#News - New Orleans & South Louisiana

#News - New Orleans & South Louisiana

Bodies of father and daughter who drowned in the Rio Grande head home to El Salvador

Posted: 28 Jun 2019 12:56 AM PDT

The bodies of a Salvadoran father and his young daughter who drowned crossing the Rio Grande began their journey home Thursday.

A photographer captured an image this week of Oscar Alberto Martinez and 23-month-old Angie Valeria Martinez face down in murky waters littered with weeds. The photograph shook viewers worldwide and was a reminder of the harsh realities of the migration crisis and risks taken to reach the southern US border.

The bodies were handed over Wednesday to Tania Avalos, Martinez’s wife and the child’s mother, in Mexico. They left Matamoros, Mexico, Thursday.

Their bodies will be driven to Monterrey in the state of Nuevo Leon, about a four-hour drive. From Monterrey, the bodies will be flown San Salvador, El Salvador, on a commercial flight, according to the Salvadoran foreign ministry.

It is not clear if the flight will leave Thursday night or on Friday morning.

The family is requesting for authorities to guarantee their privacy on the journey.

Funeral arrangements have already been made.

Thursday night homicide in New Orleans East

Posted: 28 Jun 2019 12:50 AM PDT

NEW ORLEANS – New Orleans police say that a man was fatally gunned down Thursday night in New Orleans East.

Around 8:30 p.m., Police received reports of a shooting near the  11000 block of Morrison Road.

Upon arrival, police discovered a male victim who had been shot several times.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

At this time, police are trying to figure out a motive behind the shooting.

If you have any information that could help with their investigation, call Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111 or toll-free at 1-877-903-STOP.

Florida couple accused of leaving toddler in infested car while they did drugs

Posted: 28 Jun 2019 12:45 AM PDT

DELAND, Fla. – A two-year-old girl was found in an insect-infested car with her parents who reportedly had drugs on them, WESH reported.

Police said an officer spotted the car with two adults and the toddler inside; the car was not running despite the reported temperature being over 100 degrees. The couple told police the car’s air conditioner was broken.

Christan Wilson and Dexter David, the girl’s parents, were reportedly removed from the car by police who then noticed a “white, rock-like” substance and plastic bottle caps. They also reportedly found an uncapped syringe with an unknown substance in it.

According to WESH, the little girl was wearing a soiled diaper that sagged down to her knees, had numerous scabs on her legs and suffered from an open wound on her neck that had drawn insects.

David told police the girl’s neck injury was from bumping into a lit cigarette.

Officials said the back seat was infested with a variety of insects – including roaches – and was filled with open food containers and soiled diapers.

According to WESH, the child was turned over to a family member and both parents were arrested.


Man fatally shot in Gentilly

Posted: 28 Jun 2019 12:41 AM PDT

NEW ORLEANS – One man is dead after a shooting Thursday night in Gentilly.

The NOPD says that around 9:23 p.m., they were responding to reports of a shooting in the 1600 block of Pleasure Street.

Upon arrival, they found the male victim near the Parasite Skate Park.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

So far, no arrests have been made.

Investigators are trying to figure out the circumstances surrounding the shooting.

If you know anything, call Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111 or toll-free at 1-877-903-STOP.

Nestlé Toll House rolls out edible cookie dough you can snack on worry-free

Posted: 27 Jun 2019 07:29 PM PDT

ARLINGTON COUNTY, Va. — The days of forbidding the consumption of cookie dough are over.

It's no secret health officials warn against consuming raw cookie dough because it can make you sick.

However, Nestlé Toll House has come up with a solution to fuel your cravings: edible cookie dough.

The company acknowledged the new product on Twitter by writing "Surprise!" and sharing a Cosmopolitan article, which says the edible cookie dough will be safe to eat.

The article cites an Instagram post from food blogger Eric Koenreich showing the product in pints, with the flavors of "Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Monster" and "Chocolate Chip."

Koenreich spotted the product at Publix Super Market in Sarasota, Florida.  And, according to the blogger, " both worth a purchase but you NEED the Monster one in your life."

Fisher-Price recalls 71,000 inclined sleeper accessories due to safety concerns

Posted: 27 Jun 2019 07:29 PM PDT

Fisher-Price is recalling the inclined sleeper accessory included with all models of the Fisher-Price Ultra-Lite Day & Night Play Yards due to dangers associated with other inclined sleeper products, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

About 71,000 units have been recalled; the products were sold for between $90 and $110 from October 2014 to June 2019.

According to CPSC, “infant fatalities have been reported while using other inclined sleep products, after the infants rolled from their back to their stomach or side while unrestrained, or under other circumstances.”

Customers are encouraged to stop using the sleeper accessory immediately and can request a refund from Fisher-Price. The rest of the product – without the inclined sleeper – is still safe for use, according to the CPSC.

No incidents of injury or death have been reported with this product.

Landry back at Lutcher to host youth football event

Posted: 27 Jun 2019 06:50 PM PDT

Lutcher, La. -- Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry is entering his 6th season in the NFL, and he's been giving back in his hometown of Lutcher every step of the way.

"It's extremely important," Landry said. "It's where I started and a lot of the coaches here are who helped me get to the point I'm at now. A lot of the volunteers are guys that I played with. It's always good to come back. It's like a good old little class reunion."

The 4-time pro-bowler has seen kids return to his camp over the years and says he enjoys seeing them develop as players and getting the chance to teach them-- and the more the better.

"Every year the number of kids continues to grow," Landry said. "We never want to turn anyone away so there are also going to be kids here today that didn't really sign up but we'll take anybody that wants to come and participate, learn a little about football and ask me a couple of questions, whatever it is."

Landry and the Browns have been in the spotlight this off-season with the big trade that landed Odell Beckham Jr. right next to his former LSU teammate in Cleveland.

"It's surreal to have an opportunity to play with him again," Landry said. "In the NFL I don't think you really think about having two guys that are really, really good on the same team and have prior history so it's good."

And it's Super Bowl or bust for the two Louisiana guys.

"It's simple," Landry said. "It's really one goal-- that's to win the Super Bowl. I train to win the Super Bowl-- not to make the playoffs or have a winning season. It's to win the Super Bowl.

Karen Loftus: "And that's going to happen this year?"

Jarvis Landry, "I hope so. We'll see."

This company will blast cookie dough into space and bake the first cookies there

Posted: 27 Jun 2019 03:50 PM PDT

Warm, buttery chocolate chip cookies will no longer be reserved for earth dwellers.

DoubleTree’s famous cookie dough soon will make a historic trip with a prototype oven to the International Space Station, according to Hilton, the company’s owner. If the mission succeeds, Hilton says, the cookies will be the first baked in space.

“We’re excited to send our hospitality into orbit,” vice president and global brand head Shawn McAteer said. “The simple gesture of a warm cookie welcome is a favorite of DoubleTree guests around the world, and now we are sharing that moment of hospitality as part of this experiment aboard the International Space Station.”

The company is working with Zero G Kitchen, which builds appliances that can withstand being in orbit for long periods of time.

“Opening up the frontier of space means making it relatable to people’s everyday lives, and what could be more relatable than a freshly baked cookie?” said Ian Fichtenbaum, co-chef and co-founder of Zero G Kitchen.

The cookie dough is scheduled to launch into orbit later this year.

Parents of a University of Utah student who was killed after weeks of harassment sue the school

Posted: 27 Jun 2019 03:49 PM PDT

A $56 million lawsuit filed Thursday alleges that the University of Utah failed to protect a student who was killed by an ex-boyfriend she had complained about to police more than 20 times.

Lauren McCluskey‘s death on October 22 on the Salt Lake City campus occurred because the university refused to respond to numerous reports of stalking, abuse, intimidation and violence and other behaviors prohibited under the federal Title IX law, the wrongful death suit said.

“The university has taken no responsibility for Lauren’s preventable death,” McCluskey’s mother, Jill told reporters. “No one has been disciplined or held accountable in the campus police or housing.”

“The university must pay a large amount so that they realize it is in their interest to believe women and act with urgency when their female students ask for help,” she said.

In a statement, University President Ruth V. Watkins said the school again expresses “deep sorrow for the loss of Lauren McCluskey.”

“While there are differences in how we would characterize some of the events leading to Lauren’s tragic murder, let me say again that we share the McCluskey family’s commitment to improving campus safety,” she said in the statement. “We continue to address the recommendations identified by the independent review of the university’s safety policies, procedures and resources, and we are making ongoing improvements designed to protect our students and our entire campus community.”

Lauren McCluskey was a 21-year-old track athlete from Pullman, Washington. Her mother said any money from the lawsuit would go to the Lauren McCluskey Foundation, which honors her daugther’s legacy and student athletes.

The lawsuit names several defendants, including the university’s department of housing and residential education and department of public safety.

‘They haven’t updated or done anything’

The suspect, Melvin Rowland, 37, was a convicted sex offender who had spent more than a decade in prison. He had continually harassed Lauren McCluskey after she ended their short relationship. Rowland killed himself hours later after a police chase.

Recordings of 911 calls to Salt Lake City Police show that McCluskey sought help from authorities multiple times and grew increasingly frustrated.

“I’m worried because I’ve been working with the campus police at the U, and last Saturday I reported and I haven’t gotten an update,” she told Salt Lake City Police dispatch.

“They haven’t updated or done anything,” she added.

McCluskey also told police she paid Rowland $1,000 to keep compromising photos of the two of them private, according to a university timeline of McCluskey’s contacts with police. Police had assigned a detective to follow up on possible sexual extortion charges, the timeline noted.

Jill McCluskey said her daughter had also met twice with her counselor to discuss the situation.

Lauren McCluskey and her friends had contacted university officials more than 20 times, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit said the campus police and housing department failed to take meaningful actions “despite having actual knowledge that Melvin Rowland was harassing Lauren and stalking her.”

Rowland was convicted in 2004 of felony charges of enticing a minor and attempted forcible sexual abuse, according to the Utah Department of Corrections sex offender registry. In audio of the hearings released by the Utah Boards of Parole and Pardons, he admitted to a history of manipulating women.

A review of the killing found that University of Utah officers did not know how to look up criminal background or parole information, CNN affiliate KUTV said.

“The review team’s report identified gaps in training, awareness and enforcement of certain policies rather than lapses in individual performance,” the university said.

University police “failed to investigate” whether Rowland was on parole or contact anyone who may have information on him, the lawsuit said. Police also “failed to make an attempt to determine whether Melvin Rowland was behind the harassment and extortion,” the lawsuit said.

After the review, Watkins announced several measures focused on training and improved communication.

James W. McConkie, a McCluskey family attorney, said he hopes the lawsuit “will help the university accept the responsibility which they have for this tragic event.”

“In Utah, when someone does something that’s wrong, we expect them to do everything they can to make it right, but we also expect them to take responsibility for what they have done,” he told reporters.

“And unless that process is complete, then healing and reconciliation are impossible,” McConkie said.

Murdered while on the phone with her mother

Rowland had confronted McCluskey outside of her residence call while she was on the phone with her mother. He forced her into the back seat of a car and shot her multiple times, according to the university timeline.

Lauren’s father, Matt McCluskey, called the police, who found her body.

Rowland called a woman from a dating site to come pick him up. They went to a restaurant, drove by the capitol, went to her apartment so he could shower and then she dropped him off at a coffee shop, according to the timeline.

After she did, she recognized photos of Rowland in news reports and called the police.

Police then spotted Rowland and chased him on foot to a church, where he shot and killed himself, the timeline said.

“I do not want to be in this world without Lauren. But being stuck here, I have no choice but to try to make this world better,” Matt McCluskey told reporters.

“We want the University of Utah and all academic institutions to be places of leaning where students worry about midterms not survival,” he said.

Where all the top 2019 NBA free agents may sign this summer

Posted: 27 Jun 2019 03:45 PM PDT

The 2019 NBA draft is in the books, and NBA free agency is set to start at 6 p.m. ET Sunday.

Once that moment passes, free agents will be allowed to meet with teams to discuss contracts, and they can sign with teams beginning at noon ET July 6.

This all means the rumor mill is in full swing as speculation rises over where the top free agents will sign.

Where will the chips fall once free agency opens up?

Kevin Durant

Durant may have torn his Achilles tendon during this year’s Finals, but he’s one of the best players in the NBA when healthy and thus still one of the most sought-after free agents.

Durant declined the $31.5 million player option on his contract with the Golden State Warriors, making him an unrestricted free agent. He is expected to miss most or all of the 2018-19 season as he recovers.

However, the Warriors, the New York Knicks, the Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Clippers are all expected to extend max contract offers, according to league sources.

The NBA collective bargaining agreement’s “designated veteran player extension” rule, more commonly called the supermax, allows teams to re-sign qualified players to five-year contracts that are worth up to 35% of the salary cap. The Warriors are able to offer Durant more money: a five-year, $221 million deal. Other teams can offer only four years and $164 million.

Kawhi Leonard

In leading the Toronto Raptors to their first championship this season, Leonard further cemented his status as one of the best players in the NBA.

NBA insider Chris Haynes reports that he will decline his player option and become an unrestricted free agent. Even so, rival executives expect the Raptors to be the favorite to sign him, and they are able to offer him the biggest contract: five years and $190 million.

However, if Leonard were to leave the Raptors, there are “strong indications” that he would be interested in joining Jimmy Butler in going to the Clippers, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic.

Leonard also intends to grant a meeting to the Los Angeles Lakers, according Haynes.

He’ll be in Los Angeles taking meetings with prospective teams next week, and the Raptors are expected to be the final team to make a pitch to him, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Kyrie Irving

Irving may be headed to the Nets, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe. Most NBA insiders have reported that Brooklyn is Irving’s top destination, and he is not expected to re-sign with the Boston Celtics.

Kemba Walker

Walker has long been expected to re-sign with the Charlotte Hornets because they’re able to offer him significantly more money because of the supermax provision, and he has said that Charlotte is his first priority this summer.

Walker met all of the supermax qualifications when he was named to the All-NBA team this season. The Hornets are able to offer him a five-year, $221 million deal.

However, the Celtics have emerged as the front-runner to sign Walker in free agency, according to Wojnarowski; they could sign him to a four-year, $141 million deal.

Klay Thompson

Thompson tore his ACL in the 2019 Finals, and he may miss a significant portion of the upcoming season, with February or March as his target return date.

However, the Warriors are still expected to offer him a five-year, $190 million contract.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports that the Warriors are expected to meet with Thompson this week in Los Angeles and that the two sides could come to a “quick agreement” if they offer him a max deal.

A deal could keep Thompson and Steph Curry, the “Splash Brothers,” together for another five years.

Jimmy Butler

Lowe and Wojnarowski report that the Houston Rockets are attempting to acquire Butler via a sign-and-trade deal with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Butler would sign a contract with the Sixers, as they are able to offer him more money due to collective bargaining rules, and then be traded to the Rockets. This would allow Philadelphia to get assets in return, as opposed to letting Butler walk away in free agency.

However, the Sixers “plan to be aggressive” in signing Butler, and they could offer him a five-year deal worth $190 million or a four-year deal worth $146.5 million at the start of free agency.

The Lakers and Clippers are both reportedly interested in Butler, as well.

D’Angelo Russell

Russell could be headed for a reunion with the Lakers, and he may be at the top of the team’s free agency wish list, according to Wojnarowski.

Taken by the Lakers with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft, Russell was traded to Brooklyn two years ago.

With the Nets emerging as the favorites to sign Irving, Russell may have to look elsewhere. Fred Roggins of NBC LA reports that Russell has set a meeting with the Lakers.

DeMarcus Cousins

It’s looking more and more likely that the Knicks will miss out on all the top free agents this summer, with most reports linking top players to other teams.

The Knicks will consider offering the Warriors’ Cousins a “considerable” one-year deal if they miss out on signing Durant, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times.

Blue Angels will participate in 4th of July event in Washington

Posted: 27 Jun 2019 03:44 PM PDT

The US Navy’s flight demonstration team the Blue Angels will participate in the July Fourth celebrations in Washington, DC, this year, US officials have confirmed to CNN.

The event is being referred to as a “Salute to America,” and will feature fireworks and a speech from President Donald Trump.

Other military assets are also expected to be involved with one military official saying that F-35 jets will likely participate.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt teased the squadron’s participation in the event, tweeting Thursday that a “big announcement” is coming Friday along with a photo of the Blue Angels.

The plane used as Air Force One will also fly above the National Mall on the Fourth of July as a part of a military flyover during the day’s festivities. Since Trump will be on the ground watching rather than on the plane, the aircraft won’t officially be Air Force One.

In February, Trump told Americans to “HOLD THE DATE!” for his July Fourth plans, tweeting that there will be a “major fireworks display, entertainment and an address by your favorite President, me!”

Earlier in his administration, Trump had announced his intent to hold a military parade in Washington, DC, however he canceled those plans following estimates that put the cost of such a parade at tens of millions of dollars.

Trump blamed local Washington officials for the high costs of the canceled parade.

A US military official told CNN Thursday that the cost of using military assets in this year’s July Fourth celebration was estimated to be less than one million dollars and that the military personnel involved are to be drawn from units based in the Washington area, helping to drive down costs.

The Department of Interior previously confirmed that Trump will give his “Salute to America” address on the National Mall this July Fourth, an unusual move by the President.

Trump and other presidents have previously held events at the White House to celebrate the nation’s birthday, but typically have not been present at the traditional large celebrations on the Mall.

Veteran, dog walk 2,000 miles to support Wounded Warrior Project

Posted: 27 Jun 2019 03:39 PM PDT

COUER D’ALENE, Idaho – An American hero and his trusted Labrador sidekick finished a 2,000 journey on foot Thursday, according to KXLY.

Ken Brock and his dog, Pam met Brock’s son, Arek, in Couer D’Alene, Idaho after setting out from Florida February 1.

Brock was inspired by the Wounded Warrior Project and took on the trip without any physical preparation, KXLY reported.

Pam had her own modified stroller, decked out with American and Wounded Warrior flags. She walked with him as often as she could.

Brock suffers from PSTD after serving nine years as a military police investigator, KXLY reported. Pam helped him confront his anxieties. Now that he has completed his walk, Brock said he hopes to continue supporting the Wounded Warriors Project.

Supreme Court blocks 2020 census citizenship question in setback for Trump administration

Posted: 27 Jun 2019 02:58 PM PDT

WASHINGTON, DC – The Supreme Court has blocked a citizenship question from being added to the 2020 census for the time being in a major setback for the Trump administration.

The bitter controversy centers around whether the administration can ask all recipients a citizenship question on the 2020 census for the first time since 1950 — a move that could impact the balance of power in states and the House of Representatives, which are based on total population. Adding the question, critics say, could result in minorities being undercounted.

Writing for a 5-4 majority, Chief Justice John Roberts concluded there was sufficient reason for concern about why the Commerce Department wanted to add the question. Roberts had the support of the four liberal justices.

Supreme Court justices issued rulings on two major cases during their final day of the term, both dealing with partisan politics. Roberts split his votes, siding with conservatives on a major decision allowing severe partisan gerrymandering, and then crossing ideological lines to side with liberals on the census case.

“If judicial review is to be more than an empty ritual, it must demand something better than the explanation offered for the action taken in this case,” Roberts wrote.

The decision raises the question of whether the administration will have enough time or the ability to add the citizenship question before the census begins. The administration previously told the court the questionnaire needed to be printed by the end of June.

READ: Supreme Court ruling on 2020 census citizenship question

The data obtained from the 2020 census is used for the allocation of congressional seats and the distribution of billions of federal dollars to states and localities over the next decade.

The Trump administration claimed the citizenship question on the census questionnaire is necessary to better comply with federal voting rights law. Critics argued it is an attempt to intimidate noncitizens and Hispanic households and will lead to a decline in response rates and underrepresentation of minorities.

Following the 2010 census, Republicans drew favorable maps in enough states that the party’s hold on a House majority was all but guaranteed until 2018 — and to cement their legislative majorities in a host of swing states. Because the GOP’s voters are whiter and more spread geographically, while non-white voters tend to back Democrats and are more concentrated in urban areas, a census that counts fewer non-white people could help Republicans draw favorable maps that would last another decade.

President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday he has asked lawyers whether it’s possible to delay the census.

“Seems totally ridiculous that our government, and indeed Country, cannot ask a basic question of Citizenship in a very expensive, detailed and important Census, in this case for 2020. I have asked the lawyers if they can delay the Census, no matter how long, until the … United States Supreme Court is given additional information from which it can make a final and decisive decision on this very critical matter,” he wrote in a pair of tweets.

“Can anyone really believe that as a great Country, we are not able the ask whether or not someone is a Citizen,” Trump wrote. “Only in America!”

Justice Department spokesperson Kelly Laco told CNN, “We are disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision today. The Department of Justice will continue to defend this Administration’s lawful exercises of executive power.”

Trump has said the census would be “meaningless” without the citizenship question.

The President tweeted in April, “Can you believe that the Radical Left Democrats want to do our new and very important Census Report without the all important Citizenship Question. Report would be meaningless and a waste of the $Billions (ridiculous) that it costs to put together!”

The administration has also asserted executive privilege over materials related to the citizenship question, spurring a fight with House Democrats.

Roberts said the explanation for adding the question didn’t pass muster.

“The sole stated reason — seems to have been contrived. We are presented, in other words, with an explanation for agency action that is incongruent with what the record reveals about the agency’s priorities and decision-making process.”

Justice Stephen Breyer, joined in part by Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan, agreed with Roberts that the Commerce Department provided a “pretextual reason” for adding the question. But they would have gone further. They wrote separately to say the decision violated a federal law, the Administrative Procedure Act that regulates how agencies establish their rules.

Breyer wrote that asking the question “risked undermining public confidence in the integrity of our democratic system itself.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James, who challenged the administration, said in a statement Thursday “This one question could have caused a substantial undercount, particularly of noncitizens and Latinos.”

“Thanks to the Court, the census will remain a tool for delivering on our government’s promise of fairness and equity,” James said.

Thomas dissents

Justice Clarence Thomas, joined in part by Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, said he would have allowed the question on the census.

“For the first time ever, the Court invalidates an agency action solely because it questions the sincerity of the agency’s otherwise adequate rationale,” Thomas wrote.

“Echoing the din of suspicion and distrust that seems to typify modern discourse, the Court declares the Secretary’s memorandum ‘pretextual’ because, ‘viewing the evidence as a whole,’ his explanation that including a citizenship question on the census would help enforce the Voting Rights Act … ‘seems to have been contrived.'”

Every lower court asked to consider the issue has blocked the administration from adding the question, ruling that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross exceeded his authority under federal law or the Constitution by doing so.

Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law, said there may be a big difference between the formal ruling and its practical impact given the timing.

“Formally, it’s a very narrow decision that likely won’t have that big of a direct impact on these kinds of cases going forward, and it doesn’t even preclude the Trump administration from asking about citizenship on the census if they do it in a way that is less transparently pretextual,” he said. “But practically, it’s going to be very difficult for the government to run the traps in time — and the most likely outcome is that the 2020 census will go out with no citizenship question.”

New evidence presented

After arguments before the high court, opponents of the question informed the court they had obtained “new evidence” the decision was politically motivated. They say the intention was to intimidate minority households from responding in order to reduce Democratic Party representation.

A federal trial judge earlier this month said he believes new evidence presented “raises a substantial issue.”

Late last month, the ACLU obtained a hard drive with about 75,000 documents, including a 2015 study from a Republican redistricting expert, Dr. Thomas Hofeller, who they say played a significant role in the decision to add the question.

Hofeller, who has since died, wrote that using “citizen voting age” population as the redistricting population base would be “advantageous to Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites.”

Opponents of the citizen question allege Hofeller ghostwrote part of a Justice Department draft letter requesting the Commerce Department, which oversees the census, add the question. They say the evidence reveals that Ross adviser A. Mark Neuman and senior Justice official John Gore “falsely testified” about the genesis of the request to add the question.

DOJ claimed in a letter to Furman that Hofeller’s work did not play “any role whatsoever” in the department’s request to add the question.

Couvant celebrates France with their first annual ‘Bastille Day Soirée’ on July 14

Posted: 27 Jun 2019 02:44 PM PDT

NEW ORLEANS – Nestled inside the Eliza Jane Hotel on Magazine Street, you will find Couvant packed with people celebrating the French National Day.

Known for their French cuisine, Couvant Bar & Brasserie will be hosting their first annual ‘Bastille Day Soirée’ on Sunday, July 14.

Guests will mingle and meander through Couvant and its garden courtyards to the sounds of French pop and hip hop.

Enjoy free flowing Möet & Chandon Imperial Brut Champagne & French 75’s featuring Hennessy throughout the night.

The Merry Antoinettes will also be on hand to elevate the revelry.

Couvant will be featuring an oyster shucking station, cochon roti, an array of sweet and savory hors d’oeuvres.

The event will last from 1 P.M. to 4 P.M. Tickets are $96 and can be purchased here.

Bastille Day is the English given name for the French National Day, which is the anniversary of Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789.

Bastille Day was a turning point of the French Revolution, and the Fête de la Fédération has celebrated the unity of the French people since 1790.

Puppy Reunited With Owner After Surviving 2 Weeks In Arizona Desert Without Food, Water

Posted: 27 Jun 2019 02:14 PM PDT

 TUSTIN, CA — A man and his dog were forced to survive and recover without each other after a crash in the Arizona desert separated them for two weeks.

Michael Crocker and his beloved puppy Bella have been reunited after a serious crash that mangled his hand and got her stuck in the desert without food or water.

"We got to Flagstaff and that's when I fell asleep and veered off the side of the road," Crocker said, recalling the crash. "Went into a ditch, hit a sign and rolled back up on to the road."

After the crash, doctors had to amputate his shattered thumb and harvest tissue from his leg for a skin graft. But his mother was more concerned with his emotional recovery.

"How was he gonna face this new reality?" Gina Puccio said. Because, at the time, Bella was still missing – she was believed to have been either ejected during the crash, or ran away from the wreckage.

Her family did not give up hope, though. They searched for her for days, then enlisted the help of rescue groups.

On the 13th day, she was found – her leash had become stuck in branches. When Bella was found, she had been without food or water for nearly two weeks.

"She — she's a survivor," Crocker said, with a laugh.

Crocker says that Bella's leash becoming stuck was both a blessing and a curse – she could go find food, but she also couldn't get hit by a car. It also kept her in place long enough to be found by a local rescue group.

Bella did suffer an infection, and needed a blood transfusion along with plenty of food and water after being found. Being reunited with Michael appears to have put her on a permanent road to recovery.

The US Women’s National Team has a totally legit excuse for you to skip work and watch the game instead

Posted: 27 Jun 2019 02:12 PM PDT

The US Women’s National Team really, really wants you to watch their quarter-final match against France Friday.

So much, in fact, that they’re willing to write you a totally legit, definitely authorized excuse so you can dedicate what would’ve been a productive work day to an afternoon of cheering on the winningest women in soccer.

Women’s World Cup hopefuls Kelley O’Hara and Allie Long are begging bosses across America to let workers take a sick day to watch the 3 p.m. game with a handwritten note, graciously posted to the team’s Instagram for fan use.

“We kindly ask that you give every employee the day so that they can eat a hearty lunch, get emotionally ready, bust out all their USA gear, and mentally prep for what will be an EPIC GAME!”

Epic indeed. The US women have dominated the World Cup competition so far, shamelessly beating Thailand 13-0 (a performance that earned them some criticism for “humiliating” their opponent) and clenching a 2-1 win against Spain to face France.

If the United States wins Friday, they’ll advance to the semifinals on July 2 against the winner of Thursday’s match between Norway and England.

And if they win that game, they’d have the chance to earn their fourth Women’s World Cup ever, the most of any national team.

Basically, if you miss this game, you miss history in the making. Better call in sick.

“(Employees) will be back on Monday,” they promised. “Maybe.”

Oh, and don’t worry about the nickname they both sign with — Worm. Olympic gold medalist and team forward Alex Morgan made it up.

Homeless man helps commuters walk through flooded Brooklyn subway station

Posted: 27 Jun 2019 02:10 PM PDT

NEW YORK — While people ran for cover and stayed indoors during last Thursday's torrential downpour, one man decided to help commuters travel through a flooded Brooklyn subway station, according to WPIX.

During the heavy rain, streets were flooded and water trickled down into several subway stations including the Bedford Avenue station in Williamsburg. As commuters walked down the stairwell heading into the station, they were met with a large puddle that could not be passed through without stepping on it.

Zahir McDonald was seen on video helping people jump through the puddle using a piece of wood — all while he stood in the water.

Jen Winston, who recorded the video, called the McDonald's actions "heartwarming and selfless" and that "it very much deserves to be shared."

Since then, Winston's video has been liked more than 65,000 times on Instagram.

After finding his name via social media, Winston set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for him.

"This fundraiser is to thank Zahir for his kindness and sunshine on a rainy day. I've set the goal at $5000, which means that if 10% of the people who liked this video give $1, we will meet our goal," she wrote.

McDonald told Gothamist he currently homeless and stays at a shelter, but has been at the Bedford station every day since 2015.

McDonald recalled how much it rained that day and saw water filling the station up from the steps.

"When I looked at that, I thought there's no way I can sit here and [ask for] money, and even if I tried it would be selfish of me. People here help me every day—the least I can do is to try to help."

Police Officer Charged With Raping 16-Year-Old Homeless Girl

Posted: 27 Jun 2019 02:09 PM PDT

LOWELL, MA  — A Lowell police officer was arraigned Thursday on two charges of rape after he allegedly assaulted a 16-year-old homeless girl while on duty.

A Middlesex County grand jury indicted 49-year-old Kevin Garneau of Pelham, N.H.

Prosecutors say that in 2016, Garneau was working as part of a community outreach program to help homeless residents.

Garneau allegedly entered the girl's tent and told her there were warrants out for her arrest but in exchange for sexual services he would not arrest her. Prosecutors say Garneau sexually assaulted the girl several more times in the ensuing months.

Lowell Police learned about the allegation in January 2019 and launched an investigation in May. He is on unpaid administrative leave pending the outcome of his case.

"I'm astonished and deeply disappointed. I acted as soon as we were made aware of these allegations. This is not what the men and women of the Lowell PD represent. They police legally, respectfully and compassionately," Superintendent of Police Raymond Richardson said in a statement.

A clerk magistrate released Garneau on personal recognizance and ordered him be placed on a GPS monitoring system and stay away from the girl. Garneau is next scheduled to appear in court on July 23.

Woman Fights To Prove Her Gender After Decades-Old Mistake On Birth Certificate

Posted: 27 Jun 2019 02:07 PM PDT

CHICAGO, IL — It's a battle that one south suburban Alsip woman never thought she'd have to fight.

Annie Ban had to prove she's a woman after discovering a decades-old mistake on her birth certificate.

Annie and her husband, Don, who have been married for 34 years, went to apply for TSA Precheck. The agent said there was a problem.

"She says, 'Your wife is a man. It says so on the birth certificate,'" Don said.

"I've been married to my husband for 34 years and he can vouch that I'm a female," Annie said.

Unbeknownst to Annie, during her 57 years of life, her Illinois state-issued birth certificate listed her as a male.

Annie thinks the error might have been overlooked, because both of her parents spoke only Polish at the time of her birth.

Getting that single word fixed on her birth certificate proved much more difficult and expensive than the Bans could ever have imagined.

Don said they twice filled out an affidavit requesting a correction to Annie's birth certificate, had it notarized, and sent it in to the state.

"Obviously that wasn't enough," he said.

The Bans had to schedule a trip to the doctor to write a note certifying that she's a woman. They had to pay to have documents notarized.

Last week, they received a letter saying that's not enough.

"What do we need, the Pope to come down?" Don said.

The letter they received stated Annie needs to provide a list of documents to prove that she's really a woman, including school records and medical records from before the age of 19.

Annie's elementary and high schools are no longer in existence, and her pediatrician passed away years ago.

Without those records, the letter states that they might have to take the issue to court.

"I have enough proof that says I am a female," Annie said. "I don't know what else they need except for me maybe go stand in front of them naked?"

After CBS 2 got involved, the Illinois Department of Public Health reviewed the file and said they are going to fix Annie's birth certificate without all of the extra documents.

Annie couldn't be happier to finally set the record straight.

The Lubber Grasshopper: The Devil’s Horse?

Posted: 27 Jun 2019 01:35 PM PDT


NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA-- The wonderful world of arthropods is a fascinating one, especially with a magnifying glass.  Everything from crawfish, spiders, and butterflies represent this very unique group of vertebrate animals.  We went downtown to the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium to learn about a bug like no other, the lubber grasshopper.

Louisiana is home to hoards of interesting creatures.  A biblical plague is what makes grasshoppers the stuff of nightmares. With over 18 thousand species-- the lubber grasshopper is the heaviest grasshopper in the United States.

Zack Lemann is an entomologist and the Curator of Animal Collections and Visitor Programs at Audubon.  With childlike glee, we followed him down the summer vacation child infested exhibits to learn about the lubber.  He says, "lubber grasshoppers do have a nickname in certain parts of the south. They are called devil's horses or the devil's horse. I don't know where that name comes from but if you grab one,  you might have brown stuff on your fingers, where they spat on you.  That spit seems to be the source of myths."

Lubbers populate the gulf south and you'll see them in April as nymphs growing into one of the titans of the bug world.  Reaching over three inches long by the end of the summer.  Though their menacing looks might creep you out there's no need for alarm.   When it comes to a plague, lubbers, do not fly, or move very fast and their numbers don't amount to much.

They don't fly and their legs won't win them any track awards with the long jump.  With the awkwardness of an acne-ridden teenager, they are slow, ungainly and easy to spot.  They would certainly make a crunchy meal to any predator that came along if it weren't for one thing:  "they have glands in their thorax that produce foul-tasting chemicals that are kind of nasty and they regurgitate the contents in their gut if they are disturbed by a predator. So unlike most grasshoppers that are well camouflaged, that can escape with a lot of effective means, these grasshoppers just bumble along like they own the joint.  Most things leave them alone."  Lemann says, he has seen fisherman try to bait the hook with them only to find the fish spitting them out.

As off-putting as their taste may be, if chemical warfare doesn't deter enemies, they'll turn around and them their backside.  "When they're disturbed, they will rattle their orange wings to warn predators to stay away," says Lemann.

Lubber grasshoppers do have quite the appetite and they aren't picky eaters.  Herbivorous, they will gladly take to any accommodating salad bar or garden.  In their world, big is beautiful and when it comes to being a lubber grasshopper lover, the way to their heart is by way of a bouquet of flowers.  They are none to have a preference for lilies.

Although the Bible's Exodus refers to locusts in an unfavorable light, be at ease,  there were no lubbers in Egypt!

To take a peek at some lubber grasshoppers, head over to the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium this summer and bring the kiddos along!  These grasshoppers live in the Louisiana Swamp Gallery.