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Baton Rouge man arrested in Port Allen murder

— Police have arrested a Baton Rouge man and are working to identify a second suspect in a Port Allen fatal shooting from Monday night, Chief Esdron Brown said Thursday. Police arrested Javonte T. Morgan, 19, on Thursday on counts of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and armed robbery, Brown said.… Continue reading →

Key witness in WBR murder-for-hire trial admits being getaway driver

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- The family of Corey Kitts leaves the courthouse in Port Allen for lunch Wednesday on the third day of the second-degree murder-for-hire trial of Kitts' wife Monique O. Kitts and Karl Michael Howard.

A key witness in a murder-for-hire trial testified Thursday he was asked to kill an Addis man. He said he refused but did drive a getaway car for the man who is accused of pulling the trigger. Corey Knox told a West Baton Rouge Parish jury the request that he kill someone came from Karl Michael Howard,… Continue reading →

UNO Poll: Louisiana headed in ‘wrong direction’

A majority of Louisiana voters say the state is heading in the “wrong direction.” The state’s biggest problems are education and unemployment, they told researchers from the University of New Orleans in a recent survey. Both Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal and Democratic President Barack Obama are not well liked — earning 40 percent and 38 percent… Continue reading →

Highway hearing features complaints about I-10 Mississippi River Bridge

Complaints about daily backups on the Interstate 10 Mississippi River Bridge surfaced frequently Thursday morning during the final stop in the annual legislative “road show” to hear about state highway and bridge priorities. West Baton Rouge Parish President Riley “Pee Wee” Berthelot said he regularly hears gripes about bridge traffic. “They ask me… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge man accepts plea deal in heroin case, girlfriend died after injection

A 31-year-old Baton Rouge man is awaiting sentencing in January after pleading guilty this week in the heroin-related death of his girlfriend. Brandon Eirick, who was charged with manslaughter and heroin possession in the December drug-related death of Leah Hutchinson, pleaded guilty to negligent homicide and heroin distribution before state District Judge Bonnie… Continue reading →

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration accused of improperly destroying records

A flap between Secretary of State Tom Schedler and the Jindal administration over destruction of state health insurance program records boiled over Thursday. The state Office of Group Benefits this summer quit sending Schedler’s office original copies of member medical claims for preservation. And Schedler said he had “reason to believe” that the records had been… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge’s Convergence Equity to provide about 350,000 Ebola-resistant suits to feds

Convergence Equity LLC of Baton Rouge will provide around 350,000 Ebola-resistant protective suits and gear to federal departments and agencies under an agreement announced Thursday. Convergence is teaming with medical supplier TrillaMed LLC to provide the protective gear to federal agencies, as well as domestic and foreign health providers. Convergence Equity’s current inventory includes more than… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge-based H&E Equipment falls short of Wall Street’s expectations in 3Q

Baton Rouge-based H&E Equipment Services Inc.’s third-quarter profit rose to $15.3 million, or 43 cents per share, compared to $14 million, or 40 cents per share a year ago. H&E rents and sells construction equipment. Despite the improvement, the company fell short of Wall Street’s expectations. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had forecast earnings of 46… Continue reading →

Nurse defies Ebola quarantine in Maine, goes on bike ride with boyfriend

FORT KENT, Maine — A nurse who vowed to defy Maine’s voluntary quarantine for health care workers who treated Ebola patients followed through on her promise Thursday, leaving her home for a bike ride. Kaci Hickox and her boyfriend stepped out of their home Thursday morning and rode away on bicycles, followed by state police who were… Continue reading →

Left lane of I-10 West before College Drive has reopened

The left lane of Interstate 10 West just before College Drive has reopened as of 7:20 a.m., according to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. As of 7 a.m., traffic delays stretched to the I-10/12 merge because of an accident blocking the lane.… Continue reading →

Bill Cassidy, Rob Maness bash Barack Obama in Senate debate; Mary Landrieu sticks to her plan

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- US Senate candidates, from left, Col.Rob Maness, Bill Cassidy and Mary Landrieu have their final debate on live television Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014 at LSU.

The candidates wasted no time in reinforcing the overall partisan divide that sets Republicans Bill Cassidy and Rob Maness on one side and Mary Landrieu, a Democrat, on the other. Continue reading →

Bill Cassidy explains the importance of being earnest

Advocate Photo by MARK BALLARD -- U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, the leading Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate seat held by Mary Landrieu, a Democrat, holds Hannah Evans following a campaign rally Saturday.

Editor’s Note: This is second of a series of profiles examining the major candidates in the U.S. Senate race. In a state known for its colorful politicians, Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy pushes earnestness in his bid for the U.S. Senate. Though he lives at the gates of the… Continue reading →

What to expect in Kitts murder trial Thursday: Alleged co-conspirator will testify

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- The family of Corey Kitts leaves the courthouse in Port Allen for lunch Wednesday on the third day of the second-degree murder-for-hire trial of Kitts' wife Monique O. Kitts and Karl Michael Howard.

A key witness in the case against a man and woman accused of killing the woman’s husband in a murder-for-hire conspiracy will take the stand despite an attempt Wednesday by defense attorneys to have him barred from testifying against his alleged co-conspirators. Shortly after the jury was dismissed Wednesday afternoon in… Continue reading →

Sheriff: Woman in critical condition after Pigeon Coop bar co-owner tosses her out

Caleb Thurman

Iberville Parish sheriff’s deputies jailed a Bayou Pigeon man Tuesday after he shoved a woman out the door of his bar over the weekend with enough force that she fell, landed on her head and suffered a serious injury, Sheriff Brett Stassi said. Deputies arrested Caleb Thurman, 24, a co-owner of the Pigeon Coop bar, on… Continue reading →

LSU is using its open week to fix mistakes before the Alabama game

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU head coach Les Miles gets fired up as LSU wide receiver Travin Dural (83) makes the catch in front of Mississippi defensive back Mike Hilton (28) during the first half Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014 in Baton Rouge.

The Tigers had four turnovers and three unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, and punt returner Tre’Davious White struggled. Continue reading →

Finance report: See which East Baton Rouge Parish School Board candidates receiving thousands of dollars in campaign support

A political action committee affiliated with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber has quietly given $5,000 each to East Baton Rouge Parish School Board candidates Daniel Banguel and Robert Maxie Sr. despite opting initially not to support them. BRAC spokeswoman Ansley Zehnder said the contributions by FuturePAC are not formal endorsements of Banguel and Maxie, but are signs… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge Crime Blotter: Arrest made in shooting death of man fixing tire

Albert Youngblood

Baton Rouge Police arrested a man accused of shooting and killing a 23-year-old who was trying to fix one of the wheels of his car on Sept. 27. The incident began when the victim, Johnny Price, and his female passenger pulled to… Continue reading →

At-risk youth program draws federal complaint

Two civil rights groups called for a federal investigation into a Jindal administration program that they allege is failing to deliver on promised services to keep at-risk youth with mental health problems out of detention centers and hospitals. In response, the state health chief acknowledged Wednesday that there are “challenges” in getting providers to meet the… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Five big takeaways from U.S. Senate debate

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- US Senate candidates, from left, Col.Rob Maness, Bill Cassidy and Mary Landrieu have their final debate on live television Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014 at LSU.

Here are five of Grace's big takeaways from the hour-long debate. Continue reading →

U.S., Mexico reach preliminary sugar agreement

Advocate file photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- By products from sugar cane might be  used to make plastics, LSU AgCenter researchers say.

A preliminary agreement has been reached between the U.S. and Mexican governments to prevent what the Department of Commerce has said is the illegal dumping of sugar on U.S. markets at low prices. The deal follows the department’s preliminary finding this week that the Mexican government dumped sugar on the U.S. market at a price lower… Continue reading →

Bumgarner, Giants beat KC 3-2 in Series Game 7

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner throws against the Kansas City Royals during the sixth inning of Game 7 of baseball's World Series Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Madison Bumgarner pitched five innings of near-perfect relief and the San Francisco Giants held off the Kansas City Royals 3-2 Wednesday night in Game 7 of the World Series for their third championship in five seasons. With both starters chased early, this became a matchup of bullpens. And no one stood taller… Continue reading →

Court settlement reached in Medicaid case

The state health agency has entered into a settlement in a federal lawsuit over the inadequacy of notices denying Medicaid recipients access to services. U.S. District Judge Jim Brady, of Baton Rouge, approved the settlement, in which the state agrees to do a better job of providing specific information about the reasons for the service denials. He… Continue reading →

Louisiana prison inmate: Illegal ‘body cavity searches’ conducted on me

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

Lawyers for a Louisiana prison inmate whose conviction in the 1972 death of a guard was overturned say he has been subjected to illegal “body cavity searches” while he awaits the next step in his prosecution. The inmate is Albert Woodfox, 67, one of the Louisiana prisoners supporters have dubbed the “Angola Three,” owing to their… Continue reading →

Ebola: Who survives? Tulane University School of Medicine physician cited in journal report

Associated Press file photo

Who survives Ebola and why? Health workers treating patients in Sierra Leone, including some who died doing that work, have published the most detailed report yet on medical aspects of the epidemic. The research suggests young people are less likely to perish, fever is the most common symptom when victims first seek care, and early help is crucial.… Continue reading →

Pentagon orders Ebola quarantine for all U.S. troops returning from W. Africa

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks at the sixth annual

WASHINGTON — Ordering firm restrictions for U.S. troops returning from West Africa, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday that the military men and women helping fight Ebola must undergo 21-day quarantines — longer than required for many civilian health care workers. In Maine, meanwhile, a civilian nurse was vigorously resisting the quarantine she was told to undergo. Kaci… Continue reading →

Man booked after fleeing from Assumption deputies in drug sting

Landon Glaviana of Donaldsonvile was arrested Oct. 27 after a 100 mph car flight and possession of marijuana.

A Donaldsonville man was arrested Monday after fleeing in his car at speeds over 100 mph from officers who had appeared as he sold synthetic marijuana in a sting by the Assumption Parish Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Mike Waguespack said. Landon Glaviana, 20, 2269 La. 308, was booked into the Assumption Parish Detention… Continue reading →

Acadiana Crime Blotter: 4 booked in string of shootings, dozens of windows shattered

Photo provided by KATC -- Travis Smith, 20, was arrested Monday in connection with a string of drive-by shootings in Eunice.

Two adults and two minors were arrested early Monday morning in a string of drive-by shootings in which dozens of car windows and a handful of home windows were shattered, KATC-TV reported. Travis Smith, 20, and 18-year-old Nichole Fusilier — who is about seven months pregnant — were booked into the Acadia… Continue reading →

LAGCOE job fair in Lafayette draws hundreds seeking higher pay, leadership positions

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Louisiana CAT employee  Jenni Young, left, speaks with job seeker Jacob Gaspard during the LAGCOE Career Fair at the Cajundome Convention Center Wednesday in Lafayette.

Job seekers poured into the Cajundome Convention Center by the hundreds Wednesday, looking for oil and gas industry jobs at the second annual LAGCOE job fair. The number of applicants this year — 1,100 — eclipsed the 1,000 who attended last year’s job fair put on by the Louisiana Gulf Coast Oil… Continue reading →

La. early-voting totals: Orleans, East Baton Rouge parishes lead early vote tallies; see vote breakdowns by political parties

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  Early voting starts Tuesday, October 21, 2014.

Some 236,000 people have cast their votes in advance of Tuesday’s election when the race for U.S. Senate tops the statewide ballot, state elections officials reported Wednesday. The statewide total is almost double that of the last mid-term federal election in 2010. But it comes up far shy of the 356,603 early votes cast in advance of… Continue reading →

Downtown Lafayette nightclub faces possible license revocation

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- NiteTown bar on Jefferson Street Wednesday in downtown Lafayette.

A Jefferson Street nightclub faces a potential suspension or revocation of its liquor permit after netting third-offense citations in selling alcohol to minors. Six NiteTown employees were cited Saturday for 17 counts of selling to minors, authorities said, after a weekslong compliance check into underage alcohol sales. “It’s some pretty serious… Continue reading →

Moret encourages Acadiana’s push for super regional chamber

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Stephen Moret speaks at a Lafayette Chamber of Commerce Luncheon at the Cajundome Convention Center Wednesday in Lafayette.

Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Stephen Moret told businesspeople from nine Acadiana parishes Wednesday that south-central Louisiana has only a few sites with enough acreage to draw interest from national companies looking to relocate. Meanwhile, there are 33 to 43 sites with 200 acres or more available for development in areas around Baton… Continue reading →

Police host ‘Boo with the Blue’ Halloween party for area kids

The Baton Rouge Police Department plans to host a Halloween party complete with costumes, games and food. The free event, dubbed “Boo With the Blue,” will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at the department’s new headquarters at the site of the former Woman’s Hospital on Airline Highway at Goodwood Boulevard. Officers… Continue reading →

Report faults Red Cross response to Hurricane Isaac, Superstorm Sandy

This satellite image provided by NASA and taken Tuesday Aug. 28, 2012 shows Hurricane Isaac over the Gulf of Mexico, as it approached New Orleans. The hurricane made landfall Tuesday evening on Louisiana's southeast coast with 80 mph winds. (AP Photo/NASA)

NEW YORK (AP) — The American Red Cross mishandled its responses to Hurricane Isaac and Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and often seemed more focused on public relations than on helping storm victims, according to a report from investigative journalism nonprofit ProPublica and NPR published Wednesday, the second anniversary of Sandy. The report cites internal… Continue reading →

Readers love to hate on LSU football game day traffic

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING --  Ryan Fontenot of Luling holds his son Brayden atop his shoulders, as they and Ryan's wife Tanya Fontenot wait for  the LSU Band come down the hill, before the Ole Miss-LSU game, Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014 in Baton Rouge. Others, background from left, are Travis Chiasson, of Chackbay, Michael Whatley, of Delhi, with son Brody on his shoulders.

A story in The Advocate on Tuesday triggered many LSU fans to escape from their Ole Miss victory dazes and sound off about game day traffic gridlock. Check out the comments here.… Continue reading →

Handelsman animation: Heads up! Negative campaigns ads coming at you

Heads up! Negative ads are flying your way in Walt’s newest animation.… Continue reading →

Prisoner says state conducts illegal body cavity searches

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

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Lawyers for a Louisiana prison inmate whose conviction in the 1972 death of a guard was overturned say he has been subjected to illegal “body cavity searches” while he awaits the next step in his prosecution. The inmate is 67-year-old Albert Woodfox, one of the prisoners supporters have dubbed the Continue reading →

Communities set hours for trick-or-treat

Photo provided by Terry Palmer -- Terry Palmer, of Palmer Graphics in Lafayette, refers to the field of 32 artificial gourds in his flower beds as the Palmer Pumpkin Patch.

Trick-or-treat hours will be observed from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday for all of Ascension Parish and for most of East Baton Rouge, Livingston and Iberville parishes. Exceptions include the city of Baker, which has set trick-or-treat times of 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, and West Feliciana Parish, where it is set for 5… Continue reading →

Walt Handelsman: Political Epicenter

Walt Handelsman is a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and animator whose work appears in The Advocate four days a week. Follow this link to the cartoon.… Continue reading →

Independence man gets five-year sentence for multiple charges

An Independence man was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to a bevy of charges — including vehicular homicide — last week, according to prosecutors. On Oct. 12, 2012, Atrell Anderson, now 21, was driving east on La. 1064 in Tangipahoa Parish when he attempted to pass another vehicle by crossing into… Continue reading →

Escaped Baton Rouge trusty inmate recaptured

Kelvin J. Stampley

A trusty with the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison ran away from a crew of inmates cutting grass at a historic cemetery on Wednesday morning, tasting freedom for about an hour until authorities located him several miles away at his girlfriend’s house. The trusty, Kelvin J. Stampley, 29, took off running from the Sweet Olive Cemetery… Continue reading →

Acadiana area communities set trick-or-treat hours

Photo provided by Terry Palmer -- Terry Palmer, of Palmer Graphics in Lafayette, refers to the field of 32 artificial gourds in his flower beds as the Palmer Pumpkin Patch.

Lafayette Parish will observe trick-or-treating from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday. In Vermilion Parish, Abbeville will observe Halloween from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday during “Scare on the Square” at Magdalen Square. In Kaplan, trick-or-treating hours are from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday. The unincorporated areas of Vermilion Parish will observe trick-or-treating from 6… Continue reading →