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LSU Head Coach Les Miles said Brandon Harris will take the first snaps when the offense takes the field against McNeese State on Saturday. Harris has been taking a majority of the snaps with the first team since fall camp started. 

Miles said he informed Harris of his decision on Saturday. But the coach made it clear he will not hesitate to use last year's starter Anthony Jennings in a relief role.
The quarterback news should not be a big surprise to the team.  
Junior defensive tackle Christian LaCouture says their attention has been on the Cowboys. 
"You know McNeese has a lot of great players," LaCouture said. "You saw what they did with Nebraska last year, they almost won the football game in Lincoln, so we can't take these guys lightly at all, it's a great football team. We just have to go out there and do our job, if we do that we'll be okay."
McNeese lost to Nebraska 31-24 in last year's season opener. They have two victories over FBS schools in recent history. They beat South Florida 53-21 in 2013 and knocked off Middle Tennessee 27-21 in 2012.
Kick-off on Saturday is at 6:30 PM.  


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The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s office has made an arrest in connection with the murder of a Stark man. Sheriff Tony Mancuso says 33-year-old Jody Barlow was found dead in a wooded area from gunshot wounds. Mancuso says Zachary Bench has been booked into the Calcasieu Correctional Center and charged with second degree murder, armed robbery and obstruction of justice.

“Through our investigation and leads we were able to get from people and surveillance footage we were able to obtain from some local stores around there, we were able to put some pieces together and arrest Zachary A. Bench, 21, of Vinton.”

Mancuso believes the motive of the murder was robbery. He says the investigation found Barlow’s truck, utility vehicle and trailer were missing along with guns, an iPad and other personal items.

“There really is no logical reason. There was no fight that we know of, no struggle. We just believe he wanted what he had and the only way to get it was to kill him.”

Mancuso says they discovered Barlow’s truck and other items in the woods completely burned. He says Bench and Barlow did not know each other well.

“They did but not very well, they were not long term friends or anything like that from what we can gather.”



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The State Fire Marshal's Office says a 2-year-old girl was killed and her mother injured in a house fire in Monroe.  State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says little Kataleya Williams and her mother were inside the home when the fire broke out Sunday afternoon.

"When the Ouachita Parish Firefighters responded, they found significant fire in the building.  The mother was injured and the 2-year-old toddler perished in the fire."

He says burglar bars on the home hampered escape efforts.  Neighbors and firefighters were able to remove them, allowing the mother to escape.  Browning says they believe the fire was caused by a pot left unattended on the stove.

"The mother said they were cooking.  She went to another part of the home when she smelt smoke and saw significant fire."

Authorities say the body of Williams was found under a table in the living room of the home in an apparent attempt to hide from the blaze.  Browning says they don't believe there were working smoke alarms in the home.  He says this is just a sad situation.

"It's just a real tragic scene.  We're still piecing together some more information.  But it's just a bad thing to happen." 


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The state Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control has suspended the alcohol license for the Wet & Wild Saloon in Houma after drugs and prostitution were discovered there.  ATC Commissioner Troy Hebert the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's Office uncovered some disturbing video evidence against the establishment.

"Including videos that show drugs being sold, prostitution being promoted, amongst a long list of illegal activities happening in this place."

ATC cited the business for numerous violations including allowing entertainers to engage in lewd and immoral acts and improperly allowing employees to solicit drinks from patrons for a fee.  TPSO has arrested the owners, Lance and Rachel Smiley, on numerous charges.  Hebert says this type of activity is something his office will not tolerate.

"And when we reviewed the video tapes of what's going on over there, they certainly don't deserve the privilege to sell alcohol.  And the types of activities that's going on over there actually, in my opinion, endangered the public health and safety." 


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After confiscating Confederate flags on Friday, West Monroe High School principal Shelby Ainsworth says he hopes people will understand the school's new policy. He says after the tragedy in South Carolina, the entire nation has put restrictions on the Confederate flag, and this is just a continuation of those efforts.
"We want to do our part to comply and cooperate with our country's officials," Ainsworth said.
At the beginning of the school year, Ainsworth says he and school officials told students they could not fly the Confederate flag from their vehicles. Ainsworth says this past Friday he announced that this policy would be enacted during the football games and other school events as well. Although some thought the school would not allow students to wear Rebel themed attired, Ainsworth says that was not the case.
"We were basically isolating strictly on the flying of the Confederate flag," he said.
Ainsworth says the school has designed its own West Monroe rebels flag in recent years, and the school supports students flying that as well as the American flag. He says students may wear rebel or Confederate flag clothing, and the policy only applies to flying the flag on campus.
"We're just sensitive to the concerns of the nation in general," Ainsworth said. 


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The Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office says three people have been arrested after allegedly striking moving vehicles with full one-gallon water jugs.  Lt. Col. Bobby Webre says their investigation led to the arrest of 19-year-old Chance Lambert, 18-year-old Layne Goodman, and 17-year-old James McCormack.

"Just a bad, terrible prank that these folks were doing and thank goodness no one was seriously injured.  But we know the potential there that could have happened."

He says vehicles were damaged in the incidents.  Webre says the suspects would throw the water jugs from a moving vehicle, which made the situation even more dangerous.

"The car would be coming head-on at them with bright lights on and, as they passed by, they threw the jugs out of the moving vehicle at another moving vehicle.  So you had twice the impact."

It is reported that Lambert is a volunteer firefighter with the Galvez-Lake Volunteer Fire Department.  The suspects are being charged with felony aggravated criminal damage to property.

"They were teenagers, but they certainly weren't minors so they are being charged as adults in this."   


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The Louisiana Department of Transportation will hold the first of three public meetings about proposed improvements to the I-10 Corridor in the capital city beginning tonight at 6 p.m. at the Baton Rouge River Center. DOTD Spokesperson Rodney Mallett says the meeting will go over the results of the survey presented to residents earlier this year.
"We also have some traffic data that shows what some of the projects that can be done to address the traffic issue in Baton Rouge," Mallett said.
Mallett says many of the survey response suggestions included building a new bridge or adding lanes to the corridor. He says there are those who are hesitant about the benefits of any traffic flow improvements because of the possible cost to the Baton Rouge community.
"And so adding lanes, just coming in and filling concrete now, how much is it going to have a negative impact versus a positive impact of traffic flow?"
These public meetings are a part of a requirement by law that the department receive public input before moving forward with any plans. Mallett says each meeting will be the same with the presentation, so people only need come to one. After the presentation of preliminary plans, the public will be able to give its input before DOTD moves forward with a feasibility study.
"It's not just about coming in and fixing the traffic," Mallett says. "It's about coming in and making enhancements to traffic and the people who live, work and play in the corridor."


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Game week arrives for the Tigers as they kick-off the season against McNeese State on Saturday. In years past, LSU has opened the season against big name opponents, but associate athletics director Verge Ausberry says with Mississippi State and Auburn looming in weeks two and three, they didn't want to start the season with a Top 5 opponent.

"Schedule smart...putting them in a position to win," Ausberry said.
Ausberry says it just happened to be LSU's year to play a couple of early SEC matchups. But he says when that's not the case, they like to open the season with a strong opponent. 
"I don't think we'll have this every year, we're still going to be playing neutral site games, big games against big opponents," Ausberry said.
Next year, LSU opens the season against Wisconsin at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. In 2017, the Tigers return to Houston to face BYU. In 2018, LSU's first game is against Miami of Florida in Dallas, Texas.  


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As we enter the month of September, it’s usually the busiest month of the year for the hurricane season. State Climatologist Barry Keim says sea surface temperatures tend to peak during this month.

“Now early to mid-September is also the time where we get the highest frequency of storms and the highest average intensity of storms. So we can clearly see an uptick in the activity which has taken place in recent times.”

Keim says in September, we typically see an average of three to four named storms in the north-Atlantic and about two to three become hurricanes. He says we’ve had several September hurricanes that had devastating impacts.

“Hurricane Betsy was a September storm, Gustav, Ike and Rita, those were all September storms. It’s a very popular month and if we can make it through September then we should be in pretty good shape.”

But Keim says this year an El Nino is creating wind shear. He says although these conditions are working against storm formation, we’ve already had six named storms and 10 to 12 is the average number.

“But the benefit again is the storms that have formed well out in the Atlantic have eventually encountered some of these hostile conditions and it’s broken them apart.” 



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A new Louisiana State Police cadet class starts their first full day of training today in Baton Rouge. Sgt. Nick Manale says over the next 16 weeks, they will cover everything from classroom instruction to hands on scenario based training. He says these individuals were carefully selected to ensure State Police has the right people.

“These men and women are putting their lives on the line and they have to be the best trained, best prepared, best equipped to put out there on our roadways. So we’re certainly happy to have this group of cadets for our new academy.”

Manale says 80 cadets will participate in the intense training in hopes of graduating in December and wearing the “Gold Boot” badge. He says this is the third State Police cadet class since 2014, which is helping to boost their numbers after not having any new troopers for five years.

“We’re just really try to make sure we have an increased presence out on our roadways, make sure our Troopers are out there doing what they’re supposed to be doing and they’re well trained and capable and reflecting the professional law enforcement agency in our state, of course.”

Manale says even though they’ve added over 100 troopers since 2014, they are still hoping to have another cadet class soon, after this current one wraps up.

“We urge people to either go to our website and click on the recruiting tab to learn the process of becoming a State Trooper and they can also visit the Louisiana State Police Commission website to get information on cadet testing, the process and the application process.”



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According to BankRate.com, Louisiana is the worst state for drivers. The website’s research and statistics analyst Chris Kahn says they ranked all 50 states according to the amount of fatal crashes, car thefts, commute times, gas prices, and insurance premiums. 

"Also repair costs are much higher in Louisiana than the national average and also fatal crashes, there are a lot of fatal crashes in Louisiana."

Kahn says the fatal crash rate is above the national average in the state but the one main factor that is always dragging Louisiana down is the absurdly high insurance premiums. He says the reason it's so high could be because of a couple different things.
"The crime rate in different cities in Louisiana, things like fatal crashes, there is a lot of natural disasters, or the potential for natural disasters and all those combined to make the insurance premiums really high."

Kahn says one way to help get Louisiana from the bottom of the list is to chat with your insurance provider to find out about discounts.
"There are so many different things that go into your insurance premium, I would suggest calling your insurance carrier and asking about different ways and every insurance carrier has different tips and different ways for people to lower their insurance premiums."


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The Saints fell to 0-3 in the preseason with a 27-13 loss to the Houston Texans. Penalties were a big problem again for New Orleans as they were flagged 11 times for 148 yards.
The defense didn't have much of a pass rush and allowed the Texans to convert on 8-of-16 on 3rd chances. The offense had trouble scoring in the red zone, going 0-for-3.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees only played one series and led New Orleans to a field goal on the first drive of the game.
Houston took control of the game with 10 points in the first quarter. Former LSU Tiger Kenny Hilliard led the Texans in rushing with 25 yards on 10 carries. He also had 2 catches for 28 yards.
Luke McCown led the Saints quarterbacks as he was 8-of-14 for 117 yards and fumbled once. Edwin Baker led New Orleans in rushing, with 49 yards. He had a 45-yard touchdown run.
Rookie Marcus Murphy had 3 catches for 67 yards. He had 43 yards rushing and looked good on returns.
Zach Hocker was 2-for-2 on field goals including a 53-yarder.
The Saints wrap up the preseason on Thursday against the Green Bay Packers.  


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As part of Louisiana Radio Network's continuing Q-and-A with the men running for governor, we asked the four candidates about how transparent their administration will be once they are in office. Democrat John Bel Edwards says he's the only candidate that voted for a bill that will bring new transparency to the records in the governor's office.

"Whenever practical, I will always provide information on where I am and with who I am meeting, I will always deal with the people of Louisiana in the light of day," Edwards said.
Republican David Vitter plans to make more documents available to the public than what's currently available and the US Senator says he'll make himself available to the public with town hall meetings in every parish. 
"Also, host a monthly coffee open house at the governor's mansion for the public to visit in a more relaxed way," Vitter said.
Republican Scott Angelle says his administration will be more transparent than any past administration. He says access to records is a critical part in building public's trust with government. 
"We certainly have to make sure that government officials are not driven into a smoke filled back room to discuss the things that are important to Louisiana," Angelle said.
Republican Jay Dardenne also agrees that the records of the executive branch, including the office of the governor, need to be made open and available upon request. 
"At the same time, I'll work with the legislature to create an open records law that keeps pace with technological changes and forces future governors to make certain their records are to the public open as well," Dardenne said.


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LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron says he's been diagnosed with prostate cancer, but he's fine and his health is good. Cameron says he's already had it treated.
"Given a clean bill of health, pathology reports are 100%, locked, loaded and ready to go," Cameron said.

Cameron says his treatment did not include radiation and received word two weeks ago that he is cancer free.
He will be in the press box calling plays when the Tigers kick off the season on September 5th against McNeese State.  


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Monroe-based Centurylink announces plans to bring high-speed internet to more than 24-thousand rural households and businesses in Louisiana.
Centurylink Senior vice-president John Jones says they have accepted money from the Federal Communications Commission to get this work done. 

"You're going to see some new markets enabled and you'll also see some faster speeds in existing markets," Jones said.
Jones says the company accepted about 500-million dollars a year for six years from the FCC to develop high-speed Internet service to one-point-two million Centurylink customers nationwide.
"It does not happen instantly, but it's incumbent on us to come up with a plan of how we are going to roll it out. That's going to take a little time," Jones said. 
Jones says they'll spend the next few months mapping out a plan to bring high-speed internet to rural areas and construction is expected to begin early next year. 
"We are excited about it, because it will help us complete most of our footprint in the state, unfortunately there will be some pockets that we quite can't get to."   


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Former President George W. Bush spoke at Warren Easton High School today to emphasize how far public education in New Orleans has come since Hurricane Katrina. In his speech, Bush said nine in 10 public school students in New Orleans now attend a charter school and praised the good work done by these charter schools.
"According to a new report by the Cowen Institute, the percentage of New Orleans students graduating on time has soared since Katrina," Bush said. "The percentage of students who attended schools have scored greater than the state average has doubled." 
Bush said he and wife Laura visited New Orleans to salute the leaders of the city who have helped it and its schools progress since the tragic storm. After Katrina, Bush said educational entrepreneurs came together to help reform the school system.
"Isn't it amazing? The storm nearly destroys New Orleans, and now New Orleans is the beacon for school reform," Bush said.
In closing his speech, Bush spoke of the spirit in Warren Easton High and other schools in the New Orleans area that had to rebuild and reform. He acknowledged the New Orleans spirit was stronger than any Hurricane Katrina or storm like it.
"When I asked how students have overcome adversity, Lauren said, 'We teach our kids to be resilient. That's in the culture of this city.'"


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The Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Office seized nearly 200 pounds of cocaine--the largest in the parish's history--after receiving an anonymous tip about several suspicious packages. Commander Eric Becnel says there is an ongoing investigation with the United States Homeland Security New Orleans office because the wrapping of the cocaine is consistent with drug trafficking.
"We're attempting to determine how those drugs wound up in our parish," Becnel said.
After a field test and examination, the drugs were determined to be pure cocaine. Becnel says the sheriff's office estimates the street value of the cocaine to be $18 million. No arrests have been made as of yet. But he says the seizure has helped prevent the possibility of property and violent crimes that would have been fueled by the drugs.
"As we all know, drug addicts have to steal and support their habit," Becnel said.
Becnel says the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Office is grateful to have a relationship and the support of the community. He says this relationship allows the public to notify authorities when there is suspicious activity in the parish.
"If it wouldn't have been for the honesty of this individual, who knows where those drugs would have wound up," Becnel said. 


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Michelle Southern reporting.
Many people are reflecting back to 10 years ago when Hurricane Katrina descended on the Gulf Coast and caused catastrophic widespread damage. Families throughout the New Orleans area were displaced and people all over the state were opening their doors to evacuees.

Our Governor during that time, Kathleen Blanco, says the unbelievable recovery in the last decade shows the resiliency and determination of Louisianians.

"They are building safer. They are building stronger. They are building smarter," says Blanco. "Those are all the ingredients that we knew back 10 years ago that it would take to make this part of the state come alive again."

The immediate response efforts to the disaster by federal, state and local governments is widely criticized.

Blanco says following Katrina and Rita she instructed her staff to rewrite the disaster response. She believes Louisiana now leads the nation in knowing what to do before, during and after storms.

"We worked very hard to uncover every possible concept necessary to make our disaster response less chaotic," said Blanco.

Political leaders were shown on television clearly shaken by their surroundings and many of those who remained in New Orleans after the storm had no access to water, food or shelter.

Blanco says the thing she suffers from the most about the response is that they couldn't do enough, fast enough in a short period of time.

"No matter how many national guard soldiers I was adding to the mix, nothing was big enough," says Blanco. "Nothing was strong enough to alleviate the pain and suffering quickly."


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The director of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness says the state is in a better position to respond to a Hurricane Katrina like event. GOHSEP director Kevin Davis says one of the biggest advancements is a better relationship between the state and FEMA. Davis says he meets with the FEMA regional director on a regular basis.

"I see Tony the administrator probably three, four times a month in meetings and we go through all our training exercises together."

Davis was the president of St. Tammany Parish during Hurricane Katrina. He remembers the difficulty in communication, especially after the storm blew through. He says the state now has equipment to combat situations when cell service is nonexistent.

"We've had towers go down recently and again we just mobilize our trailer to that location and bring it all back up."

Where to shelter evacuees was a huge issue during Katrina. Davis says since then they have identify enough shelter to house individuals in Louisiana, if there’s a need to evacuate the New Orleans area. He says their sheltering plan is very specific.

"Plaquemines Parish will go to Monroe. We've already had meetings there in Monroe. They will bring there 600 to 700 people, we'll help them in transportation."



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Visitation is today for fallen State Police Trooper Steven Vincent, who was killed in the line of duty earlier this week. Due to tremendous support, the location of the visitation has been moved to the Lake Charles Civic Center Rosa Heart Theater. Calcasieu Parish Police Juror Tony Stelly says he watched Vincent grow up and he will be greatly missed by everyone.

“When you have a tragedy like this that is just so horrendous. It just makes everyone just stop and think. It just a very, very, very horrible thing to happen to such a good bunch of people.”

The funeral service will take place Saturday at noon at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church in Lake Charles. Stelly expects many people to come out and pay their respects at the visitation and funeral. He says Vincent’s reputation was like gold in his hometown of Iowa because he was such a caring person.

“It’s simply because the young man was raised right, he was raised that family is number one.”

Stelly says Steven comes from a great family who is widely respected and the community will do whatever they can to make this time easier for the Vincent’s.

“But the young man comes from really, really good people and we’re going to stand behind that family and we’re going to give them whatever support they need to get through this.” 



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