The state Republican Party claims Governor John Bel Edwards is using the flood to raise money for his re-election campaign. Executive Director of the Louisiana GOP, Jason Dore, says the governor attended a fundraising event one night during one of his trips to Washington, D.C., to get more federal aid for flood victims.
“I think that it shows he had a split focus. He wasn’t singularly focused on bringing back recovery for Louisiana and making sure that we are made whole and that FEMA is held accountable for all of its actions,” Dore said.
But the governor’s Communications Director, Richard Carbo, says the event was held at night, after a long day of fighting for federal assistance. He says no state dollars went towards the reception event for the fundraiser.
“He took it a step further and paid for his accommodations through his campaign. So he’s being very transparent about it and being very responsible with the taxpayer funds,” Carbo said.
Dore also says Edwards has not been hard enough on FEMA regarding their delayed response to flood victims.
“The governor has taken the positon of defending FEMA and promoting their response, but there’s a lot lacking according to the people that have been having to deal with FEMA’s response every day,” Dore said.
Dore claims Central Mayor Jr. Shelton had to go through a Congressman to get more flood relief supplies. Carbo says there are many different ways to go about getting more assistance, and Shelton just chose another route and has been complimentary of the governor’s response.
“He’s been very complimentary of the governor’s response to the flooding. They’re mischaracterizing what the mayor has said, and there’re definitely processes that are in place,” Carbo said.
As the November 8 election draws closer, more and more candidates for US Senate are taking their campaigns to the airwaves. State Treasurer John Kennedy aired his first commercial during last night’s Saints game. Jeremy Alford of LaPolitics.com says it was unusual that the ad was a full 60 seconds.
“We usually see candidates stick to this 30 second format. Kennedy doubled that with a single buy during an expensive time frame, and this is a guy that’s going to have cash to compete, and now that he’s up on TV, he’s going to stay on TV,” Alford said.
Alford says the commercials are helping candidates introduce themselves to voters, many for the first time. Republican businessman Abhay Patel airs his first commercial today. Alford says the debates will solidify some positions on policy issues, but that poses a problem in such a crowded field.
“You’ve got an hour dedicated to a debate. If you put 24 people up on stage, it’s not going to give you much of a preview of where these folks stand,” Alford said.
Congressman John Fleming is also running a new ad. Alford says we’ll likely see more ads from candidates attacking their opponents in the near future. He says Kennedy will likely be a target, given the lead he had in the beginning of the race.
“There’s the perception that John Kennedy is sitting on a good number of votes, and they’re going to have to whack him pretty good to shake some of those loose,” Alford said.
Political experts say last night's presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is one of the most bizarre ever at that level of politics. LSU Political Science Professor Robert Hogan says it's due, in part, to the sharp personal jabs they took at each other.
He says there was also an unusual lack of actual substance in the debate.
"There was a lot of talk about each others personal finances," said Hogan. "But not a lot about what policy proposals they each would favor."
Hogan says he doesn't feel there was a clean winner in the debate, but it seems as though Clinton presented a better case to support her position. He says Trump seemed to have difficulty making his points clear to the public -- but he's staying true to his style.
"The one liner zingers and his desire to only speak in very general terms," said Hogan.
Hogan says both candidates played the roles a lot of people anticipated they would. He says they both often cut each other off and, as we've seen from Trump in the past, the GOP candidate mostly gave way to rants.
"I think that Hillary Clinton handled it quite well given that this is far different, really, than any other debate we've ever seen out of two major nominees," said Hogan.
Bayou Country Superfest announces the 8th annual music festival with be held in New Orleans at the Mercedes Benz Superdome over the 2017 Memorial Day Holiday. Producer and Director of the Superfest Quint Davis says the three-day concert will start with a free and open to the public concert on Friday, May 26th in Champions Square. He says they want this to be the new country superfest in every way.
“So we’re going to have more talent than we’ve had before and more headline talent on any given night than we’ve had before.”
The lineup and ticket details will be announced on December 1st. Davis says LSU and Tiger Stadium were always welcoming to the Superfest and will forever be the father of the festival. He says now that the festival is indoors, there is more opportunity to get creative with lighting.
“Because of it having a roof, we’re able to create productive value with hanging things from the roof in the stage we had at Tiger Stadium.”
Davis says the Superdome was the only other location in that state which could hold over 40,000 concert-goers. He says visitors have access to more than 35,000 hotels rooms within walking distance of the festival.
“After the show, the French Quarter is across the street. It’s what New Orleans is known for, having a big party, having the top infrastructure for a major national event.”
Three strippers are suing the state over the new law that requires dancers in clubs to be at least 21-years-old. Legal analyst Tim Meche doesn’t think the suit will be successful because challenges to the federal drinking age requirement were struck down.
“Generally government has a right to regulate activities of those of a certain age,” Meche said.
The suit also claims the law is sexist and would not apply to men because exotic dancers are defined as “entertainers whose breasts or buttocks are exposed to view” in the law. Meche doesn’t think that claim will go far in the courtroom.
“The other novel theory that this only applies to females and not males is a very innovative claim. I admire the person who came up with that,” Meche said.
The dancers, identified as Jane Doe I, II, and III, allege that the law violates their First Amendment right to free expression, in the form of erotic dance. State Alcohol and Tobacco Control officers plan on enforcing the new law on October 1st. Meche doesn’t think the dancers will win the law suit.
“I don’t think it’s going to be successful ultimately,” Meche said.
Five weeks after the historic flooding in south Louisiana, many people still have debris piled up in their front yards. Spokesperson for the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Mike Steele, says crews have hit the 55% mark for completion of debris removal.
“There was an estimated 4.8 million cubic yards, or about 80,000 truckloads, of debris left after the flooding in August,” Steele said.
Steele says crews have been hard at work for the past several weeks, and it will likely be a few more weeks before all the debris has been removed. He says they are asking the public to be patient.
“A lot of times they’re on some of the main corridors for people trying to get back and forth to work. So we’re asking the public to be patient, be safe around these vehicles, and just give the crews time to help up get this done,” Steele said.
Steele says they have more crews working now, so hopefully the second half of the cleanup will go faster than the first. He says they are asking people to sort their debris into different categories to make the cleanup process easier.
“They want to make sure that people continue dividing it up into categories like household garbage, construction debris, vegetative debris, household hazardous waste, and also electronics,” Steele said.
As thousands of residents in south Louisiana continue to put the pieces of their life back together, it feels to many like this nightmare will never end. But former Governor Kathleen Blanco says one of her biggest takeaways from Hurricane Katrina is that people in Louisiana are fighters, and they don't give up.
"We live in this magnificent land that has now presented us with severe challenges," said Blanco. "But it's a place that we love."
Blanco says last night's game in the Superdome was a reminder about how resilient communities can be, as it was 10 years ago that New Orleans got a rebirth when the facility reopened for the first time since the storm. She says we will recover from this.
"All of the people who got flooded will find that point where they can recreate their lives," said Blanco.
Blanco encourages residents to keep their heads held high, because this too shall pass. She says the "new normal" will be better in many ways.
"They will have lost things that give them pain," said Blanco. "But at the same time if they can survive the flooding they can survive the rebuilding."
For the second consecutive year, the Saints start their season with three consecutive losses. New Orleans lost to Atlanta 45-32 Monday night.
The game started well as the Saints jumped out to a 7-0 lead, but the game turned when De'Vante Harris ran over returner Tommylee Lewis, causing a muffed punt and giving Atlanta the ball on the New Orleans 11-yard line.
Three pays later, the Falcons scored its first touchdown of the game to tie the score at 7.
New Orleans banged up defense couldn't slow down Atlanta for much of the game. The Falcons rushed for 217 yards. Devonta Freeman rushed for 152 yards and also had 52 yards receiving.
Atlanta QB Matt Ryan threw for 240 yards and two touchdowns. He was sacked twice and did not turn the ball over.
Saints QB Drew Brees threw for 376 yards and three touchdowns. He was intercepted once. Former LSU Tiger Deion Jones caught a tipped pass and returned it 90 yards for a touchdown.
New Orleans will look for its first win this Sunday at San Diego.
LSU interim head coach Ed Orgeron promises changes to LSU’s offense. The Tigers rank dead last in the SEC in passing and 12th in the league in total offense. Orgeron says they want to spread the ball around and make the passing game more dynamic.
"I have a different passing game, we want to be more creative, find ways for the quarterback to get the ball down the field, throwing it," Orgeron said.
Orgeron replaces Les Miles, who was criticized for his antiquated offense that included poor clock management. Coach “O” says he doesn’t want to repeat the mistakes made in the past.
"We are going to work very hard on that practice, we are going to work very hard on clock management," Orgeron said. "I'll have someone in the press box that is specifically in charge of clock management and game management."
Orgeron will make his debut as interim head coach on Saturday night when the Tigers take on Missouri. He wants his team to feel strong on Saturday, so he’ll have them on the practice field less during the week.
"We'll play with energy, less time on the practice field, more time in the meeting room, hopefully we're fresh and hopefully you'll see some excitement on sideline, I know one guy who is excited."
Orgeron has suspended indefinitely defensive tackle Davon Godchaux. He was arrested early this morning on misdemeanor charges after he was also involved in what the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s office is calling a tussle with his girlfriend.
Godchaux was charged with false imprisonment, domestic abuse battery/child endangerment. A 10-month old was in the room with the fighting couple.
Education leaders in Louisiana are looking at ways to improve public education, in compliance with a new federal law that goes into effect next school year. State Superintendent John White says the Every Student Succeeds Act is the first federal education law passed since 2001, and it requires states to outline a plan for improving education. He says he’s confident Louisiana can make great strides in education, as long as the students remain the focus of the discussions.
“We must not allow our debate to be distracted by the adult issues that for too long have characterized not just public education, but many realms of public policy in our state,” White said.
During Governor Bobby Jindal’s second term, White was involved in a very public spat with Jindal over Common Core academic standards.
White says Louisiana is making strides in education, like improving math and reading test scores among 4th graders and overall ACT scores. He says better preparing teachers while they are still in college could also have an impact in K-12 classrooms.
“Just as lawyers, doctors, and architects, our teachers should receive a full year residency in the classroom so that teaching can be treated as a white collar profession, just as those others are,” White said.
White says in the near future, they will draft the framework for a plan to improve education in Louisiana. He says the plan outline will be made available to the public.
“Our goal in issuing this draft framework will be to elicit questions, to promote dialogue, to ensure that every corner of our state has had a chance to speak on specific ideas,” White said.
Michelle Southern reporting.
LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva spoke with reporters along with interim Head Coach Ed Orgeron today. He said making the decision to terminate Les Miles was not an easy one to make, but changes within the program had to take place.
"A change is necessary to give the players the best opportunity to succeed," said Alleva. "And at the end of the day, it's all about the players. And their experience and where they're going in their lives."
Alleva said Miles is loved by his players because he cares about them as people and he did a great job developing them into fine young men. Alleva said he felt that, at this time, Coach O is the right man to take over the program.
"His enthusiasm is contagious," said Alleva. "He has outstanding leadership characteristics, and I still believe this team has great things ahead of it."
Miles was criticized for not being able to produce an effective offensive line. In his introduction to LSU, Orgeron said there will be changes under his leadership.
"You can expect a new coaching staff and a new style of play on offense," said Orgeron.
Former LSU football coach Les Miles said he’s feeling good one day after his firing. Miles was a guest this morning on the “Dan Patrick Show on DirecTV’s Audience.” Miles says he was told of his firing during a face-to-face meeting with Athletic Director Joe Alleva and the Tigers former head man said he didn’t fight the decision.
"I'm for the Tigers, and anything that they see that makes the Tigers better then I'm for it," said Miles.
Miles was the head coach at LSU for 11-plus seasons. He won 77-percent of his games, including a BCS National Championship and two SEC titles. The mad hatter says he’s fortunate to have the opportunity to coach the Tigers.
"Are you kidding me? I have had a great run at LSU and I have enjoyed myself the entire time," said Miles.
This Saturday LSU will host Missouri for homecoming. Miles says he may go to Tallahassee to see Florida State play North Carolina. His son, Manny, is a walk-on quarterback for the Tar Heels. During the nearly 10-minute interview, Miles indicated he would like to coach again.
"I would have a difficult time not being involved in the game and not being a coach," said Miles.
A new poll shows it’s a tight race for the open US Senate seat in Louisiana. John Couvillon, with JMC Analytics and Polling, says five candidates have an opportunity to make the runoff as there’s been movement since he surveyed this race in July.
“John Kennedy has dropped quite a bit in the poll, and the other candidates Foster Campbell and Charles Boustany have stayed relatively constant, although they currently are dominating the field,” Couvillon said.
The poll paid for by Congressman John Fleming’s campaign shows Congressman Charles Boustany and Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell are tied for the lead at 15%, and Fleming and New Orleans attorney Caroline Fayard are just behind them at third and fourth place respectively. Couvillon says former front runner John Kennedy’s numbers have dropped 7 percentage points to 11%.
“The challenge that Kennedy has right now is the perception of overconfidence, compounded by the fact that he has not yet been on TV or made appearances and so forth,” Couvillon said.
Couvillon says the poll also found that 25% of voters are still undecided, which he says is not surprising.
“Nothing abnormal about that because this is a late breaking race in a crowded field, and obviously those numbers are going to start to ratchet down,” Couvillon said.
Presidential candidates, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, will duke it out tonight in their first debate. The debate will air from 8 to 9:30 p.m. Central Time. ULM Political Science Professor Dr. Joshua Stockley expects viewers will see the combination of information and candidate sparring.
He says these are two individuals who recognize the clock is ticking on the campaign and the polls are tight.
“I would expect both candidates to attempt to make the case in some sort of policy fashion as to what their presidency would mean for Americans.”
Stockley says both Trump and Clinton will take shots at each other in an attempt to demonstrate to Americans how the other candidate is unfit.
“I would expect a lot of attention to be given to their plans for achieving prosperity, simultaneously, what are their plans for securing this country.”
Stockley says the candidates will likely touch on the recent shootings around the country and the protests that are sparking. He says African Americans and the law enforcement community have some questions to be answered.
“The future president of the United States needs to have a plan to address the issues that certain segments of our population are having with our law enforcement community.”
After 114 wins, a BCS National Championship and two SEC championships, Les Miles is no longer the head coach at LSU. Miles, along with LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron were let go, after a bad loss to Auburn to drop their record to 2-2.
Safety Jamal Adams says Miles spoke with the team before he left.
"That man is so passionate about LSU. He's been here for 12 years, he recruited me," said Adams. "I think that he was very emotional as far as letting go."
Senior wide receiver Travin Dural of Breaux Bridge says he showed up to a 5:00 meeting and never thought he would be told that Miles was let go.
"I'm still surprised. I wasn't expecting this at all," said Dural. "Coach Miles is a great coach and he's done a lot of great things for this program."
South LaFourche High School and Northwestern State grad, Ed Orgeron, takes over as the interim head coach. He was the Tigers defensive line coach and a former head coach at Ole Miss and interim head coach at USC. Dural looks forward to what Coach “O” can bring to the team.
"He's very energetic and has a lot of energy. He's always ready to go," said Dural. "He knows a lot about football, he's been in this position before so I'm expecting him to have some success."
Monday is the deadline for Livingston parish pet owners to claim pets that were lost in the flood, and then shelters will start adopting them out. Executive Director of the Humane Society of Louisiana, Jeff Dorson, says they have been sheltering over 500 pets from the Livingston parish area since the flood, but they could only hold them for 45 days.
“If people haven’t reclaimed their animals by now, we’re going to allow the public to adopt them out. So that was a grace period we established with our rescue partners,” Dorson said.
Dorson says people who lost a pet should check the Livingston Reuniting Pets Facebook page or contact the Humane Society of Louisiana. He says adoption counselors can help people find their lost pets.
“Try and have a picture of your pet, any kind of medical records, anything to help us determine proper ownership. That would go a long way,” Dorson said.
Dorson says pets are being sheltered around Louisiana and in other states, so finding a pet after this deadline will be a challenge. He says there is a local shelter people can visit if they want to adopt a pet that was displaced during the flood.
“We have a wonderful disaster center for pets in Amite. It’s in week number three now. We have about 30 dogs,” Dorson said.
Tonight's Saints-Falcons game marks the 10th anniversary of the Mercedes Benz Superdome reopening after Hurricane Katrina. Former Governor Kathleen Blanco was instrumental in prioritizing the repair of the football stadium.
Blanco says the building's roof was badly damaged and it was a symbol of despair for New Orleans. The former governor says despite the criticism, she knew they could turn the dome back into a symbol of victory.
“Every square inch of it, the ceiling, the seating, the walls, every square inch of it was now covered with mold and mildew and it was really, really a nasty place.”
Blanco says repairing the stadium in nine months rather than the predicted 2 years was a huge endeavor. She says Saints owner Tom Benson promised if they could open the Superdome before the 2006 season, he wouldn’t move the Saints.
“And he said the NFL did not want to be seen as leaving one of its cities in its most dire moment.”
Blanco faced criticism as many wondered why fix the Superdome when thousands needed help. The former governor says the money could only go into repairs of the building and they received funds from the NFL and FEMA. She says in the end, she received many public apologies.
“But I knew as governor, it was more than just putting a football stadium back together. It was highly symbolic. You know, people here love the Saints whether they’re winning or losing.”
By Jeff Palermo
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.
By Jeff Palermo
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.
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