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Former KKK leader and Republican U.S. Senate candidate David Duke has been invited to participate in a November 2nd televised debate because he received 5-percent of the vote in a Raycom Media poll. Louisiana Democratic Party executive director Stephen Handwerk says they’re using this as an opportunity to raise money to get the word out to voters that Duke has this much support.

“Having him included in the televised debate, which will likely be picked up nationally, is extremely harmful for Louisiana on every single level.”

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell, issued a statement saying Duke’s destructive rhetoric is a distraction from the campaign, which is about our future, not our past. Handwerk says Duke is an embarrassment to the state.

“Duke brags that he only felt comfortable entering this race because of Donald Trump and their shared views. That should frighten everyone, especially those voters still considering voting for Trump.”

Calls for comment from Duke were not returned. Handwerk wants Democratic voters to use this as an incentive to go out to the polls and vote for a candidate that is good for Louisiana. He says having him involved in an election this big really hurts the state.

“Especially now that we have our governor working incredibly hard to raise the funds for the federal government in order to make us whole and repair ourselves from these tragic floods.”


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Leonard Fournette rushed for a school-record 284 yards and three touchdowns as the LSU Tigers won their third straight as they defeated Ole Miss 38-21.

How it happened: LSU fell behind 10-0, but the defense tightened up and Leonard Fournette went off. Fournette rushed 16 times for 284 yards and three touchdowns. Fournette had touchdown runs of 59, 76 and 78 yards.
LSU's defense: Ole Miss came into Baton Rouge with the top passing offense in the SEC, but the Tigers defense held Rebels quarterback Chad Kelly to 209 yards and he was intercepted twice. Ole Miss did not score any points in the 2nd half. Coach Ed Orgeron credited defensive coordinator Dave Aranda for making some good adjustments.
Danny continues to do good things: LSU Quarterback Danny Etling continues to be a steady hand for the LSU Tigers. He threw for 204 yards and tossed a 40-yard touchdown pass to D.J. Chark. Etling was intercepted once and also lost a fumble, but continues to present a passing threat for LSU. 
What it means: The Tigers are 3-0 under interim head coach Ed Orgeron. LSU is now 5-2 and the two losses don't look bad as Auburn and Wisconsin have looked very good this year. CBS' college football analyst Gary Daniels said LSU is still in the hunt to play in the college football playoffs and that will certainly be the case if they can beat Alabama.
Up next: LSU is off this Saturday as they have two weeks to get ready for Alabama. The top ranked Crimson Tide rolled in the 2nd half and beat Texas A&M 33-14. 


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LSU has created a merit based scholarship for incoming freshman whose mom or dad graduated from LSU or are employed by the school. The Louisiana Tiger Legacy Scholarship Program will be a fixed amount that is only available to Louisiana residents. Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships Amy Marix says the scholarship program starts with the fall 2017 incoming class.

“Their student, depending on their ACT score and GPA, would receive a cash award varying from $500 a year to $1000 per year, for up to 8 semesters.”

Other universities around the country are known for offering similar scholarships. Marix says the purpose of creating this scholarship is to support Louisiana students, especially with the current deficiencies with the TOPS program.

“We want to try to meet the needs of all of our students. Offer them the least net price that we can, knowing that they’re counting on the TOPS scholarship and we want to offset that as much as we can.”

LSU’s operating scholarship dollars will fund this program. Marix says they want to keep generation after generation going to LSU. She says there are some very strong academic requirements in order to receive the scholarship.

“The academic requirements are a 24 ACT or SAT equivalent. So we feel like as the LSU Flagship campus, those requirements are absolutely attainable for our students.”



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The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is trying to figure out how a 23 foot whale washed up on Little Florida Beach in Cameron Parish. Marine Biologist Mandy Tomlin says whales are in the Gulf of Mexico, but very rarely seen near the coast, so it appears this young whale got separated from its mother.

"The animal was a very young female calf that was an animal that should've still been with its mother. She was a dependent calf and mom would've been nursing this animal, she was very, very young."

Tomlin says the whale did not appear to be in good health and they also know a whale washed up recently on a Florida beach. She says they did extensive evaluation of the whale in the hopes of finding out how this happened.

"Full internal necropsy where we obtained samples from all of the different organs and different systems inside the animals, as well as, genetic sampling and a suite of other samples that we worked on."

Tomlin says they took several samples from the whale’s body in the hopes they can figure out why this animal died and they hope to learn more about the sperm whale itself.

"I would say a couple weeks to maybe a couple months just to get everything analyzed and then compared with other stranded sperm whale samples that may exist around the country, as well."



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Department of Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson says, after meeting with residents in each region of the state, there seems to be growing support for increasing the state's gas tax. He says people realize that bigger investments need to be made in Louisiana's roads and bridges.

"At all of the meetings there was a pretty vocal level of support for addressing the gas tax, provided that it improves and builds infrastructure," said Wilson.

Governor John Bel Edwards named the task force charged with coming up with recommendations on how to repair Louisiana's transportation problems. Wilson says there is a $13 billion dollar plus backlog in projects that need to be improved throughout the state, but that doesn't include new infrastructure.

"This administration is committed to not providing a band-aid approach," said Wilson. "But a real solution that legislators have to make a decision to support or not support transportation."

The task force's proposals are due by the first of the year, and a boost in the gas tax is expected to be one of the key suggestions.

Wilson says 19 states link their gas taxes to inflation and other things, and the response from the electorate is most often a positive one because people care about quality transportation. He says they welcome all ideas.

"But we are most interested in providing sustainable solutions that is a recurring revenue source that is meaningful, impactful and keeps up with the cost of construction and possibly inflation," Wilson said.

It's been almost 29 years since the state has adjusted the gas tax, and Wilson says it's lost almost 50% of its value.


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A Raycom Media Poll on the U.S. Senate race has Republican State Treasurer John Kennedy and Democratic Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell leading the large field of candidates.
In the survey of 625 registered voters, 24 percent say they plan on voting for Kennedy, while 19 percent say Campbell is their choice.
"I think at the end of the day, a Kennedy-Campbell runoff is the most likely scenario," ULM Political Science Professor John Sutherlin said.
The poll has Republican and former KKK leader David Duke receiving  5 percent of the vote, which means he receives an invite to a televised debate on November second. Sutherlin says Duke, who ran for US Senate and Governor in the early 90s, still has good support in rural areas.
"That statewide platform might give him the ability to get even a higher number then he has right now," Sutherlin said.
Democrat Caroline Fayard finished third at 12-percent, followed by Republican Congressmen Charles Boustany and John Fleming, who are at 11 and 10 percent respectively. Sutherlin says it's unlikely this threesome can make a big jump with election day just over two weeks away.  


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Spending on Halloween costumes, decorations and candy will reach a record high 8.4 billion dollars this year. That’s according to the National Retail Federation. Spokesperson Ana Serafin Smith says more than 171 million Americans are planning to partake in Halloween festivities this year.

“The expected average is about $83 per person. That’s divided among a variety of items like costumes, candy, decorations and even greeting cards.”

Smith says millennials and their use of social media are the reason why the popularity Halloween is growing.

“That one time of the year where you can dress up in a costume, have fun, go trick or treating with your friends and family or even go to a Halloween party and show off, not only your outfit, but your friend’s outfit on twitter.”

Smith says the Presidential election is also driving up costume sales as many people are dressing up as either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

“They’re even starting to sell out of some of these masks. When we look at our data, we learned that it’s really adults over 35-years-old that are going to be dressing up like these political characters.”



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Attorney General Jeff Landry has filed a lawsuit that seeks to have a state judge declare Governor John Bel Edwards’ executive order that protects LGBT individuals from discrimination in the workplace as unconstitutional. Landry believes the governor is circumventing the Legislature to create his own law.

"Our legislature has multiple times in a bipartisan fashion, rejected that type of language."

Landry argues the state legislature has rejected several proposed laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Republican A-G says he’s protecting the will of the legislature.

"The fact that the governor wants to override that and our system is not designed to do that, is what I'm objecting to."

The executive order says state employees can not be fired or harassed at work if they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The order extends to businesses that have state contracts and Landry has already refused to sign legal contracts with the anti-discrimination clause. Edwards believes he has the authority to issue such an order.

"I believe I'm on the right side of the law and I'm on the right side of history on this and I'm not going change the executive order."

Edwards says the attorney general is putting his own political interests ahead of Louisiana’s needs. He disagrees with Landry’s stance that’s it okay for businesses to discriminate.

"Bigotry and discrimination are not Louisiana Values."



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Michelle Southern reporting.
A new Gallup poll shows 60% of Americans support the legalization of marijuana, almost double the amount of people who thought pot should be legal in 2000. David Brown is the director of a group called Sensible Marijuana Policy for Louisiana, or SMPL. He believes this signifies that a lot of changes are taking place within the US electorate.

"Citizens are learning what a lot of us have known for a long time," said Brown. "Cannabis is safer than alcohol and many other drugs."

Nine states are slated to decide whether to expand legal access to pot in the November election. State officials are currently hammering out a plan to get medical marijuana into the hands of patients who suffer certain specific ailments.

But Brown feels that Louisiana will be one of the very last states to get on board with recreational legalization.

"To change to something like the Washington/Colorado model, legalized adult use," said Brown. "That would be when we're swept along with all the other states at the very end."

Brown says the fact that the Legislature passed a bill that would put a mechanism in place to get patients in need medical marijuana indicates many Louisiana lawmakers are approaching the matter with more of an open mind. He said that's not happened on accident.

"It's the result of a lot of hard work and lobbying at the legislative level," said Brown. "And help from health care providers and patients themselves who have made their voices heard."


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LSU’s daily newspaper, The Daily Reveille, will become a weekly 32-page paper come the spring semester of 2017. Reveille editor in chief Quint Forgey says this is a very bitter-sweet moment for him. He says it’s a sad day because everyone who works for the newspaper was raised and trained for a daily paper.

“But we were faced with a tough decision financially and we really took efforts to outline possible options for our own future and then chose the one that we thought was best.”

The Daily Reveille has been a part of LSU since 1887. But Forgey says the Reveille staff is optimistic because the new weekly publication will be much better.

“Now we’re talking about a 32-page, fat paper, loaded with investigative stories and photos, every Thursday. It’s going to be exciting.”

Forgey says student writers will still be required to meet daily deadlines, with turning content each day for the website, LSUNow.com. He says the decision to end the daily publication was not an easy one but they believe the future is still bright for the school newspaper and the students involved.

“If we kept operating the way we did, we’d have to cut the paper or there would be no Daily Reveille. There would be no training ground for future students who hope to pursue journalism in Louisiana and hope to cover the state capital in Baton Rouge.”



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One of many lesser-known candidates in the US Senate race has dropped out less than three weeks before the election. Attorney and former-investment banker Abhay Patel is the first candidate to back out of the crowded field. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat isn’t surprised he withdrew, since he polled poorly.

“The guy just didn’t have any voters with him or he wouldn’t have got out. He spent some money but he’s got no traction. Nobody knows him across the state. So I think it’s smart for him to get out,” Pinsonat said.

After dropping out of the race, Patel endorsed Republican Congressman Charles Boustany over the two other major republican candidates, John Kennedy and John Fleming. There are also two major Democrats in the race, Foster Campbell and Caroline Fayard. Pinsonat says he’s not sure how much that endorsement will really help Boustany.

“I guess you could say it’s good that Boustany got his endorsement, but he doesn’t have any really votes to bring to Boustany. Maybe just the image of him endorsing him might give Boustany a little attention,” Pinsonat said.

Patel’s name will still appear on the ballot along with the 23 other names running for US Senate. Pinsonat says if any other minor candidates drop out, it won’t have a huge impact on who will make the runoff.

“The runoff’s going to be between two of these five well-known candidates who are spending a lot of money. No one else has a chance but those five,” Pinsonat said.



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The head of the Louisiana NAACP spoke before the House Judiciary Committee to provide tips on how law enforcement and the public can work better together. Ernest Johnson says there needs to be more interactive relationships between police officers and the community. He suggests having these officers be very familiar with everyone in the area they’re patrolling.

“A police officer should be required to attend a church in the precinct once a month, without the uniform, in plain clothes, to become familiar with the community.”

Johnson also advises elected officials should host more town hall meetings where police officers attend in plain clothes. He says a culture change needs to be made when officers are addressing people in tricky situations with the public.

“But if I don’t know him and I believe he’s aggressive and I go in and I’m aggressive, then it escalates and then you get a killing. Whereas it should be deescalating but how to we deescalate?”

The House Judiciary Committee wrapped up two days of hearings on interaction between law enforcement and citizens. Chairman Katrina Jackson plans to hold more meetings to come up with a universal community policing policy. Johnson says right now there is no policy where officers become involved as part of the community.

“I don’t think it would cost any money, but I do think it requires policy to change the way policing is done in certain communities.”



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An arrest has been made in the case of an elderly man who was shot to death in his own driveway in Houma. Cody Voisin with the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office says shortly after the death of 87-year-old Anthony Dale Lirette, an arrest warrant was issued for 21-year-old Deandre Pharagood.

“On Octber 19, 2016, he surrendered himself to the Thibodaux Police Department without incident, and he was arrested for first degree murder,” Voisin said.

Voisin says there was no relationship between the victim and Pharagood. He says their investigation into the matter is ongoing.

“We cannot release the exact motive yet. That’s still under investigation,” Voisin said.

Pharagood was booked into the Terrebonne Parish jail on a $500,000 bond.



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It’s an exciting day for Louisiana travelers looking to go overseas, as British Airways announces there will soon be non-stop flights from New Orleans to London. Senior Vice President Simon Brooks says the flights will leave out four times a week beginning March 27, 2017. He says they are delighted to connect these two iconic cities.

“Both places are known for their iconic music scene and rich cultural diversity, and we’re confident that New Orleans will rise up the wish list of Brits and Europeans alike to come and visit this wonderful place,” Brooks said.

Brooks says the 8 hour 40 minute flight will include free food and drink, pillows and blankets for all passengers, as well as free entertainment. He says the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner is known for its smooth ride because it flies at a lower pressurization.

“Our customers will experience less jetlag. It’s got wonderfully big windows so everybody gets a view outside, and it’s incredibly quiet as well. It’s a great aircraft,” Brooks said.

Brooks says American Airline customers will be able to use their frequent flyer miles on these flights. He adds that although the plane lands in London, passengers will have limitless travel options.

“Many of the customers are not just flying to London. They’re going to get the benefit of British Airways onward connections to over 130 destinations beyond London- Europe, Asia, Africa, and beyond,” Brooks said.



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Villains don’t stand a chance this Halloween, as super hero costumes are flying off the shelves. Manage of Spirit Halloween in Alexandria, Caitlyn Piacitelli, says even the girls are suiting up as Marvel and DC characters. She says the most popular costume this year is a more unconventional kind of hero.

“Girls seem to be all wanting Harley Quinn. Every time I get a shipment of the new Suicide Squad Harley Quinn stuff, within that week it’s all gone,” Piacitelli said.

Piacitelli says plenty of guys are stocking up on green hair to be Harley’s puddin’, Mr. J.

Spirit Halloween District Manager of Louisiana, Leah Miller, says all the characters from Suicide Squad have been hot sellers. She says Dead Pool and Star Wars have been as well, after those movies were also box office hits.

“No matter what movie’s out, it’s always Batman, Superman, those sell really, really well as well,” Miller said.

The Bayou State will need all the extra heroes on the street it can get this year, as there will likely be plenty of scary clowns walking around as well. Miller says the creepy clown craze in Louisiana hasn’t hurt clown mask sales at all.

“It’s been the total opposite. It’s actually increased our number of sales as far as clown merchandise goes,” Miller said.



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During Governor John Bel Edward’s monthly call-in show, he addressed several topics including a new Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge, the future of the film tax credit program, and coastal parish lawsuits against the oil and gas industry. Edwards says a new bridge is a huge priority for Baton Rouge, but it takes a lot of money to build a bridge.

“I do think it’s something that we need to move forward on, but I will tell you existing revenue streams are insufficient,” Edwards said.

Edwards says the Transportation Task Force meeting today to discuss improvements in the Baton Rouge area.

Regarding the film tax incentive program, Edwards says he doesn’t think the $180 million cap that lawmakers placed on the program in 2015 as the problem. He says a lot of movie producers had concerns about Louisiana’s commitment to the future of the industry, and expects lawmakers will address those concerns in next year’s legislative session.

“We are trying to stabilize the program, and we want to inspire industry officials from around the country in terms of Louisiana’s commitment to the program,” Edwards said.

Edwards also touched on the lawsuits filed by several coastal parishes against the oil and gas industry for the destruction of the coast. He says he supports the suit because it’s not enough to say these companies create jobs and boost revenue if they’re expediting coastal erosion.

“We need a vibrant oil and gas industry in Louisiana, and we’re going to have that. But every corporate entity needs to be a good corporate citizen as well,” Edwards said.



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Fall weather is finally set to return to Louisiana, thanks to a cold front that will move through the state today. State climatologist Barry Keim says the cold front will also likely bring us some rain, which is much-needed given the drought-like conditions the state has been experiencing. But he says it probably won’t be enough to break out the rain boots.

“Rainfall amounts will likely be less than a half an inch, and probably considerably less in most locations. So if you get some rain, consider yourself lucky because you can actually use it,” Keim said.

Keim says once the rainfall moves through, fall weather will return. He says you’ll really feel the cool temperatures tomorrow.

“By tomorrow morning, minimum temperatures are going to be in the upper 50s across northern parishes and low 60s across south Louisiana, and high temperatures are only going to be in the mid-70s across the entire state,” Keim said.

Keim says by this weekend, it should start to feel more like autumn outside. He says it will be great weather for outdoor activities.

“Over the weekend, I’d say expect a cool, clear, crisp set of conditions all across the state, and LSU kick off temperature is forecast to be 64 degrees,” Keim said.



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Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump has said the November 8th election has been rigged by the media and at the polls to favor Democrat Hillary Clinton. Republican Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler calls Trumps comments irresponsible and says the polls are not rigged and every state is ready to go to carry out a fair election.

“We have programs in place and safeguards in place across the country. Quite frankly, that comment from Donald Trump is totally unfounded and I wish he would give some specifics.”

Schedler says in Louisiana, we haven’t had a problem with a voting machine count in decades. There have been rumors the Russians will hack into the system and alter votes, but Schedler says no voting machines are connected to the internet.

“How do you hack something in cyber space when you’re not in cyber space? Each machine is independently operated. They are not linked together, have a separate cartridge.”

Schedler says he is confident that the Presidential election will go off without any major problems and they have protections in place to protect against voter fraud.

“I’m very confident in the system but nonetheless we are more vigilant than ever because of all these allegations, we are constantly testing our equipment to make sure there is no intrusion.”



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The ACLU of Louisiana is working together with parents after multiple students said they were strip searched at Caldwell Parish High School to find a student’s missing 42 dollars.

Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana Marjorie Esman says the Supreme Court has ruled very clearly that this is a violation of the law.

“Students cannot be strip searched unless there is specific suspicion of a particular student and then you search that particular student for the particular thing that you think they might have. And it’s also a violation of school policy.”

Caldwell Parish School Superintendent John Gullatt says they are conducting an investigation themselves and has apologized to the families involved. Esman says the ACLU and the parents of the students are discussing how to move forward and only time will tell if they decide to take legal action but...

“At the very least, owes the students an apology for having violated their rights and there should be disciplinary action against the school officials involved.”

It’s been reported a teacher and principal have been placed on administrative leave in connection with the searches. Esman says moving forward, the school needs to alter how they deal with matters like this.

“It’s clear that they need to do some more training to make sure that everybody that works in the schools knows not only what the school policy is but also what the law is.”



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Law enforcement, elected officials, and the public gathered at the House Judiciary Committee meeting today to discuss ways to improve community relations with police. Deputy Chief of Staff for the Governor’s Office, Julie Baxter Payer says it’s important to have more community involvement in policy changes. She says they are looking at more training and education for law enforcement.

She says they want to encourage investments in officer wellness and safety initiatives.

“We’re talking about things like hiring more officers to reduce shift lengths, hiring more psychological evaluators, particularly on the front end of the hiring process,” Payer said.

State Police Col. Mike Edmonson says he’s been meeting with law enforcement around the country to learn more about practices implemented in other areas. He says they are extending training periods for officers to ensure they are better prepared for the field, as well as working to recruit better people for the job.

“I’m pleased with what we’re doing in our training. I’m pleased with what we’ve added on to our diversity training, our de-escalation, which is now our new key word in law enforcement,” Edmonson said.

Edmonson says they also want to address how the public responds to police officers, especially young adults. He says many young people don’t know what to do if they get pulled over.

“We’re going to add that in to driver’s education to have those discussions inside driver’s education to talk to those individuals and to have those open discussions,” Edmonson said.


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