South Carolina University announces their game with LSU will not be played in Columbia as originally scheduled, but instead they will come to Baton Rouge. The exact details regarding time, TV and tickets are still in the works and are expected to be released soon.
During the SEC coaches teleconference this morning, Gamecock Coach Steve Spurrier said in light of the catastrophic flooding, whatever decision was made needed to be one that was right for the community of Columbia.
"What's best for the victims of the flood is something that has to be taken into serious consideration," said Spurrier. "So wherever they tell us to go play this game, we'll do our best to go compete against LSU."
The game will be considered a South Carolina home game, with the Gamecocks collecting ticket and concession revenue while reimbursing LSU for the cost of its expenses.
We will continue to update this story as information becomes available.
Below is the press release from the University of South Carolina.
In light of the tragedy that has beset our community and the ongoing recovery effort, and in consultation with state and local officials, law enforcement, the SEC and LSU, the University of South Carolina will not host the USC v. LSU football game in Columbia this weekend. The game will take place in Baton Rouge.
"Yesterday, we made the extremely difficult decision to cancel classes for the week due to the stress 34,000 students would place on the region’s recovering infrastructure, there is no doubt 85,000 fans would exact the same toll," said USC President Harris Pastides. "In the spirit of supporting our South Carolina community that is so supportive of Gamecock Nation, we have decided to move the game to Baton Rouge. The stress on law enforcement and first responders is too great. Moreover, we’ve had many in the Carolina family directly impacted by the flooding."
Details for the game, including kickoff time, are being finalized with officials from LSU and the SEC.
"On behalf of the University of South Carolina Athletics Department, our thoughts and prayers are with those who have suffered the loss of life and property during this tragic flood,” said Athletics Director Ray Tanner. "After much thought and consideration, and in conjunction with local and state authorities and with our own University administration, we have made the decision to move Saturday’s football game to Baton Rouge. Changing venues on such short notice is no easy task, and I would like to thank LSU President F. King Alexander and Athletics Director Joe Alleva for their cooperation and flexibility in working with us to change the site for Saturday’s football game,” added Tanner.
Practice will continue and the team is expected to leave for Baton Rouge on Friday.
"On behalf of the South Carolina football team we want to do the right thing and do what is best for all concerned,” said Gamecock football coach Steve Spurrier. "It appears the best thing is to travel to LSU. We look forward to the challenge and competing against the Tigers in Baton Rouge on Saturday.”
The LSU Faculty Senate has voted to censure LSU President F. King Alexander and two other individuals for the firing of a teacher who is accused of using profanity and sexual content that allegedly made students feel comfortable. Early childhood education teacher Teresa Buchanan was a tenured professor and dismissed in June. LSU Faculty Senate President Kevin Cope says they’re disappointed how Alexander handled the situation.
“We’re hoping that the LSU administration will take this to heart and change its approach and its attitude. This case has been mishandled and we need to do better in the future.”
In a statement from F. King Alexander, he says students have the right to learn in an environment free of sexual harassment and verbal abuse. Cope says they’re not talking about the guilt or innocence of the teacher, just the process by which she was fired.
“There has been an accusation of a violation of federal law but there has been no proper legal process to determine that. In the absence of such a process, we are left puzzled as to why such a dramatic punishment was inflicted.”
Alexander says LSU firmly supports tenure but when the rare exception occurs, action must be taken to prevent the continuation of the damaging and counterproductive environments. Cope says the censure is a signal from the academic community that Alexander isn’t providing the kind of leadership needed at LSU.
“It’s also a signal to the board of supervisors that it needs to develop some kind of remedial program to get the LSU system back on track so it can really function as a great university.”
We’re in the peak months where drivers are most likely to collide with deer now that mating and hunting season are here. State Farm Spokesperson Roszell Gadson says their found Louisiana is ranked number 41st in the country for car crashes involving deer.
“We did find that Louisiana is one of the least likely states for deer collisions with the chances for a driver hitting a deer at one out 335.”
Gadson says it’s interesting that neighboring Mississippi actually ranks 8th in the country. He says Louisiana could rank so low for a variety of reasons.
“We do know that factors are involved such as the number of drivers on the road, the population, the number of wooded areas that are being developed.”
Gadson says not only is it dangerous when a deer hits your car but it’s very expensive with costs up to almost $4,000 for repairs. He advises drivers to always pay attention while on the road and limit distractions while driving.
“If a deer does enter the road, you want to have time to react reasonably and responsibly. The more time that you have to react, it’s safer for not just you but other drivers that could be on the road.”
The newest campaign ad from Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Bel Edwards spotlights his anti-abortion position by sharing a personal story. In the commercial, Edwards' wife Donna tells of how the couple decided to carry their first child to term after being advised by a doctor to abort the pregnancy.
ULM Political Science Professor Joshua Stockley says Edwards is sending a strong message.
"For the pro-life viewer, for the socially conservative viewer, I think this is a very powerful advertisement."
Donna says they were advised to end the pregnancy after it was discovered the unborn child had spina bifida. The commercial features family photos that include pictures from Edwards' time in the Army. Stockley says this is a way for Edwards to remind voters of his background.
"Being a West Point grad, which I think is often times lost amongst all the other battles and issues in this race."
Samantha Edwards is now 20-years-old and, according to the commercial, is getting married next spring. Stockley feels the final line in the ad, "John Bel Edwards lives his values every day", is a subtle shot at Republican candidate David Vitter.
"The implication being that perhaps some of his opponents do not live values every day and, obviously, Senator Vitter has his well-known 'DC Madam' indiscretion on his record."
We're expecting a decision today on whether the LSU football game against South Carolina will be played in Columbia on Saturday. Officials said Tuesday that Williams Brice Stadium was spared significant damage from rain and flooding, but the city remains in response mode.
Paul Cannell, with Alpha Media in Columbia, says he drives by the stadium everyday.
"It's far away from the areas that really had a lot of problems," said Cannell. "The spots that were flooded badly or are still under water..you wouldn't have to go anywhere near that to go to the game."
USC Athletic Director Ray Tanner said the concerns about keeping the game as scheduled include the amount of law enforcement they use around the Midlands for such an event.
Cannell says the areas where USC opposing teams and their fans usually stay for games were not heavily impacted by this event.
"Downtown is fine. The Vista, which is right next to campus, has a lot of restaurants and hotels and everything is fine there," said Cannell.
Tanner also said the field conditions at Williams-Brice are good despite the heavy rain.
Cannell says LSU fans always bring in a lot of money to the city's hotels, restaurants and bars....and that's something they look forward to when USC hosts the Tigers.
He also says the game would be a nice morale boost for the community.
"It will bring everybody together. Don't take this away from us kind-of thing," says Cannell. "This game is important."
Louisiana’s very own Bayou Rum is now partnering with the New York-based Stoli Group to nationally distribute their liquor made from sugarcane. Co-founder and President of Louisiana Spirits, the producer of Bayou Rum, Trey Litel says this is really big for their company based in Lacassine because the partnership will help the company expand throughout the country and eventually internationally.
“What this represents is a national platform so that we can grow our Bayou Rum and this is projected to put us in about 20 states by 2016 and nationwide by 2017. “
Litel says Stoli Group decided to join up with Bayou Rum because they were looking for a company that understands the importance for a good quality product and superior craftsmanship.
“We’re making it from Louisiana sugar cane, we’re bringing rum making back to the United States, where it’s been held captive in the islands. We’re very, very excited about what this represents for our future.”
Litel says the partnership with Stoli Group will begin in January of 2016 and until then, their distributors will keep selling Bayou Rum in the seven states where it’s currently sold. He says over the past two years they’ve won more than 65 awards and are on their way to being the leading American rum on the market.
“Bayou Rum is the number one craft rum in America, so it’s really a proof point to our claim for America’s Rum.”
LSU Sports Information Director Michael Bonnette says the Tigers are in a wait-and-see mode when it comes to where Saturday’s game against South Carolina will be played. Massive flooding in the Columbia, South Carolina, area may result in the relocation of the game and Tiger Stadium is one option under consideration.
Bonnette says the logistical issues are greater, if the game is played at a neutral site.
"The problem with going to some of those neutral sites is now you're moving two teams instead of just one team. If we were able to go there, obviously South Carolina would stay put, we go to them. If they come here to play us, we stay put and them come here."
The comments were made on WWL Radio in New Orleans. Bonnette expects a final decision on Wednesday and he says it’s not impossible for LSU to have Tiger Stadium ready for a game on Saturday.
"If we're asked to host this game in the next 24 hours, it's something that we can certainly do."
Bonnette says if LSU is asked to host the game on Saturday, they will make it like a regularly scheduled home game as much as possible and that means tickets would be available to season ticket holders first.
"That's the wonderful thing about the internet and email. We'll able to communicate with a lot of people in a short amount of time if a decision is made."
Officials at the University of South Carolina say it's possible that the LSU/USC game will not be played in Columbia this weekend and a move to Baton Rouge is not out of the question. The area has been dealing with catastrophic flooding and record rainfall.
USC AD Ray Tanner says they are not 100% sure that the game will be held at Williams Brice.
"We will continue to monitor the infrastructure that is necessary to have a football game," said Tanner. "And we'll consider, hopefully within the next 24-36 hours, whether or not we will play here."
Tanner says as of right now they have every intention of keeping the game as scheduled, but conversations are underway about holding it in another city.
"More than one is being talked about at this point and certainly a game at LSU is not out of the realm of possibility," said Tanner.
The South Carolina-LSU game is currently scheduled for 11am Saturday in Columbia.
All classes at USC have been cancelled this week. 14 deaths are so far blamed on weather related incidents in the Carolinas and though the rain has stopped, authorities say the flooding is far from over.
Tanner says the stadium was spared, but there are other concerns.
"The highways, the stadium water situation and other pressure with first responders," said Tanner. "Plus all the highway patrolmen and police that we use from various counties."
The SEC confirms the first priority is to play the game in Columbia but they are exploring other location options.
Louisiana State Police says a Mississippi woman was killed in a fatal wreck during the overnight hours on I-55 in Hammond. Trooper Dustin Dwight says the victim,53-year-old Donna James was not buckled up and heading the wrong way.
“Unfortunately we had a lady get on the interstate heading the wrong direction and simultaneously she was hit head on.”
Dwight says the driver of the other vehicle is 23-year-old Kaden Ezell of Mississippi, who was taken to the hospital for moderate injuries. He says currently impairment isn’t believed to be a factor in the crash but they’re trying to figure out why the fatal victim was going the wrong way.
“The crash remains under investigation, we haven’t been able to isolate or pin point exactly why.”
The St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office has arrested the Principal and a coach at Beau Chene High School following a disciplinary incident involving a juvenile student. Lt. Clay Higgins says their investigation began when the mother of the student contacted detectives.
"She brought the young man into the school and presented allegations of excessive disciplinary action, I guess would be the way to term it, coming from a coach and a principal."
Principal Anthony James is charged with simple battery and basketball coach Lorenso Williams is charged with cruelty to a juvenile. Higgins says the two men maintain they were attempting discipline and control of the student, but the student had a different story.
"St. Landry Parish juvenile detectives investigated and there was, technically, probable cause for arrest. The arrests were made without incident, both men turned themselves in willingly and both have since been released."
Higgins says this is now a matter for the courts to decide.
"You have a principal and a coach that, within their aspect of things, they were trying to discipline and control a student. But from the student's perspective and from his parents' perspective, it went beyond that."
The Louisiana Congressional Delegation has sent a letter to the US Department of Homeland Security asking for a delay in the state's compliance to the REAL ID act. Louisiana is one of four states who are not in compliance with the new federal identification standards.
Lafayette Congressman Charles Boustany says the state needs more time to comply.
"State Police asked us if we would work with them to get the Department of Homeland Security to provide a delay on this implementation to give us more time to deal with it."
The REAL ID act sets standards for state drivers' licences to be acceptable for entry into federal buildings and institutions or for air travel. He says without this extension, Louisiana residents face a real headache beginning next week.
"Folks who want to enter federal buildings will need a different form of ID that's compliant, such as a US Passport. And then potentially, later on next year, to fly, the same scenario. They would need something that meets federal standards."
Boustany says the state legislature passed a bill in 2014 allowing REAL IDs to be issued in Louisiana, but it was vetoed by Governor Jindal. He's hopeful they receive a response before the deadline of October 11th.
"The last thing we want is to create some kind of hardship for the folks back home as they try to access federal facilities."
Louisiana volunteers are joining the Red Cross response in South Carolina as the palmetto state deals with severe flooding. Spokeswoman Nancy Malone says they'll be helping families stay safe and dry by opening shelters and bringing in meals.
"We have 15 volunteers who are prepared to go. They are trained and ready and some of them are very well experienced in dealing with disasters including some who helped with the Red River flooding," said Malone.
Malone says another big part of the volunteers' job is to provide emotional support to people going through this disaster.
She says people in other areas know that Louisiana is all too familiar with what this feels like.
"People are so comforted when they hear about a Red Cross volunteer from Louisiana," said Malone. "Residents know that we've been through it and it comes from experience in that we can guide them along in their recovery."
Malone says flooding in the Carolinas has destroyed homes, forced evacuations and left thousands without water or power.
She says not everyone can dedicate time to volunteer on the ground, but anyone can make a donation to the Red Cross to help people affected by this disaster.
FROM RED CROSS: Help people affected by disasters like floods in South Carolina and countless other crises by making a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.
Those who want to help can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED-CROSS, or texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to our local American Red Cross chapter.
A Louisiana based company announces plans to build an 11-billion dollar facility in Cameron Parish that will export liquefied natural gas. Former Governor and now chairman of G2, LNG, Buddy Roemer, says it's the fourth largest investment project in the state's history, creating thousands of construction jobs.
"3,500 in the construction team....and we'll open in about four years," Roemer said.
Roemer says the project still needs approval from federal agencies. The company hopes to break ground in two years. He says once completed, the plant will have 250 permanent workers and it will export liquefied natural gas across the globe.
The Thibodaux Police Department says five people are under arrest after a toddler and 17 dogs had to be removed from a home that was in deplorable conditions. Spokesman David Melancon says they got a report that one of the dogs was loose and trying to attack people.
He says animal control initially responded.
"The same animal that tried to attack the resident, also tried to attack the animal control officer," said Melancon. "So we ended up going to the home to make contact with the owner and that's when we discovered the conditions."
The suspects, including the parents of the child, range in age from 17 to 73 and face various counts of animal cruelty and child desertion charges.
Melancon says when the officers got out of their car to make contact with the homeowner during the dog attack investigation, they immediately smelled urine and feces.
"They said even the outside of the house was chaotic with stuff everywhere," said Melancon. "Once they made it into the home they said it just progressively got worse."
The 17 dogs were brought to the Lafourche Parish Animal Shelter. The Department of Child and Family Services has the child.
Melancon says the floors of the home were caked with feces, the smell of urine was overpowering and there was molding food spread throughout the house.
"Animals were locked in rooms with people, but it got worse when they found that the toddler had been living in those conditions as well," said Melancon.
A new NBC/Marist poll on the presidential race in Iowa shows Governor Bobby Jindal now has 6-percent of the vote. That's a two-percent increase from their previous poll.
Radio Iowa News Director Kay Henderson says Jindal's campaign efforts may be getting some traction.
"Jindal has invested a lot of time and effort here, more than any other candidate, and I think that is what's being reflected in this poll."
Jindal's 6-percent has him tied for fifth place, along with Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, among Republican presidential hopefuls. Donald Trump leads the poll with 24-percent, followed by Ben Carson with 19-percent. Henderson says there are visible signs that the governor is gaining support.
"On Sunday, as I was driving in Des Moines, I actually saw my very first 'Jindal '16' bumper sticker on a car parked outside of a Catholic church."
She feels the Jindal campaign is hoping for the kind of miracle that propelled Mike Huckabee to victory in Iowa in 2008 and Rick Santorum in 2012. Henderson says it will be interesting to see if Jindal's "boots on the ground" campaign strategy will succeed.
"Time will tell whether the personal investment of time that Jindal has made heretofore in Iowa will pay off."
The St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff's Office is looking for a vehicle of interest in connection with the triple shooting in LaPlace that claimed the life of one man and injured two others. Sheriff Mike Tregre says 23-year-old Travis Gregoire died and and another 23-year-old man is recovering at a hospital.
He says the third shooting victim is an 18-year-old female.
"She is currently being treated at University Hospital and her situation is critical," said Tregre.
Tregre says they are still interviewing people to try to determine suspects or motive in the deadly shooting.
He says their crime cameras captured an image of a vehicle described as a white four door extended cab truck.
"Investigators believe that this is the vehicle used in the commission of this crime," said Tregre.
Tregre says they want to find the truck, its owner and any other possible occupants of the vehicle when the shooting took place.
They aren't releasing how many people could be involved, but Tregre says it appears as though the victims had just arrived in a vehicle of their own.
"They were exiting the vehicle that they drove up in, and that's when this white pickup truck drove up and opened fire," said Tregre.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to call the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office TIPS line at 985-359-TIPS or Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111. Citizens with information about this incident that call Crimestoppers do not have to testify in court and may qualify for a cash reward. Citizens can also submit tips on the Sheriff’s Office website at http://stjohnsheriff.org/submitatip.php.
Minden Congressman John Fleming has thrown his support behind Metairie Representative Steve Scalise in his bid to become House Majority Leader. Fleming says electing Scalise would be good for the country and good for Louisiana.
LaPolitics-dot-com Publisher Jeremy Alford says there were questions whether Fleming would support Scalise's bid to move up in the House leadership.
"John Fleming is part of the ultra-conservative faction of the House, the Freedom Caucus. This is a group of lawmakers who have really been pushing for new faces in the leadership, more conservative leadership."
Scalise, the current House Majority Whip, looks to move into the number two leadership position in the US House. Alford says the timing of Fleming's endorsement is interesting since Scalise stated last week that he had enough votes secured to win the election.
"Then we see Fleming come out, after the weekend on Monday, saying that he supports Steve Scalise. Whether he gave Scalise that support before or after he had the votes to win is something I don't know right now."
The election to select the new House Majority Leader is scheduled for Thursday. Fleming is the last state Congressman to support Scalise's effort. Alford says this is a big plus for Scalise.
"But it seems like now the entire Louisiana Delegation is onboard. Scalise can say he has a solid group behind him."
Louisiana's landmark $6.8 billion settlement with BP over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster has been finalized. This clears the way for the state to begin receiving billions of dollars for coastal restoration and economic recovery.
Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves says it's time to bring this situation to a close.
"I think when you look at it within the realm of either we could fight BP in court for decades or we could take this deal, I think this is the right deal for the state."
This is part of an overall $20 billion settlement with BP among five Gulf Coast states. $5 billion is earmarked for natural resources damages in the state. Graves, former state head of coastal protection, says this will have a significant impact on Louisiana's coast.
"Put us on a pathway to actually beginning to have a net increase in land as opposed to just losing every year."
$1 billion of the settlement will be used for economic damages. Graves says Congress needs to look as changing laws so the federal government has more leverage in cases like this.
"This is something that we should have been able to have settled before now. But I think way too much power and authority is given, in this case, to the entities that are actually spilling the oil."
A new statewide poll on Louisiana's governor's race shows Democrat John Bel Edwards has jumped out to a 9-point lead over Republican David Vitter. The JMC Analytics survey finds Edwards on top with 28-percent of the vote followed by Vitter's 19-percent.
Pollster John Couvillon says Edwards is catching a wave right now.
"He's run a very non-partisan campaign that's emphasizing his conservative stances on certain social issues, so almost nobody knows that he's a Democrat, between the ads and the fact that he hasn't mentioned he's a Democrat."
He believes Edwards is benefiting from the three Republican candidates attacking each other in this race. The poll of 500 likely voters shows that 55-percent said that prostitution allegations from Vitter's past will impact their vote this month. Couvillon says it appears Vitter's campaign is rubbing voters the wrong way.
"The tenor of Senator Vitter's campaign has been very heavy on attacking. So, when you combine that with the prostitution allegations, it does not create a very positive feeling towards Senator Vitter."
This is the first survey on the governor's race to show significant separation between Edwards and Vitter. Republicans Scott Angelle and Jay Dardenne polled at 8-percent and 7-percent respectively. Couvillon says it's probably time for them to shift their focus from Vitter to Edwards.
"John Bel is pulling 11-percent of registered Republicans. He's doing very well among white independents, as well. Those are the voters Angelle and Dardenne have to have if they want to have a prayer of making the runoff."
Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin's appeal to his conviction on fraud charges is heard in a federal courtroom today. Nagin was convicted on 20 counts last year and sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.
Loyola Law Professor Dane Ciolino says Nagin is arguing that the jury was incorrectly instructed on laws regarding honest services fraud.
"The judge didn't explain the law well enough to the jury to properly evaluate the evidence."
He says, on appeal, the best argument any defendant has is that there was a flaw in the jury instructions. Ciolino says Nagin claims that the city would have awarded the contracts in question regardless of whether or not he received any kind of payment from the contractors.
"As a result, there was no, what's known as, quid pro quo, no giving of something of value in exchange for the contracts. Mr. Nagin argues the contracts would have been awarded anyway."
He says Nagin's appeal only covers nine of his 20 convictions. Ciolino says, although Nagin is taking his best shot, it's difficult in any criminal case to prevail on appeal.
"Generally, deference is given to the trial judge on most matters. Although, with regard to jury instructions, those do get a fresh new look on appeal unlike most other errors."