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November 24, 2018 - 12:00 am

CHASING THE GATOR-COOKBOOK

Cracklins to boudin: Toups cookbook a treatise on Cajun food

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans chef Isaac Toups celebrates the Cajun cooking he grew up with in his first cookbook.

"Chasing the Gator: Isaac Toups and the New Cajun Cooking" is a treatise on Cajun cooking along with stories about Toups' culinary upbringing.

Toups hails from Cajun country — a region of south Louisiana settled by French people evicted from Canada.

He has two restaurants in New Orleans.

His favorite food to prepare is crawfish — boiled in a cauldron of water with corn, potatoes, sausage, onions, garlic and spices.

Toups likes the communal aspect of a crawfish boil, with family and friends gathering around a table piled high with crawfish.

The book is also interspersed with descriptions of games that Toups grew up playing — like the Cajun card game boure (BOO'-ray).

NEW ORLEANS HOMELESS

Bezos' charity to give $5M for homeless in New Orleans

(Information from: The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The homeless in New Orleans are getting a bit of help from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' Day 1 Families Fund.

NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reports the fund is providing a $5 million grant to Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans to help the homeless in south Louisiana.

Catholic Charities is one of 24 nonprofits to receive a portion of the $97.5 million being doled out across the county by the fund. Officials say the grants, announced Tuesday, are the first of what will be an annual distribution to support families in need.

In September, Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, launched the $2 billion Day 1 Fund. That fund consists of two programs: The Day 1 Families Fund that provides grants to non-profits fighting homelessness, and the Day 1 Academies Fund, geared toward creating a network of new, non-profit, tier-one preschools in low-income communities.

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COURTHOUSE APARTMENTS

Courthouse, 2 other buildings to become apartments

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — An old federal courthouse and two other vacant buildings will be sold for $1.4 million and redeveloped as apartments and commercial space under a deal signed this week.

News agencies report that the Lafayette City-Parish Council voted 7-0 for the contract Tuesday night, with two members absent.

The downtown buildings also include a former city police station.

Developers say they plan to create 68 apartments and 25,500-square-feet (2369 square-meters) of commercial space.

The City-Parish Council set aside the proposal last month because the city would have had to pay for some sewerage, asbestos removal and demolition costs. Those provisions were removed.

City-Parish President Joel Robideaux has wanted commercial redevelopment of the sites. Other council members wanted a new parish courthouse there, but voters rejected taxes to pay for that project.

OIL INDUSTRY CHANGE

Leader of major Louisiana oil lobbying group stepping down

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The head of one of Louisiana's most influential lobbying groups, representing the oil and gas industry, is leaving his job at the end of the year.

Chris John has represented the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association at the state Capitol for 11 years.

In a statement, he said it's a good time to move to the "next adventure" because Louisiana's oil and gas industry is recovering after a slump during the recession. John didn't say what his next position would be.

LMOGA's general counsel Tyler Gray will become acting president.

John has been organization president since 2007, two years after he left the U.S. House seat he held representing the Acadiana region for a failed U.S. Senate bid. Before he was in Congress, John held a state House seat.

MCNEESE-COACH

McNeese will not renew Guidry's contract

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — McNeese State University will not renew the contract of football coach Lance Guidry.

In a statement this week, McNeese Director of Athletics Bruce Hemphill said a national search for a new head coach would begin immediately.

He did not say what sparked the decision regarding Guidry but wished him well in his future endeavors.

Guidry, a McNeese graduate and former football player, was hired in December 2015 to replace Matt Viator, who left to take the head coaching position at the University of Louisiana-Monroe. He compiled a 21-12 record in three seasons at McNeese but never took the team to the playoffs.

ELDORADO-LOUISIANA CASINOS

Eldorado: Lake Charles riverboat may move ashore

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

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The owner of two Louisiana riverboat casinos says it may move one near Texas onto land, but probably will leave its Baton Rouge boat afloat.

The Advocate reports that Eldorado Resorts chairman and CEO Gary Carano said in a conference call this month that the company is considering moving the Isle of Capri in Lake Charles. He says work could begin in the second half of 2019, with a land-based opening in 2020.

But he says it's highly unlikely that Eldorado will move the Belle of Baton Rouge's casino into the 80,000-square-foot (7432.2 square-meter) atrium next to the riverboat.

The Baton Rouge market has been slumping since July 2017, while gamblers from Texas have helped boost the three Lake Charles riverboat casinos.

A law passed this year lets riverboat casinos move onshore.

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COACH-UNDERAGE BOYS

Coach accused of giving underage boys alcohol pleads guilty

GRETNA, La. (AP) — A Louisiana youth sports coach accused of plying underage boys with alcohol and joining them in bed has pleaded guilty to three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.

The Advocate reports that 46-year-old Allen Joseph entered his plea in Gretna on Nov. 14. He was given a six-month suspended sentence and will be under house arrest and active probation for two years.

Joseph was arrested in 2017 and accused of having parties at his home, where he served boys chocolate milk spiked with vodka, played "beer pong" with them and allowed them to get severely intoxicated. He was also accused of "spooning" with the boys, pressing against them while he was being filmed.

Joseph denied having any sexual contact with the boys. He was prosecuted only on the charges related to giving them alcohol.

ELECTION 2018-LOUISIANA

Back to the polls: Early voting starts in Louisiana's runoff

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Early voting opens Saturday in Louisiana's Dec. 8 runoff election, with a contested seat to be the state's election chief at the top of the ballot.

Republican Kyle Ardoin and Democrat Gwen Collins-Greenup are vying to be secretary of state, the top two vote-getters in the November primary. Though that election drew large numbers of voters in Louisiana, the runoff — competing with the holidays for attention — is expected to see fewer people show up at the polls.

Also on the ballot are runoffs for local elected seats across 47 parishes. Several parishes have local proposition elections, such as taxes, up for consideration.

The early voting period runs daily from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Dec. 1, except Sunday, at parish registrar of voters' offices and other locations.

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