AM LRN Newscall May 21

Louisiana saw an increase in tourism and visitor spending last year. Mel Bridges has the totals.

Cut 1 (30) “…I’m Mel Bridges.”


Members of House Criminal Justice will hear from the Jewish community to remove gassing as a means of execution in Louisiana. Brooke Thorington has more

Cut 2 (32)  “…I’m Brooke Thorington.” 


Forty-four-year-old Michael Thibodeaux of Belle Rose told his friends he was investing their money in an E-trade account, but now he’s facing theft charges for allegedly running a ponzi scheme. Sean Richardson has more…

Cut 3 (32) “…I’m Sean Richardson.” 


Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser announced Louisiana saw an increase in visitation and visitor spending last year. 420 thousand more people visited, pushing the total up to 43 million, and spent 5% more than in 2022. International visitors saw the biggest gain increasing 17% and spending almost 2 billion, says Nungesser.

Cut 4 (11) “…Louisianians live.”

Nungesser says the international market has grown thanks in part to a grant from the US Commerce Department to promote Louisiana as a tourist destination to markets overseas.

Cut 5 (11) “…next three years.” 

Those markets are Spain, India and Italy, where the Lieutenant Governor is currently. Though the US Travel Association doesn’t predict international visitation to recover until 2025, Nungesser says the increases in visitation show that Louisiana tourism is coming back strong.

Cut 6 (12) “…to Louisiana.”

Additionally last year, visitors spent almost 2 billion in state and local taxes, saving each household in Louisiana over a thousand dollars a year in taxes.


In House Criminal Justice today committee members will hear from members of the Jewish community, to remove gassing as a form of execution in Louisiana. In January during a special session on crime, gassing was added as a means to carry out the death penalty. Soon after Jacquelyn Stern says the group Jews Against Gassing was formed.

Cut 7 (11) “…for anybody.”

Senate Bill 430, passed in the upper chamber after a 22-16 vote. Stern says when members of her group have been able to talk directly to lawmakers, many she says did not realize how triggering the use of gas as a form of execution was for Jews.

Cut 8 (12) “…and Louisiana.” 

Stern says for a state that is home to the National World War II Museum, it feels like many lawmakers are quick to forget what veterans fought for.

Cut 9 (10)  “…what it is.”

Stern says they have yet to hear back from Governor Jeff Landry’s office if he will sign the bill if it reaches his desk.


Forty-four-year-old John Michael Thibodeaux of Belle Rose faces criminal charges for running an alleged Ponzi scheme. Assumption Parish Sheriff’s office spokesman Lonny Cavalier says they’ve investigated Thibodeaux for five months and since arresting him Friday, other potential victims have come forward.

Cut 10 (10) “…friends of his.”

An arrest warrant in connection to one case was issued Friday, Cavalier says there are at least 5 more victims and the amount that was stolen was significant.

Cut 11 (09) “…at this point.”

The victims became suspicious when they stopped receiving interest payments after a few months or some never received any payments.  When asked to show financial records, Thibodeaux couldn’t produce any and he had no E-trade account.

Cavalier warns people to be cautious when the opportunity seems too good to be true.

Cut 12 (16) “…not a realistic number.” 

Cavalier said that all the known victims are Thibodeaux’s personal friends.  He was booked Friday with theft and unlawfully promoting a pyramid scheme.


Senator Thomas Pressly’s Abortion by Fraud Criminalization bill inspired by the poisoning of his sister with the abortion pills mifepristone and misoprostol by her estranged husband will be heard in the House on Tuesday. The bill was amended to add the medications to Schedule IV of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law. Sarah Zagorski with Louisiana Right to Life access should be limited…

Cut 13 (08)  “…these.”

Pressy’s amended bill does not seek to outlaw abortion pills, only to reclassify them because, Zagorski says, there is risk for abuse and risk to a person’s health when used outside the FDA guidelines. Opponents contend classifying the medications Schedule IV is inappropriate because they are not addictive. Zagorski says that is inaccurate.

Cut 14 (11)  “…public health.”

Zagorski says easy access to the drugs puts young girls are at risk of harm because distributors are not asking the appropriate questions to safeguard their health and the girls are getting the medications without the guidance of their parents, their doctors, or their healthcare providers.

Cut 15 (11)  “…the FDA.”



Cut 16 (12) “….no brainer.” 


Cut 17 (17) “…probably do that.”


Cut 18 (21)  “… on that one, I think.”



Cut 19 (17) “… for a championship.” 


Cut 20 (18) “….over that one.”