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Why is East Baton Rouge Parish clerk of court Doug Welborn's warehouse, at cost of $100,000 in public money per year, half empty?

Advocate staff photo by CHARLES CHAMPAGNE    Household power tools and various equipment are stored in one of the three warehouses leased by East Baton Rouge Clerk of Court Doug Welborn.

East Baton Rouge Parish Clerk of Court Doug Welborn spends more than $100,000 a year in public dollars for storage space on Wooddale Boulevard for old records. But more than half of the rented space is empty, while other areas are dedicated to a comfortable office with a TV and a workshop for tools. A… Continue reading →

Scott Rabalais: What a ride! Les Miles makes grand comeback, crowd goes wild, LSU surges past Texas A&M

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- As fireworks go off overhead, LSU head coach Les Miles is carried off the field by LSU offensive lineman Vadal Alexander (74) and LSU defensive tackle Christian LaCouture (91) after the game Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, in Tiger Stadium. LSU won 19-7.

Les Miles heard the cheers when he trotted out for pregame Senior Day activities, but at first he didn’t realize they were for him. “I didn’t expect cheers,” Miles said after his team turned back Texas A&M 19-7 on Saturday night, then turned the page to the first day of the rest of his LSU… Continue reading →

'Those guys were hungry': Huge second half boosts Grambling to 34-23 victory over Southern in the Bayou Classic

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- Grambling State Tigers defensive back Nicholas Peoples (19) intercepts a pass in the end zone during the second quarter Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, of the 42nd annual Bayou Classic at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Grambling established itself as the best team in the Southwestern Athletic Conference regular season as it won its first eight games. But even with a West Division championship in hand, the Tigers had much more to accomplish against Southern in the Bayou Classic on Saturday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Despite a slow start, they did just… Continue reading →

Perseverance, and luck, led John Bel Edwards on remarkable journey to improbable landslide in governor's race

Image from video provided by John Bel Edwards -- Louisiana Democratic Gubernatorial candidate John Bel Edwards is pictured here in a political advertisement promoting his campaign. ORG XMIT: BAT1510271533063521

One day in early 2013, two seatmates in the Louisiana House — Reps. John Bel Edwards and Sam Jones — were discussing a familiar topic: their belief that Gov. Bobby Jindal was leading the state in the wrong direction. Edwards looked intently at his friend. “Sam, I’ve had enough of fighting with this guy,” Edwards said.… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge couple, infant son die in I-10 crash; family 'truly hurt ... most definitely not questioning God’s work’

Photo provided -- Jayla Sharnikiya Danielle Young, left, and Joshua Eugene Claverie Sr..

A young Baton Rouge couple and their infant son were killed Saturday morning in a car crash as they were heading home from New Orleans, where they were on a Thanksgiving holiday visit with family members who had not yet had the chance to see their baby boy. Their pickup truck hit a box… Continue reading →

Jim Hawthorne’s final game in Tiger Stadium: Fans honor him, the emotions swell — and then it’s time for football

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Longtime LSU sports announcer Jim Hawthorne works in the broadcast booth during the LSU-Texas A&M game Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, in Tiger Stadium.

Jim Hawthorne takes his headset off during a commercial break, and it begins. A man approaches, removes his cap and reaches for the broadcaster’s hand. “Thank you for a heart and head full of memories,” the fan says. Another follows, asking whether Hawthorne will take a picture with his son. He… Continue reading →

Can’t get a good tortilla here? That premise, plus entrepreneurial spirit, launched Hola Nola Foods

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Olvin Lopez shovels corn tortilla mix into the head of the 'sheeter' at Hola Nola Foods in Geismar.

Three years ago, former Zapp’s Potato Chips executives and minority shareholders Kevin S. Holden and Rod Olson found themselves in unfamiliar territory. They wanted to quit. Both worked for Utz Quality Foods Inc., which acquired the Gramercy-based chippery in 2011 following founder Ron Zappe’s death. Olson had been one of Zapp’s first delivery drivers and risen through… Continue reading →

Video: Shaq on LSU coach Les Miles, 'A lot of people want him to stay. We should show him a lot more respect'

. Former NBA and LSU basketball player Shaquille O'Neal said he thinks LSU football coach Les Miles should keep his job, but while there is still specuation on the position everyone should remain respectful. In an ESPN sideline interview during the LSU- Texas A&M matchup on Saturday, O'Neal told ESPN he supports Miles, but does think… Continue reading →

Les Miles supporters offer their views prior to LSU vs. Texas A&M game

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- The Greer Gang' tailgate had signs up thanking embattled LSU head coach Les Miles, and a good-natured addendum naming some his quirky behavior,-- including 'Grass Eater,' before the LSU-Texas A&M football game in Baton Rouge, Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015. From left to right are Russell Greer, Ryan Greer, Roslyn Greer, Ragan Greer Brown, Ben Gallagher, Diane Willis and Chuck Willis.

As speculation swirled about Les Miles’ future prior to LSU's game Saturday against Texas A&M, fans who support the head football coach were not shy about sharing their opinions. Continue reading →

CC’s Coffee shortens hours of operation after armed robbery Wednesday at its Jefferson Highway location

Advocate staff photo by CHARLES CHAMPAGNE  -- Community Coffee President Celton Hayden says the CC's Coffee House on Jefferson Hwy near Bocage will now close at 9pm following a recent Thanksgiving eve armed robbery.

CC’s Coffee has shortened its hours of operation at its Jefferson Highway location after the cafe was robbed at gunpoint Wednesday. A man armed with a weapon investigators believe was an AK-47 assault rifle robbed the CC’s Coffee near Bocage around 10 p.m., the time the shop previously closed during the week. According to the… Continue reading →

Video: LSU student section errupts in 'Les Miles' chant during LSU-Texas A&M matchup

. While LSU found its footing and defeated Texas A&M 19-7 on Saturday fans were wild for the win in Tiger Stadium. Death Valley errupted in 'Les Miles' chants during the 4th quarter of the last game in the regular season. Rain and a windy night could not stop the Tigers from cheering their coach to… Continue reading →

Conviction of New Iberia man upheld in death of 4-year-old girl

Photo provided by KATC  --  Jamal Charles of New Iberia was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday for the first-degree murder of a 4-year-old girl.

A state appeals court has upheld the conviction of a New Iberia man for beating his girlfriend’s 4-year-old daughter and then scalding her to death, according to an Associated Press report. Jamal Charles waived a jury trial. A state district judge convicted him last year of first-degree murder in the January 2011 death of Ray’neisha Edmond, and… Continue reading →

Official: Lindsay Lohan’s stepmother removed from plane in N.O

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A coast-to-coast flight was diverted to New Orleans to remove actress Lindsay Lohan’s stepmother, authorities said Saturday. Kate Major-Lohan, who is married to Lindsay Lohan’s father, was removed from a JetBlue plane on Wednesday, Col. John Fortunato, spokesman for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, confirmed in an email. Major-Lohan was turned over to… Continue reading →

Two booked on DWI in East Baton Rouge between Friday and Saturday

Authorities arrested at least two people suspected of driving while intoxicated in East Baton Rouge Parish and booked them into Parish Prison between noon Friday and noon Saturday, booking records show. Those booked and the counts against them: Carlous James, 44, 1748 Mary Lou Drive, Baton Rouge, first-offense DWI, improper lane usage and driver’s… Continue reading →

Lafayette arrest report for Nov. 28

Arrests posted Nov. 28, 2015, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s web site: GABRIEL JOSEPH ABSHIRE: 26, of the 2100 block of Fabiola Avenue, Lafayette. He was booked on Schedule II narcotics and prohibited activities (drug paraphernalia). KENWARD ANDREW ALEXANDER JR.: 32, of the 1100 block of Foreman Drive, Lafayette.… Continue reading →

Five-year review of Louisiana Superfund site in East Baton Rouge Parish is underway; report expected by end of year

Advocate photo by AMY WOLD -- A locked and secured well head in north Baton Rouge is used periodically to inject molasses into the ground which helps bacteria do their final digestion of waste traveling toward the Mississippi River from a Superfund site near Scenic Road.

Two well-groomed, grassy hills in north Baton Rouge seem ordinary enough, but beneath the surface are the remains of their history as disposal pits for hazardous material. In the 1960s and 1970s, before environmental laws were largely in place, petrochemical facilities handed over waste material to Petro-Processors of Louisiana for disposal at two sites,… Continue reading →

A dozen years after its launch, Lafayette nonprofit’s tutoring program still thriving

Photo by BRAD KEMP -- Students Myla Narcisse, right, and Aalyiah Thibodeaux work on computers while doing their homework during after-school tutoring Thursday Nov. 19, 2015 at Bridge Ministry in Lafayette, La.

About 12 years ago, well-intentioned volunteers with a local church had a rough start in their efforts to live by their faith by reaching out to residents in the Four Corners neighborhood. They chose the high-crime neighborhood because of their desire to serve in an area that had great need, recalled Jennifer Reynaud, who is now… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge authorities arrest 10-year-old boy in arson of vacant apartment unit

Authorities arrested a 10-year-old boy after Baton Rouge fire investigators ruled a fire Friday at a Sherwood Valley Court apartment arson. Firefighters extinguished the blaze Friday evening after someone set fire to a pile of trash inside the vacant unit at 11614 Sherwood Valley Court just before 6:30 p.m. Witnesses came forward and pointed detectives to… Continue reading →

Governor-elect John Bel Edwards grew up on small-town values, was taught politics a noble calling

Not quite a tow-headed boy carrying a pole to the fishing hole with his father the sheriff, but Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards grew up the son of the most important man in Tangipahoa Parish, running around a small rural town where everyone knew everyone else. “I grew up in… Continue reading →

Reports: Jimbo Fisher informs Florida State president, others he intends to remain with Seminoles

Associated Press photo by Mark J. Terrill -- Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher, a former LSU offensive coordinator, celebrates with The Coaches' Trophy after the Seminoles' 34-31 win over Auburn in BCS National Championship game Monday night in Pasadena, Calif.

. Florida State football coach Jimbo Fisher informed the university’s president this week that he intends to remain with the Seminoles, according to a Palm Beach Post report Saturday morning. Fisher reportedly told FSU President John Thrasher he’s happy with the administration, its support and the program overall., a Baton Rouge-based group that closely monitors college football coaching… Continue reading →

Les Miles tells ESPN he didn't tell Gridiron Club he's stepping down or would be fired after A&M game

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Les Miles holds his weekly press conference amidst growing speculation of his dismissal.

Les Miles met with Gridiron Club members Friday and expressed gratitude for their service, but the 11th-year LSU coach did not indicate whether he’d be coaching the Tigers in the future, Miles said on ESPN on Friday night. Miles disputed the account during an interview on ESPN, saying, “I had no suggestion this was going to be my last… Continue reading →

Scott Rabalais: Les Miles ... championship coach or leader of unimaginative offense? Debate to continue until the end

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU head coach Les Miles waves to fans as he brings the team down Victory Hill before the game Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Tiger Stadium.

It’s never been easy with Les Miles. Never easy to give him the credit he deserved. Never easy to know when enough criticism was enough. Never easy for multitudes of passionate LSU fans to pledge unquestioned allegiance to the winningest (by percentage) football coach in LSU history. Never easy to typecast him as a coach with no… Continue reading →

St. Martinville priest's decommmissioned ambulance turned mobile confessional offers a different kind of healing

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK -- Fr. Michael Champagne talks about the Spiritual Care Unit, a mobile confessional made from a used ambulance, Monday, November 23, 2015, at the Community of Jesus Crucified in St. Martinville, La.

The Rev. Michael Champagne wears his vestments while traveling, so it’s not unusual for strangers to approach the St. Martinville priest for prayer and confession, which he delivers. Now, Champagne can accommodate those wanting confessions on the go with a decommissioned ambulance that’s been transformed into a mobile confessional. The Spiritual Care Unit debuted this… Continue reading →

Victim of fatal Bourbon Street shooting identified; friends say he wasn't the kind to go 'looking for a fight'

Bourbon Street shown mid-morning Saturday a block away from early morning fatal shooting. (Photo courtesy of Katy Reckdahl)

. A young Bourbon Street doorman who normally kept a cool head with the street’s sometimes challenging crowds died early Saturday morning when he was shot during a fight that, according to another longtime Bourbon Street worker, began with a petty argument about who stepped on whose tennis shoes. “This is a kid who… Continue reading →

Fire at Baton Rouge apartment unit deemed arson

Firefighters extinguished a blaze at a Baton Rouge apartment Friday evening after someone set fire to a pile of trash inside the vacant unit. Firefighters responded to the fire at 11614 Sherwood Valley Court just before 6:30 p.m. and quickly put it out before it could spread, the Baton Rouge Fire Department release says. The apartment… Continue reading →

Black Friday in Lafayette: ‘You snooze, you lose’

Advocate Photo by LEE CELANO  - Shoppers with large bags crowd the floor of he Mall of Acadiana  during Black Friday in Lafayette Friday, Nov. 27 2015.

U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond part of bipartisan push to address incarceration rates, associated costs

Cedric Richmond

It’s rare, as a member of the Democratic minority in the U.S. House, to play a significant role in pushing major legislation to approval, U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, acknowledged this week. Rare, but for him, he said, not unprecedented: He teamed up with Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, in the House, along… Continue reading →

Eight booked on DWI in East Baton Rouge between Thursday and Friday

Authorities arrested at least eight people suspected of driving while intoxicated in East Baton Rouge Parish and booked them into Parish Prison between noon Thursday and noon Friday, booking records show. Those booked and the counts against them: Kenneth Dean, 22, 40237 Coontrap Road, Gonzales, first-offense DWI and careless operation. Alando Gilkes,… Continue reading →

Construction continues on South Louisiana Community College’s St. Martinville site and to begin soon on the health sciences building in Lafayette

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK -- Construction continues Monday, November 23, 2015, on the South Louisiana Community College Evangeline campus in St. Martinville, La.

South Louisiana Community College plans to open its new campus in St. Martinville in time for the fall 2016 semester; meanwhile, construction will start soon on its health sciences building in Lafayette. The $9.2 million, 38,000-square-foot building in St. Martinville is expected to be completed by July, said Bryan Glatter, SLCC vice chancellor of administration and… Continue reading →

City of Walker building toward baseball field for children with special needs; working with Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation

Advocate staff file photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Children ride the carnival-style rides and climb the rock wall during a 2912 National Night Out Against Crime at Sidney Hutchinson Park in Walker. City officials are now planning fundraisers to build a baseball field in the park for special-needs children.

As city officials prepare to host a star-studded fundraiser to build a baseball field for children with special needs, the mayor hopes a partnership with the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation will drive the project home. Some 80 children with mental and physical disabilities already participate in the Walker recreation department’s Challengers Division,… Continue reading →

Lafayette Police seeking to identify man shot, killed Friday

Police are working to identify a man shot and killed early Friday in Lafayette. Officers responding around 2:15 a.m. to a fight in a parking lot at 3103 W. Pinhook Road learned that the man and a 38-year-old woman had been fighting before they both fell to the ground, at which point the woman shot the man… Continue reading →

Pedestrian struck by car, killed on Airline Highway

A 57-year-old pedestrian died Thursday after a car hit him in the 7100 block of Airline Highway, police said. The incident took place shortly after 6 p.m. when the man walked onto the road from the west side and was struck by a 2010 Ford Taurus, said Cpl. L’Jean McKneely, a Baton Rouge Police Department spokesman.… Continue reading →

Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards’ Medicaid expansion timeline hits bump in road; here's what's next

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Louisiana Governor Elect John Bel Edwards speaks about his plans after winning the election the day before at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans, La. Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015.

On the campaign trial, Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards promised time and again that he would expand the rolls of Medicaid on his first day in office. His promise to reverse repeated rejections of expanded Medicaid by Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal and open the government health insurance program to more low-income workers was a cornerstone… Continue reading →

One suspect in Bunny Friend Park mass shooting ID'd, to be booked on 17 counts of attempted murder

New Orleans police say Friday that they’ve identified one of the suspects -- Joseph “Moe” Allen, 32 -- in last Sunday’s mass shooting during a block party at Bunny Friend Park.

Joseph “Moe” Allen, the man New Orleans police named Friday as the first confirmed suspect in Sunday’s mass shooting at Bunny Friend Park, has ties to “more than one organization,” NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison said, hinting at a possible gang motive for the shooting spree that left 17 people wounded as bullets sprayed through a Continue reading →

Which bowl game is LSU headed to? 1 of 3 options appear likely

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU running back Leonard Fournette (7) juggles a pass before bringing it in, as Mississippi defensive back Kendarius Webster (15) moves in in during  he first half, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015 in Oxford, Miss.

Whether Les Miles is still LSU’s coach or not, at some point over the holidays, the Tigers will have a bowl game to play. LSU’s potential postseason address, speculation over which has been drowned out by the spotlight on Miles’ embattled tenure at the school, is pure guesswork at this point considering the Tigers’ current… Continue reading →

Edwin Edwards leaving hospital after pneumonia treatment

Former Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards waves with his wife Trina Scott Edwards as they arrive onstage with family and supporters for Louisiana Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards, at his election night watch party in New Orleans, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015. John Bel Edwards won the runoff election for Louisiana governor Saturday, defeating the once-heavy favorite, Republican David Vitter, and handing the Democrats their first statewide victory since 2008. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Former Gov. Edwin Edwards is headed home from the hospital after treatment for pneumonia. “Edwin is up and around and feeling much better thanks to the doctors, nurses, and rest of the hospital staff. He received excellent treatment and everyone was so kind and helpful, but we’re happy to be headed home,” Edwards’ wife Trina wrote on… Continue reading →

With drones hot Christmas list items, Baton Rouge-area enthusiasts unsure how new regulations should work

In this photo taken June 11, 2015, a hexacopter drone is flown during a demonstration in Cordova, Md. An aviation industry task force plans to recommend Friday that operators be required to register drones weighing as little as a half of a pound, a threshold that could capture some remote-controlled toys, industry officials said. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Remote-controlled drones are on the minds of many this holiday season, topping wish lists and crowding shelves at area retailers. But eager hobbyists and retailers aren’t the only ones with drones on their minds as Christmas approaches: The Federal Aviation Administration is scrambling to put together new regulations for recreational drones. Exploding popularity of the unmanned,… Continue reading →