- Former Plaquemines Parish sheriff Jiff Hingle dead at 66
- Zuma spacecraft launched by SpaceX is lost after failing to enter stable orbit
- Bromance: Pelicans show the Saints love in their mission to Minnesota
- King Cake of the Day at Paul’s Pastry Shop!
- Passengers recall people crying, vomiting ‘all over’ cruise ship that sailed into ‘bomb cyclone’
- Mardi Gras 2018 Parade Schedule
- Amen! Which are the best Catholic Saints to pray to for our Saints football team?
- Would you eat it? Chocolate Avocado Truffles!
- Bells ring throughout the French Quarter in new installation
- Bonnaroo 2018 lineup announced
- Want one? It’s a Saints onesie. Better buy one or two before they sell out
- Firefighters pull 14-year-old from home leveled in deadly California flooding, mudslides
- Steve Bannon stepping down from Breitbart
- No charges for Vermilion Parish teacher who was handcuffed, removed from board meeting
- State Rep. Julie Stokes is cancer free!
- Trump to attend economic forum in Davos, Switzerland
- ‘Okie’ the gorilla enjoying his new home at Audubon Zoo
- Wanted Texas man has social security number tattooed to forehead
- Man steals shotgun, rifle, handgun while house sitting
- Caluda’s King Cakes!
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 09:04 PM PST
METAIRIE, LA — Former Plaquemines Parish sheriff Jiff Hingle is dead at the age of 66. Hingle served as sheriff in the parish for 20 years.
“We are saddened to hear of the passing of former sheriff Jiff Hingle,” a post reads on the sheriff’s office Facebook page. “Our deepest condolences, thoughts and prayers to his family during this difficult time.”
Hingle had many successes during his time as sheriff including his work to overcome budget issues and even secure raises for his deputies in 2007. Jingle also oversaw years of successful crime fighting like in 2010 when the parish reported no murders and just one robbery.
In 2011, Hingle announced he would not run for re-election and resigned from office. That same year, Hingle was charged by federal prosecutors with conspiracy, mail fraud and bribery.
In 2013, Hingle pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges and was sentenced to nearly four years in prison.
Hingle’s family says he was battling cancer and died from complications of pneumonia.
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 06:18 PM PST
(CNN Money) — A secret spacecraft launched by a SpaceX rocket on Sunday failed to enter a stable orbit and was lost.
The spacecraft, called Zuma, launched at 8 p.m. Sunday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
But the spacecraft apparently did not separate as it was supposed to from the upper stage of the rocket and did not reach a stable orbit, according to a U.S. administration official and two sources who were briefed on the matter. The sources would not confirm what exactly the payload was, saying it was classified.
The mission itself was shrouded in secrecy even before it failed to enter a stable orbit. The government agency that ordered the spacecraft has not been disclosed.
Northrop Grumman, the aerospace and defense company that built the Zuma spacecraft, would only say: “This is a classified program. We cannot comment on classified programs.” SpaceX has also declined to give details about the spacecraft.
In a statement, the Department of Defense said, “As a matter of policy we do not comment on classified missions.”
It was not immediately clear if the failure of this mission was due to problems with the SpaceX rocket, or with the Zuma spacecraft. SpaceX issued a statement Tuesday suggesting that its rocket performed as designed.
“After review of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night,” said the statement from Gwynne Shotwell, president and chief operating officer of SpaceX. “If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately. Information published that is contrary to this statement is categorically false. Due to the classified nature of the payload, no further comment is possible.”
“Since the data reviewed so far indicates that no design, operational or other changes are needed, we do not anticipate any impact on the upcoming launch schedule,” Shotwell added. “Falcon Heavy has been rolled out to launchpad LC-39A for a static fire later this week, to be followed shortly thereafter by its maiden flight.”
Falcon Heavy is SpaceX’s massive new rocket that will boast three times the thrust of the Falcon 9.
The fact that SpaceX says the Falcon Heavy launch will move forward as scheduled also indicates there were no issues with the rocket. When SpaceX has had mishaps in the past, it’s grounded the company for months.
Because of Zuma’s secrecy, SpaceX didn’t live stream the entire mission as it typically does. But it did show both the launch and the landing of the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket back at Cape Canaveral.
This is not the first time a payload was lost on a SpaceX mission. On September 1, 2016 a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded while preparing to test fire its engines, destroying the Amos 6 communications satellite atop the rocket that was to be used by Facebook. Additionally, a SpaceX rocket carrying supply missions to the International Space Station for NASA exploded in 2015. However, the company has completed more than ten successful supply missions to ISS.
The loss of a government payload comes at a bad time for SpaceX, which was founded by Elon Musk, who is CEO of both the privately-held rocket company and electric car maker Tesla.
It has been competing with other private companies to launch more military payloads. And it plans to carry its first astronauts into space in its Dragon space capsule later this year. Since the last Space Shuttle flight in 2011, NASA has relied upon the Russian space agency to carry U.S. astronauts to the ISS.
Correction: The headline and first sentence of this article have been updated to reflect that the Zuma spacecraft failed to enter a stable orbit.
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 05:11 PM PST
NEW ORLEANS -- Several members of the Pelicans were in attendance for Sunday's game against the Panthers.
The two teams practice and play directly across the street from one another, so it's no surprise they are behind the Saints in their mission to Minnesota.
"Special shout out to Alvin," said Coach Alvin Gentry. "Thank you for coming to our games and for sitting in my office for an hour after chatting. And to my Arizona guy, Cam Jordan, thank you for all that you do."
The Saints have shown support for the Pelicans all season long, often sitting courtside at their home games.
After coming off a win Monday night the Pelicans were in good spirits during Tuesday's practice.
"We want the Who Dat nation to know we are behind them one hundred percent," said Jameer Nelson.
"Saints fans, bring it home so we can catch the next game in the dome," said Ian Clark.
Rajon Rondo has been supporting the team all year, often seen at practices during the pre-season and camp. He has one word of advice for Coach Sean Payton: "We need to work on those dance moves before next week," laughed Rondo, referencing the viral video of Payton dancing in the locker room after the win on Sunday.
The Pelicans will play Saturday February 3rd, against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Minnesota, so if the Saints do in fact advance to the Super Bowl the team will be in town the night before showing support.
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 04:37 PM PST
Picayune, Ms. - It's officially king cake season. We're taking you to the hottest spots around to get your fill of carnival goodness in King Cake of the Day!
In Picayune, there's only one name in King Cake, and that name is Paul's! For nearly five decades they've been making the cakes and they'll ship them out to every state in the union!
Sherri Thigpen tells us that they have a family scratch recipe that they've been using for about 47 years! But it is really all about the filling. "We do have the largest selection of flavors of any bakery that we know of."
When Paul's Pastry opened, they wanted to make something a little bit nontraditional because there were so many bakeries using a Danish dough and a cinnamon flavor. "So that's why our dough is a little bit different. It's more like a sweet bread dough."
A crowd favorite flavor is the berry deluxe, which has blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, and blackberry fillings over cream cheese.
Paul's Pastry Shop also has a do it yourself king cake you can ship.
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 04:28 PM PST
SCRANTON, Pa. – What was supposed to be a relaxing New Year's cruise to the sunny Bahamas still haunts some passengers who say they feared for their lives after winding up in the middle of a powerful nor'easter.
A group of Pennsylvania residents who booked the cruise from New York to the Bahamas through Norwegian Cruise Line told WNEP they're still recovering from what turned out to be three days of terror.
"Sincerely, it sounded as if the boat was just going to break in two," said Brenda Walsh-Matias.
On their way back to New York at the end of last week, passengers aboard the Breakaway ship sailed through the massive storm system known as the bomb cyclone.
"It was the scariest thing I've ever experienced," Walsh-Matias said. "The waves were over 40 feet and it was continuous -- children crying, people seasick, vomiting all over the boat.
The Coast Guard says that waves on the Atlantic were up to 40 feet. With winds howling and the cruise ship rocking, passengers feared for their lives.
"The main night that the storm happened, I woke up and things were falling out of the closet and onto me and I literally started saying prayers because I was so scared," Julia Weidow recalled.
Weidow was also on the cruise with her 3-year-old son. She says the conditions on the cruise were extremely dangerous.
"Generally, 3-year-olds run around and they bounce around and in that kind of condition, you couldn't have him running around. He'd end up falling into something, getting more hurt."
In a statement, Norwegian Cruise Line said, "We sincerely apologize to our guests for these stronger than expected weather conditions and any resulting discomfort they may have experienced."
For Walsh-Matias and other passengers, the response from Norwegian Cruise Line was far from adequate.
"I felt that it was extremely irresponsible to bring 4,000 people, including children, through that storm. It was so ferocious. I can't even explain it."
That nor'easter and the so-called "bomb cyclone" was in the forecast for days last week.
Walsh-Matias requested a refund from Norwegian but only received an offer for a $500 credit toward a future cruise. Weidow has filed multiple complaints.
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 04:21 PM PST
NEW ORLEANS — Doubloons, beads, coconuts, shoes, purses. It must be Carnival season!
That means more than 100 parades from now until the big day on Tuesday, Feb. 13.
Here’s a full schedule of parades, from New Orleans to the North Shore to Metairie, the West Bank and beyond.
Saturday, January 27, 2018
Krewe du Vieux, French Quarter, 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, January 28, 2018
Krewe of Des Petite Lions, Golden Meadow, 1 p.m.
Friday, February 2, 2018
Krewe of Cork, French Quarter, 3 p.m.
Saturday, February 3, 2018
Krewe of Push Mow, Abita Springs, 11 a.m.
Sunday, February 4, 2018
Krewe of Barkloxi, Biloxi, 12 p.m.
Wednesday, February 7, 2018
Krewe of Druids, Uptown, 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, February 8, 2018
Knights of Babylon, Uptown, 5:30 p.m.
Friday, February 9, 2018
Krewe of Bosom Buddies, French Quarter, 11:30 a.m.
Saturday, February 10, 2018
Krewe of Neptune Night, Biloxi, 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 11, 2018
Krewe of Athena, Metairie, 5:30 p.m.
Monday, February 12, 2018
Mystic Krewe of the Seahorse, Bay St. Louis, 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Gulf Coast Carnival Association, Bay St. Louis, 1 p.m.
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 04:07 PM PST
NEW ORLEANS-- The Saints continue their march towards the Super Bowl. Brees and the boys will head to Minnesota on Sunday to take on the Vikings. It's going to be a tough game, so News with a Twist Reporter Kenny Lopez went to St. Rita Catholic Church in New Orleans to seek some divine intervention for our black and gold!
Father Peter Finney at St. Rita's is a Saints fan, so we wanted to ask him if we prayed to canonized Saints, which ones would help our Saints win?
"Well, we should always start with God, but there are a few Saints that could help with pre-game preparations. The Saints are the holy men and women who have come before us, heroically in their faith. They care about things that are tied to human reality, so if we have something to pray for then there are certain Saints that could help," Fr. Peter said.
"If we have troubles understanding a referee's decision then St. Lucy might be a good person to pray to in order to help that the referees have better sight," he said.
"Saint Pope John Paul II came to New Orleans during the playoffs. He came to the Superdome and didn't go other places, so he would be a good one to pray to," Fr. Peter said.
"And then there are particular match-ups against the Minnesota Vikings and the Atlanta Falcons. You can pray to St. Olaf, who was a viking, but then became a Catholic and left his viking ways. Then there's St. Francis, who you can pray to for the taming of birds that may present themselves," Fr. Peter said.
"Then if things get really impossible, there's St. Jude and St. Rita, both of them are the patron Saints of impossible causes," he said.
In addition, Father Peter Finney said it's always good to prayer to Our Lady of Prompt Succor and Blessed Xavier Seelos for help. Both of them have strong connections to New Orleans.
For more information on St. Rita Catholic Church, click HERE.
For more information on the Archdiocese of New Orleans, click HERE.
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 03:57 PM PST
NEW ORLEANS - Let's see what Test Kitchen Taylor is cooking up today!
Avocado is a hot ingredient in the healthy food category. Test Kitchen Taylor is trying her hand at making a tasty treat with the trend - Chocolate Avocado Truffles. This was a home run! LBJ was even upset he couldn't taste avocado!
Healthy Avocado Chocolate truffles
2/3 cup mashed ripe avocado -about a medium avocado
2 tablespoon brown rice syrup or maple syrup
6 oz melted dark chocolate - I used 55% dark chocolate
4 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup Shredded coconut
Place the ripe avocado flesh in a bowl. Using a fork, mash the avocado into a smooth puree.
Add the brown rice syrup, melted chocolate, unsweetened cocoa powder and vanilla. Stir to combine.
Cover the mixing bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Slightly grease your hands with coconut oil and shape the truffles with your hands.
Roll each truffle into the coating of your choice: unsweetened cocoa powder or shredded coconut and place the truffles on a plate covered with parchment paper. Store in the fridge 30 more minutes before eating.
Store well in the fridge up to 4 days, in an airtight container.
Do you have a recipe that you want Test Kitchen Taylor, Tamica and LBJ to try? Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 03:39 PM PST
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NEW ORLEANS — If you are in the French Quarter and you begin to hear bells, you are not hearing them from the local cathedral.
No, you are not losing your mind, either.
A new contemporary sound installation has officially debuted at the Historic New Orleans Collection on Tuesday.
Recitations, pour le triomphe de la liberté et de l’égalité, is an instillation on sound by Zarouhie Abdalian.
These are a set of five different bells that sit on rooftops throughout the French Quarter and play at different times of the day with different sets of sounds.
Recitations will reoccur daily at 3:00 p.m. no through June 3rd, 2018.
“I think one reason I choose to work with sound is because it’s social and it’s something that is shared in space and so you are listening, and you are listening with other people. Not everyone will have the same interpretation, but you are sharing this experience together," says Abdalian.
The sounds can be heard across Toulouse, Royal, St. Louis, and Chartres streets.
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 03:12 PM PST
Eminem is going to be pretty busy for the summer festival season.
The rapper is one of the headliners at this year’s Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival.
The Killers and Muse are also headlining the 17th annual, four-day event held in Manchester, Tennessee. The event begins June 7.
Joining them will be Future, Sheryl Crow, Sturgill Simpson, Khalid, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Bon Iver, Paramore and others.
Eminem, who recently returned to the music scene with his new album “Revival” after taking a break for a few years, is also booked for Coachella and New York’s Governors Ball.
The full lineup for Bonnaroo can be found at the official site.
Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. ET Friday.
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 03:00 PM PST
METAIRIE, La - The Black & Gold Sports Shop has become the center of the universe for New Orleans Saints fans.
And that's why Saints stuff is flying from the shelves.
Fans of the Saints are there to devour the power of anything, everything, all things black & gold.
WGNO News with a Twist features guy Wild Bill Wood is at the Black & Gold Sports Shop to try on a few things for size.
Wild Bill finds and likes the onesie. That's the onesie for big people. And you can get one onesie for you.
You can find them at the Black & Gold Shop, located at 2106 Veterans Memorial Boulevard in Metairie, Louisiana.
The shop has onesies, t-shirts, tank tops, football jerseys.
All of these are available for men, women, kids, even babies!
The Black & Gold Sports Shop has t-shirts for toddlers and even a New Orleans Saints baby bib set.
Of course, the shop has a selection of onsies and polo shirts and even hats and caps that fit the smallest Saints fans.
You can buy an actual football for your favorite NFL football team. And you can get football helmets with the Saints logo, the fleur-de-lis.
It's not just a Saints party for you and your family.
It's also a celebration for your car or truck.
How about a fleur-de-lis emblem for your car?
Or a decal?
Or a Saints key chain that's in the shape of the state of Louisiana?
Let them know everywhere you support the Saints with a special frame for your car or truck license plates.
There's the Saints tag frame that's black and gold.
And there's another one that's pink glitter to give your tag that certain special, "who dat" look.
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 02:37 PM PST
MONTECITO, Calif. – A 14-year-old girl who was trapped for hours inside a California home destroyed by mudflows was safely pulled out of the rubble by firefighters Tuesday morning, according to KTLA.
A photo posted by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department shows firefighters helping the girl sit up after she was pulled from the debris.
The girl's house was just one of several destroyed in the coastal community of Montecito, home to many of Santa Barbara County's most affluent residents. At least six homes were "wiped away from their foundations" by mudflow and debris, Santa Barbara County fire spokesman Mike Eliason said.
Heavy rain has pounded areas charred by recent wildfires, triggering warnings of flash flooding and mudslides because vegetation that otherwise would hold hills together and make the terrain flood-resistant have burned away. Several people have died in Santa Barbara County, but it's unclear how many were in Montecito.
Officials did not provide any further information on the girl's condition or if any of her family members had been trapped.
Firefighters have rescued at least eight people in Montecito, and the "numbers are expected to go up significantly," Eliason said.
CNN contributed to this report.
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 02:31 PM PST
Steve Bannon, former chief strategist to President Trump, has stepped down from Breitbart, the far-right website he returned to over the summer as executive chairman after being ousted from the White House.
The website announced the news Tuesday afternoon in a short article posted to the site.
“I’m proud of what the Breitbart team has accomplished in so short a period of time in building out a world-class news platform,” Bannon is quoted as saying in the article.
Neither Bannon nor a spokesperson for Breitbart immediately responded to a request for comment.
Addressing staffers in the company’s internal Slack channels, Breitbart CEO Larry Solov wrote, “Steve Bannon has decided to step down from Breitbart News Network. Steve is a valued part of our legacy, and we will always be grateful for his contributions, and what he helped us to accomplish. … We will continue doing what we do as well as anybody in the world, and that is report the news.”
A Breitbart employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter, told CNN that “everyone seems stunned.”
Bannon took over at Breitbart after founder Andrew Breitbart passed away suddenly in 2012. A veteran of the U.S. Navy, Bannon has worked as an investment banker and dabbled in the film industry. But he really rose to public prominence when Trump named him CEO of his campaign in the summer of 2016. From there, he followed Trump to the White House, serving as chief strategist for much of 2017 before being ousted and returning to Breitbart.
But Bannon drew the ire of the White House last week when The Guardian revealed that author Michael Wolff quoted him in his book “Fire and Fury” as saying a Trump Tower meeting involving Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign was “unpatriotic” and perhaps “treasonous.”
Trump responded at the time by slamming him in a fiery statement, saying Bannon had “lost his mind.”
Bannon’s comments also threw his future at Breitbart into question.
A person familiar with the matter told CNN last week that there was a “hard push” to convince Solov and Susie Breitbart, the widow of the website’s founder, to fire Bannon.
The Wall Street Journal separately reported that Breitbart’s board members were debating whether or not to oust Bannon, and last Thursday afternoon Rebekah Mercer, the conservative mega-donor who owns a stake in Breitbart, publicly rebuked Bannon in a rare public statement.
“I support President Trump and the platform upon which he was elected,” Mercer said in the statement, which was provided to The Washington Post. “My family and I have not communicated with Steve Bannon in many months and have provided no financial support to his political agenda, nor do we support his recent actions and statements.”
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 02:28 PM PST
ABBEVILLE, La. — The Vermilion Parish teacher who made national headlines after she was handcuffed, removed from a school board meeting and booked into jail for asking questions about a big raise for the superintendent will not face criminal charges, according to KATC.
Abbeville city attorney Ike Funderburk told the Lafayette ABC affiliate that he would not approve any charges against Deyshia Hargrave.
Hargrave, a middle school language arts teacher, spoke prior to the school board’s vote on a new and questioned the school board's decision to consider a $38,000 raise for Superintendent Jerome Puyau.
"I have a serious issue with a superintendent or any person of leadership getting any type of raise," Hargrave said. "I feel like it's a slap in the face to all the teachers, cafeteria workers and any other support staff we have. We work very hard, with very little, to maintain the salaries we have."
Hargrave also expressed frustration that "performance goals" were cited as the reason for the raise when teachers are responsible for helping the school system reach those goals.
After the board approved the raise, Hargrave was again recognized by the board and voiced her frustrations. According to KATC, at least one school board member ruled her "out of order" at one point during the discussion.
While she was being recognized by the superintendent, an Abbeville city marshal approached her and asked her to leave. Shortly after being escorted out of the meeting, Hargrave was handcuffed by an Abbeville city marshal.
She was booked into the city jail on charges of remaining where forbidden and resisting an officer.
The Louisiana Association of Educators has weighed in and said the association’s attorney is working with Hargrave on what to do next.
The ACLU of Louisiana released the following statement in response to Hargrave’s arrest:
"Deyshia Hargrave's expulsion from a public meeting and subsequent arrest are unacceptable and raise serious constitutional concerns. The Constitution prohibits the government from punishing or retaliating against people for expressing their views, and the fact that a schoolteacher was arrested at a public meeting of the school board is especially troubling. The ACLU of Louisiana will continue to investigate this incident and defend the constitutional rights of all Louisianans. We urge anyone whose rights have been violated to contact us."
KATC also interviewed the superintendent in question a day after the incident. Although he would not discuss the teacher’s removal or anything related to Hargrave, he did defend the board’s decision to give him the hefty raise.
“When I started our district was ranked right at number 17, out of the 69. Over the course of several years, we have improved to where we now rank number six,” he told KATC.
Vermilion Parish also bumped up from a ‘B’ to an ‘A’ rating, making it one of just two ‘A’ school districts in the eight-parish Acadiana region.
Here’s the full video of the incident:
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 01:19 PM PST
KENNER, LA — State Representative Julie Stokes announced that she is 100% cancer free. She says she got the word from her doctor after undergoing surgery on January 3 and receiving the results from her latest lab tests.
Almost a year ago, the Kenner Republican announced that she would run for Louisiana State Treasurer, but about five months ago she was diagnosed with breast cancer and was forced to put her hopes on hold.
Stokes says the good news could not come at a better time, as we begin the new year and she can begin the next chapter of her life.
Stokes is the District 79 State Representative. She was first elected in 2013, bringing her experience as a CPA to Baton Rouge.
Now that she has beaten cancer, stokes says she hopes to again have the opportunity to seek higher office in the state. Until she follows the next opportunity, Stokes said in a written statement, “I am 100% committed to improving the State of Louisiana in any capacity that I serve.”
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 12:56 PM PST
President Donald Trump plans to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, later this month, his press secretary announced on Tuesday.
Sarah Sanders said Trump was excited to attend the tony forum in the Swiss Alps, his fifth foreign trip as president.
“The President welcomes opportunities to advance his America First agenda with world leaders,” Sanders said. “At this year’s World Economic Forum, the President looks forward to promoting his policies to strengthen American businesses, American industries and American workers.”
Sanders later told reporters “the main reason he is going there” is to “talk about the America First agenda.”
“The President’s message is very much the same here as it will be there,” Sanders said.
American administrations regularly send representatives to Davos, but presidents often decline to attend. Ronald Reagan spoke to the forum via satellite as president, but Bill Clinton was the first to attend the summit in person who he traveled to Switzerland in 2000. Presidents George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Barack Obama never attended the meeting.
Vice Presidents Dick Cheney and Joe Biden both attended the forum during their tenures.
Clinton delivered an impassioned speech in favor of open trade during his appearance.
“Turing away from trade would keep part of our global community forever on the bottom,” he said. “That is not the right response.”
This year’s event will put Trump in the same room as many of the International elites he attacked during his 2016 campaign.
Trump’s trip to Davos — a conference that runs from January 23-26 — will come just days before Trump delivers his first State of the Union address on January 30.
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 12:44 PM PST
NEW ORLEANS — Okpara, a Western lowland gorilla, is settling into his new home at Audubon Zoo.
His recent move from Franklin Park Zoo is an integral piece of a larger plan to help bolster the population of this critically endangered species.
Since early December, the 24-year-old male silverback gorilla, affectionately known as "Okie," has resided behind the scenes as animal care providers and veterinary staff completed a standard quarantine protocol to ensure that new arrivals like Okpara don't bring health-related problems with them that could cause problems for the existing animals under Audubon’s care.
"With any new animal – whether it's a reptile, a bird or a mammal – they must go through a diagnostic process,'' said Courtney Eparvier, curator of primates at Audubon Zoo.
During a quarantine, Audubon Zoo veterinary staff take fecal samples looking for parasites, administer a TB test and perform blood analysis that can reveal evidence of an infectious or contagious disease or virus an animal may have been exposed to.
"All zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) are expected to have quarantine protocols for incoming animals,'' said Dr. Robert MacLean, Audubon Nature Institute senior veterinarian.
The quarantine also provides a valuable settling-in period for a new arrival and the Audubon team of animal care professionals.
Okpara is joining another recent arrival – Tumani, a 10-year-old female Western lowland gorilla from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo – and Praline, a female who is the last gorilla born at Audubon Zoo 21 years ago.
Eparvier, Audubon's primate curator, said Okpara has adapted well to his new environment.Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Missing Attachment
"This is his new home now and he needs to kind of see who we are; and we have to put the time in to get to know him,'' she said. "So far, it's been great. We're starting to get to know his personality, his behaviors. We're also in there to keep him company, establishing our relationships with him.''
Eparvier, who got to spend time with Okpara before he left Franklin Park Zoo, said she's happy to see he hasn't changed much since he arrived here.
"He's a very boisterous silverback and has quite a large personality'' she said. "He's not shy at all. And one thing that I've noticed working with him is when we're preparing his diet or creating some enrichment for him, he's just always watching and very inquisitive. He's not standoffish or aloof.''
Casey, the lone male in the former gorilla troop who did not produce offspring despite being paired with four females during his 15 years at Audubon Zoo, departed for Louisville Zoo in June. His exit was tough on the Audubon animal care staff.
"Casey was such a huge presence in our everyday lives and he will always have a special place in our hearts here,'' Eparvier said.
"But Okpara coming in is starting to fill that hole. He's now going to be the man of our group here taking charge as the silverback and we couldn't be more excited to get him out of quarantine and introduce him to our girls.''
The new Audubon gorilla troop may not be visible to the public for a time as Okpara and two females engage in a structured introduction process to ensure they bond socially. Animal care experts emphasize that this is an important step toward establishing a cohesive unit.
Like all great apes, gorillas are in danger of extinction due to habitat loss from unsustainable agricultural and mining practices.
Franklin Park Zoo and Audubon Zoo are active participants in the Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP), a cooperative, inter-zoo program coordinated nationally through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Species Survival Plans help to ensure the survival of selected species in zoos and aquariums.
Each species has an advisory board of experts who consider the parentage and genetic information of every animal in the system to determine which ones would make the best match at the time given the current gene pool. The panel strives to maintain the genetic variation that a species would get under ideal conditions in the wild.
Very few zoo animals are brought in from the wild and fewer still will return there. Instead, they are bred and live under human care, serving as the ambassadors for their counterparts in the wild – ideally as a healthy, genetically diverse population designed to avert extinction.
The AZA's Gorilla Species Survival Plan manages 350 gorillas in 48 North American zoos, including a dozen born last year. Many gorilla populations have declined or disappeared over the past few decades. The Western lowland gorilla is critically endangered, with an estimated population of 100,000.
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 12:43 PM PST
HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — Texas authorities are searching for an allegedly armed career criminal with numerous facial tattoos, including his own social security number across his forehead.
Robert Wooten, 40, is currently wanted for stealing cigarettes from a Valero Corner Store on W. 43rd Street in Oak Forest twice last year, the constable’s office said.
On Oct. 15, an employee was forced to close the convenience store after the register went down. Officers said several customers, including Wooten, were waiting outside when the store later re-opened. As the group walked in, the suspect allegedly followed the employee and asked him a series of strange questions.
Court documents obtained by KIAH quote the suspect asking, “You care about your life?”
That’s when deputies said Wooten lifted his shirt, revealing a firearm tucked into his waistband on the right side. He demanded the employee give him various brands of cigarettes and the victim complied, investigators said.
The suspect returned to the same store on Nov. 4 to rob more cigarettes, according to police reports.
The constable’s deputy was able to identify Wooten as the suspect using his unique tattoo and the Houston criminal database. Wooten has another unique identifying tattoo, police said – Houston’s area code, 713, in large numerals across the entire front of his neck.
Wooten is no stranger to law enforcement. His criminal resume includes indecent exposure, aggravated robbery, violation of a protective order due to violence, burglary, and numerous drug-related charges. He has been arrested multiple times, including a conviction for drug possession that dates back to 2007. Investigators have connected Wooten to at least six armed robberies in Harris County area.
Anyone with information regarding the suspect’s whereabouts should call Crime Stoppers of Houston at 713-222-8477 or submit tips online at http://www.crime-stoppers.org. All tipsters will remain anonymous.
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 11:48 AM PST
NEW ORLEANS – The NOPD is looking for a man who stole a shotgun, a rifle, and a handgun from a friend he was house sitting for.
Twenty-nine-year-old Michal Jazwinski was staying at the victim's home while the victim was out of town, according to the NOPD.
The victim discovered that a 12 gauge shotgun, a Ruger AR-15 rifle, and a Smith and Wesson handgun were missing when he returned home on January 3.
In a series of text messages exchanged with the victim, Jazwinski admitted to stealing the guns.
The victim reported the theft to the NOPD on January 7.
Anyone with information regarding the suspect's whereabouts is asked to contact Fourth District detectives at (504) 658-6040.
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 11:43 AM PST
Harahan, La.- It's officially King Cake Season. We're taking you to the hottest spots around to get your fill of Carnival goodness in King Cake of the Day!
Caluda's King Cakes has been baking 'em up for nearly 30 years!
John Caluda says, "There are really good king cakes, there are average king cakes and there are really bad king cakes. And what makes our different is, I think, it's kind of like the Goldilocks effect - it's just right."
Their king cake process takes about three days, the dough is run through the machines, it's rolled out and buttered, cinnamon sugar, cut into the right sizes and braided, connected and shaped. "We make the icing - we ice them, sprinkle them, sugar them, and put them on boards, in boxes, and package them up for you guys. We always take pride in how fast we can go and how fast our braiding is."
Sometimes, they even compete with their boss in the kitchen. "They usually bring me back there at the end of the season after they've been doing 500 a day and they're all geared up - and I go back there and I haven't done it. It's close but they can beat me a couple of them can beat me."
They are doing special flavors for every week up until Mardi Gras! Check it out:
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