The New Orleans City Council has appointed attorney Ernest "Freddie" Charbonnet as the interim replacement for the District E seat vacated last week when Jon Johnson abruptly resigned after pleading guilty to federal corruption charges.
Charbonnet is a former assistant city attorney now in private practice. The Times-Picayune reports that he received votes from the council's four white members Thursday. Its two black members voted against the appointment.
A group of fiscal conservatives in the Louisiana House has set up a political action committee as part of continuing efforts to revamp the state's budget.
More than two dozen House members are involved with the group, calling itself the Budget Reform Campaign.
The effort, led by Lake Charles Rep. Brett Geymann, is designed to push for changes in the way Louisiana spends its money. Lawmakers in the group object to the use of patchwork, one-time funding to pay for ongoing programs and services and have criticized Gov. Bobby Jindal for the budgeting tactic.
In an effort to control aquatic vegetation, the water control structure on Lake Bistineau near Minden will be opened Aug. 8 for a lake drawdown.
As a result of mild winter temperatures, experts say giant salvinia has expanded beyond the control capacity of herbicide applications and salvinia weevils. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries survey estimates show giant salvinia coverage to be in excess of 2,000 acres.
The lake will be lowered seven feet below pool stage and will remain there until Jan. 31, 2013.
HOUMA — A black jail inmate has been booked with a hate crime after allegedly saying he would squirt human waste on every white inmate in his dormitory, and then doing so.
Terrebonne Parish sheriff's Maj. Malcolm Wolfe says all seven white inmates were squirted with urine and feces from a shampoo bottle. He says the waste was on the walls and on inmates' clothes, bodies and personal property — but not on any of the three African-American inmates in the dorm with them and 41-year-old Avis James Williams of Houma.
Attorneys for the city of New Orleans and the federal government met behind closed doors with a federal judge to discuss a new agreement to overhaul the New Orleans Police Department.
Participants in Thursday's status conference with U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan declined to go into details. U.S. Attorney Jim Letten described the meeting as productive but added that he was not at liberty to say more. It was unclear when Morgan might grant final court approval to the agreement, which was the result of long negotiations between the city and federal officials.
A federal judge in New Orleans has ordered the operator of a cargo ship to pay a $1.2 million criminal penalty for violating pollution laws and obstruction of justice.
U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. also on Wednesday sentenced Athens, Greece-based Odysea Carriers to three years of probation.
Federal prosecutors say engine room crew members on the company's ship, Polyneos, used a hose to pump oil waste directly overboard in 2011. The ship's chief engineer allegedly tried to conceal the illegal discharges from the Coast Guard by falsifying the vessel's records.