Another widening project is underway on I-12 in Livingston Parish. Construction has started on a plan to expand the interstate from 4 to 6 lanes from the Walker exit to a half a mile west of Satsuma. Louisiana Department of Transportation Rodney Mallett says once completed, I-12 motorists will have a smoother commute.
"It's going to be a huge benefit for that area, for your daily travelers, the trucking industry and folks passing through."
DOTD estimates 49-thousand drivers use this corridor to travel between home and work each day. Mallett says construction is expected to take one year complete, but lane closures will only occur at night.
Mallett says this is the fourth I-12 widening project in the Baton Rouge area since 2009. The previous three projects cost a total of 168-million dollars. He says the current construction job will cost 26-point-5-million dollars.
Half of the money comes from the federal government.
Louisiana led 2013 for the most feature films produced in the nation. That is according to Film LA. Inc, which looked at how many movies California lost to other states. Patrick Mulhearn, the executive director of Celtic Media Center in Baton Rouge, says it's a great accomplishment for Hollywood South.
"Any time you see Louisiana ranked number one in something positive you've got to be proud and when ever your competitor is the one who is telling you you're number one, you've got to believe them. That is exciting new for us," Mulhearn says.
Some major films to come out of Louisiana last year were 12 Years a Slave and Dallas Buyers Club and both movies won Academy Awards. Los Angeles, for years, has led the country in film production, followed by New York. Mulhearn says it appears the state's film tax incentive program paid off.
"It's a testament to Louisiana's resolve to stick to this incentive program for the past decade. But we can't rest on our laurels. We've still got a long way to go and it's a competitive world," Mulhearn says.
Mulhearn says producers want to film here because it is more cost effective due to the tax credits Louisiana gives as well as all the culture the state has to offer to crew members. He says a study by the Louisiana Economic Development says 15,000 jobs depend on the state's movie industry.
"With the incentives and the fact that we have a track record and really good, seasoned experienced crews and talent. It makes all the difference in the world," Mulhearn says.
Governor Bobby Jindal is in West Monroe this afternoon to announce his support for two pro-life bills that will be heard in the legislative session that begins next week. One of the pieces of legislation is by Monroe representative Katrina Jackson, who proposes abortionists should have admitting privileges at local hospitals.
"Just like any other out-patient procedure, if a women chooses to have an abortion and something goes wrong through that procedure, she needs to be with a physical that can quickly admit her to a hospital," Jackson says.
Jackson says not all abortion providers have admitting privileges within 30 miles of a local hospital. The democrat from Monroe says the regulations she's proposing for abortion doctors are the same ones in place for every other doctor that performs outpatient surgeries.
"Right now Louisiana law doesn't require that the physician have admitting privileges within a 30 mile radius. If something goes wrong during the abortion the physician cannot pick up the phone and call and quickly get her admitted to a hospital to remedy the issue," Jackson says.
Jackson says here legislation also requires abortion facilities to provide their patients with information on the different types of drugs that will be used during the procedure. The other bill Jindal supports, prohibits abortion clinics and doctors from placing instruction or materials in public schools.
"Women rush in and out of these facilities and sometimes it may be the physician doesn't fully explain and sometimes it may be the woman does not fully avail herself to understanding the full nature of the procedure and what drugs are being administered," Jackson says.
The Opelousas Police Department says a 16-year-old is charged in the February shooting death of a 5-year-old child. Chief Perry Gallow says the suspect is the boyfriend of the child's aunt and they all lived together. He says initially the teen was cleared of murder charges because he claimed he wasn't present during the incident.
"Initially that was believed, but the gathering of forensic evidence has tied the 16-year-old to the shooting," Gallow said.
Gallow says that evidence put the suspect, who admitted to owning the gun, in the yard when little Jon-Qualon Pitre was shot in the head.
"The investigation tells us the the 5-year-old may have gained access to the gun," says Gallow. "Apparently the 16-year-old comes in contact with the child, the gun is discharged and we are now dealing with the death of a 5-year-old and the arrest of a 16-year-old."
Gallow says the shooting occurred on February 27th, and the child was removed from life support at Our Lady of the Lake Children's Hospital in Baton Rouge two days later.
He says this is an extremely tragic incident for everyone involved.
"It's the loss of life of a child who had a life to live and a teen who is now charged with murder," Gallow said. "This happens when guns are in the hands of teenagers and children. We all need to be more aware and make sure that children understand the dangers of guns."
The juvenile is charged with second degree murder and illegal carry of a firearm by a juvenile.
It's a sad day for the Who Dat nation with the news wide receiver Lance Moore will never again wear a black and gold uniform. Moore was officially released by the team on Friday afternoon. NFL analyst Mike Detillier says this isn't a surprise even though he's one of the best wide receivers in franchise history.
"Guys that were part of this great run in the golden age of Saints football aren't going to be here anymore. Thank Lance for what he did but like every player, the sand has run out of the hour glass for him," Detillier says.
Detillier says it's tough getting rid of fan favorites but it is better to let them go a year early than a year too late.
"It happens to every team. You have to move on and the show continues to roll even without you but at this point it is tough for a lot of fans," Detillier says.