Louisiana news briefs
Breaux Bridge: $500K needed to restore bridge
BREAUX BRIDGE (AP) — Breaux Bridge city leaders are trying to raise $500,000 to $700,000 to strip and repaint the Bayou Teche drawbridge at the city’s center.
The price is high because hazardous lead paint must be safely stripped and disposed of.
The paint is faded and peeling.
City officials are looking for donations because the state Department of Transportation and Development is unlikely to cover the cost, said Breaux Bridge City Councilman Gary “Bimmie” Champagne.
“We all know that painting a bridge is not a priority for the state,” he said.
Champagne said state officials have even suggested cutting off the bridge’s top to cut costs on painting and maintenance.
“This is the identity of our city, and we can’t afford to have that happen,” he said.
The bridge is the over the bayou near the streets where restaurants, craft stores and antique shops now draw tourists.
The first was a footbridge built in 1799 by Firmin Breaux and known as Breaux’s Bridge.
The current bridge, built in 1950, is made of steel.
Boat overturns; Baldwin hunter without life jacket dies
NEW IBERIA (AP) — The Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office says a hunter who was not wearing a life jacket died when his boat hit a branch and capsized before dawn in heavy fog, dumping him and a friend into the Atchafalaya River.
Iberia Parish Chief Investigator Gifford Saravia said the dead man was identified as 20-year-old Blaine Allen-Tabb of Baldwin. He says the cause of death has not been determined.
The Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office Water Patrol Unit says the two were staying near the river bank because of the fog when the accident occurred about 4:20 a.m. Saturday.
A news release says the second hunter was wearing a life jacket. He swam to the river bank and called for help.
Allen-Tabb’s body was found a short time later.
Trump is coming to New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Donald is coming to New Orleans.
The Republican Leadership Conference said Friday that business mogul Donald Trump will deliver the keynote address on May 30.
The group describes its conference as “America’s premier Republican event of 2014.” The organization calls Trump the definition of the American success story.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., former President George W. Bush’s nephew, George P. Bush, and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., also are on the invitation list.
Loyola New Orleans celebrates Christmas with snow
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans’ weather forecast on Wednesday is calling for snow.
That’s thanks to Loyola University New Orleans. It will blanket the lawn of the Marquette Horseshoe, fronting historic St. Charles Avenue, with 20 tons of manufactured snow.
The annual Sneaux@Loyno event, sponsored by the Office of Co-Curricular Programs and the Loyola Student Government Association, will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday.
In addition to the snow, festivities will include Christmas cookie decorating, holiday ornament and button making as well as opportunities for pictures with Santa and his elves. The first 150 guests will also receive free T-shirts.
Louisiana Tech aviation program gets FAA OK
RUSTON (AP) — Louisiana Tech says the Federal Aviation Administration has given its aviation department authority to certify professional aviation graduates as airline transport pilots with as little as 1,000 flight hours, compared to 1,500 needed for the general public.
Department head Gary Odom says that will help graduates get jobs and seniority more quickly, ultimately bringing them higher salaries and better flight schedules.
Tech officials said Monday that its undergraduate programs in aviation management and professional aviation also recently got a positive review from the Aviation Accreditation Board International’s review team that visited in the fall.
The university is among 26 colleges and universities in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico that have their programs reviewed by the board.
Vermilion Parish sets
sights on economic growth
ABBEVILLE (AP) — A parish-wide effort to boost the economy of Vermilion Parish is about to get under way with a search for the coastal parish’s first economic development director.
Over the past year, the parish’s cities and other governmental entities committed funding over a three-year period to start an economic development office and hire a director.
So far, Paul Bourgeois, a Vermilion Parish police juror who led the push to create an office of economic development, said more than $200,000 has been committed to the effort.
Councilman: Are 30
‘dollar stores’ too many?
LAFAYETTE (AP) — Some members of the Lafayette City-Parish Council feel there might be an overabundance of so-called “dollar stores.”
Two of the biggest players in that market are Dollar General and Family Dollar, and Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux said the stores appear to be popping up far too often in his north Lafayette district.
Officials say there are 30 Dollar General and Family Dollar stores in Lafayette Parish.
Boudreaux said he is still exploring what, if anything, should be done about his concerns, but he did not rule out proposing some form of a moratorium on dollar stores if it is legally possible.
U.S. 190 Miss. River bridge getting new look
BATON ROUGE (AP) — The old Mississippi River Bridge, between Port Allen and Baton Rouge, which opened nearly three-quarters of a century ago, is undergoing renovations that will cost more than 10 times the original price tag.
Most of the roughly $100 million project involves putting a new coat of light gray paint on the structure, which was last painted in 1968.
Chris B. Guidry, assistant bridge design administrator for the state Department of Transportation and Development, said the project is supposed to be done by spring 2016.
The bridge opened for traffic on Aug. 4, 1940, at a cost of $8.4 million, replacing the ferries that travelers relied on for decades.
It includes two lanes on each side for cars and trucks, and a rail line in the center.
From The Associated Press.