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#News - New Orleans & South Louisiana

#News - New Orleans & South Louisiana

Video shows woman believed to have left newborn, note in Arizona airport bathroom

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 07:38 PM PST

TUCSON, Ariz. – Law enforcement officials in Arizona have released video of the woman they believe left a newborn baby on a changing table inside the Tucson International Airport Jan. 14.

Alongside the baby was a note, reading:

Please help me

My mom had no idea she was pregnant. She is unable and unfit to take care of me. Please get me to the authorities so they can find a good home.

Tucson Airport Authority officials released surveillance video that purportedly shows the mother of the child, seen walking through the airport holding something wrapped in blue fabric.

This note was found along with the baby,
who had been abandoned on a changing table in an Arizona airport restroom. (Tucson Airport Authority)

Authorities think the woman may have given birth inside the airport, cleaned the child and then walked inside a restroom near the baggage claim where she left the infant, according to the Arizona Republic.

The second part of the note is written from the mother’s perspective, and reads, “I just want what is best for him and it’s not me. Please, I’m sorry.”

The baby is reportedly in good health after being evaluated at an area hospital, according to the Arizona Daily Star. The newborn is under the care of the Arizona Department of Child Services.

Arizona enacted a safe haven law in 2001, which allows desperate parents to avoid charges by leaving their unharmed child at a designated organization – a hospital, fire station, private welfare agency, adoption agency or church – within three days of birth.

A spokeswoman for the Tucson Airport Authority, Jessie Butler, told the Arizona Republic that they want to interview the mother and what they learn will determine whether or not she is charged.

The 2018 Zulu Ball kicks off!

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 07:16 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS — It’s been 70 plus years since the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club have been around. Zulu is said to be the largest African-American Mardi Gras Krewe that consists of men only.

Tonight Zulu Maids and the new Zulu King and King Brent and Troye Madison Washington were made official tonight at the ball.

The Zulu parade is scheduled to roll out in the Garden District on Mardi Gras day at 8AM.

State police accuse dealer and player of poker sham

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 06:41 PM PST

HARVEY, La . — Two men are accused of working together to steal tens of thousands of dollars from a Louisiana casino.

The Louisiana State Police Bureau of Investigations Gaming Enforcement Division made the arrests.  Troopers say the crime happened last month at Boomtown Casino in Harvey.

According to troopers, one of the suspects was a player in a poker game and the other was the dealer.  They say the game had a jackpot of $166,471.

Here’s how the sham happened, according to state police:  The dealer in the game stacked the deck so his accomplice would receive a hand that would win the jackpot.  Then the dealer conducted two false shuffles and dealt the cards.  The false shuffles allowed for the player to receive the jackpot winning hand.

Troopers identify the dealer 66-year-old Ashley Soloman of Metairie and the player as 51-year-old Dale Foret of Belle Chasse.  They say arrest warrants were issued on February 5.  Foret was arrested Friday, February 8 and that Soloman surrendered the prior day.

State police say the jackpot was never paid because of inconsistencies with the game that led casino workers to notify gaming police.

Both men were booked with conspiracy and theft charges.

Photos: Hermes, D’Etat, Morpheus roll on Carnival Friday

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 06:07 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS — It was another nice night for the three parades that rolled along the Uptown parade routes Friday night.

Here’s a look at some of the fun:

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Blair Dottin-Haley performs ‘A Song For You’ on the Twist Stage

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 04:03 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS -- On the day before Mardi Gras, you can feel the Lundi Gras love at Cafe Istanbul.

Blair Dottin-Haley and his special guests will be performing at "Lundi Gras Love VII."

Doors open at 7 p.m. The show starts at 8 p.m. at Cafe Istanbul, 2372 St. Claude Ave.

Comedian Rob Delaney’s 2-year-old son dies after cancer battle

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 03:11 PM PST

“Catastrophe” star Rob Delaney is mourning the death of his 2-year-old son, Henry, following the boy’s battle with cancer, the actor announced Friday in a Facebook post.

“I have very sad news. My two and a half year year old son Henry has passed away,” Delaney wrote.

According to the actor, who starred in the Amazon comedy series for three seasons, his son was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2016, shortly after his first birthday. He received surgery and treatment through the early part of 2017, but the cancer returned late last year. Henry died in January.

“My wife and Henry’s older brothers and I are devastated of course,” he wrote. “Henry was a joy. He was smart, funny, and mischievous and we had so many wonderful adventures together, particularly after he’d moved home following fifteen months living in hospitals.”

According to Delaney, the tumor and surgeries had left Henry with “significant physical disabilities,” but he had learned how to communicate through sign language.

“His drive to live and to love and to connect was profound,” Delaney said.

Delaney praised the doctors and nurses of the National Health Service, the UK’s publicly funded national healthcare system, who he said “will be my heroes until the day I die.”

“I am desperately sad right now, but I can say with authority that there is good in this world,” he wrote.

Delaney asked that donations be directed to Rainbow Trust or Noah’s Ark, two organizations that provide support to families with sick children.

“I am astonished by the love-in-action displayed by Henry’s mom and his brothers,” Delaney added. “They are why I will endeavor to not go mad with grief. I don’t want to miss out on their beautiful lives.”

Governor Edwards calls for special session to address $1 billion ‘fiscal cliff’

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 02:04 PM PST

BATON ROUGE — Gov. John Bel Edwards has issued a call for a 17-day special session of the Louisiana Legislature to resolve a more than $1 billion “fiscal cliff.”

The session will begin February 19, 2018 and must end no later than March 7, 2018.

The governor's call includes 17 items that have been discussed as part of his ongoing negotiations with legislative leadership over recent weeks.

The fiscal cliff Louisiana is facing is due to $1.3 billion in revenue expiring on June 30, 2018. Edwards proposed replacing only $994 million of that revenue to ensure higher education, including TOPS, health care, and other priorities are adequately funded.

"There is a growing consensus among lawmakers that the fiscal cliff can and should be addressed in February, and I agree," said Gov. Edwards.  "This special session will give us the opportunity to make reforms that we all know are needed in Louisiana to stabilize our budget and tax code making it more predictable and fair for Louisiana taxpayers.  We are changing the status quo in Louisiana.”

Gov. Edwards' plan does not call for any net new revenue; instead, his plan includes the recommendations of the legislatively created Task Force on Structural Changes in Budget & Tax Policy to reform the system and replace the temporary measures enacted in 2015 and 2016 with a new, permanent structure. 

King Cake of the Day: Angelo’s Bakery and Catering

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 02:01 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS -  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!

Angelo's Bakery serves up a delicious Chantilly Berry King Cake! Master Baker Lisa Seaward told us how they do it, "First we make our dough and it's a traditional cinnamon brioche dough. And then we bake it and put in our Chantilly cream that we make from scratch." Chantilly cream is a sweetened vanilla whipped cream! They fill the cake with fresh berries, strawberry, blackberry, red raspberry, and blueberry and top it off with more Chantilly cream and fresh fruit!

Lisa says that since they came up with this concept four years ago, business has grown, "It's getting more popular, this year being the most popular."

They also do other king cake flavors like cream cheese, strawberry, blueberry, pineapples and many more!

Lisa says that their king cakes are popular for a reason, "No Mixes, everything is real pure ingredients from scratch, and that makes a big difference.">

Pythian Temple downtown was once the ‘center of black life’ in New Orleans

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 01:55 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS -- February is Black History Month, a month-long celebration remembering the important contributions that African Americans have made in our nation's history.

In honor of Black History Month, News with a Twist is featuring the people and places of New Orleans and beyond that helped to shape our community.

Today, we tell the story of the Pythian Temple on Loyola Avenue downtown.

If you stroll by the historic building today, you'll find upscale apartments and a market with food and retail vendors.

But in its heyday, the Pythian was where Louis Armstrong played at the rooftop garden, where black-owned businesses were started and operated, and where The Louisiana Weekly was founded.

The building was developed in 1909 by Smith W. Green, a former slave who emerged as a successful businessman who was the leader of the Knights of Pythias, a fraternal organization established by Congress in the wake of the Civil War in an effort to unite the country.

It was where Homer Plessy worked, where the Negro Board of Trade was located, and where the New Orleans chapter of the NAACP was once housed.

"There are many wonderful stories of important meetings there," said Historian Brenda Square.  "A.P. Tureaud tells the story of how his parents met there.  So when we look at the marker downtown, it gives us a whole new perspective on what it was like."

The Pythian was also home to a theater that hosted vaudeville shows, music performances, and African American Carnival balls.

The Knights of Pythias lost the building in 1941, and two years later it became a hiring center for Higgins Industries, owned by Andrew Higgins, who invented the "Higgins Boat."

It later became a civic center and housed a district court, a bank and medical offices before eventually falling into disrepair.

The Pythian Apartments and Pythian Market opened in 2017.

Watch thief remove street signs to steal bike locked to stop sign

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 01:33 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS – The NOPD is looking for a man caught on surveillance video methodically removing two street signs from a pole in order to steal a bicycle.

The brazen theft occurred around 5:30 a.m. on February 4 near the intersection of Governor Nicholls and Treme Streets, according to the NOPD.

Surveillance video shows the unidentified thief drag a trash can over to the stop sign on the corner, which was attached to the same pole as a one way sign.

The man takes out some tools and begins to detach first the one way sign, and then the stop sign.

He can be seen stopping frequently as cars drive by.

Once the pole has been stripped clean of signage, the man carefully lifts up one of the two bicycles secured to the pole, returns it to the ground, and rides away.

The stop sign and one way sign atop the pole were both found on the ground nearby.

A large pair of locking pliers were also found near the pole, according to the NOPD.

Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contract First District detectives at (504) 658-6010.

Krewe of Lul parade canceled in St. Charles Parish

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 01:18 PM PST

ST. CHARLES PARISH, La. — The Krewe of Lul Mardi Gras parade that was scheduled to roll Saturday, Feb. 10 has been canceled due to inclement weather, according to a news release from St. Charles Parish Government.

There’s no decision yet on the Krewe of Des Allemands, which is set to roll Feb. 11 (Sunday).

Group accuses Airbnb of price gouging for Mardi Gras 2018

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 01:12 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS – Airbnb hosts in the New Orleans area have been accused of price gouging by a watchdog group that says prices have spiked as much as $1,500 per night.

Washington, DC based AirbnbWATCH detailed the price gouging in a new report published this week.

The price spike can be seen at Airbnb rentals across the area in the weeks leading up to Mardi Gras Day, according to the report.

Many of the rentals with the most significant increase in per night rates are run by "commercial operators running multiple listings," according to the group.

"Airbnb's price gouging was a dream killer for many football fans during the Super Bowl and the company is continuing that practice with folks looking to celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans," AirbnbWATCH spokesperson Lauren Windsor said in a press release. "Permitting their 'hosts' – who many times — let's be honest – are real estate professionals – to raise rent by these astronomical rates is a very worrisome precedent that Airbnb is setting at these widely attended events."

An Airbnb representative did not refute the report, but did point out that AirbnbWATCH has been linked to the Hotel and Lodging Association in a report from The New York Times.

Per night rates for rentals across the city spike by hundreds to upwards of $1,000 when the date range is set to February 13 to February 14, according to the report.

Some of the most eye-opening increases occur at rentals like a four bedroom French Quarter apartment going for $1,800 per night for February 13-14, but just $299 per night on February 20.

That's an increase of 468 percent.

An "Uptown Mansion" is renting for $2,500 per night during Mardi Gras, and only $775 one week later.

"Bottom line, the documented facts in this report expose Airbnb's hypocrisy for a second time in as many months," Windsor said. "Additionally, this gouging further pads the profits of commercial operators essentially running hotels in residential neighborhoods."

Signing day success for Tulane

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 12:46 PM PST

New Orleans -- Tulane University will have 25 incoming freshman this Fall, signing their final 3 on National Signing Day. The trio that signed with the Green Wave Wednesday include two defensive players from Sidney Lanier High School in Alabama-- linebacker La'Dedric Jackson and defensive lineman Alfred Thomas. The third is Keitha Jones Jr., a linebacker from Texas,  rounding-out what Head Coach Willie Fritz calls the best recruiting class ever for the Tulane football program.

"We signed 22 in the early signing period, which was on December 18th, and then 3 today," said Fritz. "You never know how these classes end up until you have these guys on campus for a year, two years or whatever the case might be. This is probably the highest ranked class that Tulane has had. I think we ended up as the 68th ranked class in the nation, either 3rd or 4th in the American Athletic Conference. Three 4-star players, 18 3-star and one 2-star."

The break-down of the Green Wave's recruiting class is 11 offensive players, 13 defensive players and a punter.

"My coaches did a great job of going out and identifying top-notch talent and securing them and getting them to come here to Tulane," Fritz said.

The class also includes 8 players from the state of Louisiana-- something that has been a point of emphasis for Fritz.

"The longer you're here, the more relationships you build with high school coaches and it makes you more familiar with the schools as well." Fritz said. "I spent almost a week just going to some different high schools that I hadn't had the opportunity to go to in the state that have great players. Louisiana certainly is per capita, if not the best state in the United States for talent-- high school kids going division one-- it's in the top 3 or 4. We got 8 this year. We're hoping  next year it's going to be 10, 12. We'd like to continue to keep building that."

Here's the complete list of Tulane signees:

2018 Tulane Football Signing Class Roster

Name                           Pos.    Ht.     Wt.     Cl.   Hometown/Previous School(s)

Ygenio Booker              RB      5-11    190     Fr.   Brooksville, Fla./Hernando HS

Larry Brooks                 DB      6-0      190     Fr.   Kennedale, Texas/Kennedale HS

Sorrell Brown               WR     6-3      190     Fr.   Arlington, Texas/Martin HS

Dorian Camel               DB      6-1      180     Fr.   Baton Rouge, La./Scotlandville Magnet HS

Cameron Carroll           RB      6-0      220     Fr.   Flowood, Miss./Northwest Rankin HS

Macon Clark                 DB      6-0      185     Fr.   Destrehan, La./Destrehan HS

*Christian Daniels         QB      6-2      205     Fr.   Elon, N.C./Western Alamance HS

Carlos Hatcher              DE      6-3      230     Fr.   Carrollton, Texas/Hebron HS

Nik Hogan                    OL      6-5      265     Fr.   Flowood, Miss./Northwest Rankin HS

#La'Dedric Jackson       LB      6-2      210     Fr.   Montgomery, Ala./Sidney Lanier HS

Jamiran James              DL      6-2      275     Fr.   New Orleans, La./De La Salle HS

Tyrick James                TE      6-2      232     Fr.   China Spring, Texas/China Spring HS

*Jeffery Johnson           DL      6-3      312     Fr.   Brookhaven, Miss./Brookhaven HS

Amare Jones                 RB      5-10    185     Fr.   Frisco, Texas/Frisco Heritage HS

#Keitha Jones Jr.           LB      6-2      190     Fr.   Port Arthur, Texas/Memorial HS

*Chris Joyce                 DB      5-11    175     Fr.   Hampton, Ga./Dutchtown HS

Stephen Lewerenz         OL      6-4      270     Fr.   Gainesville, Fla./Buchholz HS

Juan Monjarres             DE      6-1      215     Fr.   New Orleans, La./St. Augustine HS

Michael Remondet        OL      6-4      265     Fr.   Youngsville, La./Ascension Episcopal School

Jason Swann                 OL      6-3      270     Fr.   Pembroke Pines, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas School

Damien Tate                 DB      5-10    175     Fr.   New Orleans, La./Warren Easton HS

#Alfred Thomas            DL      6-1      268     Fr.   Montgomery, Ala./Sidney Lanier HS

Jorien Vallien               WR     6-4      178     Fr.   Alexandria, La./Alexandria Senior HS

*Davon Wright             DL      6-1      287     Fr.   Donaldsonville, La./Donaldsonville HS

Ryan Wright                 P         6-3      225     Fr.   San Ramon, Calif./California HS


# - Signed in February

* - Mid-year enrollee

New Aaron Hernandez book tries to answer the unanswerable: Why?

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 12:46 PM PST

Unlike many of his bestselling thrillers, James Patterson’s book on the fall of Aaron Hernandez does not try to solve several gruesome, mysterious murders.

“This isn’t a whodunit,” Patterson said. “It’s a why-dunit.”

The new nonfiction book — titled “All-American Murder: The Rise and Fall of Aaron Hernandez, the Superstar Whose Life Ended on Murderers’ Row” — tracks Hernandez’s remarkable fall from grace, from star New England Patriots tight end to suicidal prisoner. “All-American Murder” is written by Patterson and Alex Abramovich with Mike Harvkey.

In many ways, the story writes itself. Once a star player who signed a $40 million contract in 2012, Hernandez was convicted of the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd and sentenced to life in prison. He was also charged with but acquitted of killing two men at a Boston bar in 2012, and was accused of shooting his former friend Alexander Bradley months later.

He ultimately hanged himself in prison less than a week after that acquittal. He was 27.

Patterson has his own theories of why Hernandez’s life fell apart: drugs, psychopathic tendencies and football-related chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

“I think there’s a lot of evidence that he was pretty confused, that he had a lot of anger management problems and they kept getting worse,” Patterson said.

CNN spoke to the acclaimed author about Hernandez’s life and death, his drug problem and why the NFL’s head injury problem isn’t going away. The interview below has been edited for length and clarity.

Q: Why did you choose this story?

A lot of pieces. One, when I was a teenager, my family moved up outside of Boston, so I watched the Patriots and the Celtics and the Red Sox, so that’s (part of the reason), when you’re connected to the team a little. I’m not a crazy football fan, but I watch.

Secondly, for me, this is kind of the most dramatic of high profile murder stories, maybe in 20 years or so. Including OJ (Simpson). OJ was an incident. It was one horrifying night. I think if it had happened in Buffalo, where he played his pro ball, it would have faded away a lot faster. But because it happened in LA, and Hollywood, and the Dream Team was assembled, it took on a life of its own beyond the one bad night.

This (Hernandez) thing … this isn’t a whodunit, it’s a whydunit. It’s an unbelievable fall from grace that Aaron Hernandez took.

He was a very handsome man, he had this amazing smile and dimple when he wanted to use it. He could charm people. He had a $40 million contract. A beautiful fiancee, who had been his high school sweetheart. Baby girl. Unbelievable football talent both in college at the University of Florida and in the pros.

And it all went up in smoke.

Q: Do you mean that literally, as in drugs?

For me, my own theories, I think there were definitely some psychopathic tendencies with this guy. They started early. He, at least theoretically, shot at least four people.

Secondly, the CTE was serious. They got the results from Boston University hospital while I was writing the book. They uncovered that he had worse damage than they’d seen in anybody under 45 years old. So it was pretty severe.

And then drugs — PCP, coke, a lot of weed, and a pretty steady diet of it. So I think a combination of all those things is what really did him in.

He was tremendously confused by the end. The murder of Odin Lloyd — who was another friend of his, and going out with Hernandez’s fiancee’s sister — he did it a mile from his house, which is crazy. Who in their right mind would do that?

He left four shells by the body, which is crazy. I mean, doesn’t he ever watch TV? Pick up the shells. He left a cell phone in Odin’s pocket with several calls to him. He left the car keys in Odin’s pocket. That was the car that he had rented for Odin with his name on it.

When the police came and they saw the name Aaron Hernandez on the keys, they didn’t think it was him. They thought it had to be some other Aaron Hernandez. He shot out a sign on his way out of the lot. He left a shell in the car he was in.

It seemed to me he was gone, he was gonzo that night. And once again a combination of, apparently, he liked to or didn’t mind shooting people. That’s strange. The CTE, presumably, I mean he was getting more and more paranoid. And then I guess that there were some drugs involved that night.

Q: How much did you know this before, and what did you learn in reporting the book and writing the book?

We got a lot of help from the police in Connecticut and in North Attleboro and in Florida. So I think we got a lot of new stuff from them. A lot of the athletes in Gainesville were kind of … the University seemed to do a pretty good job of protecting the athletes. But we got a lot from the police.

The NFL (gave me) nothing, and the Patriots nothing. … I can understand why they might not want to get involved because there are a lot of lawsuits flying around now. And the CTE thing, obviously they don’t want more publicity brought to that. But you know what? It’s gonna happen and they’re gonna have to keep dealing with it.

Q: What stood out from your interviews with police and others you interviewed? What stood out the most?

I think how impressive Hernandez could be at times, and what a knucklehead he was at other times. He really could impress people and charm people.

I think (Patriots owner) Robert Kraft on some level was charmed by him. I think (former University of Florida head coach) Urban Meyer was. And a lot of people tried to help him.

Urban Meyer — look, you send your kid off to college, and to some extent I mean the kid’s got to kind of watch out for themselves. Urban Meyer would have this guy in for Bible study three or four times a week. He had him over the house a lot. He asked Tim Tebow to room with Hernandez on the road. So I think he did a pretty good job and I think he became a bit of a father figure.

(Bristol County) Sheriff (Thomas) Hodgson, at the first jail that Aaron was in, I think he was a father figure.

Clearly one of the big incidents for Aaron was that his father was this kind of big hero in Bristol. He had played for University of Connecticut. He was kind of beloved. When Aaron was 16, (his) father went in for a hernia operation and died.

His father really looked over and watched over Aaron and his brother, and I don’t know if it would have totally made a difference, but I think his father would have kept him away from some of the people he started associating with in Bristol.

Q: Did you get any closer to figuring out why he committed suicide?

Once again, and I think you saw it in the last year or so, I think he was just getting more and more troubled, more confused, more paranoid. Like in Boston, when somebody spills a drink on him and he’s taking it to new paranoid heights. So I think there’s a lot of evidence that he was pretty confused, that he had a lot of anger management problems and they kept getting worse.

One piece of the theory is that in his confused state, he honestly believed that if you believed in Jesus you would get saved.

So that he would be — I think that may have been something to do with the putting the quote on his forehead. … That may be a piece of it, and also he knew at that point, he knew about the law in Massachusetts that if he died while the case was being adjudicated that he would be declared not guilty. And he felt that his fiancee would — and he said to her on the last phone call, he said you’re gonna be rich. Or you are rich.

Trump on Rob Porter: ‘We wish him well … He did a good job’

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 12:18 PM PST

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President Donald Trump on Friday called the departure of his former staff secretary Rob Porter following allegations of domestic abuse “very sad” and said he wishes Porter “well.”

The President, in his first public comments since Porter’s resignation on Wednesday, did not express any sympathy for the women Porter allegedly abused — instead pointing to Porter’s claim that “he’s innocent.”

“I found out about it recently and I was surprised by it,” Trump said. “We certainly wish him well. It’s obviously a very tough time for him. He did a very good job while he was in the White House.”

“We hope that he will have a wonderful career,” Trump added.

Trump said “it was very sad when we heard about it.”

Trump focused on Porter’s denial of the allegations that he struck his two-ex-wives while they were married.

“He says he’s innocent, and I think you have to remember that,” Trump said. “He said very strongly yesterday that he’s innocent, but you’ll have to talk to him about that.”

John Kelly facing questions

Trump’s comments come as chief of staff John Kelly and other top White House officials are facing questions about why they did not act to remove Porter from his position after they found out about the allegations of domestic abuse.

Senior aides knew for months about the allegations levied against Porter by his ex-wives, even as Porter’s stock in the West Wing continued to rise, multiple sources have told CNN. Porter denied the allegations but resigned on Wednesday.

Even after the allegations surfaced publicly, sources told CNN that Kelly did not urge Porter to resign or seek to force him out. Instead, the White House released a statement from Kelly praising Porter’s character.

It wasn’t until the uproar over the allegations grew and more details surfaced that Porter resigned and Kelly put out a second statement expressing concern about the allegations.

White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah acknowledged on Thursday the White House “could have done better” in its initial response to the allegations, a concession Trump was privately miffed about, CNN has learned.

The allegations against Porter and the problematic internal response to the allegations — which former senior staffers had known about for months — has led to tensions inside the West Wing, with Kelly’s credibility in particular coming under fire.

Trump has also grown upset with his White House communications director Hope Hicks, who despite being in a romantic relationship with Porter helped craft the White House’s initial pushback to the allegations, a source familiar said.

What happened to the Tesla that Elon Musk shot into space?

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 12:14 PM PST

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There were plenty of spectacular moments during the maiden launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket on Tuesday.

But perhaps the most dramatic scene occurred about four minutes after liftoff: The second stage of the rocket, headed deeper into space, discarded the white nose cone at its tip.

It revealed SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s cherry red sports car. Behind the wheel was a spacesuit-clad mannequin, named Starman. The car glided victoriously away from Earth as David Bowie’s “Life on Mars?” blared on SpaceX’s launch webcast.

The car is not on some scientific voyage. This was a test launch, so SpaceX needed a dummy payload — and Musk previously said he wanted it to be the “[s]illiest thing we can imagine.” So he picked his own luxurious Tesla roadster.

“I love the thought of a car drifting apparently endlessly through space and perhaps being discovered by an alien race millions of years in the future,” he said in December.

Shortly after the launch, SpaceX posted a live feed of Starman’s journey. The images looked as if they were plucked from science fiction.

“I think it looks so ridiculous and impossible, and you can tell it’s real because it looks so fake, honestly,” Musk said at a press conference Tuesday. “We have way better CGI (computer-generated imagery)” than that.

The livestream, which was later viewed by millions of people, cut out after about four and a half hours when cameras’ batteries died. Onlookers here on Earth moved on with their lives.

But Starman and the Tesla are still out there, and late Tuesday the second-stage engine gave them a final boost, putting them on a path toward orbit around the sun.

More than likely, they will remain drifting through the vacuum of space for generations to come. Astronomers have been hard at work pinning down exactly what path they will take.

At first, Musk suggested on Twitter that the Tesla overshot its intended orbit and would fly out past Mars and into the asteroid belt.

But now experts say that probably won’t happen.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory got its hands on data from SpaceX on Wednesday, and it suggests the roadster will stay closer to the sun. The farthest it will go is about 250 million kilometers from the sun, or about as far as Mars.

Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, says he also got a first-hand glimpse at the data and his analysis lines up with NASA’s.

It’ll reach its farthest point from the sun in November, and in September 2019, it will complete its first full loop around the sun. It’ll continue to complete one full orbit about every 19 months.

That’s based on current projections, but things can always change.

“The problem now is that it’s kind of difficult to predict how the orbit will evolve,” said Marco Langbroek, a space expert who tracks asteroids.

He said forces like solar radiation can slowly bump the roadster toward a different course, or leftover gas in the second-stage rocket could give it another heave.

By next week, astronomers say, the car will already be too far away from Earth to track with telescopes. So they’re clamoring to get some good shots of the roadster now.

Because of how the car’s projected orbit aligns with Earth’s orbit, astronomers on the ground probably won’t be able to spot the roadster again until late in the 21st century. Based on calculations he made Thursday, Langbroek predicted that could happen in 2073. But in an email on Friday, he said it still seemed the car’s path was “too ill defined to make reliable forecasts.”

At that point, “it’s certainly possible that it will be mistaken for an asteroid,” he said. Astronomers will eventually be able to figure out its a man made object, however, by observing its “orbit and behavior and brightness.”

And NASA says the roadster has been added to is “artificial object catalog” in an attempt to prevent this kind of confusion, according to Dwayne Brown, a senior communications official at NASA.

McDowell, half jokingly, predicts astronomers won’t have to worry about it at all.

By the late century, he said, he imagines humans will have already colonized other planets in the solar system — and Musk’s “descendants will be able to drag [the roadster] back to a museum.”

Cricket King Cake from the Audubon Insectarium

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 12:08 PM PST

Cricket King Cake

"Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium is "enhancing" the signature delicacy of the Carnival season for those craving something a bit more exotic. Cricket king cake is available to sample in the museum's popular insect kitchen, Bug Appétit, through Lundi Gras!" - audubonnatureinstitute.org

Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium

  • Address
    • 423 Canal St.,
    • New Orleans, LA 70130
  • Hours
    • ***The Butterfly Garden and Insectarium will be OPEN on Lundi Gras (February 12) and CLOSED on Mardi Gras day (February 13).***
    • Regular hours: Tuesday - Sunday | 10:00am - 4:30pm

Click here for more information about the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium.

***The Audubon Zoo, Aquarium, and Nature Center will also be OPEN on Lundi Gras (February 12) and CLOSED on Mardi Gras day (February 13).***


ATF offering $5,000 reward for info after Washington Parish church burned to the ground

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 12:04 PM PST

WASHINGTON PARISH, LA – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating the burning of a Baptist Church north of Bogalusa.

The Monroe Creek Missionary Baptist Church near Highway 436 in Washington Parish was burned down on February 1, according to the ATF.

The building is a total loss.

A series of wildfires were also set on January 25 and February 1 near the church, possibly by the same arsonist or arsonists who burned down the church.

The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry and the Louisiana State Fire Marshal's Office are participating in the investigation into the wildfire, according to the ATF.

Anyone with information about these fires should call the ATF at: 1-888-ATF-FIRE (888-283-3473).

The ATF is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest in the case.

Bacchus Bash 2018

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 11:50 AM PST

Bacchus Bash 2018

One of New Orleans' biggest and longest running Mardi Gras traditions in New Orleans is this Sunday at Generations Hall in the Warehouse District.  Bacchus Bash is the largest free block party in the city during Carnival and thousands are gearing up for the day of revelry with drinks, music food and of course parades.

  • Sunday, February 11, 2018
  • Noon til midnight
  • Generations Hall
    • 310 Andrew Higgins
    • New Orleans, LA 70130
  • FREE
  • All ages, +21 to drink
  • Food, Drinks, Live Music, DJs
  • Live Music on the Outdoor Stage
    • Flow Tribe
    • The Top Cats
    • Category 6
    • Mungion
  • The Metro Stage (Indoors)
    • Mannie Fresh
    • DJ Taf
    • DJ Wixx
  • VIP with Premium Open Bar
    • $100
    • Access to the outdoor grandstand
    • Access to the private indoor area with bathrooms
    • Click here to purchase VIP Tickets

Click here to learn more about Bacchus Bash 2018.

Tamica Lee wins! Greasing of the poles wraps up at Royal Sonesta New Orleans

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 11:10 AM PST

NEW ORLEANS - Hundreds of people gathered outside of the Royal Sonesta Hotel on Bourbon Street this morning, eager to watch the annual greasing of the poles.

For decades, the hotel has greased the poles to keep people on Bourbon Street from climbing up the poles during the busy (and oftentimes wild) Mardi Gras weekend. It has become a cherished ceremony for greasers to prep the poles.

And WGNO's very own Tamica Lee went head to head with performers Amanda Shaw, Robin Barnes, and Compere Lapin Chef Nina Compton.

All four ladies put on quite the show. Shaw had a pink get up on and a loaf of bread, with a sash that read "Little Miss Bread Winner." Barnes sported the Mardi Gras colors purple, green and gold. Compton wore a purple out fit as well. Tamica showed up in a riveting circus-inspired ring leader outfit!

Performance wise, Tamica took the lead, slapping the pole, climbing up and down the ladder. For her performance she grabbed a bottle of champagne and dumped it all over. The crowd went wild.

Barnes put up a good fight, getting the crowd to sing Happy 300th Birthday to the City of New Orleans. Shaw also used the bread to help slather the poles (points for creativity). And Compton worked the ladder -- kicking and balancing! But the judges decided on Tamica-- so she took home the top honors for the WGNO fam!

She says her strategy: Slapping the Pole!

Happy Mardi Gras, folks. And stay off those poles!