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February 24, 2020 at 3:23 AM CST – Updated February 24 at 9:23 PM

LOUISIANA JUDGE-RACIAL SLURS

Louisiana judge apologizes for racial slurs in text messages

NAPOLEONVILLE, La. (AP) — A white Louisiana judge is apologizing for using racial slurs in angry text messages. District Judge Jessie LeBlanc now says she was upset over the end of her extramarital affair with a sheriff’s deputy when she sent him text messages including a slur for black people. She says she’s profusely sorry, but doesn’t believe it should cause any trial verdicts to be overturned. The top prosecutor and lead public defender filed a court motion asking that she no longer handle criminal cases in Assumption Parish. Baton Rouge NAACP President Eugene Collins says she should resign. LeBlanc says she’ll stay and run for reelection.

AP-US-MARDI-GRAS-PARADE-DEATHS

Safety group to convene after Mardi Gras float deaths

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans’ police chief says a new group focused on parade safety during the Mardi Gras season will begin work either late this week or early next week. Superintendent Shaun Ferguson announced the plans on Monday as he discussed the city’s response to the recent deaths of two people in float-related accidents. Ferguson says the committee will consider all suggestions, including setting up barriers for the entire length of parade routes. He says the committees will include city officials, law enforcement and representatives of parade krewes.

FATAL CRASH-PREGNANT WOMAN

Woman pregnant with twins, 7-year-old son die in car crash

LAPLACE, La. (AP) — Louisiana State Police say a pregnant woman expecting twins and her 7-year-old son were killed in a two-vehicle crash. Police say 27-year-old Tyandra Lewis was driving a 2005 Toyota Camry traveling eastbound on Interstate 10 when she stopped in the left lane. A 2002 Ford F-350 truck driven by Willy Buchan of Tyler, Texas struck the Camry from behind. Lewis and her son were fatally injured in the crash. Lewis’ front-seat passenger, 43-year-old Clarence Muse and his 3-year-old son were hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. Buchan wasn’t injured. It’s unclear why Lewis stopped in the left lane. It also wasn’t clear if anyone involved in the crash was wearing a seat belt. The investigation is ongoing.

RESTAURANT SHOOTING-INNOCENT BYSTANDERS

Police: 2 innocent bystanders wounded in triple shooting

OPELOUSAS, La. (AP) — Two innocent bystanders are among the three people that police say were shot at a restaurant in Louisiana. Opelousas police say the shooting happened early Sunday at an after-hours restaurant known as “The Back”. News outlets report all three people were taken to a hospital for treatment. None of the injuries are considered life-threatening. The police chief tells KLFY-TV that one of the victims was the intended target while the other two were innocent bystanders. The chief says officers have interviewed witnesses. No suspects or arrests have been announced.

Study’s verdict goes against new law school in Shreveport

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The idea of establishing a new law school in northwest Louisiana has been rejected in a study for state higher education officials. The Shreveport Times reports that two state lawmakers had asked for the feasibility study by the Louisiana Board of Regents. The study, presented Wednesday, found “little compelling evidence” that a new law school should be placed in the Shreveport-Bossier City area. State Rep. Cedric Glover was one of the lawmakers who sought the study. He said he was disappointed in the findings.

MARDI GRAS PARADE-FATALITY

2nd person in days killed by Mardi Gras float in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Authorities say a man has been struck and killed by a Mardi Gras float during a parade in New Orleans. It was the second death in days involving a parade float and cast a pall over the Carnival festivities. Police said in a statement that the death occurred Saturday night at the parade of the Krewe of Endymion. The rest of the parade was canceled. The New Orleans mayor said the city is grieving anew after a woman was killed on a parade route Wednesday. New Orleans police said late Sunday that tandem floats, save large ones lit by generators, would be banned from parades for rest of Carnival season.

2020 CENSUS-LOUISIANA OUTREACH

Louisiana education department pushes census participation

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s education department has posted online information aimed at promoting participation in in this year’s U.S. Census in classrooms and at home. The 2020 Census Toolbox site includes general information about the counting process, flyers, statistics and videos. It also includes learning activities by grade level that teachers can use to talk about the importance of the census. Census data determines how many members of Congress a state has and is used to divvy up significant sums of federal dollars that flow to states, among other things. Superintendent of Education John White stressed the data’s use in education funding.

LOUISIANA GOVERNOR-CLIMATE CHANGE

Gov. Edwards creates task force to respond to climate change

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration is planning an expansion of coastal restoration and flood protection efforts that will target greenhouse gas emissions by Louisiana industry as a way to reduce future sea level rise. Edwards announced the plans Thursday. The Democratic governor says he’s forming a new Climate Initiatives Task Force that will come up with “next steps” for the state to take. But Edwards offered few specifics about how aggressive a line he would take towards reducing emissions. He praised Louisiana’s energy industry and stressed that the carbon reduction efforts would be as industry-friendly as possible.

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