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Saints fall to 0-and-2 on the season

Many Saints fans thought this was the year for the Black and Gold to get back to the Super Bowl. But New Orleans is 0-and-2 after suffering a heart breaking 26-24 loss to the Cleveland Browns. For the second straight game, New Orleans couldn't preserve a late lead. Coach Sean Payton says all they could do at this point is work on trying to become a better team.

"Listen you bounce back," Payton said. "The only way we know how to do it is get back to work on Wednesday, come in and clean the film up, we obviously got to be better in a handful of areas and we'll do that."
The Saints offense started slow, but they got it going as Drew Brees threw two touchdown passes to Jimmy Graham. Running back Mark Ingram rushed for 83 yards and a TD.
But the defense allowed the Browns to move the football 85 yards for a game-winning field goal. Many fans are taking their frustration out on cornerback Patrick Robinson, but Payton says it's not fair to blame one player.
"There's a handful of us who struggled today," Payton said. "He's an easy target. I'm sure there's a ton of stuff on tape that he'll want to clean up. But there's a lot of muddy hands, just to be singling out one player."
The Saints host Minnesota on Sunday, September 21st.  
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Tigers trounce Warhawks to improve 3-0

For the first time since 1985, LSU's defense shutout an opponent in back-to-back games. The Tigers allowed just 93 yards in a 31-0 victory over the ULM Warhawks.

ULM has just six first downs as Warhawks quarterback Pete Thomas threw for 77 yards on 16-of-30 passing. Centarius Donald came into the game with 228 rushing yards, but the Tigers held him to 24 yards
Linebacker Duke Riley was LSU's leading tackler with eight and Jermauria Rasco had the Tigers only sack. 
LSU's offense was not clicking on all pistons in the 1st half. LSU led 10-0 at halftime, but scored three touchdowns in the third quarter to put the game away.
Freshman Darrel Williams had two touchdown runs. Leonard Fournette had a 24-yard touchdown run and led the Tigers in rushing with 52 yards.
Quarterback Anthony Jennings was 11-of-18 for 139 yards and he threw his first interception. Travin Dural was once again his favorite receiver as the sophomore from Breaux Bridge caught six passes for 79 yards.
LSU opens conference play on September 20th when they host Mississippi State. ULM's next game is September 27th at home against Troy.  
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Landrieu's flights still an issue

The Louisiana Republican Party continues to make Senator Mary Landrieu's chartered flights a campaign issue.  Landrieu has completed a report on the use of flights for campaign events and has admitted to over $33,000 in improperly charged flights. 

Executive Director Jason Dore says he's surprised by that amount.
"That's more than we equated.  But there's a clear pattern here of abuse of taxpayer dollars and whoever's responsible in her office should have some sort of responsibility for it and not just an apology."
Landrieu says she takes full responsibility and that these mistakes are a result of sloppy bookkeeping.  She says safeguards have been put in place to make sure this never happens again.  Dore says bookkeeping errors are no excuse.
"Well, if you or I were to tell the IRS that we had sloppy bookkeeping and that's why we didn't pay our taxes, we may end up in jail."
The report states that Senator Landrieu's campaign has already reimbursed the Federal Treasury for these mistakes.  Dore thinks there is more information in the report and the issue is not dead.
"We're not going to let it go away that easily.  We're going to make sure voters are aware of Senator Landrieu's use of taxpayer dollars."
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LSU AD Joe Alleva gets contract extension

Michelle Southern reporting.
Today the LSU Board of Supervisors extended Athletic Director Joe Alleva's contract through 2019. He's not getting a raise, but Alleva's base pay will remain $725,000 a year plus incentives. Assistant Tiger Rag Editor James Moran says it's hard not to say that Alleva hasn't done a good job as AD since he got here.

"He's now got over a 100,000 seat stadium, he's done a ton of new renovations that make the outside of the stadium look good," said Moran. "There's a new gymnastics facility, there's a new tennis facility coming."
Alleva says he loves his job, "It's challenging and I like the people that I work for. It's a great honor to get this extension."
Alleva officially started at LSU on July 1st, 2008 and was formerly the athletics director at Duke.
Moran says even though the basketball program has been floundering during Alleva's tenure, there are many significant LSU athletic programs that have more than flourished.

Moran says the LSU football team has had extreme success over the last several years under Alleva. He says the success on the field is thanks to coach Les Miles but Alleva has given Les a lot to work with.

"The gorgeous football ops center across the street, I mean you have the giant renovated Tiger Stadium," said Moran. "Joe Alleva has helped give Les the tools to put LSU on that level of the Alabama's of the world."

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Lafayette officer shot while searching for suspect

Michelle Southern reporting.
The Lafayette Police Department says one of their officers was shot Thursday night when attempting to locate a suspect they believe was involved in a shooting the night before. Corporal Paul Mouton said at around 11pm, cops went to the apartment where they were told the man might have been.

"They were given permission to search the residence and as the officer went to the rear, he located the suspect hiding in a closet," said Mouton.

Mouton says the officer and the suspect exchanged gunfire and both men were hit.

"The officer moved to safety at which time the suspect was able to jump out of the window and flee the area," said Mouton.

Mouton says officers later apprehended the suspect as he was attempting to flee at an area truck stop. The 23-year-old male was taken to an area hospital. 

The officer is listed in stable condition. Mouton says finding the suspect was a priority as he was on the run from a prior violent incident.

"And that was one of the key components as to why we were looking for him that night," said Mouton. "He also had several "Failure to Appear" warrants."

The suspect is identified as 23-year-old Chase Chaisson of Lafayette. He will be charged with attempted 1st degree murder of a police officer, convicted felon in possession of a firearm, 2nd degree kidnapping and injury to a police K-9.

The resident of the apartment where the suspect was found hiding has also been charged.

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Edwards leads in 6th Congressional District poll

A new poll shows Democratic former Governor Edwin Edwards making the runoff in the 6th District Congressional race, but that same survey shows Edwards finishing second in four different runoff scenarios.  But pollster Darrell Glascock says you shouldn't count out Edwards, just yet.  

He says Edwards has significant numbers as respondents second choice.
"If he is the second choice of 25-percent of those who we polled, and that particular entity is not in the runoff with him, he could considerably improve his numbers."
Edwards garnered 32-percent of the vote in The Glascock Group poll, which would seem to guarantee him a runoff spot.  However, the former governor has trouble breaking 45-percent of the vote in any hypothetical runoff.  Glascock says when it comes to runoff elections, traditionally half of voters don't return to the polls.  He says that could play in the favor of Edwards. 
"So if you go into a second primary, and into a runoff situation, if your voters get out and vote, and if he can generate enthusiasm among his voters and get them out, then that changes the game plan."
The big question remaining in the race is "Who will join Edwards in the runoff?"  Glascock counts four Republican contenders that could generate enough support to land in the runoff:  state Senator Dan Claitor, Paul Dietzel, Garret Graves, and state Representative Lenar Whitney.  He thinks this will come down to the wire. 
"I think it's probably all going to come down to message and advertising in the last 30 to 45 days for that second spot."
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"Sons of Guns" star says her father inappropriately touched her

In a nationally televised interview, Stephanie Hayden Ford, the daughter and co-star of Will Hayden on the now-cancelled "Sons of Guns" television show, says her father inappropriately touched her when she was 12-years-old.  Ford told the "Dr. Phil" show that her father allegedly came to her room drunk one evening, sat her in his lap and began touching her and kissing on her chest.

"And once that happened, I jumped back and got off of him.  For some reason, he just left.  And he never touched me again like that."
Hayden remains in the East Baton Rouge Parish Jail in lieu of bail.  Ford said that she had basically repressed the memory until her little sister told her grandfather about alleged inappropriate behavior on the part of Hayden.  Ford says she's telling her story now because her sister needs her.
"She needs someone who can speak for her, that can be on her side."  Dr. Phil:  "Do you feel like you let your little sister down?  If you had come forward then, maybe this wouldn't have happened to her."  Ford:  "Yeah.  Every day since, it's all I can think about."
Hayden's attorney, C. Frank Holthaus, cautioned against emotional reactions and urged people to give the court process time to let the truth come out.  Ford says she stands by her story and if the allegations are proven true, her father should go to jail for a long time. 
"I think that he has spent his life manipulating people and hurting people."  Dr. Phil:  "If you are called on to testify in trial, will you do so?"  Ford:  "Of course."
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PAR releases constitutional amendment guide

There are 14 constitutional amendments on the November fourth ballot and the Public Affairs Research Council has released a guide to help voters understand the potential impact of each proposition. PAR President Robert Scott says the guide provides an objective review of all 14 amendments.

"We will give you arguments "for" and "against" each amendment, but you decide for yourself which way you want to go, either voting "Yes" or "No."
The first two amendments deal with health care funding. Scott says amendment one would protect the Louisiana Medical Assistance Trust Fund, while amendment two sets up an amendment that will help hospitals pay for uninsured and those on Medicaid.
"So they (hospitals) actually get more money in return. Most of other states do this and the hospitals want to put this in the constitution."
Scott anticipates there will also be a lot of talk about amendment five, which will eliminate the mandatory retirement age of judges.
"Judges are supposed to retire at 70. If they are 70 and in office, they can finish their term. But this constitutional amendment would take away any age limitation."
The guide can be found at parlouisiana.org 
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Cassidy agrees to second Senate Debate

Michelle Southern reporting.
Republican US Senate candidate Bill Cassidy now says he will debate at least two times against Democratic incumbent Senator Mary Landrieu. Landrieu has criticized Cassidy for not committing to more debates.

"She would like you get him in the debate because she probably feels she's better equipped in a debate," says political analyst Bernie Pinsonat. "He's not really used to that so she feels she will come out on top which is why she would like to debate him as much as possible."

Cassidy, Landrieu, and Tea Party favorite Rob Maness will face off on on LBP on October 14th in Shreveport and on Raycom Stations October 29th in Baton Rouge.

Cassidy has rejected three other debates in which Landrieu has already agreed to participate. His campaign says the Congressman is busy traveling the state talking with voters face to face.

The Landrieu campaign accuses Cassidy of dodging events where he'd have to talk about his policy stance.

Pinsonat says most candidates just don't like debates.

"Nothing good can come from them. Most of them end in a tie. Candidates don't say much of anything and they aren't that interesting," said Pinsonat.

The Cassidy campaign says Landrieu is pushing these other debates because they are highly scripted and don't require voter interaction.
Pinsonat says candidates have to be cautious about debates because on occasion there's a slip when someone says something stupid and it costs them the election.

"He woul like to have the runoff so debates aren't that big deal to him," said Pinsonat. "He doesn't see a gain from participating in more."

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Louisiana's delegation weighs in on President's plan to destroy ISIL

New Orleans Congressman and member of the US Homeland Security committee, Cedric Richmond, says President Barack Obama has laid out a good, comprehensive strategy in calling for increased airstrikes against Islamic State extremists. 
"We have an obligation to protect American citizens wherever they are, but to truly root out ISIL it's going to take a united effort," Richmond said. 
Richmond and Lafayette Congressman Charles Boustany are glad the President has formed a broad international coalition to combat this terrorist threat.
Richmond adds Congress can support the President's effort by providing resources and weaponry to the Iraqi military and Syrian rebels who are fighting the Islamic State militants. 
But Minden Representative John Fleming does not support that. 
"The president¬ís vague proposal to arm so-called moderates in Syria leaves more questions than answers, not the least of which is who are these people and what side are they on. Congress needs to thoroughly debate what the president has put forward, but at this point I don¬ít see a strategy from the president that actually destroys ISIS, which should be our mission if we are committing American troops and resources."  
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Metairie is not ready to support the president's strategy. Scalise says he wants to talk with fellow republicans about the best plan of action to address this serious terrorist threat.  
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Slidell officer in suspected drunk driving fatal crash succumbs to injuries

Michelle Southern reporting.
The Slidell police officer who was involved in a suspected drunk driving fatal accident on Sunday, has died from his injuries. State trooper Greg Marchand says Detective John Cole flipped his Jeep in the crash and his passenger, Daniel Hanlon, died on the scene. Marchand says impairment on the part of Cole is suspected.

"At this point we haven't gotten back toxicology results so it's suspected," said Marchand. "There were some bottles in the vehicle but we don't know who was drinking."

Marchand also says they believe Cole, who died Wednesday afternoon, was also not wearing his seat belt. 
The other victim, Daniel Hanlon, was laid to rest on Thursday. He was a teacher and coach at Salmen High School in Slidell. He was 31-years-old.  

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Sempra gets approval to export LNG

The US Department of Energy has given final approval for Sempra Energy to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) from its plant in Cameron Parish.  With this, Sempra can begin construction to expand their facility near Hackberry to liquefy and export natural gas.

Senator Mary Landrieu says this will have a big economic impact for southwest Louisiana. 
"Well, it's a 9 to 10 billion dollar investment.  It's 3,000 on-site construction jobs and maybe as many as 150 full-time jobs at Cameron."
With the expansion, the Cameron plant will be capable of producing up to 12 million metric tons of LNG for export.  Landrieu says Sempra is ready to get this project started. 
"They have done some preliminary site work, of course.  But they're ready to go.  They're anxious.  Again, they realize this is a window of opportunity that's open now, but that window could close."
Construction is expected to begin this fall and they should be fully operational by 2019.  The Senator says this is the second LNG plant to get approval in the US and both are in Cameron Parish.  She says LNG exports are important for the economic future of the United States.  Landrieu sees big things for the region in the future. 
"We think that the west Louisiana-east Texas corridor is going to be one of the most important corridors for imports and exports in our nation, and really on the continent."
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Jennings welcome home hero officer

Michelle Southern reporting.
The community of Jennings got together in a big way on Wednesday to welcome home an officer who was shot in the line of duty and has been in recovery since the June incident. Jennings Police Chief Todd D'Albor says Sergeant Ricky Benoit was responding to a domestic violence call when he was shot in the neck by the suspect.

"The bullet went through and shattered a bone in his neck," said D'Albor. "He's been fighting hard and has never complained."

Benoit was escorted by a caravan of State Police troopers, officers from New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and Crowley. The streets of Jennings were lined with well-wishers all the way to Benoit's home which he has not seen since June 23rd. 

D'Albor says this officer put his life on the line for others and has never given up hope.

"And it's only fitting that the community and everyone be there for him upon his return," said D'Albor.

The bullet came within millimeters of killing or permanently paralyzing the 25-year veteran officer. D'Albor says Benoit can now move his arms, legs and neck and can walk a short distance but a full recovery could take years.

D'Albor says all officers know the risk when they swear into this job, but you never think today is my day.

"It does hit you hard emotionally," said D'Albor. "But the community here has been so awesome in gathering around Sgt. Benoit and his family during this time."

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LSU WR Travin Dural returns to practice after car accident

Coach Les Miles said LSU's leading wide receiver Travin Dural was at practice Wednesday after he was involved in a car following last Saturday's game.
The wreck was minor, but Dural needed stitches to repair a cut on his forehead.  
The stitches apparently kept Dural from a wearing a helmet earlier in the week. But Miles said his emerging receiver is fine and he'll play this Saturday against the Warhawks.
"He was at practice today," Miles said. "Helmet on and flying around." 
Dural is off to a great start, with 291 receiving yards and four touchdowns, but he was not able to practice on Monday and Tuesday and his status for Saturday's game is unknown. 
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St. Francis in Monroe to cut 300 employees

Michelle Southern reporting.
St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe issued a statement Tuesday saying they planned to cut about 300 jobs. The hospital is one of Ouachita Parish's top 10 largest private employers. West Monroe Representative Frank Hoffman says he's not happy to hear this news but it's not really surprising.

"This cutting way back has to do with money of course," said Hoffman. "It's not good news I will admit that."

St. Francis issued a statement saying they are taking steps to line up their expenses with expected revenue and they are working to continue to be as responsive to a changing health care environment. The hospital employs about 2,000 workers and Hoffman says they've always provided excellent service.

"I'm still confident that will happen," said Hoffman. "But obviously when you cut back 300 people that affects everything you're able to do."

Hoffman says the hospital is also considering closing its downtown facility and moving everything to St. Francis North on Highway 165 but there won't be a final decision on that till the fall. He says it always hurts when you lose jobs.

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Texas teen arrested in Central Louisiana school bomb threats

Michelle Southern reporting.
Police in Alexandria say a teenager from Texas is charged in the bomb threats that were called in to Rapides Parish Schools yesterday. Lt. Bruce Fairbanks says around 10:40am Tuesday they were called out to Alexandria Senior High School in reference to a bomb threat.

"They had already evacuated the schools and we'd enacted our critical action plans," said Fairbanks. "Shortly after that we received bomb threats at Brame Junior High school and Bolton High School."

Fairbanks says the schools were cleared and they were able to develop 17-year-old Reuben David Byon of Fredricksburg, Texas as a suspect later that afternoon.

He says they have no clue what the motive is at this time.

"But through the help of the FBI task force we were able to develop a suspect and issue a warrant for him," said Fairbanks.

Right now Byon faces three counts of communicating false information of planned bombing on school property.

Fairbanks says they do know that Byon is from the area but he had been living in Texas for a period of time. He says another bomb threat was called into Pineville High and they are working to determine if the suspect could be charged in that one as well.

Fairbanks says the penalty for calling in fake bomb threats is stiff.

"Up to 20 years in prison if convicted," said Fairbanks. "We are in the process of extraditing him back to Louisiana."


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President to address the nation tonight about ISIS

President Obama will address the nation tonight speaking on his strategy for defeating the ISIS militant group in the Middle East.  Republican Minden Congressman and member of the House Armed Forces Committee, John Fleming, says the President should clarify the reason why we need to go after ISIS.

"So I would expect him to outline what the real threat, the real necessity, is for us to pursue them and then, number two, a real strategy to eradicate them."
ISIS has beheaded two American journalists in recent weeks and Fleming says they've threatened to do a lot more.  He says currently there is no pending legislation that could jump start military operations against ISIS, but there are discussions.  But Fleming says it's really up to President Obama to tell Congress what he wants. 
"But he's got to rally the American people, as well as both sides of Congress, both the Democrats and Republicans and both chambers, and he's not done that, yet.  He's not made his case to go to war with ISIS."
The President recently returned from a NATO summit where the US and nine allies agreed to take on the militants.  Fleming says the United States should do one of two things to deal with ISIS.
"We should either harden and protect our homeland and American citizens around the world and wait and see or we should mount an aggressive attempt, through shock and awe, to go after them and to kill or to imprison every single one of them."
Fleming says he would prefer the latter.  President Obama's address is scheduled to begin at 8PM. 
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ULM fans pumped about LSU game

Michelle Southern reporting.
As the ULM football team prepares to travel down to Baton Rouge for the big game against The Tigers this weekend, Athletic Director Brian Wickstrom says there is a lot of excitement from the Warhawk Nation. He says lots of the Monroe college football fans are scooping up tickets for the game.

"We actually asked LSU for additional tickets and we're still requests," said Wickstrom. "We've also received a lot of tailgating invitations so it's really exciting for our fans."

Wickstrom says they've sold about 3000 tickets from their office and they get more requests coming in everyday. He attributes some of the added interest level in the in-state game this season to the fact that ULM is 2-0 and coach Todd Berry has had success with SEC teams.

"I think just the chance to go on a road game that's just three hours from Monroe, at this time of the year when everyone is healthy is exciting for our fans," said Wickstrom.

This is the first of three SEC games the Warhawks will be playing in the 2014 season and Wickstrom says these contests help their athletics department in a substantial way.

He says those games mean a total of about $3 million dollars pumped into ULM's sports programs which is a huge help.

"This is great as we're trying to grow our budget and maintain the cost and attendance for student athletes, our training facilities our means," said Wickstrom.

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Cassidy getting criticism over remark

Republican Louisiana Senate candidate Representative Bill Cassidy is getting some criticism over a remark he made regarding Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid.  In an interview with E&E Publishing, Cassidy said Reid is running "the Senate like a plantation."  

The comment is already receiving backlash from Democrats and some Republicans who say it is offensive.  Political analyst Clancy Dubos is not sure this will blow over quickly because of racial connotations.
"And that will, no doubt, stir up the passions that are already there in the African-American community in favor of Mary Landrieu."
Fellow Republican Senate candidate Rob Maness has called for Cassidy to immediately apologize for the comment since it included a term that is "incredibly offensive to many Americans".  Dubos says this is a good move on the part of Maness. 
"Well, I think Maness has to go on the offensive against Cassidy because he's in third place.  Although, to his credit, he's been raising money and he's been steadily gaining.  So Maness could wind up making this a real race." 
In a statement regarding criticism over the remark, Cassidy said he thinks the leadership style of Reid is more offensive than his analogy.  Dubos says, at the end of the day, he doesn't see this issue as a game changer. 
"But this race is so close and so hotly contested that every little stumble or stub of the toe of either candidate can have a potential cumulative effect."
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Mayo receives LA Dem party endorsement in 5th District

The Louisiana Democratic Party announced its endorsement of Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo today as he seeks to represent Louisiana's Fifth Congressional district. Mayo is the only democrat in the ten person field and state democratic party chairman Karen Peterson says Mayo is the only candidate who will represent all of the people in the Fifth District.
"His pro jobs agenda is winning over voters that want someone who will put aside partisan politics and work for what's best for the people of the district."
Mayo has served as Monroe's mayor the last 13 years. He ran in last year's special election in the 5th district and finished third in the primary. 
Peterson says the endorsement will provide Mayo with the resources he needs to run an effective campaign.
"Whether it's boots on the ground, literally, door knocking, mailing, or radio advertising. That's just going to continue to ramp up as we get closer to November 4th."

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