Louisiana has its first female head football coach in history and she'll be coaching a deaf squad. Susan Gremillion will be taking over the team at the Louisiana School for the Deaf from her husband Darren. She says she's extremely excited about the upcoming season and feels LSD is the best kept secret in the state.
"I'm glad this will break that barrier because I want people to know about the Louisiana School for the Deaf," said Gremillion. "We've got well rounded kids turning out here that would never play athletics at a hearing school."
The War Eagles are an eight-man football team and they went 7-2 last year.
Gremillion, who was previously the squad's special teams coordinator, says being the head coach is not about gender it's about doing what you love.
"Make a positive reputation for yourself and always have a feel and desire to learn," said Gremillion.
Gremillion says being the first woman head football coach sounds nice but she wants to be the first woman to coach a deaf national championship team.
"That's always the goal, has not changed and remains our mindset every year," said Germillion.
In an effort to increase its international profile and boost enrollment numbers, Nicholls State University has signed an educational partnership Galliano-based offshore giant Edison Chouest that will allow their employees and family members earn a degree from the school.
University President Bruce Murphy says the deal will waive out-of-state and international fees for students connected to Chouest.
"We anticipate employees not only from the local area, but from worldwide doing this and it'll probably be both on-site and, also, some online as well."
Murphy says it was a natural for the school to team up with Edison Chouest.
"In their corporate headquarters, of the folks who have degrees, 80-percent of them have degrees from Nicholls. That's a fantastic tribute, I think, to the relationship between the institution and that company."
Chouest has approximately 14,000 employees in over a dozen countries worldwide. Murphy says this agreement will bring more international diversity to the Thibodaux campus.
"This is an opportunity for international employees of Chouest to come near their corporate headquarters, to an area where they're familiar, and take advantage of some of our educational opportunities."
Political blogger CB Forgotston says Governor Bobby Jindal violated the state constitution with a press release through the governor's office that criticizes presidential candidate Rand Paul. Jindal's statement, which is on letterhead used by the governor's office, says Senator Paul is unsuited to be Commander-in-Chief.
In an interview on the Jim Engster Show, Forgotston says the state constitution makes it clear that you can't do that.
"The state constitution prohibits the use of state funds for the support or defeat of any political candidate," Forgotston said.
Jindal's press release through the governor's office criticized the senator from Kentucky for saying that "hawks" in the Republican Party helped create ISIS.
A Jindal spokesperson, Mike Reed, says the suggestion the Governor of Louisiana can not or should not comment on matters of national security is without merit.
Forgotston says he's filed a complaint with Louisiana Inspector General Stephen Street.
"It's his job to investigate wrongdoing whether it be criminal or civil by members of the executive department," Forgotston said.
When contacted, Street said he could not comment on whether there will be an investigation.
Two bills that are key components to a Common Core compromise made it off the House Floor Wednesday. The votes were nearly unanimous and Governor Bobby Jindal is also backing the proposals. Lake Charles Representative Brett Geymann, a staunch opponent of Common Core, is glad all sides of this controversial issue came together.
One of the bills lets the public and others review the English and math standards, which could result in changes to Common Core curriculum that the next governor would have to approve.
The other proposal seeks to control the state’s participation in tests associated with Common Core.
Geymann says he’s comfortable with what they came up with.
"All the sides came together and worked very hard to come to this agreement," said Geymann.
The legislation will next head to the Senate, which is expected to go along with the bills.
Geymann says he’s appreciative of the hard work that went into coming up with this legislation.
"Look forward to us developing a set of standards that goes through a public process," said Geymann.
The LSU softball team faces SEC rival Auburn on Thursday afternoon in the opening round of the Women's College World Series. It's the fourth WCWS appearance for LSU.
Coach Beth Torina says her team has been on a mission to get to this point.
"They did everything they could possibly do to make sure they were sitting in this spot," Torina said. "This isn't something they just didn't fall into."
The Tigers bring a 50-and-12 record into Oklahoma City. They have seven hitters hitting .324 or higher and they have four pitchers who have combined for a team ERA of 1.76. Torina says the depth on her team has served them well.
"We have a lot of different weapons," Torina said. "It's tough to beat us, because it's tough for all of all of them to have a bad day on the same day."
LSU's last trip to the WCWS was in 2012. The Tigers scored only four total runs and they were eliminated after three games. Torina says this year's squad has a different mindset.
"Last time we were here, we were an underdog, we were a team that was just happy to make it, but this time this team has some different goals," Torina said. "This team is here to win it."
Legislation that allows medical marijuana to be dispensed in Louisiana moves a step closer to final legislative passage. The Senate-approved bill, received approval from a House committee today. The Louisiana Sheriff's Association were in opposition last year, but executive director, Michael Ranatza, says tight controls have been put on the bill, so they've dropped their opposition.
"We wanted medicine not marijuana to be dispensed, we wanted medication to be dispensed by physicians going through phararmacists in a medical setting," Ranatza said.
Under the legislation by state senator Fred Mills, there are strict rules on where the medical marijuana could be grown, where it can be dispensed and how it can be taken by the patient.
If medical marijuana legislation is approved, it can be prescribed for spastic quadriplegic, those suffering from glaucoma, individuals going through chemotherapy, or epilepsy.
The measure now heads to the House floor for more debate.
Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham says Sgt. Scott Bullitt, who was shot last week in Ouachita Parish while on duty, remains hospitalized in serious condition in a Shreveport hospital. He says neurosurgeons performed surgery on Bullitt Saturday.
"He successfully removed the bullet and bone fragments from his spine and he remove a blood clot from the nerve bundle at the base of his spine."
Sgt. Bullitt currently does not have use of his legs. Barham says Sgt. Bullitt has a long rehabilitation process ahead of him.
"And we're hopeful that he'll once again be able to regain the use of his legs and with thoughts and prayers going out to him, we're hopeful of that."
Doctors have yet to be determined if the agent has suffered any permanent spinal damage. The suspected shooter, Luke Hust, has been charged with two counts of attempted first degree murder in the incident. Barham says Hust has confessed to the shooting.
"He said that he panicked because he is a felon and he was in possession of a firearm and that's what he said. But beyond that, I can't tell you what motivated him."
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane forecast will see 6-11 tropical storms, 3-6 hurricanes and up to two major hurricanes. NOAA Administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan says these numbers suggest a below average season.
"This is the highest probability of a low activity season that's been in one of our outlooks since 1998," said Sullivan.
Sullivan emphasizes that a below average hurricane season does not mean that mother nature won't throw a curve ball so it's still important to be prepared for anything.
She says driving the impact this year is the El Nino which has developed in the Pacific Ocean and has the effect of suppressing hurricane activity in the Atlantic.
"It increases the amount of wind sheer and the sinking motion in the atmosphere," said Sullivan. "Both factors inhibit storm formation and the intensification of storms."
Hurricane season officially runs June 1 through Nov. 30, but the first Tropical Storm this year, Ana, already formed earlier this month and came ashore in North Carolina.
Sullivan says their scientists also predict that sea surface temperatures in the key portions of the Atlantic will be normal.
"Not as warm as they were the last couple of years so less energy from the ocean helps drive storms away," said Sullivan.
A bill prohibiting what is known as revenge porn is close to legislative passage. Kenner Representative Julie Stokes' measure has cleared the House and now has unanimous approval from the Senate.
Baton Rouge Senator Sharon Weston Broome says the measure would make it a crime to share a nude image of someone on the internet without their permission.
"Or distribute them through e-mail for the purpose of harassing a person or causing them emotional harm."
Violators of the proposed measure could face up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The bill now heads back to the House to approve Senate amendments. Broome says this legislation will send a strong message.
"This type of behavior is not tolerated in Louisiana and, more importantly, act as a deterrent to prevent future instances."
Parks Senator Fred Mills will present his medical marijuana bill before the House Health and Welfare Committee today. The measure cleared the full Senate on a 22-13 vote.
He says medical marijuana has been legal in Louisiana since a law was passed back in 1991.
"What I'm just trying to attempt is to put some rules and regulations to the dispensing, the cultivation, and the prescribing of medical marijuana."
A similar bill by Mills failed to pass committee last year. Mills says he's worked with the Louisiana Sheriff's Association to make the bill more acceptable to lawmakers. He says some changes included putting the Department of Agriculture in charge of growing medical marijuana and limiting the number of dispensing pharmacies in the state to ten.
"And another provision was to eliminate the inhalation piece in medical marijuana and have it only in the oil form."
Governor Bobby Jindal says he doesn't see any glaring concerns with Mills' bill.
"Our bottom line is that we want to make sure that the medical marijuana is being tightly supervised through a health care provider and that it's being used for a legitimate medical purpose."
Republican Gubernatorial candidate Scott Angelle announces he'll be touring north Louisiana beginning this week. According to a release, the tour will travel through 27 parishes meeting with local officials, business owners, educators and other residents. ULM Political Science Professor Joshua Stockley says this is brilliant strategy.
"He is very well known in the Acadiana Parishes of Louisiana," said Stockley. "But once you get north of I-10 his name recognition drops tremendously."
Recent polls have shown the Public Service Commissioner Angelle trailing the other three major candidates Democratic Representative John Bel Edwards, Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne and the leader, US Senator David Vitter.
Stockley says north Louisiana has always been a hot spot for Vitter.
"He's got to cut into Vitter's base which means actually geographically going there," said Stockley.
Today Angelle will be in Madison and Tensas parishes hosting a meet-and-greet with over 150 sportsmen.
In a prepared statement, Angelle says north Louisiana is crucial to the success of our state and voters there are looking for a governor who appreciates the vital role they play in our economy.
Stockley says this tour indicates that he's serious about this campaign.
"There's little question that Scott Angelle appears to be committed to this race."
The Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation and the Allstate Sugar Bowl have put in a bid to host the College Football Playoff National Championship game in 2019 or 2020. New Orleans is already competing to host the Super Bowls in those same years.
Jay Cicero, Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation President, says it would be their hope to get both big games in the same year.
"We'd love to host them back to back, 19 or 20 would be great," said Cicero.
It's being reported as many as 9 cities are bidding to host the big game between 2018-2020.
Cicero says they've put together a great presentation and they know there will be many other potential host sites hoping to get the games.
"Every city that has an NFL stadium is interested and then there are others who have college stadiums that are interested," said Cicero.
New Orleans can't bid on 2018 because The Big Easy is already going to host the National Semifinal game that year. Cicero says there will be site visits over the summer and the decision will be made mid-October.
He says one of their main concerns is brand new stadiums, but a lot of those cities can't offer all New Orleans has to offer.
"They don't have the infrastructure, between us and the Sugar Bowl, and all of the other tourism entities who work together to attract an event like this and manage it," said Cicero.
A football player for LSU is booked with felony domestic abuse for allegedly choking his fiance in the presence of children. East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's office Spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks says the victim claims she and 22-year-old Jevonte Domond got into a huge argument when the incident took place.
"During that argument, she says she was leaning over their baby's crib at which time he grabbed her neck and lifted her off the ground," said Hicks. "She stated she began to lose consciousness."
Hicks says Domond was arrested for felony domestic abuse battery by strangulation with minor children present.
She says the woman claimed she was strangled by Domond to the point of almost completely blacking out.
"She said the child was present," said Hicks. "The woman says she tried to get away and several times she had to spray him with mace. Her injuries were consistent with her story."
Hicks says there was also a witness who corroborated the claim.
Domond is a junior who transferred to LSU last summer and played in one game. He is a 6-foot-6 offensive tackle and weighs 310 pounds. A spokesman from the team says he has been suspended.
Hicks says the suspect told detectives there was a dispute that started earlier in the day when the woman pulled a knife on him on threatened him.
"She said she did pull a knife out but it was in self defense as he supposedly pushed her prior to the incident."
Former US Senator Mary Landrieu has found a new job. She's been hired by the Washington DC lobbying firm Van Ness Feldman as a Senior Policy Advisor. Political analyst Clancy Dubos says it's not a surprise for former Senators and US Representatives to accept these kind of jobs.
"This has gotten to be standard fare for retired Senators and Congressmen, especially those who have some tenure and who have had some time building up relationships on Capitol Hill," he says.
The company says Landrieu will advise clients on various public policy and regulatory issues with an emphasis on energy, natural resources and infrastucture matters. Dubos says Landrieu's career as a politician will help her out in her new occupation.
"She has half a lifetime of contacts, not only in the Senate, but also at the administrative level," he says.
Dubos says it's likely Landrieu's days in public office are over and this announcement signals a career change.
"When you accept a job at a lobbying firm, you pretty much signal that your days of running for office are over, and you're seguing into a parallel political universe on a different career track," he says.
A bill that would ban sex selection abortions in Louisiana stalls in a Senate Judiciary Committee. The proposal by Representative Lenar Whitney would penalize doctors who knowingly end a pregnancy because of sex preference of the baby.
The Houma lawmaker has argued that this is a problem in Asian communities where there is a preference for boys.
"Choosing to kill baby girls and letting baby boys live is just wrong," said Whitney. "If you're willing to kill baby girls, you should vote no."
New Orleans Senator Karen Carter Peterson did not like the way Whitney worded that statement, "I want to know if you believe I would be a murderer If I vote no? You just said that, those were your words. That I would want to kill baby girls?"
"I think if the abortion was being performed because of sex selection," said Whitney.
The vote was 2-2 so the House approved measure will not go to the Senate floor for now.
Whitney says there is currently no evidence which suggests that abortions based on sex are a problem in Louisiana.
Committee Chair New Orleans Senator JP Morrell says he couldn't support the legislation without evidence that this is taking place in Louisiana.
"This is kind-of like a solution in search of a problem," said Morrell. "I'm willing to work with you to try and collect the data to see if this is a problem, but we disagree on the timing of it."
Another round of severe weather rolled through Louisiana earlier today and State Climatologist Barry Keim says more rain is coming. He says rainfall is in the forecast for the next several days.
Keim says there is at least a 50-percent chance of rain each day for the rest of the week.
"So we can expect these thunderstorms to just continue to roll through the area, at least through the work weed, probably into the weekend. We're just in one of those patterns."
Keim says El Nino is the probable cause for these fronts slamming the state. He says the state has averaged about six inches of rain over the last month, but some isolated areas have gotten much more.
"We had 15.9 inches of rain over the last month in Columbia Lock, which is in north Louisiana. Ruston's at 15.3 inches over the last month. That's at least 10 inches above normal."
Keim says the Tangipahoa Parish town of Tickfaw has received 10.8 inches of rain over the last month, five inches above normal. He says because of a very unstable atmosphere, we could see more severe weather this week.
"The potential for the trifecta of hail, severe winds, and tornadoes on top of that are all possible. This is the season for it and we're definitely seeing it right now."
Shrimp season opened just over a week ago and local shrimpers are seeing prices at the dock take a nose dive. One shrimper says he's getting 55-cents per pound for his catch, compared to $2 a year ago.
Clint Guidry, President of the Louisiana Shrimp Association, says there is one big factor contributing to the drop in price.
"We've had a huge increase in imports and our prices have fallen over 50-percent."
Guidry says there was a decrease in imports the last few years because of a disease problem with southeast Asian shrimp. He says these falling prices have an adverse affect the entire industry.
"All expenses keep rising, fuel, maintenance costs for these fishing vessels have gone through the roof, and you still have to bear all that cost with very little profits. It gets to a point where you just can't go out anymore."
The dramatic drop in the price of shrimp is making it difficult for fishermen to pay expenses, much less make a profit. Guidry is hopeful the federal government will step in and help curb the number of imports allowed in the US. He says there is one specific way consumers can help Louisiana shrimpers.
"Go out and purchase domestic-caught wild shrimp and that's how you can support these hard working fishermen."
Louisiana has some of the harshest marijuana possession penalties, but two bills are moving through the legislature that seek to reduce prison times for repeat offenders. Similar efforts to reduce possession penalties failed in the past, but New Orleans Senator JP Morrell says the Louisiana Sheriff's Association and the District Attorney Association do not oppose the legislation this year.
"I have worked with them over the last year, we reached a compromise with language that puts it in a posture where everyone is comfortable with this bill moving forward," Morrell said.
The current maximum prison sentence for multiple marijuana possession offenders is 20-years, but Morrell's which was approved by the Senate on Monday, reduces the mandatory jail time to eight years.
"Second offense is a misdemeanor, third-offense is a felony up to 4 years, and fourth offense, the highest offense, is a felony up to 8 years in jail."
The House has also approved a bill that reduces pot penalties. Morrell says his legislation is NOT an attempt to legalize marijuana for recreational use.
"This does not in anyway decriminalize marijuana," Morrell said. "It just makes the penalty more in line and more humane for people that are going through the system."
Morrell's bill still needs approval from the House.
New graduates are hitting the workforce and Louisiana Workforce Commission Executive Director Curt Eysink says the job market in Louisiana looks as good as it's looked in 20 years. He says while the market, as a whole, is strong, some college degrees are more sought after than others.
"Basically the business fields, accounting, finance, and so forth, and computer related fields, digital media and so forth, they're as strong as they've been in Louisiana in a long, long time."
Eysink says the job market in business and computer related fields are particularly strong, right now. He says grads can go to laworks-dot-net to see a list of jobs in the state in their field. He says those exiting community colleges are also in demand.
"Construction and manufacturing, also computer and engineering related fields from all levels, those are very hot right now."
Eysink says the job market in Louisiana is projected to stay strong through 2022. He adds that success in the job market will vary from person to person depending on what their degree is in. Eysink also has a bit of advice for those who are still in school.
"I think the key thing is for people who are not graduating yet, to start looking forward and start trying to get summer jobs in their field that will give them a little bit of experience and a little bit of a leg up this time next year when they get out."
For a fourth straight season, LSU is a national seed in the NCAA Baseball Tournament, which will get underway when the Tigers host Lehigh University on Friday.
The Tigers received the number two national seed, despite being ranked number one by most of the polls for the entire season.
Coach Paul Maineri admits some disappointment in not getting the number one overall seed.
"I'm a little disappointed, but I don't think it impacts one iota what's going to happen, beginning on Friday," Mainieri said.
If LSU wins the Baton Rouge regional, they'll face the winner of the Houston Regional during the first weekend of June. Houston beat the Tigers in the Baton Rouge Regional last year, but Mainieri says his team can't look ahead to a possible rematch.
"The players know, we can win five in a row and make it to Omaha, we can win 10 in a row and win a national championship. Now with that said, all we want to do is be 1-0 after Friday and then we'll turn out attention to Saturday."
The other two teams in the Baton Rouge regional are UNC-Wilmington and Tulane. If the Green Wave and LSU win on Friday, they'll face each other on Saturday night.
"They're very talented ballclub, they can really pitch," shortstop Alex Bregman said.
"We're going to have our hands full with every team in this regional. I just think if we play Tulane, it will be a really cool deal."
LSU beat Tulane twice in the regular season, 13-7 on March 24th and 6-0 on April 21st.
UL Lafayette has made it to the NCAA Tournament for a third straight season. The Ragin Cajuns received an automatic bid after winning the Sun Belt Tournament and they'll battle Rice on Friday afternoon in the Houston Regional.
Cajuns Coach Tony Robichaux says getting into the tournament again is quite a feat considering how much talent they lost from last year's super regional team.
"You ask a team to take six of their best juniors off the field and play this year and then to start three freshmen starters (pitchers) on the weekend, I'm just so proud of this team and what they accomplished," Robichaux said.
Houston and Houston Baptist are the other two teams in the regional with UL Lafayette and Rice.