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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.



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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. 


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Michelle Southern reporting.
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.


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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."


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Michelle Southern reporting.
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.


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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." 


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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."  


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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." 


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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."  


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Saints Quarterback Drew Brees connected with CJ Spiller on an 80-yard touchdown pass on the second play from scrimmage in overtime to give New Orleans a 26-20 win over the banged up Dallas Cowboys.  
It was Brees 400th career touchdown pass and it gave New Orleans its first win of the season.

Brees played the whole game on Sunday night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, after missing last week because of a bruised shoulder. Brees threw mostly short to intermediate passes, but he was effective. The crafty veteran was 33-of-41 for 359 yards and two touchdowns.
The game was sent into overtime after the Saints defense gave up a Brandon Weeden touchdown pass on 4th down with 1:51 left to go. 
Brees marched the Saints back down the field to set up a 30-yard field goal for Zach Hocker. But the rookie's kick hit the left upright.
Hocker did hit a 51-yard and 29-yard field goal. And he also subbed in for punter Thomas Morstead, who injured his groin. Hocker's one punt went 43 yards. 
The Saints defense played well. Dallas only converted 3-of-12 of 3rd down opportunities. Rookie linebacker Stephone Anthony had 7 tackles and one sack. Hau'oli Kikaha was in on 8 tackles and one sack.  


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New changes are in place for the Powerball multi-state lottery game which will make it more difficult for players to win the grand prize, but more money could be won in other ways. Louisiana Lottery Spokesperson Kim Chopin says the matrix changes will increase the odds of winning the jackpot from 1 in 175 million to 1 and 292 million.

“This is going to help the game provide those big eye popping jackpots that our players really love.”

To produce the added player benefits, ten numbers will be added to the field of white-ball numbers for a total of 69 and nine Powerball numbers will be removed for a total of 26. Chopin says this allows them to increase the prize for matching four white balls plus a red Powerball number from $10,000 to $50,000.

“So when you add all those extra white ball numbers in there you’re lessening those odds of winning that jackpot prize but because we removed some red Powerball numbers now you’re increasing the odds to win other prize levels.”

Chopin says for players who add the one-dollar power play option, they can now multiply their nonjackpot prize up to ten times.

“Let’s say that you just matched the Powerball in that particular game, that prize would normally be four bucks for matching just the Powerball but you played Power Play, if it was a 10x, now your four dollar prize becomes 40 bucks.”



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LSU running back Leonard Fournette became the first back in SEC history on Saturday night to rush for over 200 yards in three consecutive games. Fournette had 233 yards rushing and three touchdowns in a 44-22 win over Eastern Michigan. The Heisman candidate finished 17 yards shy of tying the school record for most rushing yards in a game. 

Fournette's longest TD run was for 75 yards. It came on the first play from scrimmage in the 2nd half. He also had touchdown runs of 3 and 11 yards. 
The Tigers needed a big night from Fournette, because the passing game was not very good. Quarterback Brandon Harris was 4-of-15 for 80 yards and an interception.
It wasn't all his fault. There were several dropped passes. Travin Dural dropped one towards the end of the first half that could have resulted in a touchdown. Malachi Dupre also dropped a TD pass.  
The interception was the result of a missed blocking assignment by left tackle Jerald Hawkins, who was beat badly on the play. Hawkins' man hit Harris as he was throwing and the ball landed right in the hands of an Eastern Michigan defender.
LSU had three interceptions. Linebacker Deion Jones returned one 26 yards and a touchdown. It was the final score of the game.
Jamal Adams and Kevin Toliver had the other two interceptions. Rickey Jefferson and Kendell Beckwith each had eight total tackles, to lead the Tigers defense.
LSU's next game is Saturday at South Carolina. The Gamecocks are 2-3 overall, 0-3 in the SEC after losing to Missouri 24-10. 


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The convicted killer who was accidentally released from prison in East Feliciana Parish has been captured in Atlanta. Middle District of Louisiana US Marshal Kevin Harrison says they spoke with Marshals in Georgia after receiving a tip that 32-year-old Benjuiel Johnson was staying in an Atlanta Motel 6.

“They showed his picture to a few people around the motel and they identified him as being an occupant of one of the rooms and so they were able to go ahead and make the arrest.”

Harrison says they spoke to a number of people in Iberville Parish and developed leads that Johnson had connections in Georgia.

“We developed those leads and followed up on them and fortunately they were able to go ahead and lead to us apprehending him there.”

Harrison says Johnson is awaiting extradition back to Louisiana. He credits the catch to the great efforts of all law enforcement involved.

“The only thing I can really attribute it to is all the law enforcement agencies involved, they were tenacious. Officers of the agencies involved were absolutely just dogged in their determination to apprehend this guy.”



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In a recent poll ranking Louisiana's six most recent governors, former four-term Governor Edwin Edwards came in at number one among respondents.  31-percent thought the "Cajun Prince" was the best governor, followed by former two-term Governor Mike Foster with 21-percent.  

Edwards feels he earned this honor by serving the people.
"People could reach me.  I was on the telephone.  I was on my job.  I met with members of the legislature.  I worked with them.  We got things done.  That's what government is supposed to do, take care of people."

Edwards says he appreciates this support shown by Louisianians.  The poll was conducted by Clarus Research Group on behalf of The Advocate and WWL-TV.  Edwards admits his gubernatorial terms were a bit controversial, but says he took care of business, even though some may not have liked the way he did it.

"People were working.  Taxes were low.  The budget was in balance.  Education was funded.  People had health care.  Things were just better and I'm very glad that I had a small part of doing that."

Current Governor Bobby Jindal ranked third with 14-percent.  But when asked who was the worst governor, 42-percent of respondents picked Jindal.  Edwards says this didn't come as a surprise to him.

"The fellow abandoned his job.  He took his pay and took expensive state troopers and traveled around the world at our expense and did nothing to restore the budget in Louisiana." 


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In last night's gubernatorial debate hosted by WDSU-TV in New Orleans , each of the four major candidates took shots at each other on a couple of different subjects.  On the topic of defunding Planned Parenthood, Republican David Vitter criticized both Democrat John Bel Edwards and fellow Republican Jay Dardenne.  

In reference to Edwards, Vitter equates his support of President Obama to support for Planned Parenthood.
"If that is consistent with a pro-life voting record, God help us because then nothing means anything."

Vitter supports defunding the organization.  Edwards says while he supports the Commander in Chief, he does have issues with many positions taken by the President.

"I vote my conscience based on an array of issues and I will tell you, while I did vote for the President, I have never voted for David Vitter."

On the same topic, Vitter called out Dardenne claiming that the Lt. Governor voted in favor of abortion six times.  In response, Dardenne called Vitter a liar.

"That's absolutely false and it's the kind of misleading things you're going to see from Senator Vitter, who is now getting desperate in this campaign." 

On the topic of Common Core, Republican Scott Angelle took the opportunity slam Vitter's inconsistency on the issue.

"Let me take this opportunity to call out 'Senator Pinocchio'.  The reality of it all is that he's wrong on education.  He was for something, he was against it, he's for it.  He has no idea where he will be on Common Core." 


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Analysts have been telling us that gas prices would drop during the fall, but according to the American Automobile Association the statewide average price for a regular gallon of gasoline has gone up a few pennies over the week to $2.03. Triple-A Fuel Analyst Don Redman says prices are leveling off now that refineries are transitioning into the winter blend of gasoline.

“Baring anything dramatic happening to the supply we’re not expecting a huge spike in prices. There might be a little upturn as we get over the hump but as we get into November, December we can expect those prices to come down.”

Redman says refineries shutting down for maintenance is putting a little dent in the supply of gasoline.

“That’s typical for this time of the year and sometimes as we get into October we see a little uptick in prices but usually it settles back down by November.”

Redman predicts gas prices to drop to about $1.80 per gallon in December, but Russia entering the Middle East could dramatically affect the price of crude oil.

“Our fuel prices are driven by the news of the day so if things suddenly escalate or spiral out of control in the Middle East, we could see an uptick in prices.”



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The Department of Children and Family Services announces changes to the food assistance program to encourage able-bodied recipients without children to move into the workforce.  Secretary Suzy Sonnier says a federal waiver was allowed to expire that creates changes in an able-bodied person's SNAP eligibility.

"(They) will be required to work at least 20 hour a week or be involved in a Workforce Investment Opportunities Act program, or a combination, in order to be eligible for their SNAP benefits."

Sonnier says there are approximately 62,000 able-bodied SNAP recipients in the state with no dependents.  Sonnier says there is a single goal in this effort.

"To insure that our families and our individuals that continue to rely on some of our programs become self-sufficient and they get engaged in the workforce."

Recipients who do not comply with the requirement changes will only receive benefits for three months over a three year period.  Sonnier says there are opportunities across the state for recipients to engage in some form of work activity.

"You can do some in-kind work.  You can also potentially do volunteer work where you have a business or an organization or a non-profit that you're working with." 


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State Treasurer John Kennedy announces that audits of life insurance company policies have found $35 million that should have been paid to Louisiana residents.  He says insurance companies often do not make concerted efforts to locate beneficiaries or heirs after a policy holder dies.  

Kennedy says they began doing these audits back in 2009...
"We have found 600 instances in which the deceased beneficiary was not paid and we've made the life insurance companies turn that money over to us."

Kennedy says, so far this year, claimants have received $2.6 million from these life insurance policy audits.  He says many times family members do not know these policies exist.  Kennedy says this has been a very successful program...

"We've returned on average about $80,000, usually to widows.  We did one the other day, I think it was in Houma, an elderly widow, we returned about $81,000 to her."

He says his office tries to locate these beneficiaries when they discover an unpaid policy, but you can search online at LATreasury-dot-com to see if you are owed any money.  Kennedy says when a life insurance company learns of a policy holders death, they should actively seek out the beneficiaries and heirs of that person...

"Some of them don't and they try to hold on to the money and we're going to stop them from doing that."


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According to records from the National Weather Service, this September will go down as one of the driest for north Louisiana. Senior Meteorologist Jason Hansford says Shreveport Regional Airport recorded only 0.07 inches of rain during the entire month, which just surpassed the previous record set in 1994.

“Mainly the I-20 corridor here from Shreveport all the way to Monroe and many locations including Minden, Ruston and Monroe all fell within the top five driest on record.”

Hansford says the drought is having a big impact on agriculture and creating fire issues. He says burn bans are in place for almost every parish in north Louisiana.

“We have some drier air beginning to build in behind a weak cold front, in addition to maybe some 10 to 15 mph winds. That’ll keep a moderate fire danger in place given the very dry conditions we have on the ground now.”

Hansford says we’re going to keep relatively low humidity throughout the next week. He says unfortunately relief from the dry air isn’t expected any time soon.

“It might not be until maybe next Thursday, Friday or even the weekend before we even see any rain over this portion of the state.”



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Investigators have learned that the Eunice mother who shot her two children then took her own life, while also setting her home on fire, purchased a hand gun nine days before the double murder suicide. Deputy Chief with the state Fire Marshal’s Office Brant Thompson says the autopsy results came back confirming their suspicions.

“16-year-old Julia Watford actually died from a single gunshot wound to the head. Her sister suffered two gunshot wounds to the head.”

Thompson says the mother, 39-year-old Carla Watford, carefully planned out this murder and legally purchased the .38-caliber hand gun along with 50 rounds of ammunition. He says they don’t believe anyone was aware Watford bought the gun.

“We did question Carla’s husband who had no knowledge concerning that purchase.”

Thompson says investigators found a multiple page document when they arrived at the scene. He says Watford left a note trying to explain why she did this horrific thing.

“Certainly she expressed dissatisfaction with a number of things but again seemed quite at peace with her decision to take the lives of her two daughters and her own life.”



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