News for Tuesday 030519
Compiled by Dave Graichen
While many may associate Mardi Gras with catching beads, in small towns like Eunice, the focus is on chasing chickens or Courir de Mardi Gras. Participants will dress in costume as part of a 12-mile chicken run, with some on horseback. Captain of the Eunice Mardi Gras Pat Frey says the country version of the Mardi Gras has been going for 123 years. There are a few limitations on the run. You have to be 18 to participate and have to be in costume. Frey says there run happens regardless of the weather conditions, and they expect about 800-1000 join in on the festivities. Similar festivities are held in Mamou and many other towns across the southern western part of the state.
The Louisiana Department of Health is concerned about people catching more than just beads as the flu virus is widespread in the state. Assistant state health officer, Doctor Joseph Kanter encourages those celebrating Fat Tuesday to take extra precautions in avoiding the spread of the virus. The flu shot takes about a week or two to hit its full effectiveness. Kanter says it appears that flu season is right around its peak, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get vaccinated if you haven’t already.
A flood warning was issued Monday for the Mississippi River at New Orleans by the National Weather Service, although the levees and spillways are expected to keep the city dry. The river is forecast to reach the 17-foot flood stage at New Orleans Saturday and remain there at least two weeks. It has already exceeded flood stage levels from Lake Providence to Baton Rouge. Though flood stage in New Orleans is 17 feet, the city is protected up to 20 feet.
The body of a missing Texas woman was found on the Louisiana side of the Sabine River on Monday. Candi McKee was reported missing when she didn’t show up for work at her job in Buna, Texas. A search began with law enforcement agencies from Texas and Louisiana working together after her co-workers contacted authorities and McKee’s husband. Early Monday her vehicle was found burned near the town of Kirbyville. Then Last Night her body was discovered in the Sabine River near the Burr Ferry Bridge, over 40 miles away from the burned car. It has also been confirmed that a suspect, who authorities say knew McKee, is in custody and has allegedly confessed to the killing.
32-year-old Tashonty Toney remains in jail on a 510-thousand dollar bond after New Orleans Police say he plowed into a group of bicyclists on Saturday night, killing two and injuring seven. Detectives suspect Toney was impaired and he’s facing counts of vehicular homicide and several other charges. Loyola University Law Professor Dane Ciolino says Toney, the son of a New Orleans Police Officer, faces a lengthy prison sentence.
An estimated 36,000 convicted felons who’ve been out of jail for at least five years can now register to vote thanks to a state law that went into effect March 1st. To register, an eligible felon must get a certification letter from Probation and Parole. Checo Yancy, the director of Voters Organized to Educate, says you can’t really be a full citizen of a nation if you don’t have the right to vote for your representatives.
The Louisiana Board of Regents will award grants to ten college campuses in an effort to reduce textbooks for students. Deputy Commissioner for Strategic Communication Meg Casper Sunstrom says they believe this effort could save more than one-million dollars over three years for 15-thousand students and they plan to track the results.
A man in the Caddo Parish town of allegedly murdered his cousin Sunday and is now in jail facing second degree charges. Police investigators say 76-year-old Jerold Barron was in an argument with his 47-year-old cousin Terry Lee, when Barron shot Lee in the chest. The dispute allegedly centered on living arrangements in the house that was owned by Barron.
The man who stands accused of fatally shooting LSU Basketball player Wayde Sims is seeking a reduction in his bail of 350,000 dollars. This comes from a brief from 20-year-old Dyteon Simpson, who claims he’s “totally remorseful”. Legal analyst Franz Borghardt who says such changes, historically, are incredibly rare. Borghardt says even worse for Simpson’s case, the letter itself and the claim of remorse may actually hurt his case for a lower bail, because it sounds awfully close to admitting to committing a fairly heinous crime. Simpson described himself as a father of a five-month-old who is “very productive and independent.” Sims was allegedly shot by Simpson near the Southern University campus in Baton Rouge after Sims reportedly stepped in to defend his friend in a fistfight last year.
Louisiana is joining a pilot program that will give those seeking addiction treatment the ability to see the “ratings” of a treatment facility on a range of different services they provide. Department of Health Communications Director Bob Johannessen says Shatterproof will fill in prospective patients on the facility’s capabilities, compared to their needs. Johannessen says addiction is a difficult struggle, but having this kind of information available will make at least one part of the recovery process easier to handle. The rating system will go live in 2020.
The LSU baseball team went from being ranked number one or two to not even in the top ten in a couple of the major college baseball polls following their three losses in Texas over the weekend. Coach Paul Mainieri says it was a bad weekend at the ball park.