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Ian Somerhalder stumps for another St. Tammany candidate

Ian Somerhalder, the TV heartthrob from “Lost” and “Vampire Diaries,” is apparently not done stumping for local political candidates in St. Tammany Parish. First he made an endorsement in the race for district attorney, now he’s weighing in on the contest between incumbent family court Judge Dawn Amacker and challenger Nanine McCool in the 22nd Judicial District,… Continue reading →

Rob Maness could pull ‘shocker’ in Senate race, Sarah Palin tells RealClearPolitics

FILE - In this Sept. 26, 2014 file photo, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former vice presidential candidate speaks in Washington.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Rob Maness, who is making his first run for elective office, could pull off a “shocker” and win the Louisiana Senate race on Tuesday, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin told RealClearPolitics on Thursday. “Like a gator in the swamp, Col. Rob Maness may have been seen as sharply lurking, but is now ready… Continue reading →

Mary Landrieu to NBC: Race a major reason Barack Obama struggles in South; Bobby Jindal fires back

In this Sept. 30, 2014, file photo, Sen. Mary Landrieu speaks in Baton Rouge. (AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte, File)

President Barack Obama has a difficult time politically in the South in part because of his race, Sen. Mary Landrieu told NBC News on Thursday. Continue reading →

Medicare paying for medicine for dead people

FILE - In this Sept. 18, 2014 file photo, Medicaid Administrator Marilyn Tavenner testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. A government watchdog agency says Medicares prescription drug program kept paying for costly medications even after patients were dead. The problem seems to have started with a bureaucratic rule now getting a second look. A report coming out Friday from the Health and Human Services inspector general says Medicare has been allowing payment for prescriptions filled up to 32 days after a patients death.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Call it drugs for the departed: Medicare’s prescription program kept paying for costly medications even after patients were dead. The problem was traced back to a head-scratching bureaucratic rule that’s now getting a second look. A report coming out Friday from the Health and Human Services Department’s inspector general says the Medicare rule… Continue reading →

Maine ask court to restrict movements of nurse in Ebola standoff

Nurse Kaci Hickox, right, and her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur are followed by a Maine State Trooper as they ride bikes on a trail near her home in Fort Kent, Maine, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014.  The couple went on an hour-long ride.  State officials are going to court to keep Hickox in quarantine for the remainder of the 21-day incubation period for Ebola that ends on Nov. 10. Police are monitoring her, but can't detain her without a court order signed by a judge. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Updated at 10:20 a.m. — FORT KENT, Maine (AP) — Maine health officials have asked a court to limit the movements of nurse Kaci Hickox, who defied a voluntary quarantine for medical workers who have treated Ebola patients. Officials filed documents Thursday, following through with a threat to try to isolate her. A judge signed a temporary order Thursday limiting Hickox’s… Continue reading →

Trooper ambush suspect caught; death penalty eyed

FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Pennsylvania State Police shows Eric Frein, who has eluded police, but is charged with killing one Pennsylvania State Trooper and seriously wounding another in a late night ambush. Authorities said Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014, that they have captured Frein. (AP Photo/Pennsylvania State Police)

LORDS VALLEY, Pa. (AP) — A survivalist accused of ambushing two state troopers, killing one and seriously wounding the other, was captured on Thursday by U.S. marshals near an abandoned airplane hangar, ending a seven-week manhunt that had rattled the nerves of area residents. Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Eric Frein, who meekly gave himself… Continue reading →

Walt Handelsman: Halloween welcome

Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and animator Walt Handelsman’s work appears in The New Orleans Advocate four days a week. Follow this link to the cartoon.Continue reading →

Saints end road hex, take first in NFC South with 28-10 victory at Carolina

New Orleans Saints' Drew Brees (9) dives over the goal line for a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers in the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The race to first place started out like a three-legged race, with one of the participants on each team wearing a shaven-down pegleg. The gates burst open at Bank of America Stadium, and both the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers tripped, stumbled and fumbled their way through much of the first… Continue reading →

Gallier Hall needs major renovation; Carnival viewing stand may be moved

Advocate staff file photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- A section of the facade of Gallier Hall on St. Charles Avenue broke off and crashed to the stone steps in August, damaging the steps. The area around the front of the building was barricaded for the safety of passing pedestrians.

All hail, Rex. And beware of falling objects. The ongoing threat of falling stone from the Gallier Hall fa├žade may prevent Mayor Mitch Landrieu from raising his glass in toast to Carnival dignitaries at the historic building next year. Gallier Hall is in need of a “major, major renovation,” Deputy Mayor Cedric Grant told… Continue reading →

Two small energy companies settle coastal damage claims with N.O. levee authority

Central marshes in St. Bernard Parish, La. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Two small Texas energy firms settled with a New Orleans-area levee authority on Thursday, becoming the first defendants to throw in the towel in a massive lawsuit accusing almost 100 oil and gas companies of directly contributing to coastal erosion in southeast Louisiana. Details of the settlements between the Southeast Louisiana Flood… Continue reading →

Face-lift fit for a Voodoo princess

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Guide Dawn Grosheider talks to her tour group at Marie Laveau's tomb in St. Louis No. 1 cemetery in New Orleans on Thursday, October 30, 2014. The tomb, which was vandalized earlier this year, has been renovated.

Tourists swilled beers, tour guides barked and the tomb of legendary Voodoo priestess Marie Laveau received a final touch-up Thursday as part of a group effort to restore the popular attraction to its original state. The tomb, which is in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 near Conti and Basin… Continue reading →

Rob Maness is late to politics

Advocate Photo by MARK BALLARD -- Rob Maness, a tea party backed Republican running for the U.S. Senate, spoke to the Family Research Council rally Saturday.

Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of profiles examining the major candidates in the U.S. Senate race. Rob Maness, who is making his first run for elective office, says he only started paying attention to politics as a Harvard University graduate student. “I was getting taught by… Continue reading →

Detroit murder suspect arrested in Chalmette, and other area police news

Surveillance image provided by the New Orleans Police Department -- Police are trying to identify this man wanted in connection with an auto burglary and theft from a Rite Aid drug store.

Maybe he should have put on the costume first. A suspect in a Detroit murder was arrested Wednesday afternoon outside a Chalmette costume shop, minutes after buying a bumblebee costume. Damian Jones, 23, is suspected in an Oct. 4, 2013, murder in the Michigan… Continue reading →

Causeway reopens after earlier wreck involving tractor-trailer

The cab of a truck hangs over the left side of the southbound Causeway after a noontime Thursday accident.

The southbound lanes of the Causeway have reopened after a noontime accident involving a tractor-trailer rig and two other cars closed both lanes for more than two hours, according to General Manager Carlton Dufrechou. Two people involved in the wreck were transported to local hospitals, Dufrechou said. The wreck happened in the vicinity of construction… Continue reading →

Owner of former St. Tammany work-release program facing ethics charges

Jimmy Laurent

An owner of a controversial work-release program that St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain shut down in March is facing a conflict-of-interest charge filed by the state Board of Ethics. Jimmy Laurent owns 30 percent of Northshore Workforce, a work-release program that was closed amid negative media coverage and repeated inmate escapes.… Continue reading →

Court clerk clashes with City Council president over his budget

Stacy Head

It is begging season at City Hall, the time of year when one agency head after another appears before the City Council to ask for more money — sometimes millions of dollars more — than the mayor proposes to give them in next year’s budget. But Arthur Morrell, the clerk of Criminal District Court, is clearly… Continue reading →

Three West Bank seats on Jefferson School Board up for grabs

Rickeem Jackson, candidate for Jefferson Parish School Board

The competition for seats on the Jefferson Parish School Board has played out as a struggle between candidates backed by Jefferson business groups and those running with the support of the local teachers union, which has gotten a big financial assist from the American Federation of Teachers, its national counterpart. Voters will decide Tuesday among… Continue reading →

Fire marshal: Thefts of brass fire sprinklers on the rise

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Chief Butch Browning, of the State Fire Marshal's Office, speaks during a press conference on Thursday after his office launched an investigation into the theft of brass connections that have been stolen from the Ochsner Medical Center, a mall theatre and a department in store in Kenner. The devices allow fire departments to pump much-needed water into burning buildings and ensure that fire pumps are operating properly. These connectors are also an integral part of fire sprinkler systems and fire pumps that are installed in thousands of commercial and residential buildings throughout Louisiana, including hotels, schools, nursing homes and theaters.

Police and fire authorities are expanding their investigation into a recent string of fire sprinkler thefts across southeast Louisiana. Thefts of the brass sprinklers are on the rise, as the devices can be sold at recycling centers for several hundred dollars apiece, the state Fire Marshal’s Office said at a news conference Thursday. “In times that… Continue reading →

Settlement reached in sexual misconduct case against ex-Plaquemines deputy

Former Plaquemines Parish Deputy Elijah Gary

A lawsuit alleging sexual battery that was filed against a former Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy, as well as Sheriff Lonnie Greco and his office, has been settled out of court. The Sheriff’s Office issued a statement this week saying it has agreed to pay $48,000 to settle the case. U.S. District Judge Nannette… Continue reading →

Grambling leader outlines plan to address deficit

Facing a more than $3 million deficit, Grambling State University plans to increase faculty teaching loads while requiring furloughs, provide incentives for 15 faculty members to retire, and possibly even shutter the Grambling Laboratory Schools. Interim President Cynthia Warrick announced the drastic measures to help cash-strapped Grambling regain sound financial footing during a meeting with faculty and… Continue reading →

Jindal officials says Kennedy could delay projects

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration says Treasurer John Kennedy’s refusal to sign state borrowing paperwork could cost the state money and delay construction projects if a deal can’t be reached soon. And the administration is asking lawmakers to put pressure on Kennedy. Kennedy disputes the claim, saying no construction work is in jeopardy. The dispute centers on… Continue reading →

Landrieu embraces bringing federal dollars to La.

Trying to combat the national undertones of Louisiana’s U.S. Senate race, Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu is traveling the state this week on a sort of pork celebration tour, telling voters about the projects and aid she’s delivered to Louisiana. The retail style of politicking has been Landrieu’s hallmark in office and in her campaign heading into Tuesday’s… Continue reading →

Southern’s Human Jukebox picked to perform in Atlanta

Southern University’s “Human Jukebox” marching band will perform for thousands in Atlanta early next year as part of the 13th annual Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase. The university will receive a $20,000 grant from Honda to support music education programs, plus travel to and hotel accommodations in Atlanta, as one of eight bands participating in… Continue reading →

‘Good ol’ boy’ remark causes social media stir in hotly contested Tammany DA race

Nowhere is the sparring over who will become the next district attorney for St. Tammany and Washington parishes more intense than in St. Tammany’s insular legal community. And just like much campaigning these days, much of the battle is playing out on social media. The latest flap began Thursday when Slidell attorney Charles Branton posted a… Continue reading →

UNO poll: Bill Cassidy would be favored in runoff over Mary Landrieu; Louisiana headed in wrong direction

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., right, and Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., left, participate in a Senate race debate with Republican candidate and Tea Party favorite Rob Maness  on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge, La., Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

A majority of Louisiana voters say the state is heading in the “wrong direction.” The state’s biggest problems are education and unemployment, they told researchers from the University of New Orleans in a recent survey. Both Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal and Democratic President Barack Obama are not well-liked — earning 40 percent and 38 percent… Continue reading →