New Orleans fire chief: Bodies out from collapsed hotel soon
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The two remaining bodies inside a New Orleans hotel that was under construction when it partially collapsed last October might be removed by the end of this week or the beginning of next. The city’s fire chief, Tim McConnell, briefed reporters Monday on the progress. He said officials have search and rescue dogs to assist in the effort as well as forensic anthropologists to ensure they collect all the remains. They’ll also be paying close attention to the still unstable building to make sure it’s not shifting while work continues. Three people died in the October 12 collapse.
CHILD KILLED-NEW ORLEANS
10-year-old killed, 2 teens hurt in New Orleans gunfire
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans police say a 10-year-old child has been killed and two teenagers wounded by gunfire. Police Chief Shaun Ferguson says police responding to shots being fired Monday afternoon found the three victims. A girl described as about 15 or 16 and a boy, age 13 were wounded. The 10-year-old died from a gunshot wound to the head. What led to the shooting is unknown. During a news conference, Ferguson said he is “pleading” for anyone in the community with information on the shootings to come forward. Ferguson said police so far have learned the victims were standing along a street in New Orleans’ 7th Ward when they were approached by people who began shooting at them.
NEW ORLEANS PORT-TECHNOLOGY
‘Smart port’ technology planned for Port of New Orleans
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana officials announced a new “smart port” project aimed at using technology to make dredging and operations decisions around New Orleans’s port. The Water Institute of the Gulf research organization will install data sensors on tugboats and other vessels navigating the Port of New Orleans’s district. The sensors will detect sediment levels in shallow parts of the Mississippi River that will inform dredging decisions. The port is putting up $125,000 for the work. Louisiana’s economic development department is seeking federal funds for a planned second phase that will digitally connect dock terminals, shipping lines, warehouses and cargo operators through a unified command.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-LOUISIANA SCHOOLS
Talk of mask mandate for Louisiana schools causing friction
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s top school board is deciding whether to issue a face covering requirement for teachers and most students as schools reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic. Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley is proposing that all adults and students in grades 3 through 12 must wear some sort of mask while at school “to the greatest extent possible.” The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will determine Tuesday whether to adopt that proposal in its coronavirus regulations. Attorney General Jeff Landry says masks at school could be encouraged, but shouldn’t be required. A statewide mask mandate ordered by Gov. John Bel Edwards took effect Monday, but isn’t certain to extend to school reopenings.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-HAZARD PAY
Louisiana workers can file Wednesday for $250 hazard payment
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana will start accepting applications Wednesday for a $250 one-time check offered to front-line employees who performed essential tasks in the earliest days of the coronavirus pandemic. The Department of Revenue announced the application website and process after Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the legislation creating the hazard pay program with federal coronavirus aid. Applicants can visit frontlineworkers.la.gov for details. The revenue department is encouraging people to apply quickly for the first-come, first-served program because lawmakers only earmarked $50 million for the program. That’s not enough to cover everyone who may be eligible. Lawmakers unanimously approved the bill by House Democratic leader Sam Jenkins in the June special session.
BLACK SUBDIVISION-HISTORIC REGISTER
New Orleans’ 1st Black subdivision officially historic
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The first subdivision built for middle- and upper-class Black residents of New Orleans — and one of the first in the nation — is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Pontchartrain Park opened in 1955. Although the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled a year earlier that segregated public schools were unconstitutional, segregation was still the law in Louisiana and other Southern states. The president of the Pontchartrain Park Neighborhood Association said it’s great to have national recognition of the neighborhood’s historical significance. Gretchen Bradford says that once the COVID-19 pandemic is over, the group will hold a grand celebration.
Fatal accident: Boat sank; driver wasn’t wearing a life vest
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana authorities say a boater who wasn’t wearing a life vest died after his 15-foot boat went down. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said Monday that the body of 59-year-old Leonard Williams of Baton Rouge, was recovered Saturday from Cross Bayou in Iberville Parish. Enforcement spokesman Adam Einck says in a news release that Williams’ two passengers were wearing life vests and were rescued by good Samaritans in another vessel when their boat sank on Saturday. He says Williams went down and never resurfaced. Iberville Parish sheriff’s deputies found his body.
Feds: Mississippi moonshiner owes $1.2M in US, state taxes
GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi man has pleaded guilty in a moonshining case, and federal prosecutors say he owes $1.2 million in federal and state taxes. The U.S. attorney for southern Mississippi says 77-year-old Willie Necaise Jr. of Hancock County bought enough sugar out of state to make 74,000 gallons of untaxed whiskey. Mike Hurst said Monday that Necaise pleaded guilty Friday in Gulfport to illegally making distilled spirits and traveling interstate for racketeering. Louisiana is the only state identified in the indictment as one where Necaise bought sugar.