AM Newscall March 30

Flu season is calming down but a particularly nasty strain is still out there threatening children in particular. Matt Doyle has more.

Cut 1 (30) “I’m Matt Doyle.”


Elmer Chocolate in Ponchatoula is carrying on a 163 year old tradition as Easter approaches this weekend.   Jeff Palermo has the story.

Cut 2 (30) “I’m Jeff Palermo.”


A Walker High Senior is facing expulsion over the length of his hair, and is taking to social media to fight back. Matt Doyle has more.

Cut 3 (30) “I’m Matt Doyle”


Louisiana is recovering from one of the worst flu epidemics in recent memory, and while the numbers have come down, Louisianans, specifically those with children, should remain vigilant. State health department immunization director Dr. Frank says a particularly nasty strain of flu is still out there, and it’s hitting kids hardest.

Cut 4  (12) “of infection.” 

For healthy adults though, the numbers look a lot better than they were just three to four months ago. Welch says at our peak, a record 12-percent of doctor visits were because of the flu.

Cut 5  (08)  “like illness.”

After being one of the hardest hit states in the nation, Welch says Louisiana is actually looking better off now than most of the south.

Cut 6 (07) “our neighbors”

But Welch still recommends anyone suffering from flu like symptoms avoid other people, and make a visit to your doctor.


Elmer Chocolate in Ponchatoula is carrying on a 163-year-old tradition this Easter. Not only are they the second largest producer of Valentine candy in the world, they have been a big part of Gulf South Easter celebrations. CEO Rob Nelson…

Cut 7 (10)  “to generation.”

Elmer Chocolate started in downtown New Orleans in 1855 and have grown to employ 270 workers in Ponchatoula.  Nelson says their Gold Brick Egg and Heavenly Hash remains their top selling Easter Candy. He says they still make it in the older part of the factory

Cut 8 (09)  “can’t change.”

Technology has helped change the way they can produce the candy.  Nelson says their 2016 expansion allows them to produce different and new types of chocolate.

Cut 9 (11)  “like pieces.”


The Louisiana House approves legislation that calls for a 30-year contract extension between the state and Harrah’s land-based casino in New Orleans. House Speaker Taylor Barras says the deal also calls for Harrah’s to make a 350-million dollar investment in the gaming property and the casino operator already has robust plans in mind

Cut 10 (10) “existing casino”

Barras says Harrah’s would also add new restaurants and a night club. He says Harrah’s massive investment in the only land-based casino in the state will mean hundreds of jobs…

Cut 11 (12) “900 range”

If the Senate approves the contract, the Harrah’s casino in New Orleans would remain in operation until 2054. The company currently pays the state 60-million dollars a year, under the new contract Louisiana would receive an additional three-point-six million dollars annually, which will be spent on early childhood education

Cut 12 (11) “education”


A Walker High Senior who says he’s being threatened with expulsion over the length of his hair has taken to social media to fight back against the school. Jeremy McLain is nearing his goal on 17,000 signatures on a petition to overturn the Livingston Parish School Board regulation on hair length. McLain says Assistant Princpal Tim Rodgers threatened to have him thrown out of school for not following the policy.

Cut 13 (09)  “i’m expelled”

Walker high grads say this isn’t the first time something like this has happened, and that administrative action was common against students whose hair was too long, or had coloring. After being threatened with expulsion, the teen took to social media.

Cut 14 (08) “pretty crazy”

One student was even reported as having been barred from walking on graduation day, which McLain says is the likely outcome for him if the policy isn’t changed.

McLain says public schools have no business dictating how students are allowed to present themselves.

Cut 15 (06) “other student”

Walker High Principle Jason St. Pierre says he’s enforcing the districts dress code policy, but otherwise would not comment on the situation.