News -> INDReporter FRI, JAN 11 10:10AM by Bill Fuller and Janet McConnaughey, Associated Press
Jindal declares emergency because of storms
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Gov. Bobby Jindal declared a statewide emergency Thursday after storms rolled across Louisiana, dumping huge amounts of rain and flooding some areas. The declaration lets Louisiana use state money to help local governments recover from storm damage.
A slow-moving system dumped almost a foot of rain in some areas, causing rivers to swell and creating street flooding in urban areas. No injuries were reported, though authorities suspect a tornado may have caused damage at an industrial plant near Baton Rouge.
The bad weather had moved out of Louisiana by nightfall but forecasters warned that another round of rain was likely across the state over the weekend.
"The next one doesn't seem to be nearly as potent," said Christopher Bannan, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Slidell, north of New Orleans.
The next wave will probably start late Saturday night in north Louisiana and work through the state Sunday and Sunday night, he said.
Storms sloshed across all of Louisiana from the southwest, where rivers were at or approaching flood stage, to the northeast, where the tiny town of Clayton was swamped. Eunice, down in Cajun country, got nearly 11.2 inches of rain over the 24 hours ending at 7 a.m. Thursday. About 70 miles east, a possible tornado ripped part of the roof from an industrial plant in Plaquemine.
"I need my little floaties, honey, my little waders," said Mayor Carol Ponthieux (PAHN-chay) of Iowa (EYE-oh-way), a southwest Louisiana town of 2,996 that got 9.7 inches of rain in the 24 hours ending at 7 a.m.
Water got into perhaps a dozen houses on two streets in a fairly new subdivision, she said, and rain water filled sewers so that quite a few people couldn't flush their toilets. More than 50 but fewer than 100 households had that problem, she estimated.
The Louisiana National Guard sent a high-water truck and two soldiers each to Marksville and to Crowley, where the National Weather Service reported 9.35 inches of rain in 24 hours, and sent 50,000 empty sandbags to Livingston Parish.
Residents of about 10 houses in Crowley asked for help and more than 20 homes took on water — mostly from the wakes raised by tractor-trailers, Mayor Greg Jones said. Avoyelles Parish 911 director Donald Milligan said people in two vehicles near Marksville and a house in Mansura called for help.
Eunice Mayor Claud "Rusty" Moody didn't know how high the water got in his streets. "I wouldn't go out of my house," he said.
He said some houses and about 10 to 15 apartments in one complex flooded — and, after receding, water began rising again Thursday afternoon near the complex. He said he and city workers were going out to try to find the cause, likely a clogged storm drain.
In Clayton, Mayor Rydell Turner said he carried a disabled woman through her flooded yard to the bus that takes her to work, and a waterworks maintenance worker carried about a dozen children to their school bus.
The SNF Flopam plant, which makes water-soluble polymers, reported roof damage around 7:30 a.m., Iberville Parish Emergency Preparedness officials said.
In the south, Ascension, St. James, St. John and Livingston parishes reported widespread street flooding, with minor street flooding in several other locations, said meteorologist Danielle Manning.
Southwest Louisiana was emerging from downpours that have rivers and streams across the area at or approaching flood stage. That probably will affect mostly streets along the river, where most homes are built up high enough to avoid flooding, weather service hydrologist Jonathan Brazzell said.
Minor flooding also was reported and predicted in southeast Louisiana.
By late Thursday morning the worst of the rain was over southeast Louisiana.
In Breaux Bridge, St. Martin Parish authorities said high wind tipped over a trailer, but the occupant was not injured.
Most hunting in the Pearl River Wildlife Management Area in St. Tammany Parish will close Friday because of high water and reopen when the river drops below 16.5 feet at Pearl River, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said Thursday. Waterfowl hunting will remain open.
Lafayette, Acadia, Iberia, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary and Vermilion parishes were among those where the bad weather closed schools.
The New Orleans Fair Grounds Race Course canceled races scheduled Thursday.
MAY 17 Here's a column from James Gill, this time in the Advocate. Gill, who has jumped ship from the Picayune, writes about the absurdity of dueling polls in this post. The numbers are so wildly different, it is obvious that both sides are "cooking the books," he writes. In particular, he looks at Sen. Mary Landrieu, and how her recent actions in DC have been received by those polled. Gill's acerbic, amusing prose is a welcome addition to a paper so conservative as to be occasionally lacking in personality.
MAY 17 Blogger Tom Aswell continues delivering bombshells about the state education department and Gov. Jindal's education "reform" efforts. In this post, he reports that students in the Shreveport area have been signed up for a charter school without their knowledge or consent. Most interesting to Aswell is how this Texas-based charter (with ties to GOP types) got the personal student information it has, if the students didn't give it.
MAY 17 This post by JR Ball in the Baton Rouge Business Report is an interesting tongue-in-cheek look at recent Baton Rouge economic development efforts. Among the items he examines is the idea that gaining a Costco makes BR a "world-class city." (Really? All you need is a different brand of Sam's? MK!) This effort, and other recent ones, are all built on the taxpayer's back, with tax zones, tax incentives and tax rebates, Ball writes.
MAY 17 Blogger CB Forgotston is critical of the legislature's reliance on a revenue-estimating committee's decision to include projected tax amnesty income in this year's forecast. That's a problem, CB posts, because the deadline for these people to pay their taxes is June 30, 2014. So when do you think these people who haven't paid taxes in years are going to pay their taxes? Surely not before June 30, and that means the money won't be there for this year's budget, he argues.
MAY 17 Here's an interesting blog out of California by a Hollywood writer, attorney and academic named Brian Alan Lane. He blogs about higher ed, and was a whistle-blower in a scandal over false credentials. In this post, he takes aim at LSU's new top dog, King Alexander. It's convoluted and a little confusing, but it sure makes Alexander a lot more interesting than he was yesterday.
MAY 17 Blogger Robert Mann writes about the LSU Board's refusal to allow Dr. Fred Cerise to testify before the legislature about Gov. Jindal's plan to close down all the state's charity hospitals and dump the poor on the private system. It's hard to imagine anyone more qualified than Cerise to testify about that, so why would anyone try to prevent him doing so? Mann thinks it is because the powers that be aren't interested in hearing any truth about the plan.
MAY 17 This post on the Louisiana Sinkhole Bugle, a blog that notes developments in the Bayou Corne and Jefferson Island salt domes, talks about a proposed expansion of the salt dome storage under Lake Peigneur in Iberia Parish. Residents are working against it for several reasons, including two biggies: the sinkhole disaster in Bayou Corne and the continuing, unexplained bubbling on the surface of the Lake.
MAY 17 NOLA police arrested more people Thursday accused of either being involved in the Mother's Day shooting or hiding the suspect afterward, this Gambit story reports. The NOLA police chief said he suspects the whole thing was gang-related and throws out a challenge to the gangs: he's got informants now, he says, and he knows a lot more than the gangs want him to know. The people who live in the neighborhoods terrorized by gangs are ready to talk, he says.
Is it a crime for citizens to photograph, video, or take notes of a police officer in the line of duty, or a right protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? Locally, such activity, as witnessed recently, will at the very least result in a night spent behind bars.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
Episcopal School of Acadiana’s Dr. Joshua Caffery, chair of the school’s English Department, is headed to Washington, D.C., and the Library of Congress as the latest winner of the Alan Lomax Fellowship in Folklife Studies.