Time ran out on the LSU Tigers on Saturday night in their loss to Auburn and time has also run out on head football coach Les Miles and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.
Athletic Director Joe Alleva has made the decision to fire Miles and Cameron and name defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron interim head coach.
“Decisions like this are never easy ones to make,” Alleva said. “Coach Miles has done a tremendous job here and he’s been a great ambassador for our University, which makes this even more difficult.
“However, it’s apparent in evaluating the program through the first month of the season that a change has to be made. Our commitment to excellence and competing at the highest level is unwavering, and our goals for the remainder of this season haven’t changed. We have an obligation to our student-athletes to put them in the best position to have success on the football field each week and we have great confidence that coach Orgeron will do just that.”
After nearly getting fired last November, the LSU football team is 2-2 for the first time since 2001. Once again, the Tigers offense is to blame for the team not reaching its expectations. The pass offense ranks 119th in the country and 111th in total offense.
The football program has been on a decline since losing to Alabama in the BCS National Championship game in January 2012. The Tigers have lost five straight to Alabama and the situation has tailspun lately as the Tigers have lost four of their last five SEC games.
Miles arrived at LSU in 2005 from Oklahoma State and finishes with a record of 114-34. No other program in the SEC has more wins during that time.
His teams were known for its dramatic wins. The Tigers had 24 fourth quarter/overtime comeback wins since 2005.
Miles leaves LSU as the second winningest coach in school history. Only the late Charlie McClendon had more, as he notched 137 wins in 18 years.
Orgeron will assume head coaching duties. He's been on LSU's staff since 2015, but has been a lifelong LSU fan. As a high school football player, he starred at South LaFourche High School and played college football at Northwestern State.
Orgeron was the head coach at Ole Miss from 2005-2007, but only won 10 games. Oregeron was also an interim head coach at USC in 2013.
Tiger Rag Magazine has learned former LSU assistant under Nick Saban, Pete Jenkins, has been brought in to coach the defensive line. Tight ends coach Steve Ensminger has been promoted to interim offensive coordinator.
Over a month after the historic flooding in south Louisiana, many flood victims are still struggling to recover. Congressman Garret Graves of Baton Rouge has introduced a bill to help future disaster victims get assistance in a timely manner. He says the biggest complaint he’s heard is that it’s taking too long to get money from flood insurance claims.
“Under Louisiana state law, companies generally have 30 days to make decisions. Yet that law doesn’t apply to the national flood insurance program because it’s a federal program,” Graves said.
Graves’ bill would require the national flood insurance program to make determinations within 30 days of the claim being filed. He says people need this assistance now, and he wants to push this bill through in an expedited process.
“We’re going to try and not go through the regular process and attach this to a larger package that’s moving through the Congress,” Graves said.
Graves says schools, police and fire departments, and drainage systems are all funded by property taxes. He says if people can’t get their homes repaired quickly, it will cause major problems for the entire community because there will be less tax revenue coming in.
“If the value of these homes is cut in half or less because their gutted and flooded, that’s going to end up resulting in much greater problems in our community in terms of these critical public services,” Graves said.
What appeared to be a last-second victory for the LSU Tigers, turned out to be a crushing 18-13 defeat to Auburn. Danny Etling threw a game-winning touchdown pass, but after it was reviewed by the instant replay judge, it was determined the Tigers didn't get the snap off before the clock struck triple zero.
How it happened: Auburn kicker Daniel Carlson tied a school-record with six field goals and LSU's offense could only mount two decent offensive drives. LSU scored the lone touchdown on a four-yard pass from Danny Etling to tight end Foster Moreau. The other good drive was the final one. The Tigers went 60 yards on 13 plays, but time ran out before they could finish the game winning drive.
LSU's Offense: LSU's passing game was non-existent for most of the game. There were a variety of reasons why, Etling missed some throws, dropped passes and bad protection. You can throw play calling into it as well, as the Tigers were conservative.
Leonard Fournette rushed for 101 yards, but negative plays really hurt LSU. Auburn had eight tackles for a loss and LSU was also penalized five times. Etling also had a crucial fumble in Auburn territory in the 4th quarter. LSU has yet to score any points in the 4th quarter this season.
LSU's Defense: The Tigers gave up 388 total yards, 234 through the air. The Bayou Bengals had trouble getting off the field, as Auburn was 8-of-19 on 3rd down conversions. But it's really hard to blame this loss on the defense.
Jamal Adams, Duke Riley and Kendell Beckwith all had double digits in tackles. Arden Key was credited with a 1.5 sacks and now has 6.5 for the season. Key also had three quarterback hurries.
The defense also had an impressive goal line stand late in the 1st half.
Special Teams: Kicker Colby Delahoussaye was 2-of-3 on field goals. He missed a 51-yarder, but connected from 29 and 25. Punter Josh Growden averaged 37 yards on five punts. They were not pretty punts, but Auburn didn't have any returns.
What it means: The Tigers are 2-2 and hopes of playing in the college football playoffs are dashed. LSU is still alive for an SEC West title, but they'll need to run the table and that's unlikely, considering how poorly the offense has played on the road. LSU still has road trips to Florida and Texas A&M left, plus tough home games against Alabama, Ole Miss and Arkansas.
The bigger picture is that the seat Les Miles is sitting on, continues to get hotter. This team was expected to be a national title contender and LSU has already been removed from discussion in September.
Also, it seems like the lucky breaks that helped Miles win around 10 games a year, are no longer happening for the "Mad Hatter." Somewhere, that 2010 Tennessee team that LSU beat in lucky fashion at the end of the game is laughing.
LSU is also 2-2 for the first time since 2001.
Up next: Missouri makes its first ever visit to Tiger Stadium on October 1st for 6:30 PM kick-off. Missouri beat the pants off of Delaware State 79-0. For the season, the SEC East Tigers are 2-2.
A new book about the murders of prostitutes in Jefferson Davis parish is surrounded by controversy. Murder in the Bayou by Ethan Brown documents the author’s investigation into the murders of 8 prostitutes between 2005 and 2009. The book alleges that Congressman Charles Boustany may have been involved with the women. Brown, who appeared on the Jim Engster Show, says Boustany’s response to the accusation is included in the book.
"I went to this office, and this is reported in the book in May of this year with what is reported in the book."
The book claims that a staffer at Boustany’s office also worked at the hotel where these women would perform the services. Brown says there is no question that staffer worked at the Boudreaux Inn.
"Congressman Boustany acknowledged that the gentleman worked for him for a number of years. According to open government sites he was a staffer."
Brown says a lot of independent media outlets have been reporting the claims against the congressman. He says in all the stories he’s seen, reporters have noted that they have not been able to independently verify the allegations.
"But I know first hand from speaking to a lot of these reporters that little to no effort has been made."
Livingston Parish Schools have received more than $100,000 in donations, grants and gifts to assist teachers, staff and students with flood recovery efforts. Superintendent Rick Wentzel says the St. Tammany Parish Public School System and their surrounding communities stepped up in a huge way.
"$42,000 in cash. $8,600 in gift cards and 30 pallets of student and teacher supplies." said Wentzel.
Taylor Swift has donated $50,000 to the district.
“I know that many in our community are big fans of Taylor Swift’s music. I’m certain this contribution will win over more fans for her – and not just for her music, but for her kindness,” Wentzel said.
A state panel has made surprising discoveries about student discipline in Louisiana. The Advisory Council on Student Behavior found that over a thousand kindergartners were suspended during the last school year. New Orleans attorney and chairwoman of the council, Jennifer Coco, says they want to find better ways to discipline students than kicking them out of class.
“We want to better understand how we can support them and to keep them in class, while also making sure that our schools are safe and other students feel safe,” Coco said.
The council found that nearly 8-thousand students between pre-kindergarten and third grade received out of school suspensions during the 2015-16 school year. Coco says the primary reasons students are getting suspended is being disrespectful or disobedient. But she doesn’t think that kicking a child out of school will teach them to be more respectful.
“Why is it that when a 6-year-old is doing something that’s considered disrespectful that the solution is to have them stay out of school for a day, and just wondering practically what’s gained by that,” Coco said.
Coco says the 24-member council is required to meet three times a year and discuss their findings. She says they will put together an annual report and present it to the education committees in the legislature and BESE.
“Letting them know and summarizing our findings and recommendations for what we’ve discussed that year and what we think some solutions might be,” Coco said.
Hunters for the Hungry is hosting their annual “Clean out your Freezer Day” to benefit food banks throughout Louisiana. On Sunday, September 25th from 1 to 4 p.m., hunters with leftover meat are encouraged to donate before they stock up again during hunting season.
HFH Executive Director Jimmy Anthony says the program started 25 years ago when a group of hunters thought it was a shame to waste all of last year’s frozen game.
“It was such a big hit that they wanted to continue it, more and more people found out about it and started doing the same thing. So it gives hunters a chance to clean out their freezer, get rid of their older meat and make room for their new meat.”
The donations will be directly distributed to nearly 400 agencies across Louisiana. Anthony says typically the Baton Rouge Food Bank stores all of the meat but there is no room this year after the flooding so a New Orleans Food Bank will be collecting the food. He says they will also be collecting canned goods.
“We’re going to collect nonperishables. All of those nonperishable can goods will go to the Baton Rouge Food Bank.”
H-F-H collected more than 230,000 pounds of fish, game, and other meats in years past. Anthony says there are 12 collection sites and to find one in your area visit hunters4hungrylouisiana.org. He says they are not collecting any meat over a year old.
“Get any meat, protein frozen from your freezer, take it to one of our collection sites. Make sure that the package is labeled, as to what it is, and dated.”
A New Orleans activist group is planning a protest tomorrow in Jackson Square when they say they will take down the statue of Andrew Jackson. Malcom Suber is a member of Take Em Down NOLA, a group that seeks to remove confederate monuments from the city. He says they want to remove the statue of Jackson and rename the area Freedom Square.
“He is a representative of white supremacy and does not deserve to be given such an exalted place in our city,” Suber said.
Suber says the protest will begin at 1pm, and they expect hundreds of people to come. City officials say they support peaceful protests, but vandalism of public property is a crime. But he says they see this as an issue of civil rights.
“We have a right to protest the placement of this statue in a public spot that is offensive to the majority of our people in this city,” Suber said.
Suber says they feel they are within their rights because the city council voted to remove confederate statues in New Orleans. He says their position has always been to remove any monuments that represent white supremacy.
“If there’s any statue that is iconic to the city of New Orleans, it’s the Andrew Jackson statue, and so if we take that one down, surely the others can come down,” Suber said.
NOPD says they will have extra officers and barricades on hand in preparation for the protest.
Two teams with coaches on the hot seat meet on the Plains on Saturday, as 18th ranked LSU visits Auburn. The Fighting Tigers are 2-1, 1-0 in the SEC and a loss in this game will again raise the question whether the program is heading in the right direction.
Many in Auburn already believe their program is on the decline. Gus Malzahn led the War Eagles to the BCS Championship game in 2013, but heading into Saturday's game they've lost seven straight games at home against Power 5 teams. Auburn is 3-12 against Power 5 teams overall in the last 15 games.
Auburn has struggled to put points on the board this season. Their offense has been void of big plays. Quarterback Sean White has thrown just one interception, but he's thrown for only 510 yards in three games. John Franklin III could see playing time under center as well. He completed four passes for 37 yards last week.
Auburn leads the SEC in rushing, averaging 262 yards a game. They rushed for 462 yards against Arkansas State in Week 2. Kenyon Johnson and Kamryn Pettway are leading the way on the ground. Johnson has rushed for 278 yards and four touchdowns, while Pettway is averaging nearly 8 yards a carry
LSU running back Leonard Fournette rushed for a career-high 228 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-21 win over Auburn last year. Auburn's defense goes into this game committed to slowing down Fournette.
On paper, it looks like LSU should have success rushing the passer. Auburn has allowed nine sacks in three games, while the Tigers have sacked the opposing quarterback on 11 occasions.
If it's a close game, Auburn has an outstanding field goal kicker. Junior Daniel Carlson is a Lou Groza Finalist and had has made 83% of his kicks in his career and he's converted 24 of his last 25 field goal attempts.
LSU has struggled to score points at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The last time they scored more than 20 in this venue was 2008, when Jarrett Lee sparked the Bayou Bengals to a 26-21 victory. 1994 was the previous time they put more than 20 on the board. That occurred in a 30-26 loss.
I'm expecting another tight game on Saturday, but LSU somehow gets it done..winning 21-17.
The Reason Foundation’s Annual Highway Report ranks Louisiana’s roadways 34th in the nation for overall performance, up 6 spots from the previous year. Louisiana ranked poorly in the areas of fatality rate and urban interstate pavement condition. DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson says the state has announced two different interstate widening projects that should lead to safer and smoother traveling on I-10 in the Lafayette and Baton Rouge areas.
“Some of those specific performance ratings should increase with these onetime projects. The overall state ranking, I don’t expect that it will most based on these investments,” Wilson said.
The Bayou State came in 40th for the number of deficient bridges in the state. Wilson admits the state is not spending enough to keep up with the maintenance of our bridges.
“We’ve got a significant number of bridges in our system that are old and have extended or have lived beyond their useful life in terms of their functionality and utility as a bridge,” Wilson said.
Wilson says there’s almost a $13 billion backlog in transportation projects, and it will take more consistent funding resources in order to improve Louisiana’s overall ranking.
“I will spend every onetime dollar that we can compete for, but what we need is a steady infusion of dollars on an annual basis to keep up with the deferred maintenance and to build the projects we need,” Wilson said.
State and federal officials are defending the Shelter at Home program after there have been complaints that the jobs aren’t done to the flood victim’s satisfaction. Deputy Chief of Staff with the Governor’s Office Julie Baxter Payer says the Shelter at Home program is for temporary basic repair.
She says the state is constrained by FEMA guidelines so they cannot help with permanent rebuilding.
“It may not be for everyone. We’ve had questions about ‘wow I didn’t think my sink would have that plain wood look,’ somebody said it kind of looks maybe like my camp and that may not be a bad description of Shelter at Home.”
Alice O’Connor of Baton Rouge, is a shelter at home program recipient. O’Connor says she’s appreciative of the program because she is finally able to live in her house, which is close to work, rather than living in a crowded apartment with family members. She says the first thing contractors did was kill the live electrical wires that could electrocute her.
“It’s just those little small things that can make a big difference. So, I’m grateful for it, of course I’m going to have to do some more mopping and a little bit more cleaning but I’m grateful for it, for sure.”
There are also concerns by many about the Temporary Housing Units and why there aren’t more flood victims already living in the manufactured homes. FEMA representative Tito Hernandez says these mobile homes are a last resort, because it takes a long time to get them set up in a flooded homeowner’s yard.
“So the process is very slow because we need to fix the place and put the mobile home, to tell you an exact date would be very difficult, it depends on all the factors involved in putting them.”
An unusual homicide in Lafayette becomes more and more bizarre as the details unfold. Lafayette Police Officer Karl Ratcliff has confirmed the body of 23-year-old Alannah Montalvo was dismembered in a toolbox on the side of the road, four days after her boyfriend, 36-year-old Barrett Farabee, was shot while trespassing in someone’s backyard.
“The victim and the suspect that passed away in a shooting a few nights prior were involved in that he was the suspect that had indeed murdered the victim,” Ratcliff said.
Montalvo’s body parts were found on Tuesday. Ratcliff says a few days before that Farabee was fatally shot by a homeowner after he spotted him naked and armed with two guns in his backyard on Fanny Street. He says at this time, they are still not sure why the man was naked at 8am.
“We don’t know much about what happened there as far as his reasons and exactly what his state was at the time, but I can tell you that he was armed,” Ratcliff said.
Ratcliff says they are not releasing any details about Montalvo’s murder at this time out of respect for her family. He says Montalvo and Farabee had been in a relationship for quite some time prior to these horrific events.
“We weren’t able to confirm exactly how long. It’s been over an extended period of time. Both of their families were knowledgeable about their relationship,” Ratcliff said.
US Senator Bill Cassidy announced today that Louisiana has been included in a bill that contains $500 million dollars in federal disaster relief. The Governor requested $2.8 billion. Cassidy referred to the half billion as a down payment.
"But the state in the meantime can bring immediate relief, in the form of community development block grants, to those who are still struggling to recover from the flood," said Cassidy."
Governor Edwards issued a statement saying he is hopeful and optimistic that the final version of this bill will include this assistance.
Cassidy said it's actually a good thing that they are not getting the full amount now, because the fund that this money is coming from is limited in what it can be used for.
"It can be used for homeowners. It can be used to get people back to work again," said Cassidy. "But it can not be used for flood mitigation."
Cassidy says Louisiana's relief is coming from two pots of money, this is the first and the second is coming in December. Some of this funding could go to other states, but Cassidy is confident the majority will go to Louisiana. He says as soon as this is passed, the money will be available to the state.
"And I know the state is working hard to put together a mechanism as to how to use the money," said Cassidy. "So I'm sure it will be within several weeks."
The flood aid for Louisiana is contained in legislation that would prevent a government shutdown and it must be approved by next Friday at midnight.
The Military Family Assistance Fund, which was originally set up to support families when a National Guardsman was deployed overseas, is now helping veterans who were affected by the flooding. Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Col. Joey Strickland says the legislature modified the fund to help all veterans who have a financial need.
“We give each veteran a $350 check. They can go to their local service office to get the form or they can apply to get it online.”
Strickland says they hope by the end of this month to give out a total of 350-thousand dollars to flood impacted veterans. Veterans eligible for this aid must show proof of service and a FEMA number. He says it typically takes about three days for veterans to collect the money.
“They fill the form out with their need, put their FEMA number on there and attach a copy of their ID card, their driver’s license or DD214.”
The LDVA estimates 171,000 veterans were impacted by the flooding and those interested in receiving an average check of 350 dollars can fill out a necessary form at the Veterans Service Office in their parish or call (225) 219-5000. Strickland says veterans only need to fill out one form and can either come to headquarters to pick up their check or it can be mailed to them.
“It’s a really good program, we are only one of two states in the nation that does that for our veterans.”
LSU football quarterback Brandon Harris received death threats following the Tiger’s devastating season opening loss to Wisconsin. Head coach Les Miles hopes the person writing these messages doesn’t really know what he is saying and will not act on the threats.
“Football games are certainly awfully important to football coaches, and players, and fans that go to the game but if good ole weekly death threats are something that you’re into then I think maybe you’re making the wrong decisions.”
Harris received one twitter threat telling him to kill himself and another said Harris would be murdered. Miles says they will give the information to law enforcement to find out who is threatening Harris.
“Whatever information that you have, whoever signed off on it, whatever that social media address is. Let’s give it to somebody that can legally go pursue it.”
Harris has been replaced in the last two games by junior Danny Etling. Miles hopes whoever wrote these threats only meant them in a mundane and insincere way but it’s gone too far.
“It’s unconscionable that somebody would do that.”
A viral video showing shoddy work done at house in the Shelter At Home program has many questioning the reliability of the new program. Governor John Bel Edwards responded on his monthly call in radio show, saying he sent crews to inspect the home after seeing the video. He admits the work in that home was not up to standards.
“That home, by the way, had not been finally inspected and approved, and much of the work that you see in that video would not have been approved and would have been redone,” Edwards said.
Edwards did provide some clarification about what work Shelter at Home will complete, and what it will not. He reminded listeners the program pays up to $15-thousand for basic repairs- just enough to make the home livable, while long term renovations continue.
“None of the repairs in the Shelter At Home program are supposed to be permanent. In fact, FEMA cannot fund permanent repairs, and it is a shelter program,” Edwards said.
Edwards says many people have the wrong expectation of what their home will look like once the work is completed. He says Shelter at Home workers are now required what kind of work will be done in their home.
“We’ve started making sure that they are shown pictures of what their house will look like, in terms of the walls, their floors, the bathrooms, the kitchen,” Edwards said.
Governor John Bel Edwards is in Washington, D.C., today continuing the ongoing battle to get federal funding for flood recovery efforts in Louisiana. Edwards says he is optimistic they can get something done before lawmakers recess at the end of the month for the November election.
“In the House and in the Senate on a bipartisan basis, we have been well received, and I sense that there is support for giving us timely and meaningful assistance,” Edwards said.
Republican lawmakers are making the push for Louisiana funding, but Democrats want to include funding for the Flint, Michigan water crisis in the spending bill as well. The state has requested $2.6 billion in federal funding, but Edwards doesn’t expect to get the full amount at once.
“We’re going to get a sizeable down payment on the recovery in the CR, and then we will go back in the lame duck and look for the rest of our relief package,” Edwards said.
The initial flood recovery dollars would be contained in a stop-gap funding bill that would prevent a government shutdown. Edwards hopes it will be approved this month and Congress will approve more funding during the “lame duck” winter session. He says what we need immediately is help with housing.
“That’s what we want the community development block grant for in the immediate term is to provide help to people in the housing,” Edwards said.
Today is the start of the fall season and Louisianans can expect above average temperatures and below normal rainfall. That’s according to state climatologist Barry Keim. Keim says the basis for this forecast is due to a high probability for a La Nina.
“And when we have La Nina, we tend to be hot and dry in Louisiana as the storm tracks are usually to our north under these conditions and we miss out on a lot of the rains here in the state.”
Keim says we’re still seeing high temperatures but we just need to sit tight because fall weather is coming soon.
“Rest assured, within the next couple of weeks we’re likely to see the first significant front is going to move through here and we are going to get a plunge in those temperatures.”
Keim says Louisiana had one of the wettest summers on record in 2016 but there will be a shift in that pattern with dryer than normal conditions over the next three months.
“October is typically our driest month on average. Hopefully we’ll get some drying and that will help us in the recovery from this past devastating flood in August.”
A new poll released by Southern Media and Opinion Research
finds Governor John Bel Edwards’ approval rating is at 63%. That’s a
13% increase from May. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says there is a saying by
a lot elected officials, you never let a crisis go by without taking advantage
of it. He says that what Edwards did by being very visible during the tragic shootings
and the flooding.
“He still has some obstacles in his way to maintaining that but in the present times, you’ve got to be happy with these numbers. He is a Democrat in a Republican state, for now that’s the best he could wish for.”
Pinsonat says the governor still faces some hurdles, especially with housing issues after the flooding. But he says this popularity will likely benefit him during the upcoming legislative session.
“It certainly helps him with the legislature knowing that he’s 63% popular, it’s a little easier to vote for him on tough issues.”
The survey also finds presidential candidate, Democrat Hillary Clinton, has an unfavorable rating in Louisiana of 60%. Pinsonat says Republican Donald Trump has shot in front of her by a good margin and is very popular with white voters in Louisiana.
“This poll confirms that you’re not going to see the democrats spending any money on the presidential. This is a Trump state, it’s going to stay red. The electoral votes in Louisiana will go in his corner.”
According to the poll, if the election were held today, 49% would vote for Trump, 33% for Clinton, and 8% for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. Pinsonat says Trump has high negatives in Louisiana, at 47%, but that’s not anywhere near as bad as Clinton’s.
“Her opportunities are in what’s called the swing states and Louisiana is not one of those. We won’t see Hillary campaigning in Louisiana, she’ll be up in the swing states where she has a chance to win.”
The investigation is ongoing in Lafayette parish about a body that was discovered in a toolbox on the side of the road. Cpl. Bridgett Dugas says they have connected the victim, Alannah Montalvo, with the naked man who was recently shot and killed while trespassing.
“We have now linked the victim, Alannah Montalvo, who is the body that we located, with the actual individual that was shot on Fanny Street,” Dugas said.
Dugas says Montalvo was in a relationship with the naked trespasser, 36-year-old Barrett Farabee. She says they still do not know the exact cause of death for Montalvo, but they do have a suspect in Farabee.
“We are now linking that he is going to be responsible for Montalvo’s death,” Dugas said.
Dugas says police are actively searching for the vehicle the couple was travelling in, a green Honda Accord. She asks anyone who sees the vehicle to contact police.
“We’re asking anyone with information. If you see the vehicle in a parking lot abandoned somewhere, it’s a two door green Honda Accord with a Tennessee license plate,” Dugas said.