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LSU releases the details on defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s new three-year contract extension that also makes him the associate head coach. Tiger Rag Editor Cody Worsham says he’s earned the distinction of being the highest paid assistant in college football.

“Wherever he’s been he has produced and to keep away any potential suitors, which I’m sure there are many, LSU gave him a lot of money and I think he deserved every dollar.”

Aranda’s contract runs until March of 2020 and includes a first year salary of 1.8 million dollars. It goes up to 1.9 million in the final year. Worsham expects whoever is hired as the offensive coordinator will receive a similar salary.

“They’re going to invest. That’s the whole approach now with Ed Orgeron is to make him the CEO and to delegate out to bright minds at the coordinator spots and we’ll see how sustainable it is.”

Aranda’s deal is pending approval from the LSU Board of Supervisors. Worsham says the contract contains buyout language that favors LSU, which means Aranda should be here for awhile…

“He doesn’t strike me as the head coaching type, he strikes me as a guy who wants to run a defense. Wants to be involved in the x’s and o’s and the nitty gritty of a defense. So, I think he’s happy at LSU and LSU is certainly happy to have him.”

(photo courtesy of TigerRag.com)  


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The US House Appropriations Committee has approved a continuing resolution that contains $1.2 billion in Community Development Block Grants for Louisiana flood relief.

The governor’s communications director Richard Carbo says they still have a long way to go, but they’re thankful for the support their seeing from Congress.

“We know homeowners need additional help to rebuild. Communities and businesses need to rebuild, and so the governor is working closely with the entire congressional delegation to get the assistance down as quickly as possible,” Carbo said.

Carbo says it’s not the full amount they’re requesting, but they’re pleased with this allocation, which will be used to help flooded homeowners. He adds that Congress should be voting on the proposal by the end of the week, which will also contain dollars to fund other flood repair projects.

“There’s also going to be additional assistance for the Army Corps of Engineers for highway and infrastructure projects, and we’re still waiting to hear from Congress what those allocations will be for Louisiana,” Carbo said.

Carbo says the governor will head back to Washington in the spring to seek the additional funding Louisiana needs for flood recovery. He says the federal government has outlined the guidelines for allocating the $438 million the state has already received, and the state is working on the plan for spending the money.

“We’ll return that plan to the federal government for approval. So it’s still several months away, but the process is still moving along at a record pace,” Carbo said.



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The Republican Party of Louisiana has confirmed President-elect Donald Trump will be in Baton Rouge on Friday for a get out to vote rally encouraging voters to cast their ballot for Republican John Kennedy for U.S. Senate.

UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross expects a huge frenzy of supporters to be in attendance.

“Never having held political office, grabbing the highest office in the land. I mean, it’s a story that people can really relate to. He’s quicksilver right now, he’s lightening in a bottle.”

The event is open to the general public, but they must RSVP. Cross says Trump understands the importance of having another Republican in the Senate. He says he’ll have a clear message to voters.

“You elected me to make some changes and John Kennedy is part of the change I’m hoping to make. Please elect John Kennedy and help me do what I’m trying to do.”

The event beings at noon inside the Dow Chemical Hanger at the Baton Rouge Airport. Cross says Trump’s visit isn’t really necessary given Kennedy is leading Democrat Foster Campbell by double digits in the polls, but it’s a nice gesture by the President-elect.

“The President would come back to Louisiana, a state that supported him very strongly and one of those states where he was quite popular and it’s got to help John Kennedy.”



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An entire family from Bunkie has been arrested on bomb making charges. Avoyelles Sheriff Doug Anderson says they executed a warrant on 38-year-old Jenus Juneau, who was accused of stealing $12,000 worth of household goods, guns, and jewelry on Sunday. 

(pictured: Jenus C Juneau)  

“During the search of the residence, a backpack was found with what was described as a pipe bomb and other bomb related material inside the bag. The scene was immediately cleared and a safe zone established,” Anderson said.

Anderson says Juneau’s wife, Kristina, and their two 19-year-old children were also charged with manufacture and possession of delayed action incendiary device. He says they’re still working to determine why this family was making pipe bombs.

“We’re not sure at this time. We never had a problem with these people being violent in the past. We’re looking into it more, and we’ll come up with the reason why,” Anderson said.

Bond was set at $50,000 for Jenus, who is also charged with theft, and $40,000 for the rest of the family.



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With people getting ready to hit the road for holiday travels, AAA warns drivers to avoid drowsy driving. According to the AAA Foundation report, you double the chances of getting into a wreck if you only get 5 or 6 hours of sleep, and the risk increases by 11 if you get less than four hours of shut eye.

Spokesperson Don Redman says being tired behind the wheel is a form of impairment.

“If there suddenly comes a breaking need, you’re really slow to react. It’s almost like you are impaired as if you were having a couple of cocktails,” Redman said.

Redman says nearly 21% of fatal crashes result in people falling asleep behind wheel, resulting in about 7,500 fatalities nationwide a year. He says it’s no surprise most drowsy driving is reported between 2 am and 5 am. But he says a lot of people admit to being tired behind the wheel in broad daylight.

“Twelve hours later in that period between 2 in the afternoon and 5 in the evening, almost an equal number of people are falling asleep behind the wheel,” Redman said.

AAA finds that nearly one in three drivers admitted to drowsy driving at least once in the past month. Redman says there are ways people can avoid being tired while driving on long trips.

“Every hundred miles, every 2 hours, get out of your vehicle and move around. Obviously the best thing to avoid falling asleep behind the wheel is to get more sleep,” Redman said.



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Ronald Gasser, the man accused of fatally shooting former NFL player and John Curtis star Joe McKnight last week, has been charged with manslaughter, so what will be the key factors in a likely trial? Legal analyst Tim Meche says Gasser’s testimony will be the biggest factor. He says if Gasser can explain a reasonable fear to the jury, he could be found not guilty.

“It’s got to be bolstered by the other witnesses who say Joe McKnight. If they describe him as acting like a crazy person and a nut it helps the defendant.”

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand says it’s possible the manslaughter charge could be upgraded or downgraded based on future evidence. Meche says the Jefferson Parish DA’s office could also let a grand jury have a say.

“In a case like this the District Attorney might be smart to take it to a grand jury and let them decide the appropriate charge, that takes a lot of political heat off of him.”

Meche says it appears the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office conducted a very professional investigation in a tidal wave of criticism, which will likely help them build a better case. He says there is a state law that will play a big role in this case and that gives a person the right to shoot and kill someone attempting to invade your vehicle.

“We have a specific statute in Louisiana that says you can shoot and kill somebody if they are trying to forcefully enter your vehicle, yes, and I think that statute is going to control this case.”



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Louisiana broke the state’s record for the number of foster children adoptions within a year. 735 children were adopted by 532 families between October of 2015 and September of 2016.

Department of Children and Family Services Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says she couldn’t be more thankful for these families.

“With the floods and the sessions and the shootings, it feels like it’s been such a hard year for the state and this is one of the really bright spots we can celebrate.”

Walters says all of the children in state care have a history of either abuse or neglect with a big majority being under the age of five. She says while it’s exciting so many children found foster homes, many are still without a family.

“There are still 200 children that are currently in the foster care system who have not found a permanent adoption placement and will spend Christmas in foster care this year.”

For information on adopting a foster child, visit the department of children and family services website. Walters says many people adopt more than one child with 109 families adopting two kids, 19 families adopting three and nine adopting four children. She says foster parents get so much out of adoption.

“They learn so much from these children. They fall in love with these children just as every parent should fall in love with their child and they get back so much from being a parent.”



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The first day of the murder trial for former-Saints star Will Smith was filled with emotional testimony. Loyola law professor Dane Ciolino says the biggest surprise was that former running back Deuce McAllister took the stand early in the day to testify about his friendship with Smith and his time with the Saints.

“The reason it was a surprise to me is that the prosecution was trying to impress upon the jurors that this case was not about emotion and not about celebrity, but one of their first witnesses was all about emotion and celebrity,” Ciolino said.

Current and former Saints players Drew Brees, Steve Gleason, Roman Harper, and Jahri Evans were also in the courtroom showing support for Smith’s family. Ciolino says it makes a difference who the victim is in any homicide case, which is the biggest problem Cardell Hayes’ defense is facing.

“When you’ve got a homicide with very likable and very sympathetic victims, it makes any homicide case difficult for the defense and particularly one where it’s a self-defense case,” Ciolino said.

The prosecution is arguing that Hayes was the aggressor in the incident because he rammed Smith’s car. The defense says that Smith was the aggressor and that he was reaching for a gun. Ciolino says the jury being sequestered will make everyone want to get through with the trial as quickly as possible.

“I don’t think the sequestration order benefits the prosecution or the defense, but it certainly will cause the trial to go later into the evening to move along at a quicker pace,” Ciolino said.

Testimony is expected to resume at 9 am Wednesday.



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Some LSU fans are gearing up to head to Orlando for the Citrus Bowl later this month, but so far ticket sales are lagging a bit. That’s according to LSU ticket manager, Brian Broussard, who says so far only about 4,000 tickets have been sold and the school was allotted 9,500.

“We’re moving along. It’s been a little slower than we would have hoped, but we’re still excited and trying to get fans to make the travel arrangements necessary to get out to the game,” Broussard said.

The Tigers will face Louisville in the bowl game on December 31. Broussard says they still have over 5,000 tickets available through their ticket office and you can get a good seat at a good price.

“The seats are all in the lower level primarily. The better ones that we have available range from $140 down to we’ve got some tickets still available at $31 that are in the end zone in the lower levels,” Broussard said.

Broussard says this game will be a good matchup and hopes fans will come out and support the Tigers. He says LSU fans shouldn’t let the 11 am Eastern Time kickoff discourage them.

“It’s a little earlier than our fans are used to or like to have, but you can start early and continue throughout the night through New Year’s,” Broussard said.



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A Monroe woman is facing multiple charges after she was caught shoplifting with her children. Detective Chris Bates with Monroe Police says 33-year-old Shirley Mayes and her 9-year-old and 14-year-old were caught stealing from the Monroe Walmart.

“They went to the front of the store and attempted to go through the self-checkout and attempted to check out some items and not pay for the total amount,” Bates said.

Bates says security footage shows Mayes encouraging her children to steal items while she checked out the rest of the things in her buggy.

“The surveillance from the security camera had also picked up that she had allowed her children to place some clothing up underneath their own clothing as she watched on,” Bates said.

The value of the items the family tried to steal is reportedly $575. Bates says the 9-year-old child tried to flee on foot when police arrived.

“She ran through the store the way the report states. I think she just took off running through the store when she got scared. Of course all the children were released to a family member,” Bates said.

Bates says Mayes faces charges of misdemeanor shoplifting, criminal conspiracy, and three counts of contributing to child delinquency.



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Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand held a press conference this morning to announce the arrest of 54-year-old Ronald Gasser, the man accused of killing former NFL player and John Curtis star Joe McKnight in a road rage incident last week. Normand explained the charge against Gasser. 

“We felt that manslaughter was the charge that most appropriately fit the evidence that we have at this time. This case is still maturing.”

Authorities say Gasser admitted to shooting McKnight in a busy intersection last Thursday. He was questioned that day and released. Normand says his detectives took their time with the investigation, conducting 160 interviews and working with 70 business owners to receive video footage.

“Justice has no time period, justice is not a sprint, it is a marathon. These investigations are marathons.”

Normand says they took their time with the investigation because of different eyewitness accounts of the shooting. He defends the sheriff department’s decision for not arresting Gasser immediately, even though there were groups calling for Gasser’s arrest last Thursday.

“It’s not about the right thing, it’s not about justice and it’s not about the process. It’s about what we want and what we want now.”



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Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne paints a bleak fiscal picture to lawmakers during a budget hearing this morning at the State Capitol. Dardenne says not only does the state have to address a $313 million deficit for this fiscal year, there’s also another $300 million shortfall looming. He says that means state agencies will have to cut back even more.

“You’ll be seeing very real cuts proposed to deal with these shortfalls. These agencies and departments don’t just spend willy nilly. They spend based upon the dollars that you’ve allocated in their budget,” Dardenne said.

Dardenne says once again higher education and healthcare are on the chopping block. He says these agencies need to be setting priorities and preparing for realistic reductions.

“The reason you’re going to see, unfortunately, recommendations in LDH in particular that cut hospitals and cut waiver services is because that’s where the dollars are,” Dardenne said.

Dardenne says the administration plans on presenting next year’s budget to legislators in February, and some of the proposals won’t be easy to swallow.

“You’re not going to see recommendations designed specifically to get everybody all stirred up. They’re going to be recommendations that are very real based upon where the dollars are spent,” Dardenne said.



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Fort Polk has moved the first round of horses off their land because there are safety concerns about wild horses roaming the Vernon Parish army base. Fort Polk spokesperson Troy Darr says they sent 50 horses to the Humane Society of North Texas in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He says they plan to rehome the remaining 650 horses in the same manner.

“The plan, according to the environmental assessment that we conducted, is to gather up about 10 to 30 horses each month for the next three years or until all the horses are gone,” Darr said.

Advocates have expressed concerns that the horses could be sent to kill buyers or unfit owners, and the groups have called on Fort Polk to let the horses stay on their land. But Darr says the horses aren’t safe on the Army training grounds.

“They’re not our horses. They’ve been here on the land that we use for a long time. On a regular basis they do end up getting killed here on the training area because it’s not a safe place for a horse,” Darr said.

Darr says the activists’ fears were eased when they announced where the horses were going. He says anyone interested in the welfare of the horses should contact the Humane Society of North Texas.

“Adopting horses and giving a good home for the horses, that’s going to be what they can do to ensure that the horses are safe and happy,” Darr said.



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We can expect to see some Louisiana leaders working in the Trump Administration either in the cabinet or administrative positions, according to Public Service Commissioner Eric Skrmetta, who led the Trump campaign in Louisiana. He says federal lawmakers from this state are recommending Louisiana residents to the transition team.

“The congressional delegation is making a very large effort to coordinate recommendations to Washington for people who are qualified in Louisiana,” Skrmetta said.

Skrmetta says the President-elect has chosen strong leaders for the positions he’s filled so far, including appointing Dr. Ben Carson as the Secretary for the Department of Housing. Skrmetta says he’s even thrown his hat in the ring for available positions in the new administration.

“I’m interested in serving in the administration. There were several positons I put myself in the name for outside of Louisiana and other things in Louisiana,” Skrmetta said.

Former-governor Bobby Jindal’s name has come up in discussions about cabinet positions since Trump’s victory. But Skrmetta says we’re not likely to see Jindal in Washington come January.

“From what I’ve seen out there and the players in the game, is he qualified? Absolutely. Is he going to be far enough up the list? I don’t know, but I would not think it likely,” Skrmetta said.



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In a new ad, Governor John Bel Edwards asks residents to vote for Democrat Foster Campbell in Saturday’s US Senate race. In the 30-second spot, Edwards says Campbell could be the deciding vote against substantial cuts to social security and Medicare. ULM political science Professor Dr. Joshua Stockley says as popular as the governor is, this ad likely won’t do much to help Campbell.

“Foster Campbell appears to be substantially behind John Kennedy at this point. I think all signs point to a Republican victory in this race,” Stockley said.

Campbell will face Republican John Kennedy in the December 10 runoff. The governor says in the ad that Campbell supports equal pay for women, and he will bring tax dollars home for roads, bridges, and coastal restoration. Stockley says while the ad is a nice gesture, it’s probably too little too late.

“Foster Campbell will take it, but he’s going to need more than an endorsement from the governor at this point if he’s going to pull off the upset victory,” Stockley said.



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New Orleans will now be featured as part of the 2017 Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest. Local Representative for Dick Clark Productions Gary Solomon says this is the first time in the show’s history that there will be another countdown in the Central time zone. He says it’s a real game changer for the Crescent City.

“Dick Clark’s is really going to show off New Orleans, our culture, our having a good time New Year’s and kind of year round with things like featuring the Allstate Sugar Bowl Parade.”

Solomon says a number of celebrities will perform and the biggest feature will be the crowd having a good time in the French Quarter.

“We can be on the same playing field as Times Square in New York, that Jackson Square in New Orleans is the next time zone over and the obvious pick, is a real win.”

Solomon says Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin' eve will cut to New Orleans throughout the five and a half hour nationally televised show. He says viewers will feel like they’re a part of the New Orleans culture.

“We come to New Orleans for a very extended duration of approximately 10 minutes or so where there is a great performance in New Orleans and then we watch the Fleur De Lis on top of Jack’s Brewery drop.”



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The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has received 21 Whooping Cranes from Maryland in the last week, giving the Bayou State a total of 25 large birds that have been delivered to this state this year.

LDWF Biologist Sara Zimorski says the Whooping Cranes will be spread out between two facilities.

“We have a pen at the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge and at the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area. Because we have a large group, the groups have been divided up and we’ll have birds at both of those locations.”

Zimorski says currently, there are released 38 birds in the wild and the new arrivals will be counted into the population in a few weeks. She says it’s so important to receive these shipments given the low number of the Whooping Cranes in the state.

“They are an endangered species and because they were a species that was historically found in Louisiana, we would like to get a population established here again.”

The Whooping Crane was considered extinct in Louisiana in 1950, but for the last six years the state has been working to restore a solid population of these large birds back into the state. Zimorski says once released, the birds are encouraged to stay by being fed, but eventually they branch out on their own.

“We will continue to monitor them with their transmitters and through observation to document what they’re doing, where they’re going, if they’re foraging on natural foods.”



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Senator David Vitter gave his farewell speech on the Senate floor Monday, as he will leave the office he’s held since January 2005. Vitter says as a Louisiana state legislator he worked to impose term limits here, as well as authoring the leading term limits measure for Congress. He says that’s why he’s imposing one on himself.

“Congress can only be an effective representative body when it lives under the same laws it imposes on the rest of the country, and one major way to support that is through term limits,” Vitter said.

Vitter says in his tenure he’s worked to protect 2nd Amendment rights and the right to life. He says he’s helped stopped automatic pay raises in Washington and worked on Obamacare reform to make the healthcare more patient oriented.

The outgoing Senator thanked embers of his team, his colleagues, and friends in Washington. But he says he owes the most to his wife, Wendy.

“Through it all Wendy has been so supportive and understanding, not to mention being the life of every Team Vitter party, leading the rounds of fireball shots,” Vitter said.



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LSU star RB Leonard Fournette made it official by announcing he will enter the 2017 NFL draft after the Tigers’ bowl game on December 31st.
Fournette made the announcement on Twitter and said he plans to play in the Citrus Bowl, despite a nagging ankle injury.

Fournette entered his junior campaign as a candidate to win the Heisman Trophy, but he never fully recovered from an ankle injury suffered during preseason camp.
The New Orleans native failed to rush for 1,000 yards this season and scored eight touchdowns in seven games.
He set the school's single-game rushing record with 284 yards against Ole Miss in October. That record was broken in the regular season finale when Derrius Guice rushed for 285 yards against Texas A&M.
Fournette has 3,755 yards for his career, which is the fourth highest in LSU history.
Despite injury issues, NFL draft analyst Mike Detillier says it's possible that Fournette could be the number one overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft. Detillier says Fournette is second highest ranked player on his draft board and Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett is number one.  


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A new survey out of Tulane reveals US Senate candidate Republican John Kennedy has a healthy lead in the race against Democrat Foster Campbell in the runoff. Brian Brox, associate professor of Political Science, says they found 59% of respondents said they would vote for Kennedy, while 40% said Campbell is their choice.

He says the Republican has always been favored in Saturday's race.

"December 10th will be a low turnout affair," said Brox. "And the unusually timed affair, most of those voters tend to have more Republican and conservative characteristics."

The survey found that, when the presidential vote of the respondent is considered, nearly 83 percent of Trump voters said they plan to vote for Kennedy.

Brox says it's interesting that just 69 percent of Clinton voters said they would vote for Campbell. He attributes that to people that voted for Clinton because they didn't want to vote for Trump.

"These are perhaps people that where either Republicans or conservative Democrats, who just couldn't vote for Trump," said Brox. "But now that he's no longer on the ballot they feel comfortable voting for Kennedy in the runoff."

Brox says supporters of the Senate candidate who did not make the runoff are splitting along partisan lines. He believes many voters feel that voting for the Democrat in this race means choosing the minority party since Republicans will control the Senate.

"So electing a Republican would that person in the majority party," said Brox.


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