booked them into Parish Prison between 2:30 p.m. Friday and 2:30 p.m. Saturday booking records show. Those booked and the counts against them: Harold Alpha, 34, 406 Knollwood Circle, Lafayette, first-offense DWI, speeding and driver’s licenses… Continue reading →

Alexandre Mouton House will be among historic Lafayette homes on annual history walk tour sponsored by preservation group

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- The Alexandre Mouton House will be featured in a history tour this weekend in Lafayette.

When Roxana M. Usner was a child, she was among the many Acadiana area schoolchildren who visited the Alexandre Mouton House on a field trip, learning about Lafayette history in the home once owned by a Louisiana governor. “We all went there as children,” said Usner, director of the Preservation Alliance of Lafayette. “But people… Continue reading →

Lafayette police blotter for May 2, 2015

Arrests posted May 2, 2015, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s web site: SARAH ARCENEAUX: 17, of the 900 block of N. University, Lafayette. She was booked on prohibited activities (drug paraphernalia) and violation of uniform controlled dangerous substances law in a drug-free zone.… Continue reading →

Child of slain pregnant woman Brittney Mills dies Friday; source: ex-LSU star La'el Collins to take paternity test, meet with police next week

Photo provided by Facebook -- Brittney Mills

After pregnant mother Brittney Mills, 29, was shot and killed last week, doctors rushed to deliver her baby, but the child, Brenton Mills, died Friday, Baton Rouge police reported. Brittney Mills was shot several times at her Ship Drive apartment on April 24, likely by someone she knew. Cpl. Don Coppola has said investigators believe… Continue reading →

Some Louisiana officials question utility company response to recent storm

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Entergy crews work on power lines on Silverleaf Tuesday. About 20 Entergy workers were laboring in this one site, some from Monroe, La.

Public officials said Friday that it took longer than expected for power to be restored to their constituents after storms this week but that utility companies have improved their post-storm power restoration in recent years. Tornadoes and thunderstorms that raged through south Louisiana on Monday left more than 175,000 people without power across the state. Entergy,… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge police: suspected drug dealer nabbed after racing across LSU campus and neighborhood, throwing baggies from car

Terrance Thibodaux

Throwing heroin and prescription pills out a window, a drug dealer raced through LSU’s campus and a nearby neighborhood Thursday night, nearly plowing into several people, according to an affidavit of probable cause. An informant told city police about drug dealings at the intersection of Willard Street and East State Street. Detectives visited the area Thursday… Continue reading →

Voters in East Baton Rouge and area parishes to decide Saturday on tax propositions, a run-off race

Voters across the East Baton Rouge Parish metro area will head to the polls Saturday, considering a slew of property tax proposals that support local governments and schools. In East Baton Rouge Parish, voters protected by the St. George Fire District will consider whether to renew one of the department’s existing 1.25-mill property taxes and give… Continue reading →

La'el Collins' stunning free fall takes another turn; reports say he'll sit out 2015 NFL season and re-enter 2016's draft

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING --  LSU offensive tackle La'El Collins (70) and coach Les Miles lead the team out of the locker room before playing Kentucky.

The agent for former LSU offensive lineman La’el Collins told multiple national outlets that the former All-Southeastern Conference player would sit out the 2015 NFL season... Continue reading →