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Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards files a lawsuit against Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry for blocking state contracts that contains clauses preventing LGBT discrimination. Edwards says Landry is over stepping his constitutional powers.
 
"It is not his place in the framework of our government to replace my priorities with his own," Edwards said.


But Landry says state lawmakers have refused on numerous occasions to pass laws to prohibit discrimination against sexual orientation and gender identity and he's protecting the will of the legislature.
 
"I look forward to defending the legislature and their priorities and their wishes," Landry said.
 
The elected officials met Friday and couldn't come to an agreement on the anti-discrimination clause in state contracts, which led to the lawsuit.
 
Back in April, the governor issued an executive order that prohibits state government from discriminating against gay and transgender people. Edwards says apparently the attorney general believes the state should discriminate against a certain group of people. 
 
"I believe he is on the wrong side of the law and the wrong side of history, with this particular issue," Edwards said.
 
The Attorney General has rejected at least 40 contracts because it has non-discrimination wording in the documents. Landry says he's trying to protect the taxpayer.
 
"When you go out and place these kinds of provisions inside the contract, I believe it creates additional liabilities and expenses for the state," Landry said.  

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There are more clown sightings popping up around the Bayou State. Rapides Parish Schools are on a soft lockdown after the Sheriff’s Office received a nonspecific Instagram threat believed to be linked to the creepy clowns. Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Lt. Tommy Carnline says they have not released the exact content of the message.

“The message that we received did not name any Rapides Parish Schools whatsoever, but due to a threat of this nature, we look at that, and we take it seriously,” Carnline said.

Carnline says school resource officers are on a heightened state of alert and patrol deputies are closely monitoring schools. He says aside from the clowns being creepy and frightening to many people, they are breaking the law.

“There is a law that says that you can’t wear a mask but only certain times of the year, being Halloween and Mardi Gras,” Carnline said.

There were also three clown sightings in Terrebonne parish within two days. Maj. Malcolm Wolfe with the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office says there were two reported incidents on Wednesday.

“A juvenile said that she was chased in a neighborhood to the bus stop, and the other one was a clown allegedly knocked on a door of a female and ran away when she turned the light on,” Wolfe said.

Wolfe says they have not identified the persons behind the masks in those sightings. He says they did put to rest another sighting on Thursday near the wood line behind an apartment complex, as an 11-year-old boy came forward.

“We found that to be probably not related to what we’ve been investigating and that the kid had just bought the mask earlier that day and was playing a joke with his friends,” Wolfe said.

 
 
 
 

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Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon is concerned about the rising number of deaths from prescription opioid overdoses in Louisiana, and the costs associated with prescription pill addiction. Donelon says for the first time since the Vietnam War, the life expectancy has gone down for white males ages 25 to 35, and he says that’s due in part to the opioid epidemic in the US.

“The mortality tables were reflecting the increased deaths caused by drug overdose in the Unites States amongst white males,” Donelon said.

Donelon says one in six injured workers in Louisiana had longer term use of prescription painkillers than workers in the other 24 states in a study by Workers Compensation Research Institute. He says this is a cost factor for employers accessing coverage for the workers in the workers comp market.

“The longer they are on the drugs related to their original injury, the cost goes up for the insurer and therefore for the employer,” Donelon said.

Donelon says in 2014, 750 people died of opioid overdoses in Louisiana. He says a rising cost of insurance for injured workers is the least of the concerns with this issue.

“That’s a minor factor compared to the devastating effect that getting addicted to these drugs has on the individual worker and his family and loved ones,” Donelon said.

 
 
 
 
 

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President Obama has signed the bill that provides $500 million in federal disaster aid. Executive Director of the state Office of Community Development Pat Forbes says Louisiana is expected to get a little over $400 million of that assistance to help with flood recovery. He says the most urgent need is to help homeowners without flood insurance.

“Things like the homeowner rehabilitation for folks who don’t have insurance or other resources to rebuild their homes, things like interim mortgage assistance.”

Forbes says it will take a couple of months before the money appropriated by Congress gets in the hands of flood victims, because a federal agency will still have to sign off on how Louisiana intends to spend this money. And he says Congress is expected to approve another relief package in December.

“The terrible damage we’ve received from these floods and I think that it’s a great indication that we can expect more help from Washington and we intend to go get that.”

Forbes says ultimately, the decision on where the disaster aid will go is up to the Restore Louisiana Task Force, which is a 21 member panel appointed by the governor. He says this initial $400 million allows victims to really start their recovery process.

“For our most vulnerable citizens out there, that can give them an opportunity to plan their recovery but give them some very real help in terms of getting back in their homes.”

 
 

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By Jeff Palermo
Is it the start of something new or are the next nine games just a transitional period? LaRose native Ed Orgeron will lead the Tigers on the field on Saturday night as they host the Missouri Tigers.
 
Orgeron has said he plans to open up the offense and new offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger has said he wants the play calling to be less predictable.


But the Tigers could be without their best offensive weapon. Orgeron said All-American running back Leonard Fournette is a game time decision, because of an ankle injury that just won't go away.
 
If Fournette can't go, expect Baton Rouge native Derrius Guice to get a majority of the carries. Guice rushed for 161 yards and one touchdown, when Fournette did not play in the Jacksonville State game.
 
Missouri makes its first-ever appearance in Death Valley and they bring a 2-2 record to Tiger Stadium. They beat Eastern Michigan and Delaware State 79-0 and lost to West Virginia and Georgia. The loss to the Bulldogs was a one point defeat.
 
Mizzou is led by sophomore quarterback Drew Lock. He leads the SEC in completions per game, passing touchdowns, and passing yards. His favorite target is J'Mon Moore. The 6-foot-3 junior has 26 catches for 434 yards and 6 touchdowns.
 
The Tigers starting running back, Ish Witter, is only averaging 3.7 yards a carry. Damarea Crockett has been more effective running the ball and has 3 touchdowns on the season.
 
Missouri's defensive numbers are in the middle pack of the SEC. Mizzou's leading tackler is an NFL prospect. Inside linebacker Michael Scherer has 29 total tackles and and an interception. Defensive end Charles Harris led the SEC in tackles for a loss last season and this year he has 4 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and three sacks.
 
LSU is nearly a two touchdown favorite, but nothing has come easy for the Bayou Bengals. I like LSU to win 28-21.  

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The Wildest Show in the South gets underway this weekend, as the Angola Rodeo returns Sunday on the grounds of the state prison. Angola spokesperson Gary Young says the rodeo is held every Sunday in October, and the gates open at 9am.

“We encourage them to come on in for 9 o’clock because that gives you ample time to go through all of our acres and acres of offender made arts and crafts,” Young said.

Young says the rodeo benefits Louisiana Corrections Workforce Reentry Program, which helps inmates learn how to become productive members of society once they are released. He says the rodeo is known for the arts and crafts that are sold there and there’s plenty of other stuff to do before the rodeo begins.

“There’s a kiddie land section, there’re food courts, there’re bands. So you can spend the day, and all this leads up to the rodeo, which starts at 2pm,” Young said.

Young says the arts and crafts made by the Angola prisoners are all reasonably priced. He says the inmates pay sales taxes on the items, but they get to keep some of the money they earn from the sales.

“Those funds allow them to support their family. We’ve had folks that have been able to buy Christmas gifts for their children, to help their families, and this all raises their self-esteem,” Young said.

Tickets are still available at AngolaRodeo.com.

 
 
 
 
 

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New FEMA flood maps go into effect today impacting three southeast Louisiana parishes. FEMA Assistant Administrator, David Maurstad, says 60,000 homeowners who are currently in the high risk mandatory purchase area are moving to a low to moderate risk, which means flood insurance is no longer federally required by lenders and residents might be eligible for lower rates on their policy.

“It’s increased flood protection, it’s better drainage systems. So, it’s a combination of changes in the circumstances there.”

Maurstad says even if a homeowner’s risk goes down with the new maps, they still need to be prepared for the next flooding event

“It’s not covered under their normal homeowner’s policy. If they have a flood policy, keep it. If they don’t have one, with the new maps, if they’re in that low to moderate risk area they can get a relatively affordable policy.”

The changes to the FEMA flood maps will impact residents in Orleans, Jefferson and St. Bernard Parishes. Maurstad says even though they’ve improved flood control infrastructure in this area, it’s still a risk for flooding.

“Historically, on an average year, 20% of our claims come in those low to moderate risk areas. So, people need to, if they have a policy, maintain it.”

 
 

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Michelle Southern reporting.
Saturday night will be the first time LSU interim head coach Ed Orgeron will get to show whether he has what it takes to turn the season around. College Football analyst Mike Detillier says the team has been playing without excitement this season, but you can be sure Coach "O" will get their attention real quick.


"And you're already seeing it," said Detillier. "You're hearing it from players about how practices are different, how communication is different. He'll get their attention."

Former head coach Les Miles essentially ended up losing his job for failing to establish a passing game. Detillier says Coach "O" is changing up the way that they practice, so that they aren't doing the same thing over and over every week.

"It will be more like the pros do," said Detillier. "They will determine what is best for your player, against that opponent."

Detillier says it's more of a game plan that changes week-to-week, and that's the big difference you'll see with the team.

Detillier says it's been almost as if the players need jumper cables.

"They were not a very focused football team, they did not play with a sense of urgency and really had no pep in their step," said Detillier. "They will under Orgeron."

The game Saturday night in death valley kicks off at 6:30.
 
 
 
 
 

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The Deepwater Horizon movie premieres in theaters today and shows the story of the lives lost during the 2010 rig explosion off the coast of Louisiana. Lt Governor Billy Nungesser was the president of Plaquemines Parish when 11 crew members were killed in the worst offshore oil disaster in U.S. history and he says this movie accurately portrayed what went on during the blast.

“That night from them trying to save the rig, to them getting off on the boat and of course my involvement was from that night listening on the radio as they pulled people from the water.”

The movie was filmed in Louisiana. Nungesser says he spoke with oil rig engineer Mike Williams, the survivor played by Mark Wahlberg, and he said he was impressed and was glad the film honors those who died. He believes many things can be learned from this horrific experience and by watching the reenactment.

“Some bad decisions were made before that explosions, so hopefully the industry and we all learn some valuable lessons.”

Nungesser says Deepwater Horizon is a well done film and demonstrates everyone who works on the rig is a big family.

“It was a great movie all around, and I think it will do well and serve memories well of the survivors, as well as, those that lost their life.”

 
 

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The Louisiana National Guard says the bunker that exploded at Camp Minden operated the way it was designed to handle such a blast, as it contained and controlled the M6 propellant. Matt Harris with Louisiana State Police says no people or property were hurt in the explosion.

“Those bunkers are designed to make that explosion go upward, and it minimized the effect in the surrounding area,” Harris said.

About 15 million pounds of explosives were moved to Camp Minden after they were improperly stored several years ago. Harris says the earth covered bunkers are made to withstand that kind of blast to keep the debris and the damage to a minimum.

“We also posted a video, and although it looks like a huge explosion, it’s actually very minimal compared to what we had four years ago,” Harris said.

Harris says they still aren’t sure exactly why the M6 went off spontaneously, but their investigation into the matter is ongoing.

“Basically all this is from here on out is an investigation as to why this explosion happened, what caused it to happen, and how we can prevent it from happening in the future,” Harris said.

 
 
 
 
 

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A video of a Louisiana man dancing in the delivery room around his pregnant wife has gone viral. The dancing daddy, 29-year-old Sky Jones, says he made the video to cheer up the people in his hometown after a man was shot and killed a few days before.

“I’m from Mansfield, Louisiana, and we just had a little tragic accident and a friend of ours had got killed. I just wanted to do something to bring a little joy to my city,” Jones said.

Jones’ Facebook video has more than 11,000 views, and it has been shared nearly 200 times. He says while his followers enjoyed the video, his wife was not pleased when he was dancing around her hospital bed to Starrkeisha’s song “The Baby Momma Dance.”

“She wasn’t too happy at all while I was dancing. She was in pain and grabbing onto the bed. She wasn’t too happy, but she was laughing afterwards,” Jones said.

Jones says he didn’t expect the video to go viral. He says he was excited about the birth of his first biological son, Sky Jones Jr. He says he’s gotten a positive reaction to the video.

“A lot of females are saying I wish my husband or my baby daddy would do that for me, this and that and whatnot. Everybody was getting a kick out of it,” Jones said.

(photo courtesy of Facebook)
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Congress has approved $400 million for flood recovery efforts in Louisiana, but when that money will be available to flood victims is still up in the air. Lafayette City-Parish president Joel Robideaux says people are looking for answers, and that’s something local officials can’t give them right now.

“Our folks are having to make decisions about what to do with their house, and they don’t have the money to fix it. They have a mortgage, and they’ve got to make some really tough decisions,” Robideaux said.

Robideaux sits on the Recovery Louisiana Task Force and he says they hope to come up with some kind of solution in the next few weeks. He says one option to get immediate aid to people could be a bridge loan from a bank, similar to what was done for small businesses after Katrina.

“When you get the recovery dollars, it’ll come to pay off the loan. Whatever balance is left on there, maybe that’s when the SBA loan program steps in and then takes over that loan at an even lower interest,” Robideaux said.

Robideaux says 4,000 homes were impacted in Lafayette parish. He says they have a lot of questions, and solutions are hard to come by. But he says Lafayette residents are resilient, and they are doing what they can while they wait for answers.

“The homeowners and their friends are hanging sheet rock and floating it and doing it all themselves for those that can, but for a lot of folks they’re really just in this no man’s land,” Robideaux said.

 
 
 
 
 

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The Louisiana Economic Outlook shows the state will lose 17,000 jobs this year because of low oil prices. LSU economist Dr. Loren Scott released the report and says the state has been in a recession since August 2015.

“Houma and Lafayette in particular are losing a lot of jobs right now and that’s so many jobs that totally offset any gains that we’re picking up in Baton Rouge and Lake Charles,” Scott said.

The report says Lafayette lost 9,000 jobs this year and is expected to lose 5,000 more in 2017. Scott says the big problem in the Lafayette and Houma areas is the decline of working oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.

“We need oil prices in the $55 to $60 range for the Gulf of Mexico to come back and right now we’re hoping that will occur in the latter part of 2017, early part of 2018.”

Scott says job growth will remain flat in Shreveport, Monroe, Alexandria and New Orleans, while Baton Rouge and Lake Charles will see employment gains because of the industrial boom.

“We’ve gone from what was historically $5 billion being a really good number of industrial announcements to $140 million, just an astounding number.”

Scott doesn’t believe the flooding will impact the economy but will create an uptick in construction employment.

 
 

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An explosion lit up the sky at Camp Minden in Webster Parish around 5:00 this morning. The Louisiana National Guard reports a storage bunker filled with M6 propellant exploded. Crews have been working around the clock to destroy these explosives, which were improperly stored several years ago. Minden Representative Gene Reynolds says thankfully no one was injured.

“One of the bunkers out on the east side blew up where they were storing the materials, and they’re not sure right now exactly what happened to cause the explosion,” Reynolds said.

Explosive Service International is responsible for the destruction of all 15 million pounds of explosives being stored at Camp Minden. Reynolds says they were not surprised some of the explosives spontaneously went off.

“The material is getting old, and it’s becoming volatile, and so everybody understood that this was a possibility for one of these bunkers to explode at some point,” Reynolds said.

Louisiana State Police is conducting an investigation into the blast. Over 6.2 million pounds of the propellant has been destroyed since the operation began in April. Reynolds says he wouldn’t be shocked if this happened again before all the M6 has been destroyed.

“As the material gets older, it’s just chemistry, and it could happen again, and hopefully it’ll be in a bunker. We hope that it does not happen, but it will not surprise me,” Reynolds said.

 
 
 
 
 

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New data from the FBI finds Louisiana’s murder rate is once again higher than any other state in the country. The state recorded 10.3 murders per 100,000 people in 2015, a slight increase from 2014. Louisiana has had the highest murder rate in the country since 1989. Criminologist Dr. Peter Scharf with the LSU School of Public Health says the state’s high incarceration rate contributes to the large number of murders.

“People come out of jail, and in north Baton Rouge and New Orleans they often get absorbed back into the drug, dope, gun world, and this feeds the murderousness in the city,” Scharf said.

New Orleans has the highest rate in the state, followed by Monroe and Baton Rouge. And the Crescent City ranks 8th in the country for murder rates among major metropolitan areas. Scharf says there’s a national trend for increasing murder rates, but he believes Louisiana is leading the trend, not following it.

“When you’re the bottom in health, education, social welfare, child advocacy, you’re going to be high in murder. That’s just the way it is,” Scharf said.

Scharf says a murder costs the state between $1 million and $6 million. He says preventative measures are much more affordable than the costs of violent crimes.

“We can’t afford that. We don’t have the money to pay for the consequences of gun violence, and we have to avert it well before,” Scharf said.

 
 
 
 

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Congress approves legislation that contains $500 million in federal disaster assistance. About $400 million will go to Louisiana for flood relief. Republican Senator David Vitter says this is just a start, more federal aid is expected in December. He says this is great news for thousands of Louisianans struggling to recover from the historic flooding event.

“Over $2 billion has been appropriately requested, so I think this is a significant and important down payment toward completing that in December.”

Vitter says the other $100 million of aid will assist other states with natural disaster damage. He says his colleagues from other parts of the country had a hard time understanding the level of destruction that took place in Louisiana.

“It’s a big, big event, a 100,000 year flood. Most members from other states had no idea because of the lack of adequate reporting by the national media. I think we’ve overcome that.”

Vitter says this money should first go to homeowners who were not in the flood zone and received water damage. He says it’s not uncommon for a middle to low class family to have over $100,000 of uninsured damages.

“Not because they did anything wrong, not because they were negligent not getting flood insurance, but because they were way outside of a flood zone.”

It will be up to the Restore Louisiana Taskforce to determine where flood relief dollars will go.

 
 

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The body cam video has been released of the police shooting that left a 6-year-old autistic boy dead in Marksville last November. The graphic video shows deputy city marshal Derrick Stafford firing into a vehicle, where Jeremy Mardis was seated in the passenger seat. Legal analyst Tim Meche says it doesn’t look good for Stafford.

“This particular video appears to be the most outrageously unjustified shooting that we have seen thus far,” Meche said.

Prosecutors showed the tape in court Wednesday to show Stafford has a history of excessive force. Meche says the video probably would have been released sooner, if there was more media attention around the incident.

“This is evidence in the case. It should have been released a long time ago,” Meche said.

The father, Christopher Few, was critically wounded in the shooting. Defense attorneys have said Few rammed his car into the deputy’s vehicle before he fired, but Meche says the video does not show the vehicle used as a weapon at the time of the shooting.

“We apparently have a clear case of police overstepping their bounds,” Meche said.

 
 
 
 
 

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A Bossier Parish School Board committee has decided not to let MTV film a TV show at two of their schools. School Board member Dennis Bamburg is the chairman of the Buildings and Grounds Committee and he says Barcroft Productions wanted to film three students, because they have chosen to practice abstinence.

“This particular production company has covered some very controversial subjects, and it just felt like something that we didn’t really want to get involved in,” Bamburg said.

Barcroft has produced shows like Young, Trans and In Love, Inside the Ku Klux Klan, and Body Bizarre. Bamburg says the show would have supposedly centered on the students decision to be celibate, but they didn’t believe that’s how it would air on MTV.

“With the controversy of their other productions that they’ve put together, we just felt uncomfortable about how this one may be spun once it gets out, and we’d have no control over that,” Bamburg said.

Bamburg says anything that uses school facilities has to come before the committee. He says the school system doesn’t want any part of the show, because the movie industry and schools don’t mix.

“I’m just not sure we want to join those two entities. The movie industry probably doesn’t fit with sometimes character morals of a school system,” Bamburg said.

 
 
 
 
 

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State Superintendent of Education John White is eager to make changes to the way public schools are rated as a way to comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act. The federal law targets increasing student achievement. White says Louisiana is developing a plan to be approved by the federal government by next year. And one of their ideas is fewer standardized tests.

“Have proposed a dramatic reduction of state testing, in particular at the high school level, by moving from two groups of tests, for high school students, to one group of tests.”

White says to reduce testing they are requiring that state testing never take up more than 2 % of all instructional minutes in a school year. He says they are addressing that Louisiana students too often graduate without the fundamental skills necessary to succeed in college or the workplace.

“We therefore in this framework, have included an increased set of expectations for what’s expected upon graduating and for what’s expected for a school to receive an “A” in the accountability system.”

White says the framework also proposes that the accountability system do more to honor the progress of all students, even if the student doesn’t receive high marks. He adds schools need particular support in identifying specific learning needs early.

“Such as dyslexia, disabilities, and giftedness. We propose here to support them in doing that, to use funds to support them in doing that, and to reward them when they do it.”

 
 

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Governor John Bel Edwards tells the Restore Louisiana Task Force they have the important job of helping flood victims get back on their feet. The task force, which was appointed by the governor, is in charge of determining how federal flood recovery dollars will be spent. The state could receive billions of dollars and Edwards says it must be used appropriately.

“The bottom line is we’ve got to help families displaced by the flood to make the viable decision as soon as possible to return home,” Edwards said.

President Barack Obama has asked Congress to approve $2.6 billion for Louisiana’s flood recovery. Edwards says early estimates show there was $8.7 billion in damage from the August flood, and that doesn’t include public infrastructure. He says another 29,000 homes were damaged in the March flood. He says the task force has to do something to help these people.

“We’re not just moving people home, but we’re going to move people home and do it in such a way that they are less likely in the future to flood,” Edwards said.

There’s legislation up for debate in the Senate that would provide $500 million in federal flood aid for multiple states. Edwards says it is likely Louisiana will receive the bulk of Community Development Block Grant Funding in the lame duck session after the November election.

“I don’t want you all to focus so much on what’s going on with Congress. I want you to focus on what we’re going to do for the people of Louisiana, and the Congressional delegation is going to make sure that we get the assistance that we need,” Edwards said.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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