VIRUS OUTBREAK-LOUISIANA NURSING HOMES
Louisiana misses goal on virus testing at nursing homes
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana fell short of its goal to test all the state’s nursing home residents and employees for the coronavirus by the end of May. That’s raising questions about whether testing plans aimed at keeping tabs on those most vulnerable to the pandemic are too ambitious. Data provided by the state health department shows nearly 78% of Louisiana’s 23,000-plus nursing home residents have been tested for the COVID-19 disease caused by the coronavirus. Only 61% of the facilities’ workers have received tests. That falls short of Louisiana’s goal in a testing plan it submitted to federal officials last month. Nursing homes account for more than 40% of COVID-19 deaths in Louisiana.
Edwards rejects 8 bills, including business lobby priority
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards has vetoed eight bills passed by Louisiana lawmakers in their regular session. The vetoes issued Friday strike down the business lobby’s top priority, a measure to scale back damage claims against insurance companies in car accident lawsuits. The Democratic governor said the bill didn’t include a commitment to lower insurance rates as supporters promised. GOP lawmakers are trying to pass a similar measure in the ongoing special session. Edwards said he’s willing to continue negotiations. Edwards also scrapped bills that would have given lawmakers more oversight of state contracts and would have enacted new restrictions on ads from lawyers promising big paydays by suing businesses.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-LOUISIANA CASINOS
Pandemic: Casino chain eyes up to 1,500 Louisiana layoffs
LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Coronavirus pandemic closings have cost Louisiana casinos hundreds of millions of dollars, and one chain has told the state it may lay off as many as 1,500 workers. The Advertiser reports that monthly revenue reports show casinos lost about $347 million during March and April, with another $90 million or more lost by video gaming establishments. And Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming Corp. says it has sent more than 1,500 employees letters to say they might be laid off. Spokesman David Strow says the company hasn’t yet decided the actual number.
Police: Louisiana woman killed her children, herself
MONROE, La. (AP) — Authorities say a Louisiana woman shot her children to death, and possibly others, before turning the gun on herself. News outlets reported that Monroe Police said it happened about 8 p.m. Thursday at Parkview Apartment Complex. Witnesses told investigators the woman suffered from an unspecified mental illness. Police have not confirmed the exact number of victims. None of the victims’ names has been released. The case remains under investigation.
‘Denied the truth’ says son of black man who died in custody
SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — The son of a black man who died in police custody in Louisiana said he feels the family has been denied the truth about what happened. Tommie McGlothen III spoke to The Associated Press days after local station KSLA broadcast a video appearing to show officers hitting and tasing his father Tommie McGlothen Jr. McGlothen said the officers should be fired and that his father did not deserve what happened to him. The police said Monday that the four officers are on leave pending an investigation and that they’ve turned the case over to the district attorney’s office.
2 killed in wrong-way crash in Louisiana
MAUREPAS, La. (AP) — Two people are dead after one of them drove the wrong way on a Louisiana highway. The Advocate reports the accident happened after 10 p.m. Thursday on Louisiana Highway 22 near Louisiana Highway 16 in Maurepas. Louisiana State Police said 50-year-old Loyd Fletcher, of Maurepas, was traveling east in the westbound lanes of Louisiana 22 while 53-year-old Tina Lanoux, of Gonzales, was headed west when Fletcher hit her car head-on. Lanoux died at the scene. Fletcher was transported to a hospital, where he later died.
AMERICA PROTESTS-NEW ORLEANS
New Orleans chief defends tear gas use against protesters
The New Orleans police chief has steadfastly defended his department’s use of tear gas against protesters who he said tried to forcefully cross a police line last week. Superintendent Shaun Ferguson told City Council members Thursday that more than 100 demonstrators tried to keep moving forward last week when police blocked passage on a bridge over the Mississippi River. Ferguson did not defend the firing of rubber balls at demonstrators. He said an investigation continues into why the projectiles were fired and why he was initially told they had not been used. He spoke at a meeting that was held online during the coronavirus as protesters demonstrated against police abuses outside New Orleans City Hall.
NEW RICE MILL
Parish-owned grain exporter to add $11.6M rice mill
LACASSINE, La. (AP) — A parish-owned and farmer-operated grain exporter in southwest Louisiana is adding a rice mill. Officials of the South Louisiana Rail Facility in Lacassine and Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the plans Thursday. They say the mill will create seven jobs with salaries averaging $43,000. The South Louisiana Rail Facility is owned by the Jefferson Davis Parish Police Jury and can handle up to 25,000 bushels of rice per hour for storage and export. It is operated by a corporation made up of more than 200 producers and investors.