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Friday, January 18, 2019

#News - New Orleans & South Louisiana

#News - New Orleans & South Louisiana

Saints have no shortage of offensive weapons

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 09:04 PM PST

Metairie, La. -- If the Rams want to key on Michael Thomas, the Saints say, go ahead.

"Mike had a tremendous game against them last time we played them so I'm pretty sure they're going to be keying on Mike a lot," said Saints rookie wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith. "It's just another opportunity for somebody else to step-up at receiver. When teams try to take away one of our key weapons, we have enough weapons in the arsenal to have somebody else step-up and have an opportunity to have a big game. If they do decide to take away Mike, somebody else is going to step-up -- whether it be me, Ted or Keith."

"We try to be very diverse in what we do," said Saints quarterback Drew Brees. "We always try to give defenses a lot to think about and a lot to worry about with our formations with our personnel groups, with our shifts, motions, with our run game, our play action, our drop back, our screen game. You name it. We always go into every game with a lot of stuff."

Having so many players who can get the job done is not a luxury all teams have, and Alvin Kamara knows he's in a pretty sweet situation with this squad right here.

"I'm spoiled," Kamara said. "I came in and I've got Terron, I got Ram, I've got Drew at quarterback, I've got Mark in the backfield with me to teach me. I've got Mike Thomas and Ted Ginn. I've got all these guys around me to like there's straight across the board, everybody's talented. Everybody's great players. Every body wants every body to do well. I don't know. It's crazy. I think about that a lot actually."

Tuesday Bob Seger was in at the Jazz Fest, now he’s out

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 08:51 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS — Just days after the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation announced that Bob Seger would be among the artists to perform at this years fest, workers reversed course and said that Seger would not perform.

In a written statement, festival workers say that Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band would not perform due to a scheduling conflict.

For Seger fans, it’s not the first time they’ve had their concert hopes dashes.  In October of 2017, during a tour, Seger announced that he would postpone 18 remaining dates on his schedule, including one in New Orleans, due to an urgent medical issue.

Seger required back surgery and in May of 2018, announced new dates for the shows that were postponed.  Those rescheduled concerts began last November and are scheduled well into this spring.  Initially, 17 dates were rescheduled.  In November, another 7 dates were added to the list.

But New Orleans is not on the list of destinations.

Seger was one of the top acts — along with The Rolling Stones, Dave Matthews Band, Katy Perry, and Jimmy Buffett — included in the big reveal on Tuesday of this year’s lineup.

The festival’s announcement was brief.  “Due to scheduling conflicts, Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band will not be performing at Jazz Fest this year.”

But music fans, take heart.  This year’s festival will still have more than 600 bands performing on 13 stages.

Mother charged after video shows toddler tumbling from moving car

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 08:37 PM PST

MANKATO, Minn. – A Minnesota woman has been charged with child endangerment after her 2-year-old, who was in a car seat, fell out of her moving vehicle earlier this week.

KMSP reports that Maimuna Kunow Hassan faces up to one year in prison and a $3,000 fine for the gross misdemeanor. She has also been charged with improperly restraining her child in the car seat and violating her driver’s permit because there was not another licensed driver in the vehicle.

Disturbing dash cam video captured the moment the toddler in the car seat fell out of the rear driver's side door of the vehicle on Monday morning. The video shows Hassan continuing to drive away.

According to KMSP, Hassan told police that the door opened while she was driving and the child fell out. She said she parked her car a few blocks down and walked back to get the child.

She claimed that the child was properly secured and “must’ve unlocked the door.”

KMSP reports that officers inspected the vehicle, a 2004 Honda Civic, and found that chest straps weren’t latched.

She is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 14.

Fortnite security flaw exposed 80 million accounts

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 07:43 PM PST

CARY, N.C. – A major security flaw in a popular video game exposed millions of players to hacking risks, according to Forbes.

More than 80 million players around the world are obsessed with Fortnite, a multiplayer game of survival that allows players to use real money to buy video game currency.

Last fall, a security flaw allowed hackers to log into accounts without a password, according to information security group Check Point Research. The group published this video explaining their findings on the smash hit by Epic Games:

Check Point Research said hackers could then make in-game purchases, record in-game conversations and eavesdrop on conversations in the players' in home.

In a statement to the Washington Post Wednesday, Epic spokesman Nick Chester said hackers “were never able to eavesdrop on conversations.”

Researchers discovered the problem in November. Epic Games says the security flaw has been fixed and urges users to update their accounts with strong passwords.

On Jan. 9, the Better Business Bureau announced that they had assigned parent company Epic Games an “F” rating “due to unanswered customer complaints.”

The North Carolina game maker has 279 complaints on file with the BBB over the last three years, with 271 in the last year. Only 32 have been answered, according to the BBB.

"Epic Games failed to protect customer security, resulting in several unsanctioned charges over mine and my partner’s account," wrote one person. Another added that, "There is no phone number or proper email response time to return my unauthorized charge of $160. Nobody will answer, and I feel cheated."

Some Fortnite forums have pages of complaints about Epic Games from players who say they have been hacked multiple times.

Delightfully Delicious: The ‘Superdome” dish at Heard Dat Kitchen

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 04:18 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS-- The entire Who Dat Nation is getting excited for Sunday's big game.

News with a Twist Reporter Kenny Lopez found some good grub with some special Saints spirit!

Cheff Jeff Heard at Heard Dat Kitchen created a divine dish!

"This is my "Superdome" dish.  It is blackened catfish, and it's topped with lobster whipped potatoes.  It is finished with lobster fennel bechamel cream sauce.  You have golden crispy onion rings and fresh corn on top," he said.

Chef Jeff said he wanted to honor the Superdome.

"I named it after the Superdome because I'm very fond of the Superdome.  Actually I grew up in the Superdome.  I was there the day the Superdome opened up in August of 1974.  I was actually in the Dome running around playing on the ramps,"  he said.

The colors of this super dish are black and gold.

He said from his kitchen you can actually hear the loud cheers from fans at the Superdome.

"I heard dat," he said.

Heard Dat Kitchen is located at 2520 Felicity Street.

If the Saints win the Super Bowl, Chef Jeff says they will offer their "Superdome" dish at a discounted price.

For more information, click HERE.





Saints Tailgate Krewe has the ultimate pregame ritual on wheels

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 03:50 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS -- If you combine extreme Saints fans with the magic of Mardi Gras, then you'll get the ultimate black and gold game day parade.

Five years ago, a group of fans created the Saints Tailgate Krewe.

This Krewe rolls down Poydras street every home game in a bus that is decked out in Saints decor from bumper to bumper.

One of the members, Jon Robertson, gave us an inside look.

From LED lights, to a smoke machine, and even a confetti blaster, this bus is nothing short of a good time.

"We have a 2000 watt stereo with blasting speakers all throughout the inside and the back. As you can see, we are already geared up for the next game this Sunday. We throw footballs, we've got noisemakers, we've got beads," says Robertson as he gestures to all of the many Saints-themed throws.

The bus holds up to $600 worth of throws for Sunday's upcoming game against the Rams.

Robertson says on game day,  everyone meets up at Dinos Bar and Grill on Tchoupitoulas Street, and then they begin to make their way down Poydras as they head to the Superdome.

"When you look as you're driving down the street and you're throwing the stuff, you just see hundreds and hundreds of just really smiling faces walking down the street. [They're] stopping and running up to us wanting stuff.  It's just a blast," says Robertson.

It's all an effort to keep the energy as high as possible.

"We will be bringing the absolute maximum amount of energy that we are capable of bringing from the bus ride to the tailgate and until we are inside the dome until the last whistle blows," says Robertson.

These rolling tailgaters hope to roll right into the Superbowl parade if the Saints make it to Atlanta.

Which, I mean, why wouldn't they?

Learn more about the Saints Tailgate Krewe here.

Cleaning New York’s filthy harbor with one billion oysters

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 03:45 PM PST

The New York Harbor for years has been polluted and depleted of marine life. But one nonprofit is working to clean the murky water and revive its long-lost ecosystem — one oyster at a time.

The Billion Oyster Project has worked since 2014 to rebuild oyster reefs in the waters surrounding New York City. The creatures are natural purifiers: A single adult oyster can cleanse about 50 gallons of water per day. And their reefs can provide a habitat for other marine life and help protect New York’s shores against storm surge during rough weather.

The group has so far restored about 30 million oysters to local waters. But that’s still a tiny fraction of what used to thrive in the area.

“Without the oyster reefs, the whole shoreline is fundamentally changed,” the group’s executive director, Pete Malinowski, told CNN Business’ Rachel Crane. “We think oyster reefs can be part of an integrated approach to resiliency and proactive planning for climate change.”

Malinowski said his team is seeing promising signs. Last year, there was a “dramatic” increase in the number of wild oysters that latched on to Billion Oyster Projects’ reefs.

“For restoration to be successful, you need the recruitment of wild oysters from the system,” Malinowski said. It could help the population grow exponentially.

Like the group’s name implies, it hopes to one day return one billion oysters to New York’s waterways.

How it works

Billion Oyster Project partners with more than 70 restaurants in New York City. The businesses save up their oyster shells rather than tossing them, and a collection partner for the Billion Oyster Project rounds them up and carts them off to Governors Island, a small island due east of the Statue of Liberty.

The shells are then left outside for at least a year. This allows the elements to naturally cleanse them of organic matter before they are sent to the the New York Harbor School, a maritime-focused public high school on Governors Island, which is heavily involved in the project.

Students grow and hatch baby oysters that are then attached to the cleaned shells. The shells and larvae are grouped together and strategically placed somewhere off New York’s coastline.

Billion Oyster Project has started twelve reefs so far, some close to shore, and others out in deeper waters.

Engaging the community — particularly young students — throughout the process is a top priority. The group works with more than 75 public schools across all five New York City boroughs, and students take field trips out to reef sites or research station to learn how to measure water quality and track oyster growth.

“Our work with schools and communities gets people down to the water’s edge and starts to reestablish the relationship that New Yorkers used to have with the ecosystem,” Malinowski said.

Billion Oyster Project is funded through a variety of grants from state and city backers. The National Science Foundation also recently renewed support for the project, offering a two-year $4.5 million grant.

The Big Oyster

Hundreds of years ago, New York Harbor teemed with more than 200,000 acres of live oyster reefs. The molluscs cleaned and filtered the water, naturally removing pollutants. Dolphins, seals and other creatures, drawn to the vibrant ecosystem, swam just off the shore of Manhattan.

“When Europeans first arrived in New York Harbor, there were oyster reefs everywhere and there were so many fish that they couldn’t physically get out of the way of the boats,” Malinowski said. “In about 100 years, we had harvested all the native oysters from the harbor. All those oysters were eaten, consumed locally by New Yorkers, and shipped all over the world as food.”

Oysters were a favorite treat among New York City’s skyrocketing population in the 19th century. Street vendors and restaurants began to hawk the cheap, salty seafood.

By the 1900s, New York Harbor was polluted and practically lifeless. It wasn’t until 1972, with the passage of the Clean Water Act, that the law prohibited dumping waste or raw sewage into the harbor.

Only recently has the water become clean enough to support shellfish like mussels, oysters and clams.

Storm Surge

Water purity is not the only reason New York’s waters suffered without oysters. For centuries, their large reefs served as natural breakwaters — underwater barriers that help protect land from storm surge and erosive waves — around New York’s coastline.

Those reefs were long gone by the time Hurricane Sandy ripped through the state in 2012, and experts have suggested the lack of oyster reefs and other natural barriers exacerbated the damage.

The Billion Oyster Project’s work could slowly rebuild the breakwaters. But,”the oyster reefs that protected New York City before they were removed … took hundreds of years to grow to the size that they needed to be to protect the shore,” Malinowski said.

Instead of waiting for a full-grown oyster reef to begin mitigating storm surge, The Billion Oyster project is partnering with another group, Living Breakwaters, to create artificial reefs across two miles of Staten Island shoreline. Oysters can then build reefs around the structures, making it larger and sturdier.

The Living Breakwaters initiative, which is due to begin construction this year, is funded in part by a $60 million disaster recovery grant awarded by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2013.

Kate Orff, who founded Scape, the design firm that is spearheading the project, said it is past time for New Yorkers to start taking serious steps to combat the impact of climate change — which is expected to bring increasingly volatile weather and higher sea levels.

“We need to drastically look at landscape strategies,” she said.

What’s ahead for BOP

Billion Oyster Project isn’t the first initiative of its kind.

The Oyster Recovery Partnership was launched in 1994 to help reestablish oyster populations off the coast of Virginia and Maryland.

A large chunk of the oyster population there has been restored. And the group encourages other localities to take on similar measures.

Malinowski, the Billion Oyster Project executive director, said he hopes more initiatives will pop up as people begin to realize the crucial role oysters play in keeping oceans healthy.

But there’s still a long way to go before the oyster population near New York is anywhere near pre-industrialization levels.

The project’s progress is “exciting and it’s validating in a big way — but it’s also sobering because there’s a long way to go,” he said.

Malinowski said he is heartened by the participation of local grade schoolers. He said he hopes the work will inspire younger generations to consider environmental and ecological issues no matter what they do.

“People in New York will become more and more aware that the reason [New York Harbor is] polluted is because it’s contaminated with human waste, that’s it’s full of trash and plastic,” he said. “You can just imagine walking to Central Park in the afternoon on a Saturday and having the gates closed because it was full of human waste and trash.”

“New Yorkers wouldn’t stand for that and it would stop.”

Supreme Court to discuss Mueller-related mystery case behind closed doors Friday

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 03:42 PM PST

The Supreme Court will meet behind closed doors on Friday to discuss a mystery case related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

The discussion is slated to occur during the justices’ regularly scheduled conference where the justices will also consider pending petitions on blockbuster issues such as DACA, the ban on transgender people in the military, abortion and the Second Amendment.

The case concerns an unnamed foreign government-owned corporation that is fighting a subpoena request from a DC-based grand jury. Lower courts have ruled that the company must turn over the information and imposed fines for every day it failed to do so.

RELATED: What’s taking the Supreme Court so long to act on hot-button cases?

Last week the Supreme Court denied an emergency request from the company to freeze the financial penalty, pending appeal.

Now, lawyers for the company are asking if they can file their appeal with the Supreme Court under seal.

The justices are not — at this juncture — considering the merits of the appeal, only if the papers can be filed under seal accompanied with a redacted report for public release.

In ruling against the company, the appeals court said the request fell within an exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act that limits foreign governments from being sued in US courts. The court also held that the company had not shown that its own country’s law bar compliance.

One of the firms involved in the challenge is Alston & Bird, CNN has reported, a firm that has previously represented Russian interests, including working for a Russian oligarch and a contractor of the Russian government.

Grand jury matters in the federal court system are typically kept secret, unless a witness decides to speak about the subpoenas they receive or their experience testifying.

However, the case has still been one of the most secretive in years to progress through the court system.

It apparently included two face-offs between special counsel office prosecutors and the unnamed company’s private attorneys.

After losing at the trial level, the DC Circuit Court closed a floor of the courthouse during appellate arguments to keep the identities of the arguing attorneys completely under wraps.

The company has kept nearly all its filings secret — with the exception of a log of when it submits information to the appeals courts.

Though the Supreme Court allows for cases like this to be secret in their early requests, the high court has never heard a known case where all parties and arguments stayed confidential.

Shreveport police officer’s boyfriend killed her as she prepared for work, chief says

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 03:40 PM PST

Three men have been arrested in connection with the shooting death of a rookie northwestern Louisiana police officer, including a man who was the officer’s boyfriend and father of her child, authorities say.

Treveon Anderson, 26, was arrested Tuesday in the January 9 death of his live-in girlfriend, Shreveport police Officer Chatéri Payne, who was shot dead in the driveway of their home while she was in uniform and preparing to leave for work, police said.

Anderson was arrested after a cousin of his, Lawrence Pierre, told investigators he saw Anderson shoot Payne, police reports obtained by CNN affiliate KSLA say.

Anderson; Pierre, 22; and a third man, Glenn Frierson, 38, were arrested on preliminary charges of second-degree murder, police said.

Anderson lied to investigators last week about having chased away an unknown assailant and discovering his girlfriend wounded, police Chief Ben Raymond said.

“We believe Anderson shot and killed her, and concocted the false narrative of her being murdered by an unknown suspect,” Raymond told reporters at a news conference.

The police chief has not revealed an alleged motive in the killing. He has called Pierre and Frierson “accomplices,” but has not elaborated on what they’re accused of doing.

The suspects made an initial court appearance Thursday and their bonds were set at $500,000.

Caddo Parish District Attorney James E. Stewart Sr. said in a statement the case at some point will go to a grand jury. “Based on the statements of Chief of Police Ben Raymond and others at Shreveport Police, this case may not meet the legal requirements for first-degree murder, which requires certain aggravating circumstances. However, until we receive and review the file that determination would be premature at this time.”

Two of the suspects were assigned lawyers while the third will receive one at an April 30 hearing.

The police reports reveal a little more about the allegations.

Suspect’s cousin claimed he saw shooting, police report says

Anderson called 911 on the night of January 9 to report that Payne had been shot, Raymond said.

Officers who went to the home found Payne wounded and wearing her police uniform. She had graduated from a police academy two months ago and was headed to work that night.

Payne was taken to a hospital, where she died about two hours after the call, Raymond said.

The couple’s 2-year-old child was at the home when Payne was shot. Raymond said he doesn’t think the child witnessed the shooting.

Police took Anderson to a detective’s office that night and questioned him, but had released him by the next morning after hearing his account.

“He advised he was inside of the residence when he heard gunshots, and then went outside and shot at a person wearing all black clothing, whom he believed to be the suspect,” Raymond said Wednesday. “He (claimed he) then noticed that Officer Payne had been shot.”

Raymond declined to say how investigators subsequently came to believe Anderson shot Payne.

But police reports detailing probable cause for the arrests say Pierre told investigators in a videotaped interview “that he witnessed Treveon Anderson shoot Payne multiple times, resulting in her death.”

The police documents also say Pierre:

• “Admitted to being present during the murder and admitted his participation.” The documents do not elaborate on how Pierre allegedly participated.

• “Led investigators to the location where he hid the weapon used in the murder.”

• Claimed that Frierson accompanied “him (Pierre) to the murder” and left with him afterward.

The documents say nothing else about what Frierson is accused of doing. They also do not say what led investigators to question Pierre.

When a reporter asked Raymond whether all three men were present when the shooting happened, the chief said: “I don’t think that would be an accurate statement.”

“Certainly Anderson was present. I don’t think it’s accurate at this point to say all three were present during the shooting,” the chief said.

Investigators have confiscated a handgun they believe was the weapon used to kill Payne, Raymond said. The chief declined to say where it was found, other than it was at “a residence.”

FBI employees turn to food banks, outside work as shutdown drags on

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 03:38 PM PST

As the government shutdown stretches towards a fifth week, FBI field offices across the country are opening food banks to help support special agents and staff struggling without pay.

In Dallas, Newark, New Jersey, and Washington, the FBI has set up or planned for areas where employees can drop off non-perishable food items for other employees to pick up, according to multiple law enforcement officials.

On the West Coast, at least two FBI field offices are considering establishing food banks as one of a number of ideas to help employees hurting from the shutdown, a law enforcement official said.

“We’re all in this together and we’re banding together to help each other out in any way we can,” said Melinda Urbina, a spokeswoman for the FBI field office in Dallas, where a volunteer employee group set up the food bank now filled with pastas and canned goods in one of the main break rooms.

Some 35,000 FBI employees, including administrative and support staff, missed a paycheck last week as negotiations between President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats over government funding and border security have stalled.

That has left many also searching for outside employment, despite limitations on the type of work employees can do and still keep a security clearance or not violate government employment rules.

Justice Department component agencies have had a number of requests from employees, including law enforcement agents and officers, seeking guidance on outside employment, two senior law enforcement officials told CNN. Lawyers have been doing research to determine what type of outside employment would be allowed, the officials said.

RELATED: State Department orders staff back to work, says they will be paid

Another law enforcement official said that the number of requests for outside employment at one FBI field office has “significantly increased.” All FBI employees must get approval through an established process before they engage in other work.

Law enforcement officials have also warned that FBI investigations are being damaged as operational budgets dwindle.

Pay for informants and surveillance work as well as drug buys in trafficking operations are all endangered as resource shortages restrict the tools available to investigators, according to Tom O’Connor, the president of the FBI Agents Association, which represents most of the bureau’s active duty special agents.

Still, throughout the country’s longest government shutdown, FBI special agents remain in the streets carrying out law enforcement activities.

On Wednesday, undercover FBI special agents in Georgia met 21-year-old Hasher Taheb in a parking lot with a trailer filled with inert assault rifles and explosives.

After Taheb, who was later charged by federal prosecutors for a plan to attack the White House and other DC monuments, exchanged his car for the weapons, agents, working without pay, took him under arrest, according to a criminal complaint.

‘A lack of respect’: Netflix hit ‘Bird Box’ used actual footage from disaster

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 03:34 PM PST

The mayor of Lac-Megantic, Quebec, says she was appalled to discover that footage of the most horrific day in her town’s history was presented as fiction in two Netflix productions.

Footage of the 2013 runaway train disaster that killed 47 people and destroyed most of the small town’s downtown core appears in the Netflix film Bird Box and in an episode of the science fiction series Travelers, the BBC reports. The clips were used to illustrate news coverage of fictional disasters.

“We find that it’s really a lack of respect, to use these images as fiction and entertainment,” Mayor Julie Morin tells the Canadian Press. “It’s hard enough for our citizens to see these images when they are used normally and respectfully on the news.”

The footage shows fires after a train carrying more than 70 cars of crude oil derailed and exploded in the town on July 6, 2013. Producers say the footage was obtained from stock footage vendor Pond 5 and they “weren’t aware of its specific source.”

Pond 5 says it deeply regrets that images of the disaster were “taken out of context and used in entertainment programming.”

High school ethics teacher Guillaume Bouchard, who brought the use of the footage to public attention, says he was shocked when he recognized it. “I thought: No way. No way did they do that,” he says. Morin says she wants Netflix to remove the footage. “You can be sure we are going to follow up on this, and our citizens are on our side,” she says.

(Read more Lac-Megantic stories.)

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Can You Dig It: Nicholls State Adds Beach Volleyball

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 03:30 PM PST

THIBODAUX, La. – Nicholls State University Athletics Director Matt Roan announced Thursday that Kallie Noble has been selected to lead the Colonel volleyball program, pending approval from the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors, and that Nicholls has added beach volleyball as an NCAA sport and will compete spring 2019.

"We are fortunate and proud to be able to announce Kallie Noble as the newest member of the Colonel family and the head volleyball coach here at Nicholls," Roan said. "We were intrigued with Kallie’s experience in the region and as a head coach, and we were impressed by her commitment to creating a 'Championship Experience.' At her core, Kallie is a teacher who will recruit, lead, and mentor the young women in our program to experience success on the court, in the classroom, and in their lives. I’m beyond excited to watch Kallie transform our program."

The 11th head coach in school history, Noble will also serve as the head beach volleyball coach. The beach volleyball squad will feature most of the indoor roster along with former indoor student-athlete Emily Weimer exhausting her final year of eligibility.

"I am honored and humbled to be named the head volleyball coach at Nicholls State University," Noble said. "I cannot thank Dr. Jay Clune, Matt Roan, Lindsey McKaskle and the entire search committee enough for this opportunity and for their commitment to building the Nicholls volleyball program. I am eager to get to know those in the Thibodaux community and share in the pride of their Colonels."

Noble had successful coaching stints at the University of Memphis (2014-17) and the University of St. Thomas (2012-14). With the Tigers she coached 17 AAC honor roll players, three defensive players of the week and two all-conference performers. As head coach of the Celts, a Division III NAIA university in Houston, Noble's squads qualified for back-to-back Red River Athletic Conference Tournaments, including an appearance in the 2012 NAIA National Championship Tournament.

The Peru, Indiana, native is no stranger to the bayou region, having served as an assistant volleyball coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of New Orleans (2007-08) and Tulane University (2009-12). She coached two AVCA All-Americans and made an NCAA Tournament appearance with the Green Wave in 2009.

Noble also owned Louisiana based volleyball clubs Cajun Wave and Cajun Beach Wave from 2010-13.

Noble holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Western Michigan University and a master's degree in education/counseling from Lincoln Memorial University, where she graduated in 2008.


Approved in 2009 as an emerging sport for women, sand volleyball exceeded the target goal of 40 NCAA varsity programs by October 2014 and was approved as the NCAA’s 90th Division I championship sport. The NCAA officially changed the name of the sport to beach volleyball in 2015, hosting the first NCAA Division I championship the following year.

Opponents play five sets of doubles matches (best two-out-of-three) against each other, with the first to take three matches claiming the victory. Schools are required to play a minimum of eight matches over the course of 16 available playing dates. Most schools play multiple matches per weekend while participating in several tournaments.

Southland Conference members Abilene Christian, Central Arkansas, Houston Baptist, New Orleans, Southeastern Louisiana, Stephen F. Austin and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi currently sponsor beach volleyball and the Southland plans to sponsor a beach volleyball championship event in 2020.

Article courtesy Nicholls Sports Information Department.

“Saint Vader” a Saints super fan from the Dark Side

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 03:30 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS- We love our Saints super fans around here, even the ones from"the Dark Side".  Twist reporter Adam Bowles met the one and only "Saint Vader."

The force is with him, the fans' force; fueled by Who Dat fever.  Meet Saint Vader.  For the last four years and 365 days a year, he has been pumping up the crowds at the Superdome.  But, the man behind the mask is just an average guy who loves the Saints.

"I did a bar crawl a long time ago," Joe Rohaley says. "I started and then I had the costume. I was in film industry for years and everybody went to Atlanta. I didn't know what I was going to do so someone told me just dance in your costume. I started dancing and it just blew up from there."

You can say Joe is a padawan inspired by Tom Benson and based on his legion of fans; he's doing just fine.

"The reaction I get is priceless," Joe says. "I mean I don't care if I get a tip or not, I just wanna take pictures and have a good time fun dancing and hey that's all that matters."

Saint Vader actually uses the money he gets from tips to buy as many tickets for fans to Saint games as he can for those who can't afford it.

Follow and "like" Adam Bowles on Facebook and Instagram for more stories and adventures.

Dog finds home after 525 days in shelter: ‘She has patiently waited’

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 03:22 PM PST

DAYTON, Ohio – A dog named Cassie has been adopted after nearly a year and a half in an Ohio shelter.

“Every day for 525 days she has patiently waited for that perfect person to walk through the doors and pick her and today was her day!” the Humane Society of Greater Dayton wrote on Facebook. Cassie was the shelter’s longest resident before her adoption.

The nearly 5-year-old black and tan hound-shepherd mix came to the Dayton shelter from another facility in Kentucky, according to the Humane Society’s website.

“She has been adopted from time to time and then returned and with each return, we learned more about her and her personality,” the shelter wrote. Cassie went through training programs and eventually became a therapy dog for visits to nursing homes and elementary schools.

Officials said there may have been “a few tears” and “a few squeals of excitement” after news spread that Cassie was going home.

“She is an extremely sweet and loving girl and has been a rockstar,” the shelter wrote on Facebook.


Dr. Rachel: What you need to know about HPV

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 02:55 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS - January is cervical health awareness month. We bright in our teaching doctor, Dr. Rachel Reitan, to give you some much needed health information. Let's jump right in!

According to Dr. Rachel, "There is excellent screening with the pap smear, and a vaccine to help prevent infections with human papillomavirus, or HPV. HPV is the main cause of cervical cancer."

This means that cervical cancer is preventable!

HPV is responsible for more than 70% of cervical cancers, including vaginal, vulvar, anal,penile, and oral cancers.

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection. It differs from HIV and herpes because your body can clear the HPV infection.

The HPV vaccine protects against nine strains of the virus that can lead to so many cancers.

The vaccine is recommended for boys and girls starting at the age of 11, but it can be given as early as 9-years-old.

The vaccine is also available for all men and women up to the age of 45.

If you have any medical questions, you can email Dr. Rachel at

House Republicans join Democrats to rebuke Trump on Russia moves

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 02:15 PM PST

The House issued a symbolic rebuke Thursday to the Trump administration on Russia, overwhelmingly passing a resolution against lifting sanctions on companies tied to oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a Kremlin ally.

The vote, which required a two-thirds majority, passed the House 362-53 — a tally that included a majority of Republicans.

The House vote comes after a parallel measure narrowly failed in the Republican-controlled Senate, where 11 Republicans crossed party lines to join Democrats. In the House, there were 136 Republicans who supported the resolution and 53 who opposed.

Democrats in both chambers have slammed the Treasury Department for its plan to lift sanctions on three companies tied to Deripaska: Rusal, the world’s second-largest aluminum producer, its holding company EN+ Group and EN+ Group subsidiary JSC EuroSibEnergo.

According to the agreement struck with Treasury, Deripaska’s stake in EN+ Group was reduced from 70% to 45%, and he could only vote 35% of his shares. But critics of the agreement argued that Deripaska’s shares were distributed in a way that he would maintain control of the companies.

“The Treasury Department has not provided Congress with convincing evidence that the deal reached with Mr. Deripaska truly ends his control,” said House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff. “Nothing has changed in the Kremlin’s behavior to warrant the relaxation of these sanctions.”

Under a 2017 sanctions law, Congress has 30 days to review the lifting of sanctions. Democrats complained that Treasury announced its decision on December 19, and they haven’t had sufficient time to review the deal between the holidays and the organizing of a new Congress.

The deadline for Congress to disapprove of the sanctions is Thursday.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who introduced the sanctions resolution, said he asked Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to give Congress until February 28 to review the deal, but that after Wednesday’s Senate vote failed “the Treasury Department decided to go forward.”

“Congress cannot just look the other way when the administration rushes a decision like this,” said House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel.

Senate Republicans who voted to let Treasury go ahead argued that the Deripaska-linked companies followed the law that Congress passed in 2017 by removing Deripaska as majority owner of the companies.

“I support the administration on this because frankly the law is the law and we’ve got to follow the law,” said Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney.

Treasury’s decision to lift the sanctions came after a months-long lobbying effort from the companies and EN+ Group chairman Lord Barker of Battle, a member of the British House of Lords. The effort that was aided by former Louisiana GOP Sen. David Vitter and his firm, Mercury LLC.

Mnuchin made two trips to Capitol Hill to try to convince lawmakers that the deal was sound, arguing that keeping the sanctions would hurt the US economy and that Treasury had put in place regulations where an independent third party would control the shares that Deripaska relinquished.

Mnuchin’s message didn’t resonate for many lawmakers. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi left the classified briefing for House members declaring it “one of the worst” briefings she’d been to in the Trump administration.

And many House Republicans joined with Democrats in order to pass Thursday’s resolution.

Texas Rep. Mike McCaul, the top Republican on House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the Treasury Department’s case was “not very compelling.”

“Because we cannot be sure we have removed the heavy hand of this Russian oligarch, I cannot support the delisting of these sanctioned entities at this point and time,” McCaul said.

While the sanctions relief is poised to move forward after the 30-day review expires Thursday, House Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal said he would still dig into the issue.

“We intend here to proceed — even in the aftermath of this decision today and what the Senate did yesterday — to considerably take a look at this act that we believe today violates the intention of our congressional responsibilities,” Neal said.

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Trump takes on border wall, acknowledges Syria blast in Pentagon speech

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 02:13 PM PST

In his first public appearance since Tuesday — amid a 27-day government shutdown and 24 hours after the death of four Americans in Syria — President Donald Trump delivered a meandering speech at the Pentagon on Thursday.

Trump began by offering condolences to the families of four Americans killed in Wednesday’s suicide blast in Syria — the first time he has acknowledged the attack since it happened.

“I want to take a moment to express my deepest condolences to the families of the brave American heroes who laid down their lives yesterday in selfless service to our nation. These are great people, great, great people. We will never forget their noble and immortal sacrifice,” Trump said.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for a deadly explosion that killed four Americans and at least 10 other people in the Syrian city of Manbij on Wednesday.

The attack came after the White House announced last month that the US would be pulling troops from Syria, which led to the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis.

Against the backdrop of a partial government shutdown stemming from disagreements over funding for a US-Mexico border wall, Trump pivoted from the condolences to speaking about the need for a border wall through the lens of national security.

“This morning I also would like to briefly address another matter of critical national security — the humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border. Without a strong border, America’s defenseless, vulnerable and unprotected,” Trump said.

The President thanked the military for its assistance on the border amid earlier migrant caravans, adding that thousands of migrants are currently moving toward the US in caravans.

“We don’t know who they are, where they’re from — nothing,” Trump said. “We need strong borders. We need strong barriers and walls. Nothing else is going to work,” he continued, adding that a border wall “should have been done by other Presidents.”

Trump, during his Pentagon speech, went on to admonish Democratic “fringe” party members, who equated to “the radical left”, for a lack of progress toward reopening the federal government amid negotiations surrounding the border wall.

“While many Democrats in the House and Senate would like to make a deal, (House) Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi will not let them negotiate. The party has been hijacked by the open borders fringe within the party. The radical left becoming the radical Democrats,” Trump said.

Though Pelosi as the leader of her party is who Trump needs to negotiate with, there’s no evidence she’s worked to block any members from talking to the White House.

Trump also found a way during his speech which was billed as focusing on missile defense to confirm his support for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, following a New York Times report outlining his distaste for the international group.

“We cannot be the fools for others. We cannot be. We don’t want to be called that and I will tell you for many years behind your backs … that is what they were saying. So there’s a big difference. We’re going to be with NATO 100% but as I told the countries, you have to step up,” he said.

The President has frequently called on nations in the alliance to pay a larger share of their defense spending.

“They’re starting to step up,” he added.

Trump also touted building a missile defense capability that “can detect and destroy any missile launching against the United States, anywhere, anytime, any place.”

He said the review prioritized the need for developing new technology, obtaining new interceptors and radars, improving missile detection systems, emphasizing space missile detection, “fair burden sharing” with US allies and “removing bureaucratic obstacles” from deploying the new technologies.

And the President strongly hinted that his administration would increase the defense budget again next year.

“You’re only doing that because I gave you the greatest and biggest budget in our history and I’ve now done it two times and I’d hate to tell the rest of the world but I’m about to do it three times,” Trump told the audience following an opening round of applause.

Trump denies Pelosi military aircraft for war zone trip

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 02:11 PM PST

President Donald Trump said Thursday he was denying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a military plane for a trip to Afghanistan that was set to begin in the afternoon, a tit-for-tat retaliation that deepened the divide between the leaders and brought the government no closer to reopening.

The move, apparently in response to Pelosi’s letter a day earlier suggesting the President reschedule his State of the Union address, made for high drama but little substance in the ongoing standoff over border security.

As the partial government shutdown stretches nearly a month, the back-and-forth reflects a West Wing angling for the upper hand in a stalemate with newly powerful Democrats.

Pelosi had been scheduled to leave within the hour that Trump’s letter was made public, making for the awkward site of a large blue Air Force bus idling outside the Capitol as the implications of the President’s missive came into focus.

The administration “worked with the Air Force and (the Defense Department) and basically took away the rights to the plane from the speaker,” one White House official said.

The White House released Trump’s letter to Pelosi a day after she suggested the President postpone his planned State of the Union address, scheduled for later this month, until the government shutdown is resolved.

“Due to the Shutdown, I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan has been postponed,” Trump wrote Pelosi on Thursday. “We will reschedule this seven-day excursion when the Shutdown is over.”

Later, Pelosi’s spokesman said the stop in Brussels was mainly to allow the pilot to rest and that Egypt was not on her itinerary.

Even though Afghanistan — an active US combat zone — was one of the countries on her planned itinerary, Trump suggested she fly commercial.

“Obviously, if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative,” Trump wrote.

The President has the authority to direct the Defense Department to not use military assets to support a congressional delegation to military theaters. That includes air transport and additional security procedures.

White House officials, including acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, began discussing canceling Pelosi’s trip early Thursday morning, according to two people with knowledge of how the day unfolded. Aides felt caught off guard when Pelosi publicly released her letter calling on Trump to postpone his State of the Union address, or deliver it in writing, and felt canceling the military air travel would be an ideal response.

Trump’s penned retort amounted to his first public response to Pelosi’s Wednesday letter, in which she suggested “we work together to determine another suitable date after the government has re-opened” for the State of the Union address.

Trump and his aides — loathe to abandon a key evening of presidential messaging yet intrigued by a new opening to break tradition — have yet to strike on a path forward for the State of the Union speech. Trump’s letter to Pelosi did not address the scheduling of his address to Congress. And it did not offer any new incentives to return to negotiations on reopening closed-down agencies.

A Pelosi spokesman responded to Trump’s letter pointing out the President’s own shutdown trip to Iraq as well as one by Republican lawmakers.

“The purpose of the trip was to express appreciation & thanks to our men & women in uniform for their service & dedication, & to obtain critical national security & intelligence briefings from those on the front lines,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill tweeted.

SOTU impasse

As the drama unfolded, even some Republicans lamented a broken state of affairs.

“One sophomoric response does not deserve another,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, a top GOP ally of the President’s, wrote in a statement.

Sen. John Cornyn, a member of Republican leadership, bemoaned “too much childishness” in the shutdown fight between Trump and Pelosi.

Just as Pelosi pointed to security officials working without pay as a reason to delay his State of the Union address, Trump said he was postponing Pelosi’s trip “in light of the 800,000 great American workers not receiving pay.”

Trump also used the letter to jab at some of the time Pelosi has spent outside of Washington during the shutdown, saying that “it would be better if you were in Washington negotiating with me and joining the Strong Border Security movement to end the Shutdown.”

Trump has expressed confusion at why his attempts to pressure Democrats for border wall funding have yielded no progress. Meanwhile, some of his advisers worry the mounting consequences for unpaid federal workers could further erode support for Trump’s cause.

The State of the Union address, initially scheduled for January 29, was viewed as a potential turning point. One White House official said the administration had begun putting together a list of potential invited guests in the first lady’s box, including some “angel families” of people killed by undocumented immigrants.

Those plans were thrown into flux on Wednesday when Pelosi wrote Trump, citing concerns over security during the shutdown, which has forced Secret Service employees to work without pay.

Upon receiving the letter, White House aides were initially unsure of how to proceed, people familiar with the matter said. The White House is weighing alternatives for the venue and style of Trump’s State of the Union, but doesn’t appear to have settled on a plan just yet, the people said.

GOP Rep. Mark Meadows, a close ally of the President’s who is in frequent touch with the White House, said Thursday he believed Trump will deliver the speech outside the House Chamber.

“I think he’ll give the State of the Union somewhere else, and Nancy’s politics will come back to bite her,” he said.

Trump himself viewed Pelosi’s the letter as a political stunt, according to a person who discussed it with him. He did not raise it during a lunch meeting with lawmakers on Wednesday, and did not appear overly incensed by the move.

Some inside the West Wing have viewed Pelosi’s letter as an opportunity to finally break the traditional State of the Union mold — something previous White Houses have mulled but ultimately decided against. Others, however, are not in favor of a nontraditional State of the Union. And most believe they need more clarity from Pelosi before proceeding.

One Trump adviser told CNN’s Jim Acosta part of the betting around the deliberations is that Pelosi will “fold” and allow Trump to deliver his speech in the House of Representatives. The adviser described the battle between Trump and Pelosi as “King Kong versus Godzilla.”


Some advisers have pushed Trump to deliver the annual address from the Oval Office in order to continue projecting the message that he is sitting in the White House, waiting for Democrats to make a deal. That’s an argument the President has repeatedly pressed over the past weeks to little avail.

However, a prime-time address delivered from the Oval Office earlier this month fell flat, a memory that could deter the President from selecting the audience-less venue for an annual tradition he actually likes to observe.

Trump told people last week he disliked the address to the nation he delivered from the Oval Office, which he believed looked and sounded flat and lifeless. He told a group of TV anchors ahead of the speech he was unconvinced that it would change any minds, but allowed some of his advisers to talk him into it.

Before the speech he spent a long while — more than is typical for a President, according to a person familiar with the setup — with aides adjusting the camera framing and lighting so that it met his specifications.

Watching clips afterward, Trump was even more convinced it was a useless exercise. One person who was with him says he grimaced when he saw a clip on television, believing it looked stilted and robotic. He said he doubted it was worth the trouble. And polls seemed to prove him right — a Quinnipiac University survey this week showed only 2% of respondents’ minds were changed about the border wall by the speech.

“Nobody wins in a shutdown. Nobody does. A lot of Americans are hurt because of it,” said Marc Short, Trump’s former White House legislative affairs director and a CNN political commentator. “I do think that Democrats also risk the reality of when this is over, will Americans look at this and say there is one side pushing border security and one side wasn’t?”

Alternative plans

White House aides had already begun working on writing the State of the Union address, and had hoped to use it as an opportunity to hammer home the President’s warning of an immigration crisis from the loudest megaphone he has.

With an address in the House Chamber thrown into question, some have suggested to the White House that Trump simply deliver the State of the Union speech from the Senate chamber instead, because the Republican-controlled upper body could invite the President rather than the Democratic-controlled House.

But as of Thursday there were no plans among Senate Republicans to invite the President to speak. And doing so would still require a 60-vote majority among senators, meaning some Democrats would have to come on board. A senior Republican congressional aide said the White House has not yet given guidance on any changes to its plan for the State of the Union.

The White House is also considering doing a rally-style State of the Union, which would be coordinated through Trump’s campaign, a person familiar with the matter said. The idea is still preliminary, however, and formal plans have not been laid.

Many in Washington view the traditional State of the Union — delivered in the House Chamber — as a tired exercise. Aides to former President Barack Obama also considered taking the yearly speech on the road or delivering it in an alternative venue, though decided against it in the end.

Trump, however, has seen the speech as bolstering his presidential standing. He gained relatively positive reviews for his first two addresses to Congress, and enjoyed the applause that Republican lawmakers provided during his speeches.

For that reason, top aides are not moving forward with making firm alternative plans until they can gain some clarity from Pelosi about whether she has actually disinvited Trump from delivering the address.

As of Thursday morning it did not appear the two sides had spoken — Pelosi said she’d received “no response” from the White House to her letter. During her weekly news conference, she denied she was attempting to withhold from Trump a high-profile venue to address Americans.

“I’m not denying him a platform at all,” Pelosi said. “I’m saying, ‘let’s get a date when government is open.’ “

Have New Year’s resolutions? Why doing these 3 things can make them stick

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 02:09 PM PST

NEW YORK – As you rang in the New Year, you probably made some resolutions, such as dieting, or exercising, or saving more money. But, chances are by now you may have fallen off the resolution bandwagon.

Jan. 17 is unofficially considered "Ditch Your New Year's Resolution Day." To help you stay motivated, WPIX asked Dr. Philip Muskin, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, to share some of his tips to keep your goals throughout 2019.

To set yourself up for success, he says your resolutions should be a positive commitment or change, not a negative one.

"It should start with, 'I want to be better in some way than I am, different in some way than I am now that I think will be good for me and good for the world,'" Muskin said.

Once you change your attitude, he says people should do these three things to make your resolutions stick:

Have realistic resolutions

"Look at [your resolution] before you commit to it," Muskin says. "[Ask yourself], 'is this something I can do?' And think about it and maybe reshape it, so that you go from a wonderful resolution to a real one."

Have a plan

Plotting and writing out how are you going to achieve your goals helps you reach them. For example, if going to the gym more is one of your resolutions, decide what time of day you will go and commit to making it a routine.

Have interim goals

Muskin advises that people make short-term targets to help them stay motivated throughout the year: "Good planning is having markers for yourself that you're on the right track...It has to be concretized [and] it can't be vague, so you know you got to that goal. Why? [Because] that's rewarding."

How to avoid resolution burnout

If you find your resolutions are not sustainable, Muskin says it's okay to reevaluate what's important to you. Forgive yourself, and make a different plan to actually achieve your objectives.

And finally, remember that you have the power to make life changes whenever you want to. You don't need a new year to have a fresh start.

"A resolution can be at your birthday, at an anniversary, at a holiday," Muskin says. "It doesn't have to be a New Year's resolution. Those are not more powerful or more meaningful. A resolution is powerful and meaningful when you make it powerful and meaningful."

NOPD releases body cam footage of fatal Orleans Ave. shootout

Posted: 17 Jan 2019 01:48 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS - The NOPD has released edited body camera footage from four of the five officers who were involved in a fatal shootout with a reportedly suicidal man.

The officers responded to reports of a suicidal man armed with a gun at a home on Orleans Avenue around 10:15 p.m. on January 4.

The body camera worn by Senior Officer April Augustine shows Augustine approaching a seemingly quiet shotgun home on a serene street.

After Augustine knocks on the front door and rings the bell, however, chaos ensues.

A woman bursts through the door, screaming that a man inside has a gun.

Another woman exits the house, and Augustine helps her move away from the door just before Zonell Williams exits the home brandishing a firearm.

The other four officers on the scene - Officer Steven Friedrich, Officer Mario Bravo, Senior Officer Darrius Mcfarland, and Officer Duncan Chauffe - can be heard shouting repeated commands for Williams to put down his gun.

Soon, a multitude of shots began to ring out.

Four officers discharged their weapons, and Williams was struck multiple times.

He died on the scene.

Officer Bravo can be heard on footage from his body camera telling his fellow officers that he had been hit just after Williams is secured near the sidewalk in front of the home.

Bravo was hit twice in his protective vest, according to the NOPD.

Although he was wearing a body camera, Senior Officer Darrius Mcfarland's camera was turned off at the time of the shooting.

The NOPD is investigating why that camera was turned off.

The family of the deceased man is devastated but has reportedly maintained a good relationship with the NOPD.

Outgoing NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison spoke at Williams' funeral, according to the NOPD.

The suspect did not have a history of mental illness.

The NOPD said the body camera footage shows that the fatal shooting was justified.