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Victim details Upper 9th Ward shooting

Donald Powell

Ervin Shaw says he does not even know the man who shot him and his friend Tuesday evening, or why the man opened fire. In an interview on Thursday from his home, where he is still recovering, Shaw said the stranger walked up to him and his friend Jake Tassin asking for a lighter… Continue reading →

Abortion rights supporters: Louisiana ‘vastly exceeds’ its governing authority of abortion clinics

Advocate staff photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON --  In this file photo, New Orleans lawyer Ellie Schilling testifies in front of the House Committee on Health and Welfare against HB388 authored by State Rep. Katrina Jackson, D-Monroe, in 2014 at the Louisiana State Capitol.

The state Department of Health and Hospitals has gone too far in its proposed rules governing operation of abortion clinics, abortion rights interests testified Thursday. “These regulations vastly exceed DHH’s statutory authority,” said Ellie Schilling, a New Orleans lawyer representing the out-patient clinics that terminate pregnancies. About 80 people attended the hearing for DHH… Continue reading →

George Toca, Louisiana inmate at the center of debate on life sentences, to go free

photo by John Simerman -- Joyce Dolliole, 76, of Avondale, is the aunt of murder victim, Eric Batiste. Here she holds pictures of him.

George Toca, a prison inmate from New Orleans who recently found himself at the center of debate over mandatory life sentences for youthful offenders, has had his sentence vacated and is poised to go free after three decades behind bars. Toca and state prosecutors entered a joint plea in which Toca’s murder conviction was… Continue reading →

Group encourages black moms to breastfeed

A grassroots effort is underway in several U.S. cities to encourage more black women to breastfeed their babies by teaching them the benefits of the age-old practice, which is sometimes shunned in African-American communities.… Continue reading →

Senate heads toward approval of Keystone XL pipeline bill

The U.S. Capitol in Washington is seen Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican-controlled Senate is moving toward passage of a bipartisan bill approving the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The move defies a veto threat and sets up the first battle with the White House over energy and the environment. The Senate plans to vote later Thursday. It’s the first measure taken up by the… Continue reading →

Special BESE meeting sought on Common Core; discussion needed on how to handle students who opt out tests, member says

Advocate file photos -- Lottie Beebe, left, and Chas Roemer

A member of Louisiana’s top school board said that she and three other panel members want a special meeting to discuss upcoming Common Core tests. Lottie Beebe, a member of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, made her comments in an email Wednesday to BESE president Chas Roemer. Beebe said the board… Continue reading →

Saints’ Drew Brees discusses ‘Deflategate’ on ‘Conan’

During an appearance on Conan O’Brien’s television talk show, Saints quarterback Drew Brees offered his insight on the current “Deflategate” flap.… Continue reading →

IberiaBank reports profit increase

Lafayette-based IberiaBank Corp. turned a fourth-quarter profit of $35.9 million, $1.07 per share, compared to $25.6 million, or 86 cents per share, a year ago. For the year, the company earned $105.5 million, or $3.30 per share, compared to $65.1 million, or $2.20 per share. The company reported its fourth-quarter and annual results late Wednesday.… Continue reading →

Tulane med school joins network fighting a lung disease

Photo provided by Wikimedia Commons -- Tulane University Gibson Hall

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Tulane University School of Medicine has been selected to join an expanding network of medical centers caring for patients with a progressive lung disease. The university said in a Wednesday news release that it is joining the care network of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. The move means Tulane gains access to numerous resources… Continue reading →

$40 million donation pledged to LSU for athletics and engineering

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU students walk by the campanile.

A graduate of LSU has pledged a $40 million gift to be split among LSU engineering and athletics, among the largest donations in the university’s history. The donor’s name wasn’t released Wednesday by the university. The money will be given to LSU upon the death of the donor as part of the settlement of the estate.… Continue reading →

No big winners in Wednesday’s lottery drawings

The Louisiana Lottery Corporation says nobody won the two major jackpots in the Louisiana Lotto and multistate Powerball drawings on Wednesday night. Louisiana Lotto players matching all six numbers drawn would have won or shared a $600,000 prize, which will rise to an estimated $625,000 for Saturday. Players matching all five numbers and the Powerball would… Continue reading →

Full Court Press blog: LSU signee Simmons, commit Blakeney to play in McDonald’s game

LSU signee Benny Simmons and Antonio Blakeney, who committed earlier this month to the Tigers’ program, were chosen Wednesday night to play in the 38th annual McDonald’s All-American game. The McDonald’s game, a showcase for the top seniors among boys and girls in the country, will be played April 1 at the United Center in Chicago and… Continue reading →

Source: Unlikely past lawsuits against Gayle Benson will worry NFL, NBA officials; here's what they will focus on

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  Lane Murdoch, Jr. photographs Hornets owner Tom Benson and his wife Gayle Monday, October 1, 2012 at the Alario Center in Westwego during media day. Before Tom Benson came into her life, Gayle suffered financial challenges and was the subject of litigation and foreclosure.

Neither the Saints nor the Pelicans anticipate Gayle Benson’s record of being sued numerous times in New Orleans civil court will dissuade either the NFL or the NBA from approving a plan to make her the future owner of the two teams owned by her husband, Tom Benson, a source close to the situation said Wednesday.… Continue reading →

State Police to remain in N.O. until at least mid-May

Advocate file photo by MATTHEW HINTON--A State Police vehicle is parked in the French Quarter on Monday, Oct. 27, 2014. Extra State Police patrols that have been deployed since the June 29 Bourbon Street shooting, where a woman was killed and nine other were injured, will end this coming Sunday.

The State Police plan to keep a beefed-up contingent of troopers in New Orleans even after the Carnival crowds die down next month, seeking to mollify a crime-weary city and buttress its understaffed Police Department through a busy season of conventions and special events. Responding to Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s repeated pleas to the state, Col. Mike… Continue reading →

Jindal says he’ll suggest ‘options’ to reduce budget cuts

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks during his prayer rally,

Gov. Bobby Jindal said Wednesday that he’ll offer lawmakers “suggested solutions” in February that could lessen the depth of next year’s budget cuts as the state grapples with a $1.6 billion projected shortfall. The Republican governor’s 2015-16 budget proposal is due to lawmakers Feb. 27. It will outline Jindal’s recommendations for closing the gap in the fiscal… Continue reading →

Developers propose outdoor music venue and water park on N.O. lakefront

Architectural rendering provided by Eskew + Dumez + Ripple -- Aerial view of Tipitina's Festival Park Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans East.

A proposal by the owner of Tipitina’s and the Orpheum Theater to turn the abandoned Bally’s casino dock and administration building on Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans East into an outdoor music venue and water park is under consideration by the state board that controls the site. The Louisiana Non-Flood Protection Asset Management Authority… Continue reading →

Vitter grills attorney general candidate

Associated Press photo by J. SCOTT APPLEWHITEAttorney General nominee Loretta Lynch, President Barack Obama's choice to run the Justice Department, wraps up a full day of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee at her confirmation hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., aggressively questioned attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch about her defense of the Obama administration’s controversial immigration policy in her confirmation hearing Wednesday. “I have a huge concern regarding what I think is the president’s illegal, unconstitutional executive amnesty,” Vitter said to Lynch in the U.S. Senate Judiciary… Continue reading →

Student killed Monday in Algiers had difficult life in N.O., L.A.

Tokoyo Palmer

Like many high school students, Tokoyo Palmer liked to crack jokes, play sports and be the center of attention. But he struggled in a classroom environment, according to Lakeisha Weber, his biology teacher at Sarah T. Reed Senior High School in late 2012. As Weber prepared for a meeting one day with Tokoyo, his father… Continue reading →

Armstrong Airport adds direct flights from Cancun, Missouri

Louis Armstrong International Airport is picking up a few new flights, including direct routes from Cancun, Mexico, and Branson, Missouri, and a flight from Cincinnati with a brief layover. Branson Air Express, a company operated by Orange Air, announced the new flights on Wednesday. They will begin May 6. The airport has picked up… Continue reading →

Feds spend hours at St. Bernard government complex

St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta

FBI agents spent several hours at the St. Bernard Parish government complex on Wednesday, spending most of their time in the Information Technology Department, sources said. The FBI presence is an offshoot of the state case against Parish President Dave Peralta, multiple sources confirmed. The embattled first-term parish president already stands charged in two state… Continue reading →

Hezbollah, Israel exchange fire

Israeli soldiers treat a wounded soldier near the Israel-Lebanon border, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015. A missile fired by the Lebanese Hezbollah group struck an Israeli military convoy on Wednesday, killing two soldiers in an apparent retaliation for a deadly airstrike attributed to Israel that killed many Hezbollah fighters in Syria earlier this month. The violence was the deadliest Hezbollah attack on Israel since a 2006 war between the two sides. (AP Photo/Gili Eliyahu, Jinipix)

SHEAR YASHUV, Israel — The Lebanese militant Hezbollah group fired a salvo of missiles at an Israeli military convoy in a disputed border area Wednesday, killing two soldiers and triggering deadly clashes that marked the most serious escalation since the sides’ 2006 war. The flare-up, which left a U.N. peacekeeper dead and seven… Continue reading →

Man falls asleep while burglarizing house, and other area crime news

Man falls asleep while burglarizing house A Slidell man was arrested Wednesday morning after allegedly falling asleep on the couch of a house he had broken into, a Slidell Police Department spokesman said. Sharrod McCullum, 31, was roused from his slumber by police officers after the homeowner got up and found him, spokesman Daniel… Continue reading →

Tom Benson on TV: ‘There’s nothing wrong with me’

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--New Orleans Pelicans owner Tom Benson and his wife Gayle Benson give the thumbs up after a NBA game between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Miami Heat at New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, La. Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013.

Embroiled in a family feud related to who will inherit his NFL and NBA franchises as well as other properties when he dies, Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson went on television Wednesday night to bite back at allegations he’s mentally unfit to make his own business decisions and declared, “There’s nothing wrong with me.” “People (have)… Continue reading →

Jury to get 110ers gang case Thursday

The jurors heard from 58 witnesses, including more than a dozen who came shackled and hoping to have years or decades cut from their prison terms. They learned the grim details of how a band of teenagers from Uptown and the 7th Ward allegedly joined forces to wreak bloody havoc on rival gang members and bystanders… Continue reading →

Legislators unlikely to act on hospital stability plan

Legislators likely won’t act on a constitutional provision approved by Louisiana voters in November that would have protected some of the money hospitals are paid to provide medical care for the poor and uninsured. “I’m 99 percent sure we are not doing anything,” said House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, R-Lake Charles, who sponsored the constitutional amendment… Continue reading →

La. Supreme Court hears arguments in James Gray disciplinary case

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  New Orleans City Council District E Councilman James Gray.

The Louisiana Supreme Court will decide whether New Orleans City Councilman James Gray neglected clients in his private legal practice, potentially setting back their cases, or if he was simply a disorganized lawyer who ran into disputes with some of the people he represented. Attorneys sparred over those issues Wednesday in a disciplinary case that could… Continue reading →