Louisiana Archives:

MUSCAT, OMAN (BNO NEWS) — Two American service members who were missing since a helicopter belonging to the U.S. Navy crashed in northern Oman earlier this week have been declared deceased, the U.S. Department of Defense said on Saturday. The identities of the sailors have been released.

The accident happened on Thursday when the MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter crashed 58 miles (93 kilometers) southwest of Muscat, the capital of Oman, while conducting heavy lift support operations. The aircraft was assigned to Helicopter Mine Countermeasure Squadron (HM) 15 which is based at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia.

The aircraft was carrying five crew members, of whom three were recovered shortly after the accident and taken to a local hospital for unspecified injuries. The two other crew members remained missing and were pronounced deceased on Saturday following an extensive search of the wreckage and the surroundings of the crash site.

A spokesman for U.S. Naval Forces Central Command was unable to say whether any remains were recovered, or what caused the accident. The command previously said the cause of the crash remains under investigation, although it ruled out hostile activity as a possible cause.

The two fatalities were identified as 40-year-old Senior Chief Aviation Warfare Systems Operator Sean P. Sullivan, of St. Louis, Missouri, and 31-year-old Naval Aircrewman Second Class Joseph P. Fitzmorris, of West Monroe, Louisiana. Other details about the victims were not immediately released.

The Sultanate of Oman, with a population of more than 2.7 million people, is located in southwest Asia on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula.

(Copyright 2012 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. Info: sales@bnonews.com.)

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA (BNO NEWS) — A helicopter used to transport workers crashed near an oil rig platform in the Gulf of Mexico on late Monday afternoon, killing the pilot, officials said on Tuesday. No one else was on board the aircraft.

The accident happened at approximately 4:05 p.m. local time when the Bell 206 aircraft struck the skirting of an oil rig platform approximately 65 nautical miles (120 kilometers) southwest of Grand Isle in Louisiana, causing it to crash into the Gulf of Mexico.

Lynn Lunsford, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), said the pilot was the only person on board the helicopter, which was registered to helicopter services company PHI, Inc. in Lafayette. A volunteer dive team recovered the body of the pilot about four hours after the crash.

The pilot, whose identity was not immediately released, was flying to the oil rig platform to pick up a number of workers, officials said. Lunsford said there was good visibility at the time of the crash, and it was not immediately clear what may have caused the accident.

In January 2009, eight people were killed when a PHI helicopter bound for offshore oil fields crashed in a marshy area near Bayou Penchant in Louisiana, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) southwest of New Orleans. One person survived the accident but was critically injured.

(Copyright 2012 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. Info: sales@bnonews.com.)

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA (BNO NEWS) — A production crew member working on the Louisiana film set of ‘G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation’ was killed on Tuesday while moving part of the set, local authorities confirmed on late Wednesday.

Michael Huber, 54, of Ponchatoula, Louisiana, was hired as a crew member to work on the set of the movie, which is being filmed in the city of New Orleans. But he reportedly fell from part of the equipment on the set, causing his death.

Another crew member told local news media WDSU that Huber was working on a high-powered scissor lift at the Michoud facility where NASA built the external fuel tanks for the space shuttle program, when the machine tipped over. According to reports, he was dismantling the set when the accident happened.

No other information was immediately released, as Paramount Pictures spokeswoman Virginia Lam only identified the name of the victim on Wednesday but revealed no other details. She said the studio has been cooperating with authorities.

“Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with the [crew member's] family at this time,” the film studio said. ”The safety of our cast and crew is our top priority and the studio is fully cooperating with all investigating agencies as they examine the circumstances surrounding this unusual accident.”

‘G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation’ is set to be released next summer on June 29, following the successful ‘G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra,’ which was released in 2009. The sequel features action movie star Bruce Willis, as well as Channing Tatum, Dwayne Johnson, also know as ‘The Rock,’ Adrianne Palicki, Ray Stevenson and RZA, among others.

(Copyright 2012 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. Info: sales@bnonews.com.)

MIAMI (BNO NEWS) — Tropical Storm Lee formed south of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico on early Friday afternoon, forecasters said, prompting tropical storm warnings and a state of emergency for several states.

Forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) have been following the weather system since Tuesday afternoon when it emerged as a tropical wave over the northwestern Caribbean Sea in the company of disorganized cloudiness and showers. It became better organized throughout the week and was upgraded to a tropical depression on late Thursday evening.

As of 1 p.m. CDT (1800 GMT), the center of Lee was located about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of Cameron, a census-designated place in Louisiana. It is drifting toward the northwest at a speed near two miles (four kilometers) per hour, and a slow and erratic motion toward the northwest or north is expected to continue through Saturday.

Maximum sustained winds of Lee have increased to near 40 miles (65 kilometers) per hour, with higher gusts. “Gradual strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours,” NHC senior hurricane specialist Stacy Stewart said. “Wind gusts to near 60 miles (96 kilometers) per hour are being reported on oil rigs north and east of the center at elevations of a few hundred feet above the ocean surface.”

With tropical-storm-force winds extending outward up to 200 miles (320 kilometers) from the center, mainly to the northeast through southeast, stormy conditions were already affecting parts of the Gulf coast on early Friday afternoon. Weather conditions are expected to deteriorate throughout the weekend.

A tropical storm warning is in effect from Pascagoula, Mississippi westward to Sabine Pass, Texas. “Tropical storm conditions are expected to first reach the coast within the warning area by later afternoon or evening, making outside preparations difficult or dangerous,” Stewart said.

The NHC expects Lee to produce total rain accumulations of 10 to 15 inches (25 to 38 centimeters) over southern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, and southern Alabama through Sunday, with isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches (50 centimeters). “These rains are expected to cause extensive flooding, especially in urban areas,” Stewart warned.

In addition to heavy winds and heavy rainfall, a storm surge is expected to raise water levels by as much as 2 to 4 feet (61 to 122 centimeters) above ground level along the northern Gulf coast in areas of onshore flow.

As a result of the approaching storm, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour on Friday declared a state of emergency in several counties expected to be impacted by the system. “Do not underestimate the impact of this system of tropical weather,” Gov. Barbour said. “While it is not a hurricane, this weather system is expected to cause tremendous flooding. Make preparations now to protect your family and your property.”

On Thursday evening, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal also declared a state of emergency for several counties. “This storm is not expected to become a hurricane at this point, but we are reminded yet again to always prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” he said on Friday.

Lee is the twelfth named storm of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season, following Hurricane Katia which formed in the far eastern Atlantic earlier this week and is expected to become a major hurricane in a few days.

According to figures released last month, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is expecting an above-normal hurricane season in the Atlantic this year. The outlook calls for 14 to 19 named storms, with seven to ten becoming hurricanes and three to five expected to become a major hurricane (category 3 or higher).

An average Atlantic hurricane season produces 11 named storms, with six becoming hurricanes and two becoming major hurricanes. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30, with peak activity in September.

(Copyright 2012 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. Info: sales@bnonews.com.)

MIAMI (BNO NEWS) — Tropical Depression Thirteen formed over the central Gulf of Mexico on late Thursday evening, forecasters said, prompting tropical storm warnings and a state of emergency for the U.S. state of Louisiana.

Forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) have been following the weather system since Tuesday afternoon when it emerged as a tropical wave over the northwestern Caribbean Sea in the company of disorganized cloudiness and showers. It became better organized throughout the week.

“Satellite, surface, and NOAA reconnaissance aircraft data indicate that the low pressure area over the central Gulf of Mexico has acquired a closed circulation that is defined enough to be considered a tropical depression,” said NHC senior hurricane specialist Daniel Brown.

As of 1 a.m. CDT (0600 GMT) on Friday, the center of Thirteen was located about 240 miles (385 kilometers) southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River. It is currently nearly stationary, but a slow northwest drift is expected to start later on Friday, followed by a turn toward the north on Saturday.

Maximum sustained winds of Thirteen are near 35 miles (55 kilometers) per hour, with higher gusts. “A shear analysis from [the University of Wisconsin-Madison Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (UW-CIMSS)] shows about 20 knots (23 miles or 37 kilometers per hour) of westerly shear over the cyclone,” Brown said on early Friday morning.

“This shear is forecast to relax during the next 12 to 24 hours as an upper-level anticyclone builds over the Gulf. This is expected to result in a favorable environment for intensification,” the forecaster said. “However, given the large size of the circulation, strengthening is expected to be gradual.”

Thirteen is expected to reach tropical storm strength on Friday afternoon before heading to the Louisiana coastline, resulting in a tropical storm warning for Pascagoula, Mississippi westward to Sabine Pass, Texas. The warning area includes the city of New Orleans, Lake Pontchartrain, and Lake Maurepas.

“The slow motion of the cyclone during the next five days is likely to produce a prolonged period of tropical storm conditions and heavy rainfall over portions of the northern Gulf coast,” Brown warned. He said total rainfall accumulations of 10 to 15 inches (25 to 38 centimeters) is expected over southern Mississippi and southern Alabama through Sunday, with possible isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches (50.8 centimeters).

Thirteen is forecast to make landfall as a tropical storm on the coast of Louisiana on late Saturday evening or early Sunday morning. The storm will then move into Mississippi and possibly Alabama as it weakens.

As a result, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has declared a state of emergency. “We’re closely monitoring the weather in the Gulf and our agencies are on alert and stand ready to assist coastal parishes if the system strengthens,” Jindal said. “We know from experience that it’s best to prepare for the worst and hope for the best, and since we’re at the height of the hurricane season, now is a good time for Louisianians to make sure they have a gameplan to protect themselves and their families if a major storm approaches our coast.”

Thirteen is the thirteenth storm of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season, following Tropical Storm Katia which formed in the far eastern Atlantic earlier this week and is expected to become a major hurricane in a few days. If Thirteen becomes a tropical storm as forecast, it will be given the name Lee.

According to figures released last month, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is expecting an above-normal hurricane season in the Atlantic this year. The outlook calls for 14 to 19 named storms, with seven to ten becoming hurricanes and three to five expected to become a major hurricane (category 3 or higher).

An average Atlantic hurricane season produces 11 named storms, with six becoming hurricanes and two becoming major hurricanes. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30, with peak activity in September.

(Copyright 2012 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. Info: sales@bnonews.com.)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (BNO NEWS) — U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday pledged continued efforts to help the Gulf Coast recover from Hurricane Katrina and said the federal government is better prepared to respond to natural disasters than it was six years ago.

Katrina made landfall on August 29, 2005, near the Louisiana-Mississippi border with maximum sustained winds near 125 miles (201 kilometers) per hour, with higher gusts, making it a powerful category three hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of intensity.

The hurricane caused severe damage from central Florida to Texas, mostly due to storm surge which resulted in a catastrophic failure of the levee system in Greater New Orleans. More than 1,800 people were killed, many in New Orleans, making it one of the deadliest hurricanes in the history of the United States.

On Monday, the six year anniversary of Katrina’s landfall, Obama commemorated the “tragic events of those days.” “But what’s required of us is more than remembrance – what’s required of us is our continued efforts to make sure that New Orleans and the Gulf Coast fully recover, and to make sure that our response to such disasters is the best it can possibly be,” the president said.

Then-President George W. Bush and other government agencies, especially the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), received harsh criticism in the wake of the disaster for its slow response.

“When it comes to disaster response, we’ve worked very seriously to enhance our preparedness efforts so that Americans are ready before disaster strikes, and to strengthen our recovery capabilities so that we’re more resilient after disaster strikes,” Obama said.

The president gave Hurricane Irene, which made landfall in North Carolina on Saturday and tore a path of destruction along the U.S. East Coast, as an example. “Before the storm made landfall, the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA worked closely with our state and local partners to preposition supplies and teams of first responders, and support their response efforts,” Obama said. “Those response efforts are ongoing and we will continue that partnership, responding as quickly and effectively as possible, for as long as necessary, until the affected communities are back on their feet.”

Obama said the six year anniversary of Katrina’s landfall is not just a reminder of the immediate devastation that can be caused by such storms, but also the long term needs of communities impacted by disasters. “This Administration will stand by those communities until the work is done,” he said.

Also on Monday, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate gave credit to the U.S. Congress for passing the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act which allowed FEMA to respond more quickly to pending disasters. Before Katrina, FEMA did not respond when a disaster such as a hurricane was expected to happen, but only after it happened when a state was already overwhelmed and made a request.

(Copyright 2012 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. Info: sales@bnonews.com.)

LAFAYETTE, LOUISIANA (BNO NEWS) — U.S. prosecutors have filed charges against more than 70 people who were allegedly involved in an international website which distributed child pornography, officials said on Wednesday.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Louisiana and the U.S. Justice Department said in two separate media advisories that it will announce details of the charges during two press conferences, one held in Washington, D.C. and the other in Louisiana.

The first news conference is scheduled to be held at 11.30 a.m. EDT by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Officials from other agencies will also be present during the news conference in Washington, D.C.

Although the U.S. Justice Department gave no specific details about the case, the U.S. Attorney’s Office provided more information in its media advisory. It said a total of 71 individuals were allegedly members of a private members-only bulletin board entitled ‘Dreamboard’ which distributed child pornography.

“United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley will host a press conference related to the unsealing of three indictments and one complaint charging a total of 72 individuals,” the media advisory said, announcing a 4 p.m. CST press conference in Louisiana. “U.S. Attorney Finley will announce the results to date of the largest U.S. prosecution of an international criminal network organized to sexually exploit children.”

Other details were not immediately released.

(Copyright 2012 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. Info: sales@bnonews.com.)

NEW ORLEANS (BNO NEWS) — Oscar-winning actor Nicolas Cage was arrested in the U.S. city of New Orleans on late Friday evening on charges of domestic abuse battery and public drunkenness, police said on Saturday.

The New Orleans Police Department said in a statement that the 47-year-old actor, who is known for his roles in movies such as “Gone In 60 Seconds,” “Ghost Rider,” “The Rock,” and dozens of other movies, was taken into police custody after getting drunk in the French Quarter of the city and arguing in the street with his wife, Alice Kim.

The incident happened at around 11.30 p.m. local time on Friday when Cage was arguing with Kim in the 600 block of Dumaine Street, according to officer Garry Flot.

“[Cage] and his wife were standing in front of a residence that he insisted was the property the couple was renting,” Flot said. “She disagreed, and Cage grabbed her by the upper arm and pulled her to what he believed was the correct address.”

Flot said Cage then began striking vehicles and later attempted to get into a taxi. “At that point, an officer who had been flagged down by on-lookers drove up on the couple, immediately observed that Cage was heavily intoxicated, and ordered him out of the cab, which prompted Cage to start yelling,” he said. The actor was then taken to Central Lock-Up.

According to the New Orleans Police Department, there were no visible signs of injuries on Kim’s arm. Nonetheless, Cage is now facing charges of Domestic Abuse Battery, Disturbing the Peace and Public Drunkenness.

Cage has appeared in dozens of films since 1980 and won an Oscar for his performance as a suicidal alcoholic in “Leaving Las Vegas.” He was also nominated for an Oscar for his role in “Adaptation.”

And while Cage is among the highest-paid actors in Hollywood, making some $40 million in 2009 alone, he has been facing serious real estate and tax problems in recent years.

(Copyright 2012 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. Info: sales@bnonews.com.)

WASHINGTON D.C. (BNO NEWS) — Two police officers on Thursday were sentenced in connection with the shooting and burning of a New Orleans, Louisiana resident days after the Hurricane Katrina, prosecutors said.

Former New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) Officer David Warren was sentenced to 25 years and nine months in prison for his involvement in the 2005 shooting death of Henry Glover.

Current NOPD Officer Greg McRae was sentenced to 17 years and three months in prison, three years of supervised release for his participating on the subsequent burning of Glover’s body.

Warren and McRae were also ordered to pay $7,642 and $6,000 to the victim’s relatives as restitution respectively. Warren was found guilty of a civil rights violation resulting in death and for using a firearm to commit manslaughter.

McRae was convicted one count of obstructing justice, one count of using fire during the commission of a felony and of two civil rights violations, one of them for burning a vehicle owned by a civilian.

“Instead of upholding their oath to protect and serve the people of New Orleans in the days after Hurricane Katrina, these officers abused their power, and violated the law and the public trust,” said Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.

In November 2010, Warren, McRae and three other police officers were charged in connection with the shooting and killing of Glover, the subsequent burning of his body in a car, the assault of civilians who tried to help Glover, and various offenses involved in the cover up.

According to the evidence shown on trial, Warren shot Glover fro a second floor lookout while the victim was running away one floor below. Glover’s brother stopped a motorist passing by and tried to get medical attention for the victim.

However, the group drove up to a makeshift police station seeking help but police officers surrounded the men at gunpoint, handcuffed them and let Glover die in the back seat of the car.

McRae drove the vehicle, with Glover’s body inside, and burned both with a traffic flare. The three others charged in the case were former NOPD Lieutenant Robert Italiano, NOPD Lieutenants Dwayne Scheuermann and Travis McCabe.

“Today’s sentences send a powerful message that no one is above the law, and that those who are sworn to protect our citizens are never, under any circumstances, relieved of their sacred responsibilities under our Constitution,” said Jim Letten, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

(Copyright 2012 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. Info: sales@bnonews.com.)

CLAIBORNE PARISH, LOUISIANA (BNO NEWS) — The Claiborne Parish Sheriff’s Department on Thursday confirmed that the missing one-year-old toddler was found dead in Beaver Creek, Louisiana, after being missing since Sunday.

According to KSLA television, the body of a toddler was found floating in around five feet of water on late Wednesday afternoon. The victim was identified as missing Devion Wafer.

On Tuesday, Claiborne Parish authorities announced that a young mother and her son were reported missing and an investigation was underway. Ruby Wafer, 19, and her one-year-old son were last seen outside their Homer residence.

The investigation led the detectives to Beaver Creek which is located off Louisiana Highway 2, approximately 1 mile (1.609 kilometers) from Wafer’s Homer residence. Initially, there was little suspicion of foul play in the case.

Ruby Wafer is now considered a person of interest in the case after detectives found out that she posted comments on her Facebook account that she might do harm to her child.

However, Wafer is not considered a suspect in her son’s death but no one knows why she suddenly disappeared with her infant child. The body of the toddler was transported to Little Rock for an autopsy.

(Copyright 2012 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. Info: sales@bnonews.com.)

 Page 1 of 11  1  2  3  4  5 » ...  Last »