LRN AM NEWSCALL JANUARY 9

COVID and flu cases are circulating in Louisiana and in the southeast at very high levels. Teiko Foxx spoke with a health expert on what that means for the Bayou State…

Cut 1 (32) “…I’m Teiko Foxx.”

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Library visits in Louisiana increased by 21 percent in 2022 and it’s not just about books. Brooke Thorington has more.

Cut 2 (32)  “…I’m Brooke Thorington.”

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The NFL Network reports Dennis Allen is expected to remain the Saints head coach. Colleen Crain…

Cut 3 (31) “…I’m Colleen Crain.”

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Louisiana is seeing the highest activity level of flu and COVID cases in the nation. Ochsner Medical Director Dr. Sandra Kemmerly says the seasonal flu shouldn’t be taken lightly and the best protection is getting vaccinated.

Cut 4 (12) “…some cases.”

According to the Department of Health, emergency room visits in the state between December 17 through 23 last year were at 14 percent – the highest in more than a decade and double the national average.

Kemmerly says flu activity has passed any of its highest points in the past five years and we still are not at the peak of the season. She says Ochsner rates show an increase in flu-like respiratory illnesses.

Cut 5 (12) “…we perform.”

There were 357 new COVID patients and 374 flu patients admitted in the state for the week ending December 30th, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.

Kemmerly says that the JN-dot-one-variant can cause fever, chills, body aches, respiratory symptoms, and cough. She urges residents to practice respiratory etiquette by washing their hands frequently and…

Cut 6 (12) “…that way.”

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Baton Rouge Senator Regina Barrow gave an emotional speech after being elected President Pro Tem on Monday. Before the Republican super-majority legislature, the Democrat referenced her faith…

Cut 7 (13) “…he knew.”

Barrow thanked members of the Senate for having faith in her leadership and she also referred to her husband of more than three decades, James, who died of COVID in 2020.

Cut 8 (13) “…grandfather’s place.” 

During that transition, Barrow says she also lost her godson and her campaign manager.

Echoing Governor Jeff Landry’s inaugural address, Barrow also called for unity and asked lawmakers to do what’s best for the state. She says she looks forward to continuing to serve the citizens of this great state.

Cut 9 (08)  “…very much (clapping).”

Lawmakers are expected to convene for their first Special Session on Monday, January 15th to redraw the state’s congressional district map.

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Library usage in Louisiana is on the uptick. According to Public Libraries in Louisiana: Statistical Report more than 9 million visits were recorded in 2022 and patrons checked out more than 46 million items. State Librarian Meg Placke (Plack-ee) says it’s welcome news after a dip during the pandemic.

Cut 10 (08) “…we have.”

Visits increased 21 percent from 2021.

Placke says the state’s 334 public libraries are much more than just books. In 2022 they provided close to 75-thousand programs, in-person and virtual events for the community that recorded more than two million attendees.

Cut 11 (12) “…and needed.” 

Librarians were busy answering 2.5 million reference questions online and in person in 2022 and Placke invites even more visitors to research what’s going on at their local library…

Cut 12 (11) “…just books.” 

In 2022, almost 54% of Louisianans, 2.4 million, were library card holders. Placke says as they begin to crunch the numbers for 2023, they expect visits will be even higher than 2022.

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Lambda Legal, a civil rights defense organization that focuses on LGBTQ rights is suing the Louisiana Board of Medical Examiners on behalf of five families in the state. Attorney Omar Gonzalez-Pagan says the state’s ban on gender-affirming healthcare for minors is unconstitutional…

Cut 13 (11) “…who they are.”

The law, that went into in Louisiana on January 1st, Gonzalez-Pagan says sets a precedent that could reach far beyond the transgender community.

Cut 14 (07) “…all in Louisiana.” 

Gonzalez-Pagan says the Louisiana lawsuit is on behalf of five families who are directly impacted by the ban. He says the ban prohibits their clients from either moving from one treatment to another or inhibits their ability to start any treatment whatsoever.

Cut 15 (12) “…this ban.”

Lamba Law has filed lawsuits in states with similar bans like North Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri, Oklahoma, Montana, and Texas.

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The LSU men’s basketball team has a chance to go 2-0 in the SEC tonight when they host Vanderbilt. The Tigers won their SEC opener on Saturday night against Texas A-and-M, while the Commodores while the Commodores are 5-9 overall. But Coach Matt McMahon says they can’t take Vandy lightly…

Cut 16 (16) “..recent games.” 

LSU has played better since Tulane transfer Jalen Cook was granted eligibility in mid-December. Cook in four games is averaging 14 points and nearly five assists a game, McMahon says Cook has been a real shot in the arm…

Cut 17 (18) “…the team.” 

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The NFL Network reports Dennis Allen will remain the Saints head coach. Allen told reporters on Monday he also expects to be back in 2024 but knows he has to do a better job…

Cut 18 (19)  “…didn’t.” 

The Saints were a 9-8 in 2023, just missing the playoffs. Quarterback Derek Carr received plenty of criticism from the fanbase during the season, but finished the strong. Allen says there are several reasons why Carr played well down the stretch…

Cut 19 (26) “…he’s played.” 

Allen was asked if there was a divide between the players and coaches after the players decided to score a touchdown in the final seconds against Atlanta, while Allen wanted quarterback Jameis Winston to take a knee. Allen says everyone is on the same page…

Cut 20 (10) “…fracture.”

5:30 LRN Newscast January 8

All of south Louisiana is under a tornado watch until 9 o’clock tonight. Possible severe thunderstorms, hail, and flash flooding is expected for southeastern Louisiana this afternoon through early tomorrow morning. National Weather Service Meteorologist Christopher Bannan…

Cut 5 (13) “ …potential develops.” 

Bannan says once the line starts to develop, it will move to the east quickly and out of the Bayou State by early morning.

Metairie Republican Cameron Henry was elected as Senate President. Henry was elected to the state House of Representatives in 2008 and he’s beginning his second term as a state senator…

Cut 11 (05) “…great honor”

LSU AgCenter Crawfish Specialist Todd Fontenot says conditions have made it extremely difficult for this year’s crawfish season. He says many crawfish farmers made adjustments, for example, those who rotate from rice to crawfish, he says they irrigated post-harvest.

Cut 7 (11) “…as big as an effect.” 

On the bright side, Fontenot says the mild winter we’ve had so far has improved conditions for crawfish. But he’s quick to point out that for some farmers salinity issues and lack of rice stubble have devastated their mudbug crop.

The Saints missed the playoffs despite blowing out Atlanta out 48-17 yesterday to finish with a 9-8 record. There’s a lot of talk about what happened at the end of the game when Jamaal Williams scored a touchdown from one yard out with three seconds left. Coach Dennis Allen didn’t want his team to score again

Atlanta Coach Arthur Smith was furious after the game and refused to shake Allen’s hand. Quarterback Jameis Winston says it was a team decision to give Williams the ball so he can finish the year with one touchdown…

Cut 13 (09) “..good about that” 

 

11:40 LRN Sportscast

The NFC South crown and the number 4 seed in the NFC was a possibility for the Saints on Sunday with a win and a Bucs loss. After the Saints win, New Orleans safety Tyrann Mathieu says that the team was proud of how they finished the season strong, even if they wouldn’t make the playoffs.

Cut 15 (15) “… still playing.”

The Saints could have also gotten in with a win and losses by the Seahawks and Packers, but unfortunately both of those teams won.

In other New Orleans news, the Pelicans are on a roll as they have won 5 of their last 6 games. Last night New Orleans defeated Sacramento 133 to 100 where the Pelicans led the Kings by 50 points in the 4th quarter. CJ McCollum had 30 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists on the night and the game was New Orleans fourth straight win over Sacramento.

The LSU Lady Tigers improved to 15 and 1 on the year and 2 and 0 in SEC play with their 84 to 73 win over the Ole Miss Rebels yesterday. The game saw LSU star forward Angel Reese score 21 points and freshman Mikaylah Williams score 20 points and 4 three pointers.

In LSU 2025 recruiting news, the Tigers received a huge verbal commitment from Michigan quarterback Byrce Underwood on Saturday. Underwood is the no.1 quarterback in the class and has the highest recruiting score in LSU history according to 247 sports.

LSU will have a new defensive coordinator as Blake Baker will take over after two successful seasons at Missouri. According to Tiger Rag editor Todd Horne, Baker emerged as the top candidate after the firing of Matt House because of his repeated success and Louisiana ties.

Cut 16 (15) “… and Louisiana”

Baker signed a three year contract.

 

9:30 LRN Newscast January 8

A new era of state government begins as Republican Jeff Landry officially takes over as governor at noon today.

Cut 3 (45) “…I’m Jeff Palermo”

There’s the potential for severe weather for the southern half of the state. Several school districts are dismissing school early today.

Governor Jeff Landry officially takes over as the state’s 57th governor at noon today. Lapolitics.com publisher Jeremy Alford says Landry has been preparing for this moment since his election in October and will look to get a lot accomplished over the next few months …

Cut 4 (12) “…regular session.”

Alford also expects Landry to have a lot of success with his agenda because of a Republican supermajority in the House and Senate.

New Orleans defeated the Atlanta Falcons 48 to 17 to finish the season winning four of its last five on Sunday. But the 9-and-8 overall record was not good enough to make the playoffs. Head Coach Dennis Allen…

Cut 14 (14) “..fight back.” 

4:30 LRN Newscast January 5

Louisiana’s 57th governor and a new Legislature will be sworn in on Monday. Republicans will be in control of the House and Senate. There was conflict between Governor Edwards and the Republican controlled Legislature. But Council for a Better Louisiana president Barry Erwin expects a better working relationship with Republican Jeff Landry as governor, but it will not be smooth sailing…

Cut 13 (13) “..work together” 

Erwin says the new governor will back legislation that he knows can get the necessary votes in the Legislature…

Six students from Neville High School in Monroe was involved in a tragic fire at a deer camp early this morning. A 15 year old is dead and five of his classmates were injured. The incident happened in Jefferson County, Mississippi and Sheriff James Bailey says his deputies were among the first on scene…

Cut 9 (11) “… burning camp.” 

He says the five other teenagers were sent to Mississippi hospitals with burns and cuts from trying to escape. Social media posts identify the deceased teenager as Tarver Braddock.

Word that mortgage interest rates are decreasing sparks hope the real estate market can rebound this year. Brooke Thorington has more.

Cut 1 (30)  “…I’m Brooke Thorington.”

The Thibodeaux Police Department has issued a statement in response to the officer-involved fatal shooting of a loose dog on Christmas Day. Thibodeaux Chief of Police Bryan Zeringue says an officer was forced to use lethal force on the dog. The officer did attempt to use OC spray but wind conditions prevented. The officer justifiably used deadly force after being bitten three times.

2:30 LRN Newscast January 5

Six students from Neville High School in Monroe were involved in a tragic accident where their deer camp caught on fire this morning. A 15-year-old is dead. The incident happened in Jefferson County, Mississippi and Sheriff James Bailey says the five other teenagers were sent to Mississippi hospitals with burns and cuts from trying to escape.

Cut 10 (11) “..five injuries.”

A cause of the fire has not been determined.

A new governor and Louisiana Legislature will be sworn in on Monday. Republicans will be in control of both the executive and legislative branches. Council for a Better Louisiana president Barry Erwin on what that means for the first regular session that begins in March…

Cut 12 (12)  “…vetoed.”  

The official start of king season kicks off tomorrow. Co-Owner of New Orleans Haydel Bakery David Haydel says he ships king cakes nationwide and expects a busy season through the end of Mardi Gras.

 

Cut 8 (09) “…as hell.” 

In 2010, Hayden’s Bakery broke two Guinness World Records by creating two giant king cakes that wrapped around the Superdome.

Realtors in the Bayou State believes things will improve with mortgage rates expected to settle in between five and six percent. Louisiana Realtors CEO Norman Morris says economists predict mortgage rates will stabilize around five percent which will make homes more affordable.

Cut 5 (11) “ …in twenty-four.” 

12:30 LRN Newscast January 5

Five teenager were injured and one fatally in a fire at a deer camp in Natchez Mississippi. One of the teenagers were trapped inside the deer camp and was unable to escape. The other four teenagers were transported to a hospital with cuts and burns. The principal of Neville High School in Monroe where the teenagers attended school dismissed class for the day. The teenagers have not been identified and the investigation is ongoing.

A nationwide survey of small businesses finds labor quality is a major concern. Regional National Federation of Independent Business Director Dawn McVea says unfilled positions continue to plague small businesses.

Cut 13 (12) “…out there.”

Thirty-three percent of owners say they have job openings for skilled workers and 14 percent have openings for unskilled labor.

2023 was not the best year for real estate with rising interest rates after an unprecedented hot market during the height of the pandemic. But Louisiana Realtors CEO Norman Morris believes things will improve with mortgage rates expected to settle in between five and six percent.

Cut 3 (10) “…buyers and sellers.”

Morris says the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage right now is 6.75%.

King cake season kicks off this Saturday and Co-Owner of New Orleans Haydel Bakery David Haydel says the sweet Mardi Gras tradition comes in many variations when it comes to fillings, but when it comes to the most popular…

Cut 7 (12) “…the tradition.” 

 

4:30 LRN Newscast January 4

Governor John Bel Edwards used his final public address to highlight his accomplishments last night in Amite. Edwards says the state’s unemployment rate is well below the national average and the state’s economy is growing…

Cut 7 (12) “…laughter) 

Edwards will leave office Monday and wishes his successor Jeff Landry the best of luck and he’s rooting for him…

And Edwards, who was an accomplished attorney before his political career, will join the New Orleans law firm of Fishman Haygood. Senior partner Kerry Miller…

Cut 5 (11) “ …that knowledge.” 

State Police collect and report racial data of individuals from traffic stops under a new law that went into effect this week. Since the death of Black motorist Ronald Greene in 2019, State Police have been under the microscope. Baton Rouge Representative Denise Marcelle authored the legislation, and she believes this will make the agency more transparent.

Cut  14 (06) “..they’re doing.”

DASH Diet, developed in part by LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center, has been ranked the second-best diet overall of 2024, according to U.S. News and World Report. Pennington Biomedical Registered Dietician Cathy Champagne says the eating plan includes…

Cut 9 (12) “… dairy products.” 

10:30 LRN Newscast January 4

House Speaker and Louisiana Congressman Mike Johnson says there’s a catastrophe at the Southern Border and the Biden administration needs to enact tougher immigration policies. Jeff Palermo has the story…

Cut 3 (34) “…I’m Jeff Palermo”

41-year-old Kayla Vead of Marksville was sentenced to three years in a federal jail for defrauding the Rapides Parish Council on Aging out of more than 300 thousand dollars. Vead plead guilty to two counts of wire fraud as an embezzlement of funds and was ordered to pay restitution.

Tyler Gray will lead the Department of Natural Resources. President of the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association Mike Moncla says Gray’s current position on the operations side with Placid Refining Company adds even more knowledge for the oversite of DNR.

Cut 8 (07) “…another plus.” 

Before Gray’s appointment, Moncla says the two even discussed who they thought would be an ideal choice for the position and Moncla encouraged him to apply.

House Speaker and Louisiana Congressman Mike Johnson and 60 House Republicans were at the Southern border yesterday calling on the Biden administration to do more to secure the Southern border and reduce the number of illegal crossings

Cut 14 (09) “…or more.” 

9:30 LRN Newscast January 4

Term-limited Governor John Bel Edwards used his farewell address last night to highlight his accomplishments. In his last public appearance, Edwards says the state is in much better shape than it was eight years ago and the best evidence to support that statement is the state’s finances…

Cut 10 (12) “…two reserve accounts.”

Big battle in Congress over funding for Ukraine versus stronger immigration policies along the Southern border. House Speaker Mike Johnson and about 60 House Republicans visited the border in Texas and the Bossier Parish Republican told reporters its time for Senate Democrats and the President to impose new restrictions on asylum seekers…

Cut 15 (10) “… (clapping)

Tyler Gray will serve as the next Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources. President of the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association Mike Moncla applauds Gray’s appointment because of his conservation background and experience with the Louisiana Mid-Continent’s Oil and Gas Association.

Cut 7 (07) “…fantastic pick.”

Moncla says Gray’s current position on the operations side with Placid Refining Company adds even more knowledge for the oversite of DNR.

Former Grambling State President Rick Gallot started the new year in his new position as President of the University of Louisiana System on Monday. Gallot believes his experience will benefit him as he advocates for resources on behalf of the 90 thousand students.

Cut 5 (12) “…system schools.”

Gallot was offered the job on October 25th but Governor Elect Jeff Landry expressed concerns with the board’s decision to hire Gallot. Later, Landry decided to move forward with the contract.