Latest Louisiana news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. CDT

October 06, 2018 - 12:00 am

SCHOOL EMPLOYEES-PAYMENT

Baton Rouge area school employees close to $500 payment

(Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — School employees in the Baton Rouge area are one step closer to getting an extra $500 dollars in an upcoming paycheck.

The Advocate reports the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board gave preliminary approval Thursday to give its roughly 5,000 full-time employees the extra money.

If it gets final approval later in October, the money will come in their last paycheck before Thanksgiving.

The money comes from a special fund to support employee salaries and benefits with a portion of a 1-cent sales tax earmarked for education.

Teacher unions and other advocates for school employees have for the past year urged the board to increase pay for school employees.

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OPERA HOUSE TO REOPEN

Duchamp Opera House to reopen after renovation

(Information from: KATC-TV, http://katc.com)

ST. MARTINVILLE, La. (AP) — A historic opera house in southwestern Louisiana will soon be reopening.

The Duchamp Opera House in St. Martinville was built in the 1830s and was used for arts and crafts. The building played host to local theater productions, traveling dance troupes and opera performances from New Orleans.

But KATC-TV reports a lack of funding forced the building to close.

Now it's being renovated so it can be leased.

Mayor Melinda Mitchell says she hopes the reopening will keep the building's legacy alive.

No exact date was given for the reopening.

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SOUTH CAROLINA-FLORIDA FLIGHTS

South Carolina airport to add nonstop flights to Florida

(Information from: The State, http://www.thestate.com)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina's capital city is getting new, nonstop jet service to Orlando, Florida.

The State newspaper reports that Via Airlines will begin flying from Columbia Metropolitan Airport to Orlando.

Via was founded in 1997 and is headquartered at Orlando Sanford International Airport.

The company says it offers flights from Orlando to communities that include Tallahassee, Florida; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Charlotte, North Carolina; Jackson, Mississippi; and the Alabama cities of Mobile and Montgomery.

The airline says its new Columbia-Orlando route will begin on Dec. 3.

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DEVOS VISIT-NEW ORLEANS 2ND LD-WRITETHRU

US education secretary wraps up tour in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is wrapping up a southern tour by visiting two public charter schools in New Orleans.

DeVos brought her "Rethink School" tour to New Orleans on Friday.

DeVos visited Edward Hynes Charter School to observe what it calls "academically rich, innovative programs."

Her schedule also included a stop at the New Orleans Military and Maritime Academy where she was scheduled to take part in a discussion and learn about the Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer's Training Corps.

U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana accompanied her.

DeVos started the tour in Atlanta on Wednesday and also visited Huntsville, Alabama. She visited Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Lexington and Jackson, Mississippi, on Thursday.

COAST GUARD-LAKE SEARCH

Coroner: Missing Louisiana woman died in accidental drowning

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Louisiana coroner's office says a woman who went missing this summer while sailing on a lake accidentally drowned.

News outlets report the Thursday announcement by the Orleans Parish Coroner's Office has ruled out foul play in the death of 31-year-old Sadie Thibodeaux (TIB-uh-doh).

An empty sailboat washed up on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain (PONCH-uh-trane) one night in early August, and authorities rescued boat owner 43-year-old Michael Farley the next morning.

Thibodeaux was last seen on the boat with Farley and was reported missing. Her body was found in the lake two days later by a group known as the United Cajun Navy. Farley told The New Orleans Advocate the two went swimming and were separated from each other and the boat.

Thibodeaux had recently moved from Baton Rouge to New Orleans.

AP-US-DRAG-QUEEN-STORY-HOUR

Library's "Drag Queen Story Time" postponed indefinitely

(Information from: The Advertiser, http://www.theadvertiser.com)

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — A Louisiana library's "Drag Queen Story Time" has been postponed indefinitely, as the college that planned to host says it cannot over safety and other concerns.

The Daily Advertiser reports South Louisiana Community College has announced it wouldn't hold the event Saturday afternoon as planned. Interest in the Lafayette Public Library's event was so high that it had been moved to an auditorium at college last week.

The college says in a statement that law enforcement told school officials they were aware of plans to protest. It also says the school has a limited capacity to manage the large crowds anticipated.

Library officials say in a statement they aren't permanently canceling the program and that many families have expressed support. It was planned to have men in drag reading to children.

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SUSPECT SELFIE

Police use selfie on stolen phone to track robbery suspects

(Information from: The New Orleans Advocate, http://www.neworleansadvocate.com)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Police in Louisiana are using a selfie taken on a stolen phone to track two people believed to have snatched the phone days earlier.

The New Orleans Advocate reports city police released the selfie Thursday and asked for help identifying the pair.

The woman says her phone was stolen Monday and she later noticed a new photo had been synced to her cloud account. The woman says it's a selfie of the people who struck her in the face and head before stealing her purse and phone.

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BEDSORES-GRANDMOTHER DIES

2 relatives pleaded not guilty in death of grandmother

(Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Two granddaughters of a 77-year-old Louisiana woman found suffering from severely infected bedsores and living in deplorable conditions have pleaded not guilty to manslaughter.

The Advocate reports 37-year-old Chasity Lewis and 22-year-old Carlnessa Butler pleaded not guilty to the charge Thursday.

Barbara Lewis-Brown died in July after being found suffering from severely infected bedsores and living in deplorable conditions. A coroner said autopsy results showed the woman died from complications of infected deep pressure ulcers with superimposed fecal contamination. She also was suffering from malnourishment and dehydration.

Lewis' attorney says his client wasn't primary caregiver for her grandmother. Butler's attorney says his client wasn't living with Lewis-Brown at the time of her death.

Lewis-Brown's son and daughter, Carl and Chira Lewis, have been indicted on manslaughter. They'll be arraigned Oct. 18.

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