Letter to the editor
Send a letter to the editor to voice your opinion.
East Baton Rouge Parish Homicide Map
A map listing homicides or suspected homicides in EBR Parish.
Gas Prices in BR
Current gas prices in BR area.

Ex-school official accused of ethics violation

The Louisiana Board of Ethics has accused a former Orleans Parish school official of pressuring a private contractor to create a position and hire a specific person for the job. Herman Taitt, the former Orleans Parish School Board executive director of operations who criticized how hurricane recovery contracts were divvied up, allegedly wanted GCA Services Group… Continue reading →

Outside groups aim to register Louisiana voters ahead of deadline

Louisianians have about a week left to register to vote in the November election, and with a heated U.S. Senate race having gained national attention, several third-party groups are working to get more people on the state’s voter rolls. Outside voter registration efforts locally have included in-person voter drives, as well as official-looking prefilled registration forms… Continue reading →

Landry’s views loud and clear on teacher evaluations

Advocate staff photo by Travis Spradling -- The Louisiana State Capitol

While teacher unions usually lead the way in criticizing Louisiana’s new methods for evaluating public school teachers, they had to take a back seat last week. Mickey Landry, executive director of the Choice Foundation in New Orleans, was succinct in his view of what should be done about the current job evaluation methods. “I think we… Continue reading →

Local superintendents troubled by overhaul

A Legislature-ordered overhaul of Louisiana’s special education system is sparking questions, concerns and angst among superintendents. “We are proceeding cautiously,” said John Watson, superintendent of the Livingston Parish school system. “It is a big undertaking.” Other school district chiefs made similar comments about the sweeping new law, which won approval earlier this year,… Continue reading →

Bill Cassidy and Mary Landrieu both dinged for false ads

Screen grab taken from Mary Landrieu campaign -- U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu has a portion of her campaign commercial combating remarks made in contender Bill Cassidy's commercial.

A plague on both your houses: That’s pretty much what U.S. Senate candidate Rob Maness recommended when he recently called for his two major opponents — incumbent Mary Landrieu and U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy — to stop airing false or misleading campaign commercials. Maness, a retired Air Force colonel running as a tea-party Republican, referred to the… Continue reading →

Officials vow to fix system charging rape victims

State Sen. Jean-Paul J. Morrell and state Rep. Helena Moreno

State officials and anti-sexual assault advocates say they are appalled that some rape victims are receiving hefty hospital bills for their treatments after being attacked. They vow to repair that law. “We go to the hospital with the victims. The last thing we want to be talking about is financial responsibility,” Mary Claire Landry, director of the… Continue reading →

Report says 5th district race a toss-up

At the end of a week that saw the “kissing congressman’s” wife standing by her man in a television commercial and the Duck Commander back a nephew in a radio spot — both advertisements attracted national attention — a respected congressional handicapper announced Friday that the race in Louisiana’s 5th congressional district is a “toss-up.” Republican U.S.… Continue reading →

Leaders discuss future of La. college systems’ budgets

Three of Louisiana’s college and university systems are just hoping the state Legislature won’t cut higher education funding next year. Meanwhile, the Southern University System is facing significant funding issues next year, as officials suspect the Baton Rouge campus will fail to meet state benchmarks necessary to raise tuition for a second year. Higher education leaders gave… Continue reading →

Benefits reserve hit by rising claims, premium cuts

The Jindal administration and the Louisiana Legislature’s fiscal advisers reported Wednesday that rising health insurance claims and a 9 percent reduction in premiums were responsible for the Office of Group Benefits reserves dropping nearly $300 million over a three-year period. The reports were released to counter allegations in blogs and among some state workers that Gov. Bobby… Continue reading →

Our Lady of the Lake adopts flu shot policy

Employees and volunteers at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center will have to start wearing a surgical mask around the Baton Rouge hospital if they don’t get a flu shot, under a policy announced by the Lake on Wednesday. Lake officials said the policy about 7,000 “team members” — including physicians, allied health staff,… Continue reading →

Special education overhaul subject of webinar series

Controversy continued to churn Wednesday on a new state law that offers multiple ways for some special education students to earn a high school diploma. Officials of the state Department of Education told a key advisory panel that the agency will hold a series of webinars for school districts on how to implement the overhaul.… Continue reading →

Duck Commander releases ad for Dasher

Zach Dasher

The day after Congressman Vance McAllister released a campaign commercial that hinted at his scandal, opponent Zach Dasher came out Tuesday with radio spot featuring his uncle, who leads the “Duck Dynasty” clan. “He has been officially and thoroughly vetted by the Robertson clan,” Duck Commander Phil Robertson said of Dasher, who is the son of his… Continue reading →

Attorney general: Group Benefits failed to follow law in plan changes

The Jindal administration did not meet legal requirements for making changes to health insurance plans sponsored by state employees, teachers and retirees, the state attorney general’s office concluded in an advisory opinion issued Tuesday. The state Office of Group Benefits is mandated by law to go through an approval process known as the Administrative Procedures… Continue reading →

Norm Clark quits 6th district race and backs Dan Claitor’s candidacy

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- From left, as mom Nancy Claitor and son Sam Claitor watch, Dan Claitor, right, signs in to qualify to run for office at the Secretary of State's office.

Norm Clark, a Republican candidate in the 6th congressional district race, suspended his campaign and backed the candidacy of state Sen. Dan Claitor, according to a Tuesday press release. “Having had the opportunity to meet every candidate in this race,” Clark said in the prepared statement released by Claitor’s campaign. “It has become clear that there is… Continue reading →

Report issued on facilities for disabled

Louisiana continues to rely more heavily on institutions for the developmentally disabled than most states across the nation, according to a legislative auditor’s report issued Monday. The informational report said the overreliance is happening even though the state Department of Health and Hospitals has either closed or downsized public facilities. “The number of Louisiana Medicaid beds …… Continue reading →

Kelly McAllister stands by ‘kissing congressman’

In what some call a bold move and others call a “Hail Mary pass,” U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister and his wife confronted his kissing scandal in his re-election campaign’s first commercial. Louisiana’s so-called “kissing congressman” describes his “wonderful, Christian wife,” in a 30-second spot released Monday. His wife, Kelly, describes feeling blessed because her husband… Continue reading →