Louisiana news briefs
Wed, 2013-10-09 14:47
From The Associated Press.
Rare amoeba found in DeSoto Parish water system
BATON ROUGE — A rare amoeba that caused the August death of a child in south Louisiana has been found in five locations in a north Louisiana water system, state health regulators said Tuesday.
The state Department of Health and Hospitals said in a news release that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the presence of the Naegleria fowleri amoeba in five places in DeSoto Parish Waterworks District No. 1, which is one of 14 water systems in the parish.
The water system said it will begin a free chlorine burn in the system today to last for 60 days.
“We are working closely with the water system and parish officials to ensure that the chlorine levels are increased to a level that will eliminate the risk of exposure to the amoeba,” said J.T. Lane, assistant secretary of DHH’s Office of Public Health.
As a result, residents may notice a change in the smell and taste of the water throughout the chlorine burn.
“Water from the DeSoto Parish Water Works District No. 1 remains safe to drink,” Lane said.
DHH officials selected the DeSoto water system for additional testing because the area was the site of one of two 2011 amoeba-related deaths in Louisiana. Following the confirmation in September that St. Bernard Parish’s water system had tested positive for the amoeba, DHH tested the DeSoto system as a precautionary measure.
“No known additional infections have occurred in DeSoto Parish, as incidences of infection are extremely rare,” the department said.
Exposure to the amoeba has historically occurred as a result of swimming or diving in warm freshwater lakes and rivers. An infection cannot occur by drinking water, health officials said.
Appeal denied in Lafayette human trafficking case
LAFAYETTE — A district judge has denied a motion to appeal a grand jury indictment against a Lafayette woman charged with human trafficking, aggravated rape and aggravated incest.
A Lafayette grand jury panel indicted Lorrie Anderson last month on allegations she trafficked a boy, now 14, and a 12-year-old girl between 2009 and 2011. State police said Anderson was accused of taking at least one victim to a location in Lafayette Parish to engage in sex for money.
Detectives arrested Anderson July 24 after a two-week investigation.
She has pleaded not guilty to the charges. She is being held in the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center on a $100,000 bond.
2 arrested for ecstasy distribution
ST. MARTINVILLE — Authorities say two men have been arrested on drug distribution charges after they tried to pick a package containing hundreds of grams of ecstasy from a Breaux Bridge post office.
Jermia Batiste, 23, of Lafayette, and Tony Benoit, 21, of Breaux Bridge, were booked Monday with possession with intent to distribute over 400 grams of M.D.M.A. Both men are being held on bonds of $500,000 each.
Maj. Ginny Higgins says deputies received information from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, regarding a package of illegal narcotics that was intercepted when it arrived in the United States from China.
Magistrate rejects Nagin’s bid for report
NEW ORLEANS — A federal magistrate refused Tuesday to order prosecutors to provide former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin with a copy of a sealed report on alleged prosecutorial misconduct before his trial on bribery charges.
U.S. Magistrate Alma Chasez said in her order that Nagin doesn’t need the report that federal prosecutor John Horn prepared in a separate case to defend himself at trial.
Nagin’s lawyer, Robert Jenkins, argued that it wouldn’t be fair to try his client without more information about Horn’s probe of anonymous online comments posted by at least three federal prosecutors.
Nagin was the subject of anonymous posts by prosecutor Sal Perricone, who was a top deputy to former U.S. Attorney Jim Letten. Perricone resigned after acknowledging his online activities, which also led to Letten’s resignation.
Nagin’s trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 28.
Opelousas man in custody, accused of killing wife
OPELOUSAS — An Opelousas man is in custody on a charge of first-degree murder in the death of his wife.
Currently being held without bond in the St. Landry Parish Jail is Hank Moran, 44. He’s accused of stabbing his wife, 56-year-old Constance Moran, multiple times.
Police Chief Perry Gallow said the incident began with a 911 call from the wife early Tuesday.
“The call indicated the victim had been battered by her husband,” Gallow said.
The husband was not at home when officers arrived, but the victim indicated the couple had been fighting about financial issues and he had allegedly tried to choke her, he said.
She told the officers where her husband had probably gone, and the officers left the scene in search of him.
When police returned they found Moran in the bedroom, standing over his wife, who had been stabbed 14 times with a small pocket knife, Gallow said.
Moran didn’t resist arrest but, the police chief said, as Gallow was being placed under arrest, he attempted to swallow a handful of pills in what police believe was a suicide attempt.
While the husband apparently attempted suicide, he showed no other signs of remorse for his alleged actions, Gallow said.
“He told officers, ‘I bet you she will listen to me now,’” Gallow said. “This is such a tragedy.”
Gallow said it was the city’s second homicide of the year.
Economic board to fight proposed defunding
HOUMA — The Terrebonne Economic Development Authority will not accept the loss of most of its operating money without a fight.
The authority’s board expressed opposition as it met Tuesday for the first time since Terrebonne Parish President Michel Claudet announced his intent to defund the agency and move economic development efforts under the parish administration.
The board unanimously chose to ask the Parish Council to reject Claudet’s proposal and allow TEDA to carry on as is.
Many criticized a perceived lack of specificity in Claudet’s reasoning behind the proposal. Claudet has hinted at some operational deficiencies within TEDA but has refused to air his specific issues with the organization’s management.