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Pointe Coupee gearing up for improved 911 service, but needs help from residents whose homes don’t have posted street addresses

The Pointe Coupee Parish 911 system is set to take what officials describe as a “quantum leap” into the future, thanks to a $300,000 upgrade that will allow operators to pinpoint call locations from cellphones. The upgrade comes at a time when the Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury is launching a monthlong… Continue reading →

Affidavit lists students' accounts in Iberville teacher sex case: Son conceived at age 15, oral sex in classroom, threats to hurt himself

Keavin Keith

An Iberville Parish teacher who has admitted to police that he had sexual relationships with three students fathered a child with the first victim when she was 15 years old, according to the warrant issued for his arrest. The warrant also states that the teacher, Keavin Keith, and at least one other victim had… Continue reading →

Dow Louisiana foundation to donate $200,000 for West Baton Rouge school system STEM program

Dow Louisiana Operations announced Wednesday the company’s foundation is committing $200,000 to the West Baton Rouge Parish school system to establish its own science, technology, engineering and mathematics academy this fall. West Baton Rouge’s STEM programs will be offered at Brusly and Port Allen high schools starting in August, exposing… Continue reading →

Union Pacific officials promise full investigation of Addis train derailment that prompted evacuation order

Photo provided by Addis Police Department -- Addis train derailment on Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Union Pacific Railroad officials plan to conduct a full investigation into what caused four rail cars transporting hazardous chemicals to topple off the tracks near Peter Messina Road on Tuesday afternoon, company officials said. The derailment prompted an overnight evacuation of houses in the surrounding neighborhoods that were located within… Continue reading →

Plaquemine police searching for pair who scammed elderly victim

The Plaquemine Police Department is requesting the publics help with the identification of two individuals responsible for committing an elaborate scam against an elderly victim. During the incident, the two suspects coerced the victim into withdrawing a large amount of cash money from a local bank and then committed a theft of the money as they distracted the victim. Anyone with information regarding the identification and/or whereabouts of the persons involved are urged to contact the Plaquemine Police Department at 225-687-9273.

The Plaquemine Police Department is seeking the public’s help in identifying two men they say are responsible for an elaborate scam targeting a senior citizen. Authorities say the pair persuaded the man into withdrawing a large amount of cash from a local bank and that one of the men distracted the victim while the… Continue reading →

Update: Evacuation, shelter-in-place orders lifted overnight for Addis subdivisions near tanker derailment

Photo provided by Addis Police Department -- Addis train derailment on Tuesday, May 19, 2015

esidents of two subdivisions within 1,000 feet of where four chemical tankers derailed Tuesday afternoon. The decision to impose a mandatory evacuation was made around 4 p.m., while crews worked to right the toppled rail cars, and affected residents of the… Continue reading →

Iberville teacher arrested, admitted having sex with students, sheriff says

Keavin Keith

Iberville Parish school officials said they were shocked Tuesday by the arrest of one of the district’s top teachers on 37 counts related to inappropriate sexual relationships with three students. Keavin Keith, 30, was booked into the Iberville Parish Jail on Tuesday on 30 counts of prohibited sexual conduct between an educator and a student,… Continue reading →

Iberville authorities zeroing in on ticket scam that kept relatives from seeing their loved ones graduate at Plaquemine High

The Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office on Monday was given the name of two individuals who school officials believe were involved with distributing the batch of counterfeit tickets that soured Plaquemine High’s graduation ceremony last week when relatives with actual tickets were locked out of the event to prevent overcrowding. Authorities would not release those… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge judge rules use of tax dollars to fund certain charter schools is proper

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Attorney Mark Beebe for the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools enters the 19th JDC for a hearing where the case concerning charter school funding was thrown out by State District Judge Wilson Fields. Of the flow of state money to 33 BESE-authorized charter schools, seven of those schools are in EBR, six are in Orleans, three in Lafayette and two in Jefferson. Plaintiffs plan to appeal.

Louisiana education officials are declaring as a “major victory” a state judge’s ruling Friday that they are properly using tax dollars to fund the operations of certain types of charter schools. Baton Rouge Judge Wilson Fields found the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Louisiana Department of EducationContinue reading →

Familiar divide on Port Allen council crops up Wednesday in votes related to rocky tenure of Deedy Slaughter

There was a familiar divide among City Council members Wednesday night on several legal matters related to the contentious 11-month tenure of former Mayor Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter. The first was the council’s 3-2 vote to award Chief Financial Officer Audrey McCain $112,500 in a settlement of the wrongful termination… Continue reading →

St. Gabriel police chief’s son arrested on unrelated gun charge in wake of double fatal shooting

Kevin Ambeau Jr.

The 25-year-old son of St. Gabriel’s police chief was arrested Wednesday after investigators found a stolen gun in the trailer where he’s suspected of fatally shooting two brothers he and his cousin got into physical altercations with on Mother’s Day. The stolen gun authorities confiscated from Kevin Ambeau Jr., the police chief’s son,… Continue reading →

Around the Westside for May 13, 2015

Plaquemine residents can soon expect savings of about $60 a year on their electrical bills thanks to a rate reduction city officials adopted in April. The rates were reduced as the result of the June closure of the Plaquemine steam plant and three other power plants operated by the Louisiana Energy and Power Authority.… Continue reading →

St. Gabriel police chief’s son fired shots that left 2 men dead late Sunday, sheriff says

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Authorities continue to investigate Monday morning the scene of a double homicide at a trailer park late Sunday night in St. Gabriel. State Police crime scene investigators gather evidence from bullet exit holes in the back wall of a mobile home Monday morning.

Authorities say it appears the son of the city’s police chief was trying to defend his girlfriend’s home Sunday night when he fatally shot two brothers allegedly trying to get inside to confront a man with whom they had two fistfights earlier that night. But exactly why the fights started is… Continue reading →

Ventress cylist dies of injuries from Sunday accident near New Roads

A 62-year-old Ventress man died Wednesday from injuries he suffered in a Sunday afternoon motorcycle crash in Pointe Coupee Parish, State Police said. Donald R. Major was driving a 2009 Yamaha motorcycle at 1:45 p.m. Sunday on La. 415 when the crash occurred, said Sgt. Jared Sandifer, a State Police spokesman. Major was on La.… Continue reading →

Four arrested for allegedly helping suspect in Pointe Coupee slaying evade authorities; man later shot deputy U.S. Marshal

Michelle Farris

The Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Office arrested four more people late Tuesday accused of helping a man wanted for murder evade authorities for several weeks before he fatally shot a deputy U.S. marshal at a motel in Baton Rouge in March. “They just kept hiding him and financing his escape… Continue reading →

Kenny Payne named interim police chief as Plaquemine officials mourn the death of Orian Gulotta

Kenny Payne, Orian Gulotta

The Board of Selectmen unanimously appointed Kenny Payne to serve as the interim police chief in the wake of police chief Orian Gulotta’s death. Payne, who served as Gulotta’s second in command since 2002, will lead the Police Department until the city holds a special election Oct. 24 to fill the position… Continue reading →

Around the Westside for May 6

Agreement reached on Plaquemine Lock Site Iberville Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso and Plaquemine Mayor Mark “Tony” Gulotta recently signed an agreement with the state Department of Culture and Recreation to keep the Plaquemine Lock Historic Site open in the midst of looming budget cuts. The parish is assuming control and operation of the Lock… Continue reading →

Settlement reached in wrongful termination suit between former Port Allen Mayor Deedy Slaughter, CFO Audrey McCain

Left, Demetric 'Deedy' Slaughter; Audrey McCain

The city of Port Allen finally closed the books on the protracted legal dispute between Chief Financial Officer Audrey McCain and former Mayor Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter in a $112,500 settlement reached after more than eight hours of closed-door negotiations Monday in the West Baton Rouge Parish courthouse. “Sometimes, negotiations take a… Continue reading →

Teen shot Friday afternoon in New Roads, no arrests yet

A 16-year-old was shot about 4 p.m. Friday on St. Joseph Street, suffering multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Office. The teen was taken to a local hospital, Capt. Steve Juge said, and authorities were planning to transfer him to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical… Continue reading →

Rash of False River bulkhead failures blamed on faulty construction, not drawdown

Advocate fuke photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Luke Lunsford, 12, back, holds onto the family boat with his dog, Jacket, as his friend Hayden Horne, 12, looks under the dock at the boat launch near Morel's Restaurant on False River in New Roads on Sunday, Aug. 31. The Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury on Sept. 2 began a lake drawdown , which state and local officials said will improve the water quality.

The engineer overseeing the restoration efforts in the south end of False River says the recent drawdown of the oxbow lake’s water level isn’t directly responsible for the rash of bulkhead failures reported by residents living along the shoreline. Gerald Babin, vice president of Professional Engineering Consultants Corporation, said faulty construction rather than the lake drawdown… Continue reading →

Iberville school officials hopeful voters will approve tax renewals on ballot Saturday

The Iberville Parish School District on Saturday will ask voters to renew three 10-year tax proposals to help the school system maintain its alternative school programs, building maintenance and its ability to offer competitive salaries for its teachers. The tax measures are projected to generate about $9.9 million a year for the school system. Since… Continue reading →

Teachers push for pay raises in Pointe Coupee, where starting is pay far lower than in nearby school districts

Teachers in Pointe Coupee Parish are pushing the School Board for higher pay — something the educators say would reverse the district’s high turnover rate. While board members agree the district’s faculty and staff are underpaid, the fly in the ointment is finding the additional dollars needed for an across-the-board pay raise. “They… Continue reading →

Pointe Coupee School Board chooses three finalists in search for new superintendent

Pictured from left, Lisa DAquila, Anthony Cain and Ronald Kevin Lemoine

After two rounds of voting Thursday, the Pointe Coupee Parish School Board named its three finalists for schools superintendent. Lisa D’Aquila, who works with the school system as its supervisor of personnel and accountability; Ronald Kevin Lemoine, acting superintendent of the state Department of Education’s Special Schools District; and Anthony Cain, a… Continue reading →

Angry, out-of-control people plus poor courthouse security add up to a potential tragedy, 18th JDC judges, staff say

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- The Iberville Parish Courthouse in Plaquemine has been criticized by judges because of its lax security procedures. The  building's front door has no security guard  and metal detectors are installed only on 3rd floor courtrooms.

Judges and court employees in courthouses across the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge are raising an alarm about poor security in the wake of several incidents in which deputies have had trouble restraining angry, out-of-control people. None of the incidents have involved weapons, but 18th Judicial District Judge William Dupont said he’s concerned that… Continue reading →

Around the Westside for April 15, 2015

The West Baton Rouge Recreation Department is now accepting registrations for annual summer day camp and swimming classes to be held in June and July at Williams and Lee Park in Port Allen. The Port Allen camps are in addition to the department’s other annual summer camps offered in Addis, Erwinville and the Port Allen… Continue reading →

St. Gabriel Health Clinic releases proposed agreement with Iberville School Board, but board lawyer says the attorneys are still working on it

The St. Gabriel Health Clinic has forwarded to the Iberville Parish School Board a draft of an agreement outlining the functions of two school-based health clinics in the hope the board would discuss the matter at its meeting Monday. However, Assistant District Attorney Scott Stassi, who is representing the School Board in its ongoing negotiations with… Continue reading →

Iberville clerk’s office spent more than $30,000 in public money on travel, gas. Clerk J. Gerald “Bubbie” Dupont: 'If I go to Florida, I’m bringing my family'

The Iberville Parish Clerk of Court’s Office has spent more than $30,000 in public funds on out-of-town conference trips and fuel for vehicles over the past three years — more than twice what was spent by its similarly sized counterparts in Pointe Coupee and West Baton Rouge parishes, records show. The charges include thousands… Continue reading →

With superintendent search on front burner, Pointe Coupee School Board may push proposed STEM Academy to the back burner

Advocate staff photo by TERRY JONES -- A federal court judge recently approved a motion from the state's Recovery School District that will shut down Pointe Coupee Central High in Morganza forcing more than 180 students to attend Livonia High in the fall. The judge's decision has angered some community members who feel Central is the better option as the parish's lone high school because of its size and location.

Plans to transform Pointe Coupee Central High School into a much-touted Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Arts Academy could likely be shelved. Four of the eight School Board members contacted Wednesday said they’re prepared to temporarily pump the brakes on the ambitious endeavor because the board has enough on its plate in trying… Continue reading →

Around the Westside for April 1, 2015

West Baton Rouge Parish Library Director Beth Vandersteen was recently chosen as the Essae M. Culver Award recipient by the Louisiana Library Association for her career achievements. The association’s highest award is given to honor a librarian who merits recognition for: professional service and achievements, leadership in Louisiana association work and lifetime accomplishments in… Continue reading →

Twelve apply to become superintendent of the Pointe Coupee Parish School System

The Pointe Coupee Parish School Board released the résumés of 12 candidates who have applied for the superintendent’s position following Linda D’Amico’s announcement that she’s retiring at the end of the year. Among the pool of applicants are educational officials from Maryland and Lafayette as well as a few administrators from schools in the… Continue reading →

Woman who says she was kidnapped from East Baton Rouge survives crash that killed alleged abductor

Advocate staff photo by Terry Jones --A woman injured in a fatal one-car crash on Wednesday, March 26, 2015, in West Baton Rouge Parish told authorities that her boyfriend, who died in the crash, had kidnapped her from their Baton Rouge home.

When first responders arrived at a one-vehicle crash scene Thursday morning on Rosedale Road, a woman inside the vehicle told them she was the victim of a kidnapping by her boyfriend. The woman, 34-year-old Rae Michelle Carrell, was airlifted to a hospital where she remained in critical condition Thursday night, Baton Rouge… Continue reading →

Health clinics in Iberville Parish, Marrero and Metairie join forces with Honduran Consulate to serve growing Hispanic community in Louisiana

A nonprofit health clinic in Iberville Parish and two more from the New Orleans area joined forces this week with the Honduran Consulate in New Orleans in an effort to make health care more accessible to the Hispanic community in south Louisiana. In Iberville Parish, some 40 percent of the patient… Continue reading →

Around the Westside for March 25, 2015

The West Baton Rouge Museum gears up to promote a national traveling exhibit, “Apron Chronicles: A Patchwork of American Recollections,” this week by first hosting a lunchtime lecture at noon Wednesday titled “Twentieth Century Cinderellas: Women and Their Aprons.” Pam Rabalais-Vinci, of the LSU Textile and Costume Museum, will serve as the lecture’s featured speaker.… Continue reading →

Tea Party, Dow Louisiana line up against West Baton Rouge sheriff’s sales tax proposal; increase would push parish sales tax rate to 9.5 percent

West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Mike Cazes is getting pushback from local industry and the Tea Party of Louisiana over the half-cent sales tax he’s hoping voters will approve in Saturday’s election. Cazes has said previously he would have to cut back, or eliminate, several programs and public services his office provides to make… Continue reading →