Louisiana News
Subscribe To This Feed

The LSU AgCenter will pitch its plan to grow the state’s medical marijuana today at a public meeting that will be attended by potential private investors. Chancellor of the LSU AgCenter, Dr. Bill Richardson, says they have about 450 people signed up to come to the meeting.

“This is an opportunity for the LSU AgCenter to tell the public and potential contractors about where we are with the medical marijuana program, what are immediate plans are, where we’re going in the near future,” Richardson said.

LSU and Southern University have agreed to grow medical marijuana in line with the plan that was established by state legislators earlier this year. Richardson says for the plan to work and they need private businesses to assist the AgCenter with the growing, shipping, storing, and securing of the medical cannabis.

“We’re not really necessarily looking for investors as much as we are somebody to contract with us. Now the contractors may have people who invest in their company, there could be a lot of that going on,” Richardson said.

The AgCenter is not using state dollars to finance the growing process. LSU estimates operating the growing facility will cost more than $1 million for the first year, and over $5 million for the next five years. Richardson says it will take just over $11 million total to grow the medical pot.

“We think we’ve got it ball parked in a pretty good area. We hope that we can find a way to do it a little cheaper for anybody that’s really interested in contracting with us, but we had to be realistic about what it will take to do this,” Richardson said.



Subscribe To This Feed

A new poll from the University of New Orleans shows Republican John Kennedy with a strong lead in the US Senate race at 22%. UNO pollster Ed Chervenak says Republican Charles Boustany and Democrat Foster Campbell are tied for second at 15%. He says it will be a close race for the second runoff spot.

“I think it is going to go down to the wire. They’ve been pretty close in the polls up until this point, and there’s no reason to think that will change anytime soon,” Chervenak said.

Republican John Fleming polled at 11% to come in fourth place. Chervenak says for Boustany to make the runoff, he has to improve his numbers somehow, which could mean more attack ads are coming.

“He’s got to keep Fleming down and also keep Kennedy within distance. So we can expect more negative advertising against Kennedy from the Boustany campaign,” Chervenak said.

Democrat Caroline Fayard isn’t far behind Campbell, as she polled at 10%. Chervenak says if Campbell wants to surpass Boustany and get in the runoff, he’ll have to take votes away from Fayard.

“Foster Campbell is going to have to coalesce the African American and the democratic vote behind him. Caroline Fayard’s getting a significant portion of that vote. So he needs to convince them to come to his side,” Chervenak said.



Subscribe To This Feed

Today, Camp Minden officials will begin burning off volatile explosives that are stored in three bunkers at the Louisiana National Guard Facility in Webster Parish. Col. Ed Bush says 200,000 pounds of explosives are left of the 320,000 pounds that have been stored at Camp Minden since the company that was storing them improperly went out of business. He says they plan on burning one of the three bunkers today.

“They will get into the bunker, open the bunker’s doors remotely, and then they will essentially incinerate the contents of the bunker,” Bush said.

Bush says they will conduct three burns, and today’s is the smallest, with 820 pounds of Clean Burning Ignitor being stored in this bunker. He says they expect the unstable CBI to ignite and burn up quickly. He says they are prepared for anything that might go wrong.

“There’s a potential for other things, and we’ve planned for that to include the possibility of some fires. So all those folks will be on standby to help deal with any residual effects after the fact,” Bush said.

Today’s explosion will be conducted between 11 am and 1 pm, as long as weather conditions are favorable. The second bunker will be burned on Sunday, and the third will be ignited November 5. Bush says everyone involved in this process is a subject matter expert in their field. He says they do not anticipate any problems with any of these explosions.

“A team of Army explosive experts are there on the grounds today figuring out exactly how they’re going to take care of the problem and eliminate the problem. I think it’s great that the EPA is there on site doing what they do to make sure the area is safe,” Bush said.



Subscribe To This Feed

A mother has been arrested in the death of her 6-year-old daughter who died in a fire in Jena early Wednesday morning. Chief Deputy Brant Thompson with the State Fire Marshal’s Office says investigators found illegally energized electrical wires and an electric space heater in use near the mattress where Ayla Breeland was sleeping.

“We found the conditions in the dwelling to be extremely hazardous, and in fact those conditions led to the fire that claimed young Ayla’s life,” Thompson said.

Thompson says Ayla’s mother, 29-year-old Wendy Blasingame, was not in the camper home when the fire broke out, and it’s unclear how long the child was left alone. He says investigators were only able to speak to her hours after the fire had been put out.

“Investigators sent someone to retrieve her and to bring her back to the location. When she arrived, we observed her to be in a state of intoxication,” Thompson said.

Thompson says Blasingame has been charged with one count of negligent homicide. He says the investigation is ongoing, and more arrests are possible. He says they have confirmed that the mother was shooting up drugs in an abandoned house while her daughter was in the burning home.

“When the fire broke out, she was in another location engaged in the use of illicit drugs, specifically methamphetamines,” Thompson said.



Subscribe To This Feed

The Saints passing game faces a major test this Sunday against Seattle. The Seahawks have become one of the best teams in the league, because of how they defend the pass. New Orleans Quarterback Drew Brees says Seattle’s defense doesn’t have a weak link.

"You just have to be your absolute best when it comes to execution and put youself in favorable positions as an offense making sure you're in third and manageable situations and you're understanding the pressure and just making sure you get positive plays."

Sunday’s game also marks the return of tight end Jimmy Graham to the Mercedes Benz Superdome. The Seahawks tight end’s first five seasons in the NFL were in New Orleans where he caught 51 touchdown passes. Since then he’s only caught three. Brees says it will be weird to see Graham in an opposing uniform.

"Obviously we had a lot of good years here with Jimmy, hated to see him go we were close and he was close with a lot of guys and we all loved Jimmy and we understand things like that happen in this league. I'm sure he's going to be pretty ampled up to be back, but I know our fan base loved what he did for New Orleans and for our team. There is a lot of love there."

During the 2015 offseason, the Saints traded Graham and a fourth round pick to Seattle for a late first-round choice and center Max Unger. Brees says Unger has played better then he could ever envision.

"Not only just his production, but his leadership ability and his toughness and the presence he brings to the locker room and to that offensive line room and to our team. He is tremendous, he was voted a captain this year and that was an easy decision, easy choice because he represents everything you'd want in a captain."



Subscribe To This Feed

The Raising Cane’s River Center is now the new name of the Baton Rouge River Center in the Capital City’s downtown area. Founder and CEO of Raising Canes Todd Graves says this is a big day for his chicken finger company, which was founded near the LSU campus. Graves and his wife were on hand for the announcement.

“I’m a Baton Rouge boy and Gwen and I are all about Baton Rouge. Gwen’s first concert was here, my first concert was here. I grew up going to events at the River Center.”

The Baton Rouge based food chain signed a 10-year naming rights deal worth nearly 4 million dollars. Graves hopes the Raising Cane’s River Center can become an even better entertainment venue.

“We get world class acts here, we get world class exhibits and it’s actually become even better now. This sponsorship is creating dollars to go back into the operating budget, making this an even better place.”



Subscribe To This Feed
The Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office says an arrest has been made in a cold case dating back to 1991. Sheriff Brett Stassi says 61-year-old Tommy Francise of Plaquemine was booked in Lafayette as a fugitive from justice for the murder of a man in 1991 and another in 2002.

"This was a cold case that we were able to put together some statements and witnesses to build a case that allowed us to present something to the District Attorney's Office," said Stassi.

Both cases will be featured on the second season of “Killing Fields” — a docudrama series on the Discovery Channel that was filmed over the summer. Stassi says the investigative television show was helpful in allowing them to put this case to bed.

"They brought back some scientific ideas that wasn't even in existence in 1991, and it allowed us to look in different places," said Stassi.

Season 2 of Killing Fields is expected to begin sometime in November. Stassi says when cases get the attention of investigative shows like this, it helps with getting witnesses to come forward. He says the families of the victims, Curtis "Cochise" Smith and George Barrett, have been waiting a long time for justice.

"The wheels of justice turn slow, but they always turn," said Stassi. "Hopefully today they get some peace."


Subscribe To This Feed

JMC Analytics releases an analysis of the early voting turnout after two days and finds that over 162,000 people have already voted in the 2016 election. Pollster John Couvillon says he only has one word for the early voter turnout thus far - wow.

“Wow in terms of the fact that not only is there a record turnout, it is substantially higher than it was in two days in 2012,” Couvillon said.

Couvillon believes the voter turnout will be more front-loaded this year. He says he’s not prepared to say there will be a higher overall turnout, he just thinks people are more eager to get it out of the way this year.

“Rather than early voting being 18% of the total like it was in 2012, I’m thinking now 25% to 35% of the vote will be cast the next five days,” Couvillon said.

The report found that more women than men have already voted, and more Democrats early voted than Republicans. Couvillon says the people who turned out in the first two days of early voting seem to be chronic voters.

“Fifty-seven percent of the first day early voters had voted at some point in 2016, which would mean the presidential primary and miscellaneous ta and local elections,” Couvillon said.



Subscribe To This Feed

Americans ate nearly a pound more seafood in 2015 than in the previous year, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Executive Director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, Karen Profita, believes this follows a national trend towards healthier eating.

“We’re just hoping that as they’re consuming more seafood, they’re also looking to make sure they’re eating domestic because that is the healthier choice for them,” Profita said.

Profita says now we need to educate people about the quality difference between domestic and imported seafood. She says Louisiana seafood is in high demand around the country, and people don’t mind paying more for it.

“When you’re lucky enough to have the kind of estuaries we do you get terrific flavor, and then you also have the safety of that wild product that’s just a lot better for you than what’s being farm-raised overseas,” Profita said.

Profita says there are fewer shrimp this year, and no one really knows why. She says this could lead to some frustration if the supply can’t keep up with the demand, as seafood is becoming more of an everyday meal choice for people.

“There was a time years ago where it was considered a luxury item. You were only going to have shrimp on special occasions, and now it’s working its way into a more everyday diet,” Profita said.



Subscribe To This Feed

A new survey released by Market Research Insight finds Republicans John Kennedy and Charles Boustany are on each other’s heels for the top spot in the U.S. Senate race. Kennedy is polling at 17% and Boustany is at 16%.

Pollster Verne Kennedy says Boustany’s support is growing.

“Because of the Kennedy PAC attacks on Boustany, as well as Fleming, Boustany was pushed down but he has come back now to basically where he was before the attacks.”

The poll was commissioned by a business group, and it has Democrat Foster Campbell polling at 14%. Kennedy says Boustany is leading among Republican voters, but the State Treasurer, who is a former Democrat, is still getting some of the white Democrat vote.

“If that Democrat vote does switch over to Campbell or to Fayard, that will hurt Kennedy.”

Kennedy says the better Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s does in the polls, the better Boustany will do. He says the reason Democrat Caroline Fayard, who is polling at 12%, is lagging behind Campbell is because she’s not getting support from white Democrats.

“Campbell is getting 24% of the blacks, Fayard 23%, but Campbell is getting 10% of whites and Fayard about 7%. Campbell is leading because he has greater attraction to white Democrats.”



Subscribe To This Feed

A new poll from Southern Media and Opinion Research shows Republican Donald Trump winning the Presidential race in the Bayou State and six in ten voters give Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards a favorable rating. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says Trump has a strong lead over Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

“Donald Trump’s doing very well in Louisiana. He’s at 49%, and Hillary Clinton’s at 33%,” Pinsonat said.

Pinsonat says only 8-percent of voters remain undecided about the presidential race. But neither candidate is well liked. Pinsonat says 53% of voters have an unfavorable view of Trump, while 60% dislike Clinton.

“Hillary’s doing very poorly in Louisiana. She’s got extremely high negatives, and she may be doing worse than Obama did,” Pinsonat said.

The survey also found that Edwards’ approval rating is at 60%. But Pinsonat says one elected official beat out Edwards as the most popular Louisiana leader.

“You have to say they’re very good numbers for a Democrat in Louisiana, but John Kennedy regained his ranking as the most popular statewide elected official,” Pinsonat said.



Subscribe To This Feed

A Union parish high school student is suing the LHSAA for not allowing him to play his senior year because he was held back in the sixth grade. An LHSAA rule states that if a student is held back a year in middle school, he or she can only play three years of high school sports. The student’s attorney, Brian Blackwell, says the LHSAA’s decision violates the American with Disabilities Act, because the student repeated sixth grade because of ADHD.

“This student repeated sixth grade, and no other fact was important, and I just think putting blinders on like that is unfair,” Blackwell said.

Blackwell says the act requires reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities, and he is confident the court will rule in favor of this student.

“What the suit requests that the court do is to prohibit the LHSAA from enforcing this ineligibility rule in this particular situation,” Blackwell said.

Blackwell says teachers and doctors made a decision for this student that were in no way intended to challenge LHSAA’s eligibility rules. He says playing high school sports helps this student deal with his disability. 

"His parents would say, and I think he'll say, his participation in sports has helped him deal with his ADHD," Blackwell said.  

The LHSAA has not issued a statement on the case, but a court hearing is set for Friday.



Subscribe To This Feed

The 110th Louisiana State Fair in Shreveport kicks off today at 10 a.m. with tons of new and different activities. The fair runs until Sunday November 13th. Fair President and General Manager Chris Giordano says they have changed the days the fair is open to accommodate the festivalgoers and will now only be closed on Mondays.

“All our weekdays we’re open from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. but it’s free from 10 to 3. On Fridays we close at 11 and on Saturdays we close at 11.”

There are also parking and entrance discounts available from Tuesdays to Thursdays. Giordano says they have the largest carnival in Louisiana with 60 rides. He says the fair has a circus and a zoo with many different animal attractions.

“With giraffes and zebras and camels and petting zoo animals. We have racing pigs, we have the Great American Duck Race, we have a big bear show.”

Wayne Toups and Joe Diffie will be among the artists performing throughout the three week long fair. Giordano says the fair also offers different shows from break dancing to daredevil stunt acts. And he says every year the food vendors gets even wilder with their unique concoctions.

“Worm pizza, cricket pizza, scorpion pizza, donut burgers. They fry everything, even have someone that does fried watermelon.”



Subscribe To This Feed

Governor John Bel Edwards along with local lawmakers begin a two-day tour today where they’ll fly over the Louisiana coast and then visit offshore oil and gas facilities. State Rep. Jerome Zeringue of Houma will be with the governor and says trip’s primary purpose is to help the oil and gas industry and coastal restoration co-exist.

“Highlight the significance of what our working coast is all about, the oil and gas industry. Just as important, it’s about how vulnerable we are and how important it is to address these issues of coastal land loss.”

Gov. Edwards issued a statement saying our coast is disappearing at an alarming rate, but we can’t ignore the important role offshore energy plays with the state’s economy. Zeringue says Edwards is very adamant that the funding reserved for coastal restoration will be used for that purpose.

“Every dollar that’s intended to restore and protect our coast, we need to ensure it actually goes to that purpose. The governor indicated his support for restoring and protecting out coast and we can make some significant headway.”

There will also be an offshore energy industry roundtable in Port Fourchon. Zeringue says this will provide the industry a chance to talk with Governor Edwards about how important oil and gas is to the economy in coastal parishes. He says this sector is not only important to this region but the entire country.

“A significant amount of dollars that go to the GDP of this nation are generated off the coast of Louisiana. We need to do what we can to support the industry.”



Subscribe To This Feed
The latest Southern Media and Opinion Research poll shows Republican John Kennedy continuing to lead the field in the US Senate race with 22%, followed by Democrat Foster Campbell at 16%. Rounding out the top five are Republican Charles Boustany with 14%, then Democrat Caroline Fayard at 12%, and GOP candidate John Fleming at 9%.

"Kennedy is ahead, but they are all pretty close in this race that's far from over in a short amount of time," says pollster Bernie Pinsonat.

The same poll also found that the State Treasurer received the highest "positive" job performance rating among the five elected officials tested with Governor John Bel Edwards coming in second.

Pinsonat says the number of undecided in this round for the seat being vacated by David Vitter is 15% which is down considerably from the last survey.

"Which means that some of these candidates are going to have to do a lot better from someone else's number to be able to make it to the runoff," says Pinsonat.

Pinsonat says of those voters who have not selected a candidate in this race yet, 12% are white and 22% are black. He says that means it appears as though Campbell will be getting most of those votes.

"If he gets most of that vote and gets 5 or 6 percent of the whites," said Pinsonat. "How does he not make the runoff?"


Subscribe To This Feed

State officials have wrapped up a two-day meeting discussing the importance of restoring Louisiana’s coast before it’s too late. Val Marmillion with America’s WETLAND Foundation says Louisiana could lose a third of its coast in the next 50 years. He says the five year revision of the coastal restoration plan will be released in January.

“The state legislature will have to take a look at it and hopefully move it through and pass it, hopefully unanimously because we need the plan now to move from the planning stages into implementation,” Marmillion said.

The master plan for coastal restoration needs to be revised immediately, and Governor John Bel Edwards believes the cost of this plan will go up significantly. Officials believe they will have at least $10.7 billion for the first 15 years of the 50 year plan.

“The current five year master plan, when it was developed back in 2012, the price tag on it was a minimum of $50 billion. It may be close to twice that in 2017,” Edwards said.

About $7 billion of the cost will be covered by the Deepwater Horizon settlement from BP. Edwards says it will also help tremendously if Congress allows Louisiana to reinvest its $100 million annual payments for the levee system that was constructed after Hurricane Katrina. He says it’s important to protect that asset that taxpayers have already invested in.

“You don’t ever want the coast lapping at the levees, and so the more coast we can restore between the levees and the Gulf, the longer those levees are going to last, the better they’re going to perform,” Edwards said.

Another roundtable on coastal restoration will be held December 7.



Subscribe To This Feed

Early voting has only just begun, and it’s already a record breaking year for turnout. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says the 2012 election set voting records in Louisiana, but the turnout yesterday even topped that.

“Yesterday we had 87,000 people vote, more than double what we did in a record setting year in ’12,” Schedler said.

Schedler says lines are shorter today for early voting, and he expects wait times to be around 10 to 15 minutes. He says yesterday there was one issue briefly in Jefferson Parish when a fiber optic line went out between the registrar of voters and the satellite office.

“That causes a little bit of delay on the registration side, and we had to do it the old fashioned way. But other than that, we were clear sailing,” Schedler said.

Schedler says his office is getting record calls from voters concerned the election is rigged. He blames the campaign rhetoric for these outrageous claims that have caught fire nationwide on both ends of the political spectrum.

“We usually hear from one side in an election of this occurring, that occurring. I’m hearing from both sides, and I’m trying to figure out who they think I’m rigging it for because both sides are about it,” Schedler said.



Subscribe To This Feed

A Baton Rouge man who set his wife on fire in September is finally behind bars. Sgt. Don Coppola with the Baton Rouge Police Department says 28-year-old John Harleaux got into an argument with his wife on September 24th. He says things turned violent when the woman called for her mother to come pick her up.

“He felt the need to begin spraying her with hairspray. Mr. Harleaux placed a lighter to the flammable liquid, causing her to ignite,” Coppola said.

Coppola hates that someone would think of doing this to anyone, much less to their own spouse. He says the woman was seriously injured.

“The wife suffered second and third degree burns to her left arm, shoulder, and back area as a result of his actions,” Coppola said.

Coppola says Harleaux evaded police officers since the dispute. He says thanks to a tip from Crime Stoppers, they were able to locate the suspect yesterday. He says Harleaux was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.

“He is charged with domestic abuse battery by burning,” Coppola said.



Subscribe To This Feed

The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center is making donations to community groups assisting with flood relief efforts in south Louisiana. Executive Director Cashauna Hill says $200,000 dollars from their Baton Rouge Revitalization Fund will be distributed among faith-based and nonprofit organizations.

“The funds will be used to boost the existing capacity of those organizations who are already working on the front lines to ensure that everyone has equal access to recovery,” Hill said.

Hill says organizations in the greater Baton Rouge area will receive a portion of these grants. She says the groups will then use the funds at their discretion to assist flood victims in any way that they need.

“That may be providing educational material and doing outreach to connect people with resources in their area or working with people and providing one on one case management services,” Hill said.

Hill says being based in New Orleans, GNOFHAC understands the need for people to get back into their homes as soon as possible after a disaster. She says they’re thrilled to be able to help people and extremely grateful for the work these organizations have been doing since the flood in August.

“It is an absolutely amazing experience and incredibly satisfying for us to be able to partner in this way with these groups who are doing such necessary work,” Hill said.



Subscribe To This Feed

Louisiana flood victims have received over one billion dollars in flood insurance payments in less than three months after the historic flooding. Wayne Berggren with the National Flood Insurance Program says they’ve seen over 29,000 claims submitted for review and payment and of that 48% have been closed out.

“We’ve been trying to get the money back into the community as fast as we can and it’s every day, more money is getting out to the homeowners who have flood insurance.”

Berggren says the average payment a homeowner covered under the National Flood Insurance Program is about 68,000. He expects when all claims are reviewed, flood victims overall will have received a little over two billion dollars.

“We’re very pleased with what’s going on and the progress we’re making. Most of the adjusters have met with the homeowners are initial reviews and visits, it’s just a matter of getting some proof of losses and some final estimates.”

For more information about flood insurance, homeowners can visit floodsmart.gov. Berggren says these flood insurance payments will help people rebuild. He says this event is why every homeowner should at least get an estimate for flood insurance from their local agent.

“If this kind of disaster ever happens again, which I pray it does not, that the majority of the homeowners will have at least some type of flood insurance coverage so that they won’t have to wait for a presidential declared disaster.”



God Bless America & Our Home Louisiana

970 KSYL On Air Now
Bob & Jim
Bob & Jim
8:00am - 9:00am
Talkback 970
He's Back!

Week Nights 8 to 11

KSYL 970am / 100.3 HD3

Kim Komando

Click For Kim Komando's Daily Tip!!


The Best Of The 60's & 70's

Now On Air At 100.3 HD2

Or Click The Logo Above

To Listen.


State Wire
North Rapides Business & Industry Alliance



All Weekend Long

It's a

Political Free Zone!

Good Food Project


LinkedUpRadio Envisionwise Web Services