Louisiana news briefs
Rodrigue Foundation offers prints to nonprofits
LAFAYETTE (AP) — The George Rodrigue Foundation has announced the re-launch of its Print Donation Program, which has distributed more than 1,000 prints to over 500 organizations and raised almost $2 million since its inception in 2009.
Non-profit organizations can purchase a Rodrigue Blue Dog silkscreen print from the Rodrigue Estate for $500, then use the print for fundraising activities like silent auctions or raffles.
If the print purchase doesn’t raise more than the original $500 investment, the foundation will accept the print’s return and refund the $500.
The prints are not for sale in any Rodrigue Gallery and are only available to non-profit organizations.
All prints include a certificate of authenticity.
Nonprofits can take advantage of this program by applying online at http://www.georgerodriguefoundation.org/printdonation
Tugboat captain killed
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Coast Guard says a tugboat captain is dead after the arm of a crane struck a bridge and fell back onto the tug’s pilothouse.
The accident happened early Thursday morning on the Industrial Canal north of the Mississippi River in New Orleans.
Authorities say the tugboat was pushing a barge with a crane. The crane’s arm struck a drawbridge and fell back on the tug. Coast Guard spokesman Jonathan Lally says the drawbridge was open at the time of the accident.
He says the state inspected the bridge and it was reopened to vehicle traffic.
New rules for police hires
NEW ORLEANS — The Port Allen City Council has unanimously adopted an ordinance that will force recently hired police officers to reimburse the city for the money spent to train and outfit them if they leave the city’s Police Department within two years.
Officials said many of the departing police officers left the department to work in neighboring parishes with higher salaries. They estimated the city spent as much as $2,000 on training and equipment for each officer.
Lafayette hospital improves
LAFAYETTE (AP) — Officials say patients at Lafayette’s University Hospital & Clinics are spending far less time waiting in the emergency room these days and are more satisfied with the care they receive.
Jared Stark, the chief executive officer, touted the hospital’s turnaround since Lafayette General Health took over operations of the public hospital in June through a $15.8 million annual lease agreement with the state.
The public hospital faced several budget cuts prior to the takeover, forcing the closure or reduction of services. In the past year, those services have been reopened or expanded in orthopedics, pediatrics, cardiology, oncology and medical detox.
Staff at the public hospital had also been reduced to about 500 before the takeover. Now, Stark says 700 are employed at UHC.
Man fatally stabbed in
New Orleans’ French Quarter
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans police are investigating a stabbing death in the French Quarter of a man believed to be homeless.
Officer Frank B. Robertson says officers were called to a “man down” Wednesday night just off Bourbon Street.
Robertson says the 47-year-old man was rushed to a nearby hospital with a chest wound where he later died.
Witnesses told officers they saw the victim fighting with another man.
Police say the suspect was last seen wearing a white jacket with possibly a red shirt underneath, with a scruffy beard and shoulder length dreadlocks.
Robertson says the victim was involved in another stabbing late Sunday evening in the French Quarter. In that incident he was treated and release.
Small plane crashes
in Braithwaite, no injuries
BRAITHWAITE (AP) — The Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office says a small seaplane crashed in Braithwaite and no one was injured.
Sheriff’s office spokesman, Cmdr. Eric Becnel, says a Cessna 206 on floats lost engine power during flight Wednesday, landed in a field, clipped some electrical lines and skidded across Highway 39 before coming to rest in the front yard of a home.
Becnel says the pilot and three passengers all got out safely.
The plane is registered to Southern Seaplane Inc. in Belle Chasse.
45% of La. renters ‘stressed’
BATON ROUGE (AP) — A new assessment of the Louisiana housing market has found that nearly 45 percent of renters are considered “rent stressed” because they’re paying more than 35 percent of their monthly income in rent.
The national average is at close to 43 percent.
The study by LSU professors Jim Richardson and Roy Heidelberg notes the percentage of Louisiana residents in that category has gone up by almost 15 percentage points since 2000.
Richardson and Heidelberg cautioned the Louisiana Housing Corp. report doesn’t look at household income, so affluent people could fall in the category too.
Meanwhile, Louisiana homeowners are less cost-stressed than the rest of the country. Twenty-two percent are spending more than 35 percent of their monthly income on a mortgage, compared to 26 percent nationwide.
Bicyclist killed in collision
LAFAYETTE (AP) — Lafayette police are investigating a fatal accident involving a bicyclist.
Cpl. Paul Mouton says the accident Tuesday night when a 57-year-old James McCarthy made a right turn at an intersection and ran into the driver’s door of a pickup.
Mouton says McCarthy was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
in daughter’s death
LAFAYETTE (AP) — Lafayette police have arrested a woman in the death of her 3-year-old daughter.
Cpl. Paul Mouton says 27-year-old Sarah Leblanc was arrested Tuesday and booked with negligent homicide.
Mouton says the toddler was found dead at her home on July 24.
He says the mother told police that her daughter had been sick for several days.
Mouton says an autopsy attributed hypothermia with dehydration as the cause of death.
He says the investigation determined the child went approximately 25 hours without food or fluids during her illness.
It was unclear whether Leblanc has an attorney.