Louisiana news briefs
Lafourche voters reject new levee tax
THIBODAUX — Lafourche Parish votes have rejected levying a new one-cent sales tax north of the Intracoastal Waterway for flood protection.
The North Lafourche Levee District’s proposed new sales tax would have raised more than $8 million annually.
The tax failed by a vote of 54 percent against to 46 percent in favor. About 14 percent of the district’s 45,027 voters cast ballots on Saturday.
The Levee District protects the area from Lockport to Larose in south Lafourche to Kraemer and Chackbay in the parish’s northern reaches.
The district includes more than 200 miles of levees and 47 pump stations.
La.-Lafayette repairs planned
LAFAYETTE — Work to replace the façade of Fletcher Hall on the University of Louisiana at Lafayette campus, repairing extensive water damage to the building, will get under way early next year.
William Crist, the university’s facilities director, said the major renovation involves resealing and refinishing the entire exterior of the building and enclosing open-air areas in the three-story building.
The building houses the College of Arts’ School of Architecture and Design and its Department of Visual Arts.
The project received about $4.2 million in state capital outlay funding.
Crist says future phases of the improvements, focusing on interior improvements of the building, await more funding.
Donaldsonville man dies in wreck
CONVENT — State police say a Donaldsonville man was fatally injured when his car veered off a highway in St. James Parish and crashed into a utility pole.
Troopers say 19-year-old Sidney L. Lomas died at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Gonzales from injuries he received in the wreck about 2:30 a.m. Saturday.
Trooper First Class Jared L. Sandifer says Lomas was southbound on La. Highway 44 north of Convent when he failed to handle a right-hand curve. Sandifer says Lomas’ car crossed the northbound traffic lane, spun off the roadway and barreled into the utility pole.
Lena man faces 70 child porn counts
BATON ROUGE — A 47-year-old Lena man is facing 70 counts of possessing pornography involving juveniles after a joint investigation by the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office and the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Stephen Linzay was arrested last week after a search warrant was executed at his home in September.
Linzay was booked into the Rapides Parish Jail.
It was unclear whether Linzay has an attorney.
Sheriff’s deputy dies in 1-car crash
NATCHITOCHES — State police are investigating a single-vehicle crash that killed Ricky Issac Jr., a Natchitoches Parish sheriff’s deputy.
The crash occurred Saturday on La. 1, south of Natchitoches.
Troopers say Issac was entering a slight left curve when his police cruiser hydroplaned in the rain, went off the road and hit several trees. Issac, who was wearing a seat best, was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Issac was on-duty when the crash occurred.
Trooper Stephen Hammons say Issac is survived by his wife, who is pregnant with their first child.
LSU administrator leaving for new job
BATON ROUGE — Katrice Albert, LSU’s vice provost for equity, diversity and community outreach, is taking a similar post in the University of Minnesota System.
She will be the university system’s vice president for equity and diversity.
Her departure would follow the Nov. 27 announcement that LSU Chief Financial Officer Eric Monday is going to the University of Kentucky after nearly two decades with LSU.
Since the beginning of the year, LSU has lost its Baton Rouge chancellor, College of Science dean, business school dean, CFO and now Albert.
Houma bridge closing for repairs
HOUMA — The Houma Navigation Canal Bridge spanning the canal on Louisiana Highway 661 will be closed from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The state transportation department is working to rehabilitate the structure.
2 arrested in jury tampering plot
HOUMA — The father and sister of a Schriever man who was awaiting trial on drug charges have been arrested on suspicion of trying to bribe a juror in the case.
The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office told The Houma Courier that relatives of 43-year-old Travis Bonvillain offered money to a juror Tuesday in exchange for a not-guilty vote.
Bonvillain accepted a plea deal before his trial started Wednesday.
His 75-year-old father, James Bonvillain, and sister, 43-year-old Cheramie Bonvillain Jupiter, both of Houma, were arrested later in the week and booked into jail on jury tampering charges.
Tiara Wolfe, a 24-year-old niece of Travis Bonvillain, is wanted on bribery charges stemming from the case.
to buy former hospital site
BATON ROUGE — East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Kip Holden says the city-parish will buy the former Woman’s Hospital campus for $10 million and turn it into a public safety complex.
Holden’s Thursday announcement envisions using the 24-acre site to house the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Baton Rouge Police Department. No prisoners would be housed at the facility.
The sale includes the hospital building, medical office buildings, support service and storage buildings and a parking garage.
Holden said it could cost an additional $10 million to convert the building for government use.
“But even if we spend a total of $20 million, that’s a fraction of the cost of constructing a new headquarters facility,” he said.
City-parish officials are exploring financing options for the purchase.
Chief Administrative Officer William Daniel said the Woman’s site was appraised for $19 million.
The city-parish has long considered options for a new city police headquarters.
The current headquarters on Mayflower Street was originally a school built in the 1930s. The Police Department moved into the building in 1989 for what was supposed to be a temporary stay.
The Sheriff’s Office is leasing space at Metro Airport for its headquarters.
From The Associated Press.