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Last resident on Avenue M to move, part of the exodus caused by expanding the sewer plant in north Baton Rouge

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  Mamie Mitchell gets help from Calvin Curtis and others moving her things out of her home on Avenue M Friday, April 17, 2015.  The Metro Council approved funds to start the relocation of 41 property owners who live next to the North Baton Rouge Sewer Plant.

When Mamie Mitchell bought her house on Avenue M in north Baton Rouge in 1972, her house faced a city park. Mitchell would sit in her front yard keeping an eye on her young boys as they played with the neighborhood kids in the park across the street. The park was so close, she recalls, a ball… Continue reading →

Supreme Court lets lower court ruling stand in LSU presidential search case; four finalists records are public

Louisiana’s top court on Friday let stand a lower court ruling that LSU must make public only the names and résumés of four of the 35 candidates considered during the school’s long-concluded secret presidential search. Attorneys for The Advocate and The Times-Picayune had asked the state Supreme Court to order the release of information… Continue reading →

BREC plans to ask its board for property tax increase by ‘rolling forward’ an existing tax

The East Baton Rouge recreation and park system will ask its governing board for a property tax increase at the end of May, one that won’t require the approval of voters. BREC already collects one of the highest property taxes in the city-parish, at 14.218 mills, and many of the city’s public officials have decried recent… Continue reading →

Lawyers weigh in on whether Angola inmate Albert Woodfox should have third trial in 1972 killing

File photo provided by The Innocence Project -- Albert Woodfox in this 2008 photo.

With a Baton Rouge federal judge raising the possibility of barring another retrial of Albert Woodfox in the 1972 slaying of a Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola guard, state prosecutors and Woodfox’s attorneys have weighed in on whether the 68-year-old “Angola 3” member should face a third trial in the decades-old case. Woodfox’s unanimous 1973 and… Continue reading →

Former Livingston contractor agrees to settlement offer from parish, but there could be a catch

Corey delaHoussaye

Embattled former contractor Corey delaHoussaye has agreed to settle a pair of lawsuits against Livingston Parish for the council’s offered amount of $325,000, but lawyers for the two sides disagree on what steps are required before the parish can cut the check. Parish legal adviser Christopher Moody advised delaHoussaye’s attorney that, under Continue reading →

Dow flaring Friday at Plaquemine plant for unit shutdown

Dow’s Plaquemine plant is flaring Friday night, but there is no emergency, plant officials said. Although the flaring could be seen from far away, as of 9 p.m. Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office said they hadn’t received any calls from concerned residents. The flaring is expected to go on throughout the night as the facility goes through… Continue reading →

Work proceeding on $6.47 million Ascension Parish governmental complex

Advocate staff photo by David J. MitchellEven under cloudy skies late Friday morning, work continued on a nearly $6.47 million Ascension Parish governmental complex being built on the site of the old East Ascension Hospital along Worthey Road in Gonzales. The roof is up and steel studs for the outer walls continue to be installed. The project, which will consolidate far-flung parish offices, began Aug. 7. Parish officials said Thursday they hope the project will be finished in early October.

Nail guns popped, power drills whirred and falling metal studs clanged Friday at the site of the future Ascension Parish governmental complex. Under moody but dry skies, contractors continued to raise the nearly $6.47 million building, which parish officials estimated this week is nearly 40 percent complete. The 33,500-square-foot, contemporary-style building… Continue reading →

Nurse fined for violating state nepotism laws

The former director of nursing at Villa Feliciana Medical Complex and her son have agreed to pay $3,000 in fines for violation of the state nepotism laws. The Louisiana Board of Ethics signed off a consent opinion Friday ending the case against Linda Williams and her son, Clint, who worked as a nurse supervisor at Villa… Continue reading →

First tax bill to be considered by Louisiana Legislature would repeal inventory tax

Advocate staff photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON -- State Senate Committee on Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Chairman Neil Riser, R-Columbia, during a 2012 hearing.

A bill that would produce big savings to the state treasury — but that gives big heartburn to local government officials — will be the first tax measure heard by the Louisiana Legislature this year when the Senate tax-writing committee convenes Monday. Senate Bill 85 would repeal the state’s business inventory tax. To make… Continue reading →

Southern University police arrest 12 in March 31 campus brawl

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- The entrance to Southern University's campus in Baton Rouge on Harding Boulevard, photographed Friday, Jan. 9, 2015. In the background is A.W. Mumford Stadium.

Southern University police have arrested 11 students and one nonstudent in a brawl that occurred near campus dormitories campus on March 31. Although no one was seriously hurt in the fight, video from cellphones show at least one person pointing what looked like a gun into the air and firing it while others were… Continue reading →

Baker Walgreens building sold for $6.4 million

The Walgreens pharmacy building at the corner of Groom and Plank roads in Baker has been sold for $6.4 million. 6485 Groom LLC, a New York-based partnership named after the address of the pharmacy, bought the property in a deal that was filed Thursday with the East Baton Rouge Clerk of Court’s office. The seller was FR&W… Continue reading →

Attorneys: Jury finds driver, DOTD shared the blame for 2009 crash that killed an Israeli woman

A unanimous Ascension Parish jury found a driver and the state highway department shared the blame in a May 2009 crash at the Burnside/Interstate 10 interchange in Gonzales that killed an Israeli mother of five, attorneys said. The jury awarded $1.05 million to the surviving husband and five children of Noha Salama, 49,… Continue reading →

Eight booked on DWI in East Baton Rouge Parish

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. Thursday and 2:30 p.m. Friday, booking records show. Those arrested and the counts against them are: — Gabrielle Bruce, 21, 2403 Brightside Drive, Baton Rouge, first-offense DWI and headlight required.… Continue reading →

USDA files complaint over primate treatment at New Iberia facility

aca nirc bt  Advocate Staff Photo by Bryan Tuck. Photo shot on 3/5/09.    Jane Fontenot, head of research resources for the New Iberia Research Center, stands before a row of cages containing Rhesus Macaques while on a tour of the facility Thursday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has filed a complaint against the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s primate research center in New Iberia for alleged violations leading to the death of one primate, injuries to another and the escape of five primates from their housing within the facility. The complaint, made public late Thursday, lays out… Continue reading →

Man robbed of truck and cash in Hammond Friday morning

A man was robbed at gunpoint in Hammond early Friday morning, and police are on the hunt for the robber who made off with the victim’s cash and truck. The incident happened about 7:15 a.m. outside the victim’s business near South Morrison and Demarco boulevards, said Hammond police Lt. Vince Giannobile. A man approached… Continue reading →

Three candidates to be interviewed for Northside High principal in Lafayette

Advocate file photo by Bryan Tuck -- Northside High School

A new principal for Northside High could be selected soon. Three candidates were selected for the job, and interviews are planned next week, said Bruce Leininger, human resources director for Lafayette Parish schools. The qualified applicants are: Mikal Stall, a teacher at Comeaux High School with administrative experience; Julia Williams, an assistant principal at Northside… Continue reading →

Bardwell Homes buys building for new offices

Bardwell Homes, a local homebuilder, has purchased an office building on Bluebonnet Boulevard, north of Interstate 10, and will move its operations there. Bardwell paid $875,000 for the 5,000-square-foot building at 5153 Bluebonnet. The builder plans to take up about half of the space and lease out the remaining portion to a local investment advisory firm. The… Continue reading →

After IBM says ‘religious freedom’ bill creates hostile environment, Bobby Jindal urges company to ignore ‘smears and misconceptions’

Advocate Photo by ELIZABETH CRISP -- Gov. Bobby Jindal met with reporters in his office Thursday to discuss the 2015 session of the Louisiana Legislature.

IBM, which is opening a technology services center in downtown Baton Rouge, penned a letter earlier this week expressing “strong opposition” to legislation before the Louisiana Legislature that aims to create legal protections for people who oppose same-sex marriage. The “Marriage and Conscience Act” has been linked to controversial “religious freedom” measures… Continue reading →

Video: CBS News on LSU’s Lloimincia Hall, not your ‘typical’ gymnast; Says Hall: ‘So what? Let’s have some fun’

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  LSU gymnast Lloimincia Hall photographed in LSU's practice facility Wednesday, April 8, 2015.

As the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championship gets set to begin on Friday, all eyes will be on LSU senior Lloimincia Hall. She’s the number one gymnast in the country for floor routine, with seven perfect 10s over her college career. But Hall has achieved success in a way different than most gymnasts, reports CBS News.… Continue reading →

Decade-old oil leak in Gulf of Mexico may be far worse than reported

In this March 31, 2015 photo, the wake of a supply vessel heading towards a working platform crosses over an oil sheen drifting from the site of the former Taylor Energy oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Louisiana. Down to just one full-time employee, Taylor Energy Company exists for only one reason: to fight a Gulf of Mexico oil leak that has gone largely unnoticed, despite creating miles-long slicks for more than a decade. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

OVER THE GULF OF MEXICO — A blanket of fog lifts, exposing a band of rainbow sheen that stretches for miles off the coast of Louisiana. From the vantage point of an airplane, it’s easy to see gas bubbles in the slick that mark the spot where an oil platform toppled during a 2004 hurricane, triggering what might… Continue reading →

Livingston School Board says it could lose $1.1 million a year if the state eliminates the inventory tax

The Livingston Parish School Board on Thursday took a symbolic stand against proposals to reduce or eliminate the Louisiana inventory tax. The school system stands to lose $1.1 million in revenue if the tax is repealed, according to a resolution the board passed unanimously Thursday urging state politicians to maintain… Continue reading →

LLOG begins production from deepwater hub

Covington-based LLOG Exploration Co. and joint-venture partner Blackstone Energy Group have begun production from a massive, floating production system in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Delta House floating production system lies about 130 miles southeast of New Orleans. The hub and platform can handle peak daily production of 100,000 barrels of oil and 240 million cubic feet… Continue reading →

Vatican unexpectedly ends controversial crackdown of U.S. nun group

Pope Francis, second right, talks with a delegation of The Leadership Conference of Women Religious during an audience in the pontiff's studio at the Vatican, Thursday, April 16, 2015. The Vatican has announced the unexpected conclusion of a controversial overhaul of the main umbrella group of US nuns in a major shift in tone and treatment of American nuns under the social justice-minded Pope Francis. (LOsservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican has unexpectedly ended its controversial overhaul of the main umbrella group of U.S. nuns, cementing a shift in tone and treatment of the U.S. sisters under the social justice-minded Pope Francis. The Vatican said Thursday it had accepted a final report on its investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious… Continue reading →

Appellate judges were preparing to consider whether to lift a temporary hold on President Barack Obama’s executive action shielding immigrants from deportation

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Protestors march around the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals building protesting Obama administration deportation policies Friday, April 17, 2015.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — As demonstrators gathered Friday outside a New Orleans federal courthouse, appellate judges were preparing to consider whether to lift a temporary hold imposed by a federal judge in Texas on President Barack Obama’s executive action seeking to shield millions of immigrants from deportation. A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of… Continue reading →

Missing woman awarded $1 million in recent divorce settlement

Taherah Ghassemi

Just weeks before Taherah Ghassemi disappeared from Baton Rouge, she received more than $1 million in a divorce settlement, vastly increasing the Wal-Mart employee’s wealth practically overnight. Ghassemi, a 54-year-old Iranian-born U.S. citizen who was reported missing after her car was found torched early Sunday morning in north Baton Rouge, spent the past decade involved in a… Continue reading →

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, in face of budget cuts: No one should be surprised I still oppose tax increases

Advocate Photo by ELIZABETH CRISP -- Gov. Bobby Jindal answered questions Thursday from Louisiana reporters in his office at the State Capitol.

Gov. Bobby Jindal says people shouldn’t be surprised that, even as the state faces a potentially devastating budget crisis, he won’t consider revenue-generating proposals he sees as tax hikes. “I was very clear when I ran for office that I was not going to raise taxes,” Jindal said Thursday during a 30-minute meeting with Louisiana reporters at… Continue reading →