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2015 Baton Rouge Attorney Profiles
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Full Court blog: LSU basketball team greatly improves its chances for a tournament bid

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU's Jalyn Patterson (15)  pressures Ole Miss guard Terence Smith (3) on the Rebels' offensive end in the first half Saturday at LSU's Maravich Assembly Center. Ole Miss led 27-23 at half.

The LSU basketball team’s key victory over Ole Miss on Saturday in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center greatly enhanced its chances for an NCAA tournament bid. On Sunday morning, LSU found out that the Tigers had vaulted into the top 50 on the updated and Ratings Percentage Index lists. RPI is… Continue reading →

Man found shot to death in his front yard

Baton Rouge police responding early Sunday to reports of a traffic accident instead found a man suffering from a gunshot wound to the head. The victim was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The victim was found around 1:45 a.m. near 2800 73rd Avenue. Police said their investigation indicates that the victim was… Continue reading →

Walt Handelsman: What are Mr. Spock and Governor Jindal doing in a cartoon together?

What are Mr. Spock and Governor Jindal doing in a cartoon together? Follow this link to the cartoon.… Continue reading →

Louisiana Department of Education hopes to improve quality of early childhood learning at private daycares

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Four-year-olds Jordan Brown, left, Darrien Jackson and Jason Demoulin, right, play and practice skills in the 'Housekeeping' area Thursday at Baton Rouge Christian Academy, a private daycare on Monroe Ave. A 2012 law, Act 3, calls for higher standards for private daycares, and daycares will soon get letter grades for performance, like elementary and secondary schools do now.

The windowless concrete building is not much to look at, but to the families who have made their way there, Baton Rouge Christian Academy is a find, offering a rare commodity: affordable, high-quality child care. Candis McClelland’s daughter Addison has spent much of her short six months on earth at the day… Continue reading →

Bad timing: Scandals, criticism erupt around Louisiana’s film credit program

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- New Orleans Saints cheerleaders the Saintsations dance on the field in a game between the New Orleans Saints and the Miami Dolphins at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La. Monday, Sept. 30, 2013. A reality TV show produced about the Saintsations by Horizon Entertainment got $1 million in state film tax credits.

The timing couldn’t be much worse for supporters of Louisiana’s film industry. As the state stares down a $1.6 billion budget shortfall, one due in part to the spiraling cost of corporate giveaways, a fresh wave of scandals has erupted around the film program, giving new ammunition to critics at a moment… Continue reading →

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal pivots on tax credits, marking a big change in philosophy


After years of hewing zealously to a promise never to approve a tax increase — a pledge that he believes also prevents the elimination of any state tax breaks — Gov. Bobby Jindal on Friday unveiled a budget plan for the coming year that trims tax credit programs by a whopping $526 million.… Continue reading →

What’s the future of Louisiana rating public schools with letter grades? Many think it’s senseless

The future of letter grades for public schools is unclear less than five years after the Louisiana Legislature ordered them to begin. The annual marks, which have sparked bitter arguments, were already partly on hold for the past two years, and Louisiana’s top school board will be asked next week to extend that another… Continue reading →

Attorneys for Bayou Corne residents seek $12 million in fees from settlement

Attorneys who represented Bayou Corne residents in a class-action lawsuit over the Assumption Parish sinkhole are asking a federal judge in New Orleans for legal fees that amount to 25 percent of the $48.1 million settlement award. The request, if granted, works out to about $12.03 million in attorneys’ fees split among the few dozen lawyers… Continue reading →

Free dental clinic in Baton Rouge brings smile to hundreds needing care

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Dr. Beom-June Kim, left, of New Orleans gets assistance from third year dental student Quyen Nguyen of Berwick, as they perform a full lower tooth extraction for patient Veanna Businelle, of Morgan City, Saturday on the second day of the the Mission of Mercy 'LaMOM' free dental clinic, held at the Armed Forces Reserve Center on Innovation Park.  Businelle had her uppers extracted Friday, and was getting a full set of dentures. In background, patient LaShonda Pikes of Baton ROuge gets ready for a procedure, as Dr. Daniel Choi of New Orleans world with her.

Thomas Johnson never forgot that his front tooth was missing since the age of 11 — especially at job interviews. “Every time I go I think in my head, ‘They’re not going to want anybody that has a missing tooth,’ ” he said. But at a free Baton Rouge dental clinic that was held Friday and… Continue reading →

Block party in downtown Baton Rouge uses ‘Confederacy of Dunces’ as theme

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Dressed in the signature look of main character 'Ignatius J. Reilly,' East Baton Rouge Parish LIbrary System technical services coordinator Andi Abraham, left, poses with Sean Gasser, center, and Nick Savides, right, in the Baton Rouge residents' souvenir photo with a 'Lucky Dog' hot dog, Saturday at the library's kick-off party for this springs 'One Book, One Community' program, featuring John Kennedy Toole's  book 'A Confederacy of Dunces,'  Saturday night at North Blvd. Town Square.

A block of downtown Baton Rouge was transformed Saturday into a New Orleans-themed street party but with a distinctive 1960s flavor that would be familiar to any reader of the classic novel “A Confederacy of Dunces.” In addition to the sounds of a brass band and the aroma of red beans and rice, there were… Continue reading →

Magnolia Mound Plantation event features slave stories, opera and spirituals

MET photo by mark h hunter, Givonna Joseph, director of Opera Creole, sings

Black History Month at Magnolia Mound Plantation closed on a high note Saturday with the dramatic telling of slave stories and the singing of rarely heard African-American operatic numbers and familiar spirituals. About 200 area residents enjoyed sunny skies while singers with Opera Creole performed a dozen songs and actor Oneal Isaac performed “In Their Own… Continue reading →

Dr. Seuss tales delight Lafayette youngsters at library event

Advocate staff photo by ANGELA MAJOR -- Children listen as school board member Mary Morrison reads to them Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015, during Read Across Louisiana at South Regional Library. The event focused on the birthday of Dr. Seuss.

Green eggs and ham may not have been on the lunch menu, but children who gathered for a Dr. Seuss-themed reading in Lafayette on Saturday were nonetheless delighted and amused to hear stories about “The Cat in the Hat,” his mischief-making sidekicks “Thing One” and “Thing Two” and other strange tales. The children at the… Continue reading →

Patient tracking takes a techy turn at Ochsner

Photo provided by Ochsner Health System -- Ochsner Health System recently became one of the first health care providers in the U.S. to begin testing Apple HealthKit, a service developed by technology giant Apple Inc. that enables doctors to remotely monitor patients who suffer from chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.

As fitness-crazed consumers embrace wearable activity trackers that record their every move, Ochsner Health System is among the first medical providers in the country to test the potential for similar technology to substantially change how doctors assess the health of chronically ill patients and deliver basic care. Ochsner recently became one of the first health care providers… Continue reading →

People in Business for March 1, 2015

Jared Tees, LAuberge Casino & Hotel Baton Rouge

L’Auberge Casino & Hotel Baton Rouge has named Jared Tees as executive chef and Kerry Fontenot as vice president of casino operations. Tees has worked in kitchens at Commander’s Palace, Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House, Lüke, Besh Steak and Manning’s. Fontenot, a Lafayette native, was with L’Auberge sister property Ameristar… Continue reading →

Business Meetings for March 1, 2015

BUSINESS NETWORK OF BATON ROUGE WHEN: Tuesday, 7:30 a.m. WHERE: Bocage Racquet Club, 7600 Jefferson Highway, Baton Rouge SPEAKER: Lester Lemoine, of Lemoine’s Heating & Air RESERVATIONS: Joey Duggan, (225) 252-3619… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge man booked in DWI, accused of causing multiple crashes

Louisiana State Police on Friday arrested a 22-year-old man accused of causing multiple crashes while intoxicated and seriously injuring his passenger. Shane Roddy was headed north on U.S. 61 near La. 427 when he crashed into the back of another vehicle, according to an arrest report. Roddy drove away and later veered off the highway, crashing… Continue reading →

Forum planned on best-seller ‘A Long Walk to Water’, about efforts to improve Sudan

Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel, City-Parish Councilman Brandon Shelvin and One Acadiana President Jason El Koubi will lead a community discussion on the book “A Long Walk to Water” during a forum at 6 p.m. Monday at the South Regional Library. The panel discussion will focus on The New York Times best-selling book, the selection for… Continue reading →

Broussard in midst of building multi-million dollar sports complex

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- A forklift unloads materials to be used in the construction of a building at the site of St. Julien Park Thursday in Broussard.

Construction is now underway on St. Julien Park, a massive $27 million-plus public sports complex being built on 122 acres of land that when completed will offer something outdoorsy for just about everyone. The park is one of three projects ongoing or planned that lie close to each other and offers a glimpse into the… Continue reading →

Lafayette arrests for Feb. 28, 2015

Arrests posted Feb. 28, 2015, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s web site: ROBERT HENRY BRASHER: 25, of the 400 block of Alonda Drive, Lafayette. He was booked on misdemeanor domestic abuse battery and aggravated assault. BRANDON SCOTT BROUSSARD: 27, of… Continue reading →

Bill Cosby welcomed with cheers, applause in Lafayette appearance

FILE - In this Jan. 17, 2015 file photo, comedian Bill Cosby salutes the crowd as he begins a performance at the Buell Theater in Denver. Cosbys lawyers asked a federal judge on Friday, Feb. 27, to throw out a defamation lawsuit filed by three women accusing the comedian of decades-old sexual offenses. The women, all of whom have stepped forward in recent years, say Cosbys representatives publicly branded them as liars while trying to defend Cosbys innocence. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

Bill Cosby walked onstage Friday night at the Heymann Performing Arts Center in Lafayette to cheers and loud applause. Onstage for nearly two hours, the 77-year-old comedian never mentioned the accusations of sexual abuse made against him by 25 women. Friday’s performance proceeded without interruption, heckling or the protests that a prerecorded announcement heard in… Continue reading →

Report: Rita LeBlanc, Gayle Benson got into physical altercation at Saints game last season, sparked Tom Benson's ownership changes

New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson walks with his wife Gayle Benson, left, and co-owner Rita Benson LeBlanc before an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Bill Haber) ORG XMIT: NYOTK

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Bobby Jindal's budget proposal reveals spending, cuts planned for Louisiana

Advocate Photo by MARK BALLARD -- Amite State Rep. John Bel Edwards, head of the House Democratic Caucus, reads the governor's budget proposal on Friday as it was being presented to the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget.

The Jindal administration rolled out a budget plan Friday that avoids much of the doomsday scenario spawned by a $1.6 billion revenue shortfall — partly by scaling back state tax credits — but still imposes significant cuts to government spending. The budget plan includes suggestions for raising money, including the possibility of a… Continue reading →

Police: Baton Rouge student knocks bus driver unconscious; another student stops moving bus before accident

The bus driver sat slouched in her seat, knocked unconscious after a middle school student allegedly punched her several times as he walked off the bus Thursday afternoon in north Baton Rouge. Then the bus, carrying about half a dozen students on Linden Street near North Foster Drive, started rolling and picked up some speed before another… Continue reading →

Cops: Felon sparks gun fight with officers

Advocate staff photo by Ben Wallace -- An officer-involved shooting occurred Thursday night in this area of Robbie Avenue near Cristy Drive after BRPD officers tried to stop a vehicle for an alleged traffic violation.

A trail of blood and the sound of screams ultimately led police officers to a suspect they were searching for Thursday night in a neighborhood near Belaire High School, Baton Rouge police said, bringing an end to a chase in which a convicted felon shot a patrol car and then was shot in the arm by an… Continue reading →

Denham Springs police release name of officer in Monday fatal shooting

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Denham Springs Police investigate the scene where a man brandishing a pistol was shot once by a Denham Springs Police officer Monday afternoon. Police Chief Scott Jones said the man was ordered repeatedly to drop his weapon and was shot when the man did not comply.

Denham Springs police have named the officer involved in a fatal shooting Monday afternoon. The officer, Michael Brien LeBlanc, has been placed on administrative leave while the incident remains under investigation, city Detective Glenn Lemoine said Friday evening. Police were called to a grassy area near the Bass Pro Shops on Monday afternoon… Continue reading →

Gun used in Donaldsonville slayings tied to 5 shooting injuries in New Orleans

Advocate staff photo by SHERRI MILLER -- New Orleans police say a 25-year-old man was shot twice in the body with non-life-threatening wounds mid-day on May 2, 2013, at the intersection of Aubry and North Dorgenois streets in New Orleans, seen Thursday afternoon. Ascension Parish sheriff's investigators say that shooting and three others in New Orleans in 2011 have been linked with a Jan. 26 double-homicide in Donaldsonville. The tie was made through a ballistic match of shell casings left at the various crime scenes.

Investigators believe a single handgun used in the slayings of two Donaldsonville men in January also was involved in a series of five shooting injuries in recent years in New Orleans. Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley said Friday his officers are in the painstaking process of trying to find and interview the five… Continue reading →

Weekly evacuation assistance checks to continue for remaining Bayou Corne residents

Citing continuing risk from rising, flammable gas unleashed by the Bayou Corne sinkhole, the state Office of Conservation ruled Friday that remaining residents in the swampland community must continue to receive weekly $875 checks for evacuation assistance. The order says the checks from Texas Brine Co. should continue until the mandatory evacuation order in place since… Continue reading →

Metro Buzz: ‘I don’t want to see it,’ judge says of underwear photo circulated by Livingston Parish contractor

Corey Delahoussaye

A state court judge has ordered former Livingston Parish contractor Corey delaHoussaye to have no contact with the investigator in his criminal case. The reason? Prosecutors say he emailed her a photo of another man in his underwear. DelaHoussaye faces prosecution on allegations of overbilling for post-Hurricane Gustav work. The case against him is based on an… Continue reading →

Livingston deputies disarm man, arrest him on drug, weapons counts


A Greensburg man was arrested this week after allegedly pulling a gun on deputies while dropping thousands of dollars in methamphetamine. Deputies went to Livingston Street in Albany on Tuesday for a narcotics investigation and found Joseph “John” Wascom, 36, according to a Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office news release. When Wascom spotted law enforcement, he… Continue reading →

Prank calls about phony robberies result in terrorizing counts against Denham Springs man, deputies said

Brandon Kirkland

A 27-year-old from Denham Springs told deputies he was “rained out” from work and “just playing around” when he placed two prank 911 calls reporting phony armed robberies, according to the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office. Dispatchers received the calls on Tuesday and Wednesday. Both times, they were told masked men were entering a business, once on… Continue reading →

Prairieville man booked on numerous sex counts involving a child

Benjamin Tonguis of Prairieville was arrested Feb. 25, 2015 by the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office on multiple counts, including 16 counts of aggravated rape.

A Prairieville man was booked Wednesday on 16 counts of aggravated rape and other counts after he confessed to detectives he had committed sexual acts over several years with a now-13-year-old child, Sheriff Jeff Wiley said. The Ascension Parish sheriff’s Juvenile Division received information Wednesday that the child was possibly being raped… Continue reading →

Ascension deputies find ‘Toe’ Nash, booked on flight, failure to register as sex offender

Ascension Parish authorities located Gregory “Toe” Nash — a former professional baseball prospect and convicted sex offender — at a residence off La. 937 shortly after 8 p.m. Friday after receiving several anonymous tips on his whereabouts, Lt. Col. Bobby Webre said in a news release. Nash, 32, a Sorrento native, gained national attention as a “hidden… Continue reading →

Some nerves about Cosby show in Lafayette, but the entertainer is warmly received

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Aaron Broussard purchases tickets to Bill Cosby's performance for his wife and parents Friday at the box office at the Heymann Performing Arts Center in Lafayette. Asked about the controversy surrounding the comedian, Broussard said,

The nerves about Bill Cosby’s appearance in Lafayette were beginning to show when, shortly before 8 p.m. Friday, this announcement was made before his performance: “Dear patrons: We have been advised that there may be attempts to disrupt tonight’s performance. If a disruption occurs, please remain calm until the matter is resolved and do not confront… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge, New Orleans rank high in ag, chemical bioscience jobs

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Nicole Baute Honorée, assistant vice chancellor of economic development and strategic initiatives with LSU Health New Orleans, left, and  Gus Kousoulas, associate vice chancellor for research and economic development at LSU, right, listen as James Greenwood, president and CEO of the Washington D.C.-based Biotechnology Industry Organization addresses a Focus on Biotechnology audience on the LSU campus Friday.

Bioscience jobs in the United States grew seven times faster than those in the rest of the economy from 2001 through 2012, with Baton Rouge and New Orleans ranking high in one category. The Baton Rouge area ranked second among the nation’s largest metros in 2012 for concentration of bioscience jobs within agricultural feedstock and chemicals, at… Continue reading →

Shareholders approve selling Pineville-based utility company Cleco Corp.

Cleco Corp. shareholders have approved selling the the Pineville-based utility company to a North American-led investor group for about $3.4 billion. The new owners also will assume about $1.3 billion of debt for a total transaction valued at $4.7 billion. The deal was announced in October with an investor group led by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real… Continue reading →

U.S. rig count drops 43; Louisiana decreases 7

Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. fell by 43 this week to 1,267 amid depressed oil prices. The Houston-based company said Friday in its weekly report that 86 rigs were exploring for oil and 280 for gas. One was… Continue reading →

Need for engineers prompts agreement between UL-Lafayette and Mexican state

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- University of Louisiana at Lafayette President Joe Savoie, standing, speaks at a ceremony with Mexican officials, from left, Rames Pech Razo, Ramon Antonio Rodriguez Laynes and Emilio de Ygartua y Monteverde Friday at the Alumni Center in Lafayette.

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette signed an agreement Friday with a university in the Mexican state of Tabasco, opening the door for academic and research partnerships between the two institutions focused on developing engineers for the southern Gulf of Mexico neighbors. The partnership with the Instituto Tecnológico Superior de Centla in the state of Tabasco… Continue reading →

St. Martin school security officer accused of indecent behavior, trying to produce child porn

Photo provided by ST. MARTIN PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE -- Michael Barber, 39, of Breaux Bridge, was arrested Feb. 27, 2015, on counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile, attempted production of child pornography and malfeasance in office after St. Martin Parish School Board officials filed a complaint against the 15-year deputy and school resource officer.

A school resource officer in St. Martin Parish was arrested Friday on allegations of indecent behavior with a minor, the Sheriff’s Office announced in a news release. Michael Barber, 39, of Breaux Bridge, was booked on one count each of attempted production of child pornography, indecent behavior with a juvenile and malfeasance in office, said Maj. Ginny… Continue reading →

Higher ed would be cut $211M by Bobby Jindal's proposed budget

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration presented a budget recommendation on Friday that largely spares colleges and universities from what they feared would be catastrophic cuts in the coming year. But higher education leaders warn that there’s still a lot of work to be done before lawmakers finalize a state spending plan. The Jindal plan relies on $526… Continue reading →