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2015 Baton Rouge Attorney Profiles
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Louisiana may have been overpaid in tobacco settlement, $17 million too much

In addition to the state’s other fiscal problems, Louisiana now may have to repay, in short order, millions of dollars received in error from a multibillion-dollar settlement with cigarette manufacturers. In a letter delivered late Thursday, Attorney General Buddy Caldwell informed top state officials that because of an accounting error, Louisiana was overpaid and may be on… Continue reading →

The Advocate’s Handelsman, Russell win national awards

The Advocate on Friday won two national awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. Walt Handelsman was named as the top cartoonist, and Gordon Russell was honored for deadline reporting for his coverage of the guilty verdict in the trial of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. Both awards were in the division for newspapers with circulation… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge man accused of firing into crowd, wounding one

A Baton Rouge man accused of firing indiscriminately at a crowd of people gathered on a street in Mall City a week ago, sending one to the hospital with a gunshot wound to the leg, was arrested late Thursday and booked into parish prison. The shooting occurred at 5:29 p.m. on April 17 in the 600… Continue reading →

Eight booked on DWI in East Baton Rouge from Thursday to Friday

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 booked and the counts against them: — Jamie Boudoin, 35, 13247 Palm St., Vacherie, first-offense DWI. — Christopher Gill, 46, 116… Continue reading →

Defense attorney seeks to exclude evidence of prior beatings in upcoming trial of father in the 2012 beating death of 8-year-old Xzayvion Riley

Michael Robertson

One of Michael Robertson’s attorneys accused prosecutors Friday of “character assassination” in their attempt to use at Robertson’s future first-degree murder trial evidence of alleged incidents of abuse leading up to the 2012 death of his 8-year-old son, Xzayvion Riley. East Baton Rouge Parish prosecutors claim Robertson injured Xzayvion’s mouth with a belt in 2008; choked… 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 →

Gertrude Geddes Willis Life’s policies turned over to Majestic Life

An insolvent New Orleans life insurance company cost an industry-backed guaranty fund $2.5 million and has a court-appointed receiver scrambling to recover $1 million from the sale of related funeral homes and other assets — mostly in New Orleans and Houma. In addition, the remaining life insurance policies that were held by Gertrude Geddes Willis Life Insurance… Continue reading →

Nucor’s Convent iron plant back in operation

The Nucor Corp. iron plant in Convent is back in production and operating at 85 percent of capacity. Nucor Steel Louisiana’s direct reduced iron had been shut down since November, when a process gas heater failed and had to be repaired. The plant restarted production toward the end of March, the company said in an earnings… Continue reading →

U.S. rig count drops by 22; Louisiana gains 2

Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. declined by 22 this week to 932 amid depressed oil prices. Houston-based Baker Hughes said Friday 703 rigs were seeking oil and 225 explored for natural gas. Four were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago, 1,861 rigs… Continue reading →

Sister of man accused of breaking softball coach’s nose in Youngsville melee said to have withheld information from police

A Lafayette youth softball coach is expected to surrender to police Friday evening, accused of withholding information about the post-game brawl in Youngsville that began among teenagers and ended when an adult coach was slugged in the face. Charell Jackson, the 30-year-old head coach of the Brown Park Athletic Association’s U16 girls slow-pitch softball team, withheld information… Continue reading →

Agriculture exhibits at LSU give children hands-on lessons

Photo provided by Erin Hebert -- University Presbyterian Day School students look at baby alligators in a tank at the LSU AgCenter's AgMagic event on Wednesday, April 22, 2015, at Parker Coliseum in Baton Rouge.

Fish, farm animals and forestry may not seem like magical topics, but this weekend’s AgMagic event at LSU aims to inspire wonder in children about Louisiana agriculture. For the past week, AgMagic allowed children from across the state, most of them in early elementary school grades, to take a tour through various aspects of the… Continue reading →

What to do with those plastic shopping bags? Lafayette students are collecting them to make a bus bench

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- The Albertson's supermarket on Johnston Street has set up a collection point for used shopping bags that will be recycled to create park benches in Lafayette.

Lafayette Middle School students are gathering up thousands of plastic bags that will be bundled, recycled and transformed into a bus bench. Lafayette Middle is pitting its homeroom classes against one another to collect plastic bags in a pilot program spearheaded by city-parish government to promote recycling. The Plastic Bag Roundup project is an… Continue reading →

Hurricane forums to focus on updated forecasting technology

Lessons learned from hurricanes Katrina and Rita have paved the way for improved coordination among public agencies and private businesses to help communities better prepare for, and recover from, disasters, say officials who have coordinated hurricane preparedness forums planned Monday in Lafayette and Lake Charles. The forums will focus on hurricane preparedness and new storm forecast… Continue reading →

Former Parish Attorney Mary Roper files defamation suit against Loupe, city-parish

Advocate file photo by BILL FEIG -- After leaving the 19th JDC Building, then-EBR Parish Attorney Mary Roper, left, answers questions on Aug. 27, 2014, the day she was terminated from the position.

Former East Baton Rouge Parish Attorney Mary Roper filed a defamation lawsuit against Mayor Pro Tem Chandler Loupe and the city-parish Friday that accuses Loupe of publicly linking her to alleged criminal activity that was cited as a reason for her firing. The lawsuit, filed in 19th Judicial District Court, seeks recovery of damages based on… Continue reading →

Tornado watch until 8 p.m. for parishes between Baton Rouge and New Orleans

Updated at 6 p.m. The National Weather Service added the metro New Orleans area to an afternoon tornado watch Friday as a lone super cell continues to rake across south Louisiana, dropping baseball-sized hail and bringing high winds. Robert Ricks, forecaster with the New Orleans-Baton Rouge office in Slidell, said Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes… Continue reading →

Strong storms create tornado watch for southwest Louisiana

A tornado watch has been issued for a large part of southwest Louisiana Friday afternoon until 6 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. The parishes included in the watch are Acadia, Allen, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Evangeline, Iberia, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Rapides, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, Vermilion and Vernon. A tornado watch means… Continue reading →

Livingston completes settlement with hurricane contractor Corey delaHoussaye

Corey delaHoussaye

Livingston Parish ended its financial wrangling with former parish contractor Corey delaHoussaye on Friday, delivering a pair of checks in the morning to settle two lawsuits he filed related to payment for Hurricane Gustav work. The $325,000 deal ends the bitter fight between delaHoussaye and the parish government, which has stretched on since 2012.… Continue reading →

Days after LSU’s credit outlook lowered, national investors pull out of bond sale for campus projects

Advocate Photo by MARK BALLARD -- State Treasurer John N. Kennedy

Updated at 1:28 p.m. — Funding for new residence halls at LSU has been threatened amid a state budget crisis that has put Louisiana colleges and universities at risk of deep cuts in the coming year. National investors pulled out of a large portion of a $114 million bond deal, citing concerns over LSU’s financial outlook, state Treasurer John Kennedy said.… Continue reading →

Rolling Stone: Louisiana native Jamie Lynn Spears ‘flattered’ by singer Jana Kramer recording song she co-wrote

Photo by AUSTIN JAMES -- Kentwood native Jamie Lynn Spears made her Louisiana debut as a country music artist Friday, Jan. 17, at the Texas Club in Baton Rouge.

Nashville is known as a songwriter’s town, and Louisiana native Jamie Lynn Spears is reaping the rewards of immersing herself in it. The actress turned singer-songwriter has her first single by another artist, as one of the writers behind Jana Kramer’s new hit, “I Got the Boy,” according to a story at “It kind… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge-area hospitals see spike in emergency visits linked to drug called ‘spice,’ part of a nationwide trend

For the first time, an overdose of synthetic marijuana has been listed as the sole cause of a death in East Baton Rouge Parish, the Coroner’s Office announced Friday. The 29-year-old died March 28, and his toxicology report was completed this week. “The main and only contributor to his death was the synthetic… Continue reading →

Music, baseball and golf fans could dodge raindrops at their weekend events; 'slight' chance of severe weather

With so many big events going on in South Louisiana this weekend, music, baseball and golf fans have to be wondering: Will the weather cooperate? The answer: Maybe. The National Weather Service says there's a slight chance of severe weather and an increasing chance of rain, starting at 20-30 percent this afternoon, rising to 40-50 percent… Continue reading →

Danny Zardon delivers game-winning single in No. 1 LSU’s 4-3 win over No. 2 Aggies

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  The LSU Tigers celebrate their 9th-inning win over Texas A&M in Alex Box Stadium Thursday, April 23, 2015.

David won the game between two Goliaths. Danny Zardon, a pinch hitter who lost his starting job earlier this season, hit a walk-off single down the third base line, and top-ranked LSU beat No. 2 Texas A&M 4-3 on Thursday night at an electric Alex Box Stadium. Jared Foster scored on Zardon’s ninth-inning dinger… Continue reading →

Violent crime overall takes a dip in Baton Rouge, but murders inched up from 49 cases in 2013 to 53 last year

Violent crime in Baton Rouge dropped a bit last year, reflecting a generally steady decline locally and nationally in homicides, rapes and robberies over the past several years. Nevertheless, homicides in Louisiana’s capital city ticked up by a few, according to crime statistics released Thursday by the Baton Rouge Police Department, even though the parish… Continue reading →

Bobby Jindal: Budget plan still 'a lot of moving parts,' TOPS continues to be a priority

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Gov. Bobby Jindal answers media questions in an informal setting in his office Thursday.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal threatened to veto the entire state budget if it relies on what he views as a “tax increase” — including one that depends on a temporary suspension of some tax credits. “I’ve told the Legislature that I will veto the budget if it is balanced using revenues from tax increases,” he told reporters… Continue reading →

Gubernatorial candidates all tout commitment to transparency during PAR forum

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- John Bel Edwards, left, chats with moderator Robert Travis Scott, President of PAR, center, as Jay Dardenne, right shakes hands with a well wisher, prior to the start. The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana hosted the four major candidates for governor in a forum at the Crowne Plaza. The candidates are: Scott Angelle, Public Service Commissioner (R), Jay Dardenne, Lt. Governor (R), John Bel Edwards, State Representative (D) and David Vitter, U.S. Senator (R) who was not in attendance and had his answers to the questions prerecorded and shown on a projection screen.

The four major candidates running for Louisiana governor this year say, if elected, their administrations would be more open than Gov. Bobby Jindal’s has been. Jindal, who can’t seek re-election because of a term limit, also campaigned on a transparency platform in 2007, but Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, U.S. Sen. David Vitter, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne,… Continue reading →

Refinancing Juban Parc school bonds may mean lower property tax bills for some Livingston Parish taxpayers

Denham Springs-area property owners will likely see their property tax millages go down after the Livingston Parish School Board on Thursday voted to refinance bonds used to build the Juban Parc Elementary and Junior High schools. Meeting in a special session, the board — minus absent members Sid… Continue reading →

Two brothers accused of passing counterfeit $10 bills in Ascension Parish

Randal Bridges has charges pending from the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office on counts of monetary instrument abuse and theft. April 23, 2015.

GONZALES — A surveillance video and a Crime Stoppers tip led investigators to the identities of two brothers who were passing counterfeit money, said Lt. Col. Bobby Webre, of the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office. Earlier this month, the Sheriff’s Office began getting complaints from area stores and fast-food restaurants where people were passing counterfeit… 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 →

Appeal in Ascension Parish murder case centers on a juror whose son had worked at the store where the victim was killed

Gladys Mobley told an investigator she thought of her son when St. Amant High School student Luke Villar was gunned down nearly 14 years ago while sweeping the front of a St. Amant grocery store. Mobley, now deceased, was a juror in the 2003 second-degree murder trial of Justin Granier —… Continue reading →

Authorities arrest 4 on DWI from Wednesday to Thursday

Authorities arrested at least four people suspected of driving while intoxicated in East Baton Rouge Parish and booked them into Parish Prison between 2:30 p.m. Wednesday and 2:30 p.m. Thursday, booking records show. Those booked and the counts against them: — Bradley Easley, 29, 1211 Applewood Road, Baton Rouge, fourth-offense DWI, refusal to test, improper lane… Continue reading →

Centers for Medicare, Medicaid Services denies LSU hospital financing deal again

The federal health agency has once again rejected use of advance lease payment financing on LSU hospital privatization deals. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, called CMS, denied a state appeal in a letter issued Tuesday, but released by Jindal administration officials late Thursday. The state health agency had asked CMS to reconsider its disallowance… Continue reading →

IberiaBank posts $25.1 million profit

IberiaBank Corp. in Lafayette reported first-quarter net income of $25.1 million, up from $22.3 million a year ago. Per-share earnings amounted to 75 cents. IberiaBank said it incurred non-operating expenses of $10 million on a pre-tax basis. Excluding those items, first-quarter income would have been 95 cents per share. Daryl G. Byrd, president and CEO,… Continue reading →

Library gets building for $1 million

The city-parish has spent $1 million on an office building at the intersection of North Boulevard and Acadian Thruway that will be the new home for the East Baton Rouge Parish Library’s bookmobiles. According to documents filed Wednesday with the East Baton Rouge Clerk of Court’s office, the city-parish bought the building at 3434 North Blvd. from… Continue reading →