Louisiana's employment picture is ending the year on a good note. Louisiana Workforce Commission spokesperson Tom Guarisco says based on the latest data, the state's unemployment rate is down to 6.3 percent after holding steady at seven-percent earlier this year.
"That is the third consecutive month unemployment rate has come down," Guarisco said.
Louisiana has the sixth lowest rate in the South region.
Louisiana's private sector employers also added 26-thousand jobs in the last 12 months leading up to November. Guarisco says that's 39 consecutive months the state has experienced over-the-year gains in private sector growth.
The biggest over-the year gainer was trade, transportation and utilities, which added 95-hundred jobs over the last 12 months. Guarisco says the leisure and the hospitality industry is also growing and the construction industry added 51-hundred jobs.
"Construction is an area that we forecast to have real robust growth in the coming years."
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals says during the traveling hustle and bustle this holiday season, remember to play it safe and healthy. DHH Immunization Medical Director Dr. Frank Welch says first it's very important to eat well and try and keep yourself moving.
"Eat healthy foods, try and replace some of those sugary snacks with fresh fruits and veggies," Welch said. "And while you're shopping..try to take an extra lap around the mall and park a little further than you normally do."
Welch says it's also very important to get your flu shot since we come in contact with lots of people at holiday parties and on mass transit. He says in those conditions the flu can spread easily from person-to-person through coughing, sneezing and casual contact.
"We've really seen a big spike in flu activity over the past few weeks in Louisiana," Welch said. "Make sure to wash your hands, cover your cough, stay away from sick people and if you are sick please stay home."
Welch says during the Holidays we all seem to get more stressed out than usual so it's good to take steps to try to stay relaxed like getting plenty of rest and being careful not to eat or drink too much.
The Washington Parish Sheriff's office says a 12 year old girl is behind bars today for allegedly trying to kill her 8 month old niece. Chief Deputy Mike Hailey says there were two sisters, one 16 years old and one 12 years old, who were in a foster home and the older sister also had a baby in the residence.
"The 12 year old child apparently gave the infant some liquid medication, I'm assuming it was prescription medication, while the mother of the baby was bathing," said Hailey.
Hailey says they believe the medication was administered to the baby at least twice and adults in the home became concerned when the 8 month old was sleeping all the time and wouldn't wake up.
They confronted the 12 year old and she admitted to giving the baby medicine.
"And her story was basically that she was jealous because the baby was getting all of the attention instead of her," Hailey said. "So she decided she wanted to kill the baby."
The 12 year old was charged with attempted first degree murder.
The baby was treated at a hospital and is going to be okay.
An organization called "Faith Driven Consumer" has started an online petition urging supporters of Phil Robertson to sign demanding he be reinstated to Duck Dynasty by A&E. Founder Chris Stone says they are looking for signatures on the website "IStandWithPhil.com", to express citizen support for The Duck Commander.
"We want to be recognized as a part of the audience that would otherwise be excluded if Phil was fired," Stone said.
Stone says Phil should not have been suspended by the network for expressing his personal preference for heterosexual marriage.
He says the beauty of the Duck Dynasty series is that it represents the true persona of the Robertson family, and their faith is a huge part of that.
"And there are many people in America, even not just Faith Driven Consumer members, but 46 million people who share those world views and they want to be part of America's rainbow of diversity," said Stone.
Stone says what is the point of having a reality show if you take the reality out of it?
The "I Stand With Phil Robertson" Facebook page has well over 1-million "likes" and indicates the petition already had over 300,000 signatures as of Friday morning.
Stone says they will hand deliver the petitions to A&E starting Monday.
"Then they will have the right to exercise through their own choice, after all it's their network and they can air what they want," said Stone. "But it gives them an opportunity to hear the voice and choose. We believe it's part of a free market."
Meanwhile the Robertson family has issued the following statement:
"We want to thank all of you for your prayers and support. The family
has spent much time in prayer since learning of A&E's decision. We
want you to know that first and foremost we are a family rooted in our
faith in God and our belief that the Bible is His word. While some of
Phils unfiltered comments to the reporter were coarse, his beliefs are
grounded in the teachings of the Bible. Phil is a Godly man who follows
what the Bible says are the greatest commandments: Love the Lord your
God with all your heart and Love your neighbor as yourself. Phil
would never incite or encourage hate.We are disappointed that Phil has
been placed on hiatus for expressing his faith, which is his
constitutionally protected right.We have had a successful working
relationship with A&E but, as a family, we cannot imagine the show
going forward without our patriarch at the helm. We are in discussions
with A&E to see what that means for the future of Duck Dynasty.
Again, thank you for your continued support of our family."
A bizarre crime spree unfolfed last night in the Washington Parish town of Franklinton. Authorities say 20-year-old Christopher Dillon shot a neighbor during an armed robbery, then shot a police officer, after barricading himself in his home. Dillon then allegedly set fire to the home. He escaped, but a woman, believed to be his mother, was found dead inside.
Marchand says the two people Dillon shot are expected to survive from their injuries. He says Dillon was arrested after he set his home on fire and booked with two counts of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer and a count of aggravated arson.
Marchand says they are not sure what set Dillon off. The Washington Parish Sheriff's office and Franklinton Police Department are assisting State Police in this investigation.
Time is rapidly running out to finish your holiday gift buying. Tomorrow is known in retail circles as "Super Saturday"; the last big weekend shopping day before Christmas. Retail analyst Marshal Cohen says if you're out shopping, you'll be among a lot of fellow "Last-Minute Charlies".
The NPD Group's Holiday Shop-O-Meter says only 44% percent of us have completed our holiday shopping by now - meaning potentially big crowds in shops, with numerous big value markdowns...and the chance of slim pickings, "the one thing we have to careful about - for those who wait 'til the last minute - is you may not get your first choice of color or size, or even product or model. You may get a better price, but you don't always necessarily get 'pick of the litter.'" Even though it's a big shopping day, weather for most of Louisiana is expected to be rainy, so bring an umbrella.
Deputies in Washington Parish have arrested
12-year-old girl for the attempted murder of her 8-month-old niece.
Sheriff's Office acted on a call
from the Department of Children & Family Services of alleged abuse of the
infant. Under questioning, the girl
her older sister's
was getting, so she tried to kill the child with
an overdose of liquid
The baby has recovered from the
meds at a nearby hospital. The child is in custody and awaiting a date in
A federal judge has ruled that conditions on Death Row at
the Angola State Prison are, in fact, too hot
weather and constitute cruel and unusual
punishment. The ruling means prison leaders at Angola will have to
The judge says
the temperature in the cells must never exceed 88
degrees. This is all the
result of a
lawsuit filed by three death row inmates
who complained of dangerously hot conditions last Summer.
Three condemned inmates filed a lawsuit claiming the death row conditions were unsafe during the summer time. All three men have high blood pressure and other health conditions.
A spokesperson for the Department of Corrections says the state plans to appeal.
Reactions are pouring in from both sides of the debate about what Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson said to GQ magazine regarding his opposition to homosexuality. Forum for Equality Chairman John Denison of Monroe says he is not surprised that The Duck Commander said publicly that he thinks homosexuals are offenders.
He says he is shocked by the words used.
"Calling out sinners, and equating people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender to beastiality and to thievery and to criminals," Denison said.
In the interview, Robertson was asked what he viewed as sinful and he responded "homosexual behavior" and indicated gays and others, like swindlers, were sinners and would not inherit the Kingdom of God.
Tommy Inman is a Bible teacher at Ouachita Christian School in Monroe and a close friend of Robertson's. He says this is just one big huge misunderstanding.
"Phil would never be a part of any gay bashing or of trying to hurt somebody for their particular choices in life," says Inman. "Phil is just going to be consistent about allowing his belief in the Bible to dictate what he believes is right and wrong."
A&E announced Wednesday that in light of the comments made by Robertson, he is "under hiatus from filming indefinitely."
Inman doesn't think Robertson would be concerned about not doing the show anymore.
Denison, a self proclaimed gay Christian man, has issued an open invitation to Robertson to join him for dinner so they can have a chat.
"So that we can sit down face to face and he can meet me and meet an actual out and successful gay man, a Christian gay man, and we can begin a dialogue," Denison said. "Because what I fear is that he doesn't really know any gay or lesbian people."
Gov. Bobby Jindal issued a statement today saying the Robertsons are great Louisiana citizens and all have the right to free speech. Jindal said it's "messed up" that Robertson gets suspended and Miley Cyrus gets laughs.
Inman believes Phil and Denison have different interpretations of the Bible and that Robertson would likely be happy to discuss it.
"Cause he has nothing against this individual. It's not like that," Inman says. "At church we work with people all the time dealing with all kinds of difficulties and sinful situations. One of the whole platforms of our church is the compassion and concern for people who are hurting and struggling."
bodaux Police announce the arrest of a 40-year-old man who was not wearing any clothes while screaming at a child in a store parking lot. Police spokesperson David Melancon says the incident happened in the middle of the day at a store parking lot.
"He was completely nude, yelling at a toddler, what he was yelling, we don't know. The fact is he was yelling at a toddler and he was naked.
Melancon says when officers arrived, Toby Tabor, started screaming that he's "Not Jesus" and "He's not Santa Claus." He says Tabor eventually put pants on and was brought to the LaFourche Parish Detention Center.
Tabor was booked on three charges, including resisting an officer with force or violence. Melancon says a woman that was with Tabor at the time of the arrest, told officers that he doesn't have a history of mental illness or drug abuse.
"I'm not a psychologist, but obviously something is wrong there."
uisiana Sports Hall of Fame building in Natchitoches is recognized as the top architecture project in the world by Azure Magazine. The 23-million-dollar, 27,500 square foot museum opened its doors in June. Chair of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, Doug Ireland, says they knew it was special before the grand opening.
"When delivery trucks were bringing the exhibits in the spring, each driver would walk around stunned. Each one said they've never seen a building like this," Ireland said.
Azure is amazed such a stunning landmark can be found in a small town like Natchitoches. Ireland credits Trahan Architects out of Baton Rouge for building a modern two-story structure in downtown Natchitoches, which has an old-time feel to it.
Azure is a leading North American magazine focused on contemporary design, architecture and interiors from around the globe.
7-year-old Shreveport woman who claimed she killed her husband in self-defense has been arrested on a second-degree murder charge. Shreveport police Corporal Marcus Hines says Linda Cobb was booked into the City Jail for the death of 60-year-old Louis Cobb.
"Wednesday afternoon it was learned insufficient evidence existed to support Mrs. Cobb's initial claims of self-defense. She was subsequently arrested," Hines said.
Hines says Louis Cobb died from a single stab wound to the chest on December fourth. He died from his injuries at University Medical Center.
A new study from the National Institutes of Health shows more teens wary of using synthetic marijuana and other chemical drugs, but more willing to try the real thing. Lindsey Prevost, with the Greater New Orleans Council of Alcohol & Drug Abuse, says teens see some states decriminalizing weed, and interpret that as it being safe to use. "Kids are looking at all of this, and they internalize all these developments as sort of a green light."
The NIH study shows declining numbers of teens viewing marijuana as a dangerous substance, because of states allowing it for medicinal use and others allowing recreational smoking. Prevost says, for young people, pot use is anything but safe. In Louisiana, marijuana possession almost always leads to arrest and often incarceration. Prevost says the encouraging part of the NIH report is the falling use of synthetic marijuana and so-called bath salts among teens. She says young people are getting the message that these substances have a lot of potential hazards. She says no one really knows what's in these products, and if anything bad happens the drug dealer will be long gone.
Funeral Services will be held today for Cajun artist George Rodrigue, creator of the Blue Dog, who died from cancer last Saturday at the age of 69. A mass will be held this morning in New Orleans' St. Louis Cathedral. Gordon Brooks is the Dean of the College of Arts at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
"George has that position in history where he made accessible to people outside of us, the Cajun life in Louisiana," Brooks said.
Brooks says Rodrigue will be remembered to people outside of Louisiana as a figure who has been very instrumental in acceptance and knowledge of the Cajuns.
He says Rodrigue was also a very gentle and loving man.
"Very humble. Very warm. Gregarious, yes. And always thoughtful of other people," said Brooks.
The orgin of the Blue Dog is from the ghost dog known as the loup-garou, that hides in sugarcane fields.
Brooks believes Rodrigue achieved worldwide fame with the paintings because they were captivating.
"In the process of discovering where the dog is located in those early paintings, is the intrigue that people had with this little dog," Brooks said. "And of course it all took on a life in unto itself."
The mass will be open to the public today. Visitation will follow the service, then Rodrige will be laid to rest Friday afternoon in New Iberia.
In the January issue of GQ, Phil Robertson is quoted making statements speaking out against homosexuality.
He remarked to the publication that the sin of beastiality is not logical and "sinners" won't inherit the kingdom of God.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation called the comments by the West Monroe TV star some of the most vile and extreme against the LGBT community.
Wednesday afternoon A&E released a statement on Robertson's behalf in which The Duck Commander stated he is preaching what he believes about what the Bible teaches but added he would never treat anyone with disrespect because they were different from him.
The backlash from GLADDs members continued into the evening when eventually A&E issued another statement indicating Robertson's views in no way reflect that of the network and the Duck Dynasty Star has been placed "under hiatus from filming indefinitely."
A 15-year-old North DeSoto High School student is in a youth detention center in Coushatta after allegedly threatening to shoot three elementary students, if they didn't hand over their lunch money. DeSoto Parish Sheriff Rodney Arbuckle says the incident took place last week on a school bus.
"You know the kids told him they didn't have any money and nothing happened," Arbuckle said. "The victims reported the incident to the school and an investigation ensued after that."
Arbuckle says the student charged in the case disassembled a semi-automatic pistol and used a part of that weapon to make it out like he had a gun, when he made the threat to the students.
The student has been suspended from school and faces expulsion.
Louisiana child porn suspect is scheduled to make a court appearance tomorrow. Chris Nixon was arrested this week at a home near the Jackson Parish town of Jonesboro and charged with production of child pornography.
Federal and state authorities became involved after receiving two child pornography videos, where a smartphone was used to record the suspect engaging in sexual contact with a minor between the ages of 6 and 10 years old.
Once law enforcement released the suspect's photos to the public through social media and a smart phone app called Operation Predator, they were able to arrest their suspect.
Nixon is 21-years-old and according to his Facebook page a recent graduate of Quitman High School.
He made his initial court appearance on Tuesday and faces a detention hearing on Thursday.
The Houma Police Department says a man from Galliano is sitting in the Terrebonne Parish Jail for DWI and child endangerment after he was caught driving drunk with his 8 year old daughter in the car. Houma Police Chief Todd Duplantis says officers responded to a gas station late Tuesday night in reference to an intoxicated person.
"When they arrived they were told that the individual was inside of the store stumbling and falling asleep," said Duplantis. "They noticed he had entered a Ford truck and was attempting to leave."
Duplantis says that's when 36 year old Robert Kieff was confronted by officers.
"When they contacted Mr. Kieff he appeared to be intoxicated. He was stumbling backwards, he was falling asleep while he was speaking with the officers," said Duplantis. "And they also noticed his 8 year old daughter was in the back of his truck and appeared very frightened and was crying."
Duplantis says Keiff told officers he was on his way home from drug court.
The suspect remains in jail awaiting trial or bond. He was tested for drugs and results are pending.
A former drilling engineer for BP is found guilty of obstructing justice in the federal government's investigation into the deadly Deepwater Horizon rig explosion and oil spill.
Federal prosecutors convinced a jury that 52-year-old Kurt Mix of Katy, Texas, destroyed evidence by intentionally deleting tax messages on his cell phone that were from a supervisor and a BP contractor.
Mix faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine after he was convicted of one count of obstructing justice.
But legal analyst Tim Meche says its unlikely Mix will be in prison for that long.
'From what I saw at the trial, his conduct was not that egregious."
Mix's sentencing is scheduled for March 26th, but Meche says that could be delayed if his attorneys file a bunch of appeals in an attempt to throw this conviction out.
Sean Payton names Shayne Graham as the Saints new field goal kicker. The 36-year-old Graham replaces Garrett Hartley, who was cut after missing two short field goals in Sunday's loss to the Rams. Hartley kicked the game winning field goal in overtime to send the Saints to the Super Bowl in 2010 and Payton says that's one reason why this wasn't an easy decision.
"With what he's done and been a part of, especially the success he had and that (Super Bowl) run in 09," Payton said.
Hartley has been on thin ice this season. He missed two field goals against Buffalo and another one against Dallas that resulted in Payton bringing in out-of-work field goal kickers for a workout. But it seemed like Hartley had responded, until Sunday's loss to St. Louis. Payton on the decision.
"He responded very well earlier in the year when he had a handful misses. But it was more difficult to see him miss the shorter range field goal. You spend a lot of time giving it thought and ultimately you go with your gut."
That's not the only move the Saints announced today. Payton also says rookie Terron Armstead from Arkansas Pine-Bluff will start at left tackle in Sunday's game against Carolina in place of Charles Brown. The head coach says Armstead deserves a chance.
"Terron's improved during the course of the season. It's time to see what he can do."
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