WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ WBRZ Links Links en-us Copyright 2018, WBRZ. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Wed, 20 Jun 2018 HH:06:ss GMT Synapse CMS 10 WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ 144 25 State tax holiday for hurricane preparedness this weekend http://www.wbrz.com/news/state-tax-holiday-for-hurricane-preparedness-this-weekend/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/state-tax-holiday-for-hurricane-preparedness-this-weekend/ Links Mon, 22 May 2017 10:37:12 AM Kevin Dupuy State tax holiday for hurricane preparedness this weekend

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Department of Revenue announced a sales tax holiday for Hurricane preparedness emergency supplies.

The Louisiana Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, May 27, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, May 28.

The sales tax holiday provides a 2 percent exemption from state sales tax on specified hurricane preparedness items. Those items are only subject to three percent state sales tax.

The 2017 sales tax exemption applies to the first $1,500 of the purchase of the following items:

                Portable light sources (candles, flashlights and other property designed to provide light)

                Portable self-powered radio, two way radio or weather band radio

                Tarpaulin or flexible waterproof sheeting

                Ground anchor system or tie-down kit

                Gas or diesel fuel tank

                AAA, AA, C, D, 6 volt or 9 volt batteries, excluding boat and vehicle batteries

                Cell phone battery and charger

                Nonelectric food storage cooler

                Portable generator used to provide light or communications or preserve food

                Storm shutter device

                Carbon monoxide detector

                Reusable freezer pack (blue ice)

The Department of Revenue says any local sales tax applies to all purchases unless there is also a local exemption.

The exemption does not apply to items told by vendors at any airport, public lodging establishment or hotel, entertainment complex or convenience store.


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WBRZ's 2une-In recognizes graduating class of 2017 http://www.wbrz.com/news/wbrz-s-2une-in-recognizes-graduating-class-of-2017/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/wbrz-s-2une-in-recognizes-graduating-class-of-2017/ Links Wed, 17 May 2017 8:46:49 AM WBRZ WBRZ's 2une-In recognizes graduating class of 2017

BATON ROUGE – Thousands of graduates across the Baton Rouge area will walk across the stage and receive diplomas this month.

The 2une-In team wanted to recognize the class of 2017 graduates for their outstanding achievements.

All this week, 2une-In has shared photos from viewers of the graduating class of 2017. To recognize your graduate, email the photos to 2une-in@wbrz.com with the graduate's name and school. 


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Gonzales event to help residents with flood recovery survey http://www.wbrz.com/news/gonzales-event-to-help-residents-with-flood-recovery-survey/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/gonzales-event-to-help-residents-with-flood-recovery-survey/ Links Wed, 17 May 2017 8:15:35 AM Michael Vinsanau Gonzales event to help residents with flood recovery survey

GONZALES, La. - The state is trying to get more people to take the flood recovery survey. They're hosting an event to get the applications done.

To date, over 20,000 people have finished the application. The state originally sent out emails to 45,000 people, and wanted a total of around 86,000 submissions.

Today, they'll take to the Gonzales Public Library to assist anyone who may need help walking through the process.

Right now, Phase 1, which includes the elderly and those with low-to-moderate income, is in the home inspection stage. Phase 2, which broadens the spectrum to those living in one of the 10 most impacted parishes, is in the enviromental study stage.

The good news: if you weren't signed up for relief when the appropriate stage passed, the state will still come and assist you, if eligible.

The event today runs from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., at 708 S Irma Ave, in Gonzales.

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FEMA offers free legal assistance to victims of disaster fraud http://www.wbrz.com/news/fema-offers-free-legal-assistance-to-victims-of-disaster-fraud/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/fema-offers-free-legal-assistance-to-victims-of-disaster-fraud/ Links Tue, 25 Apr 2017 2:10:15 PM WBRZ Staff FEMA offers free legal assistance to victims of disaster fraud

BATON ROUGE - FEMA is offering a service that provides free legal assistance to disaster survivors who have fallen victim to disaster fraud.

Disaster Legal Services provides free legal assistance to low-income survivors who have been the victims of fraudulent contractors and other scammers. DLS will allow these victims to hire an attorney for issues after a declared disaster. 

Members of the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division will counsel, advise and provide legal representation in cases that don’t generate a fee. FEMA says survivors should also be aware of the limitations on DLS. 

For example, assistance is not available for cases that will produce a fee. Such cases are referred to a lawyer referral service.

DSL has assisted survivors with post-disaster related matters including:

  • Insurance claims for doctor and hospital bills.
  • Claims for property loss or loss of life.  
  • Drawing up new wills or other legal papers
  • Help with home repair contracts and contractors.
  • Advice on problems with landlords.

To request legal help through DLS call 1-800-310-7029 or visit www.fema.gov orwww.disasterlegalaid.org

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State flood assistance survey now open http://www.wbrz.com/news/state-flood-assistance-survey-now-open/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/state-flood-assistance-survey-now-open/ Links Sun, 9 Apr 2017 2:29:27 PM Jeremy Krail State flood assistance survey now open

BATON ROUGE - The Restore Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Program survey opened to all homeowners affected by the March and August 2016 floods Monday.

This homeowner assistance program will help flooded homeowners with rebuilding assistance and some reimbursement.

The initial survey was made available for all flood-impacted homeowners on the restore.la.gov website Monday morning. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) officially released the $1.6 billion in flood recovery funds appropriated in 2016 later Monday afternoon.

Homeowners can also choose to fill out the survey using a phone number that will be posted on restore.la.gov Monday morning.

After receiving several reports of individuals attempting to charge homeowners for assistance in filling out the survey, the governor's office has released a statement discouraging all homeowners from seeking outside help to fill out the survey.

"The Louisiana Office of Community Development strongly urges flood victims against accepting help from third parties who are charging a fee to help fill out the initial survey of interest for the homeowner recovery program from the March and August floods. There is no charge to fill out the survey and residents should not give out personal information to these third parties," the statement read.

The first step for all homeowners to apply for rebuilding assistance is completing the 15-minute survey either online or over the phone.

Based on their answers, homeowners will be placed in the application phase for which they qualify. The state will then advise homeowners to apply for the program as their phase becomes eligible for assistance.

According to the governor's office, Phase 1 homeowners can anticipate being invited in May to fill out the application that will determine eligibility. Survey answers do not determine final eligibility for the assistance program.

Given the limited funding available at this time, the state has placed applicants in phases that comply with federal guidelines on how this money can be spent. Those phases are:

All Phases: Must have major or severe home damage and no structural flood insurance at the time of the flood

Phase I-II: Low-to-moderate income, elderly (62 and over) or persons with disabilities

Phase III-IV: 10 most impacted or distressed parishes – Acadia, Ascension, East Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Livingston, Ouachita, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Vermilion and Washington

Phase V: The remaining 41 flood-impacted parishes

Phase VI: Reimbursement for homeowners who have completed the rebuilding process at the time they answer the survey or complete the application

The governor's office reminds homeowners that the funds provided by this program are strictly for the use of repairing flood damage. But, in some cases, homeowners may be reimbursed for repair work already completed.

The governor also urges that all flood-impacted homeowners complete the survey, even if they don’t believe they’ll qualify for the initial round of assistance.

Over the next few months, the state is also rolling out additional assistance programs to place more affordable rental property on the market and to assist small businesses in their recovery. 

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Restore Louisiana to release survey for 2016 flood assistance http://www.wbrz.com/news/restore-louisiana-to-release-survey-for-2016-flood-assistance/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/restore-louisiana-to-release-survey-for-2016-flood-assistance/ Links Wed, 5 Apr 2017 3:21:01 PM Kevin Dupuy Restore Louisiana to release survey for 2016 flood assistance

BATON ROUGE – State officials are urging all homeowners impacted by the March and August 2016 flooding to take a brief survey starting Monday, April 10.

According to Gov. John Bel Edward’s Office of Community Development, the survey is the first step toward applying recovery assistance. The survey will be available on the Restore Louisiana website and will be available for a period of time.

Homeowners without internet can fill out the survey by telephone. The survey will take about 15 minutes and will not require documentation.

Based on answers, potentially eligible homeowners will be invited to apply for aid. The state will then collect documentation and verify survey answers. Officials say the survey answers do not determine final eligibility.

All flood-impacted families are encouraged to complete the survey even if they do not think they will qualify for the initial round of assistance.

Residents are also encouraged to sign up for email updates through the Restore Louisiana website.

Friday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development gave final approval on the Louisiana’s action plan for distribution $1.2 billion in congressional appropriations. State officials say the funding will be used to help homeowners who flooded but did not have flood insurance.

The first phase of the assistance will begin helping low-to moderate income families who are elderly or have family living with disabilities.


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Uber unveils Mardi Gras plan called 'The Box' http://www.wbrz.com/news/uber-unveils-mardi-gras-plan-called-the-box-/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/uber-unveils-mardi-gras-plan-called-the-box-/ Links Wed, 15 Feb 2017 3:37:39 PM Kevin Dupuy Uber unveils Mardi Gras plan called 'The Box'

NEW ORLEANS – Uber unveiled its new plans for Mardi Gras weekend, and it’s called “The Box.”

The company says that road closures will make it difficult for its drivers to cross St. Charles Ave. “The Box” is the area designated between St. Charles Ave to the Mississippi River and Napoleon Avenue to Canal Street.

Uber riders who want to travel somewhere in that designated zone can requests rides as usual. But, if you want to go to a destination outside “the box,” you will have to walk outside of the zone to request a ride.

Uber said the company will have drive-partners operating both inside and outside the box during Mardi Gras weekend. The company also offers these tips if you are planning on requesting a ride:

Know before you go: Before you request an Uber, you’ll see the total cost of your ride so there are no unwelcome fare surprises after your ride is over. Fares may go up or down based on how many people are requesting a ride, so if it’s out of your price range, check back later for lower fares.

Split the fare: Share an Uber with your krewe and split the fare among multiple people. uberX can seat up to 4, while uberXL can handle groups up to 6 passengers.

Confirm your driver: There will be multiple people requesting rides after parades, so make sure you get into the right car with the right driver. Double check your driver's car model, license plate, and photo in the app before you hop in your ride. Uber rides can only be requested through the app, so never accept street hail solicitations from those claiming to be Uber.

Share your trip details: Need to let your group know when you'll arrive? Share your trip details with them from the app.

Be nice or leave: Mardi Gras should be a fun time for all so please be considerate to your driver. respect their vehicle and follow our Community Guidelines so that everyone can enjoy the spirit of the season.

Avoid a cleaning fee: Make sure you don't get caught up in a cleaning fee cleaning fee by keeping the costumes and glitter in check.

Contact Support Leave your mask behind? Don't worry, you can contact your driverdirectly in the app to track down a lost item. Or contact our Help Center for all other issues. For emergencies always call 911.

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Disaster recovery fair to be held in Denham Springs Feb. 18 http://www.wbrz.com/news/disaster-recovery-fair-to-be-held-in-denham-springs-feb-18/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/disaster-recovery-fair-to-be-held-in-denham-springs-feb-18/ Links Wed, 15 Feb 2017 10:36:22 AM Alicia Serrano Disaster recovery fair to be held in Denham Springs Feb. 18

DENHAM SPRINGS – A disaster recovery resource fair will be held in Denham Springs for homeowners and renters.

The fair will be held on Feb. 18 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the North Park Auditorium located at 30372 Eden Road. The event is free to the public.

The fair is a "one-stop-shop" for homeowners and renters to find information and guidance from federal, state, local and non-profit agencies regarding disaster recovery. Participants include the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, FEMA, the USDA, the state of Louisiana, Louisiana Housing Corporation, the City of Denham Springs, Livingston Parish, legal aid organizations and others.

Homeowners and renters affected by floods and severe weather can get information about the following:

        Housing resources
        Flood insurance
        Foreclosure prevention
        Title issuance and successions
        Legal services
        Disaster Tax Relief
        Rebuilding safer and stronger

For more information or directions, call the Louisiana Housing Corporation at 888-454-2001.

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Red Cross tips for what to do after a tornado http://www.wbrz.com/news/red-cross-tips-for-what-to-do-after-a-tornado/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/red-cross-tips-for-what-to-do-after-a-tornado/ Links Tue, 7 Feb 2017 12:49:58 PM Alicia Serrano Red Cross tips for what to do after a tornado

American Red Cross responders are moving into impacted areas to assist residents due to severe weather and tornadoes that struck Southeast Louisiana on Tuesday.

Red Cross issued the following tips to residents on what to do following a tornado:

 - Continue listening to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio for updated information and instructions.

-  If you are away from home, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so.

-  Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes when examining your walls, doors, staircases and windows for damage.

-  Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines and report them to the utility company immediately.

-  Stay out of damaged buildings.

-  Use battery-powered flashlights when examining buildings – do NOT use candles.

-  If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and get everyone out of the building quickly and call the gas company or fire department.

- Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance claims.

- Use the telephone only for emergency calls.

-  Keep all of your animals under your direct control.

-  Clean up spilled medications, bleaches, gasoline or other flammable liquids that could become a fire hazard.

-  Check for injuries. If you are trained, provide first aid to persons in need until emergency responders arrive.

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City-parish to begin demolishing abandoned, flood-damaged homes http://www.wbrz.com/news/city-parish-to-begin-demolishing-abandoned-flood-damaged-homes/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/city-parish-to-begin-demolishing-abandoned-flood-damaged-homes/ Links Mon, 6 Feb 2017 6:05:41 PM Trey Schmaltz City-parish to begin demolishing abandoned, flood-damaged homes

BATON ROUGE – Abandoned, flood-damaged homes will be torn down soon, the city-parish said in a news release late Monday.

Officials will start to condemn and demolish housing units flooded and let behind by owners. The mayor's office said structures that cause significant blight, public health and safety concerns will be targeted first. Demolition will begin on some houses in the coming weeks, the city said.

Also, the city was approved to extend its debris removal process until August.

“We know the very difficult path toward long-term recovery for our residents is one that continues for so many of us who were impacted by the August 2016 flooding,” said Mayor Sharon Weston Broome. “This extension provides a much needed opportunity to utilize federal resources to support that recovery process across our most heavily impacted neighborhoods while continuing to address the needs of our residents associated with the flood debris that still remains across Baton Rouge.”

 People still in need of flood debris collection should contact the Department of Environmental Services at (225) 389-4865.


Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter: @treyschmaltz

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Huge turnout at tax-help event leaves many flood victims empty-handed http://www.wbrz.com/news/huge-turnout-at-tax-help-event-leaves-many-flood-victims-empty-handed/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/huge-turnout-at-tax-help-event-leaves-many-flood-victims-empty-handed/ Links Fri, 3 Feb 2017 1:16:04 PM WBRZ Staff Huge turnout at tax-help event leaves many flood victims empty-handed

BATON ROUGE –So many flood victims showed up to have their income taxes filed at an event organized by the United Way that many families had to leave empty-handed.

The Capital Area United Way offered a free tax-help event Saturday for those who needed assistance preparing their taxes. The event, Super Tax Day, featured certified tax volunteers, pro bono legal advice, financial workshops and other community resources for residents to get their taxes done for free.

The turnout was so huge, not everyone could get the help they needed. Those who weren't fortunate enough to be assisted had to be booked for another day.

Lorenzo Lafleur and his family came out to the Main Library to get help with income taxes.

They lost everything in the flood.

"I want to know is there is going to be some type of way to write it off. Some kind of way to help us out, to get back on our feet," Lafleur said.

He is not alone.

"With flooding, I think there had been a spike in the demand for low or no cost tax preperation services," George Bell with the United Way said.

Income taxes are confusing. Factor in all of the flood victims and filing is even more complicated.

FEMA and flood insurance money are not taxable and you get a big write off for uncovered flood damage.

"If you loss is greater than your income, than you income goes down to zero. So anything the government or employer withheld, you get it all back," tax preparer Jim Haslitt said

Some of these tax preparers are employees of Entergy who are volunteering their time to help people in need file their taxes.

"These employees see such a great need in doing this in their community, that they went out and got certified to do these tax returns," Kristin Masoner with Entergy said,

Like most of the folks who showed up, Lafleur couldn't get help this day. Instead, he has to hope he can get his taxes done at a later date.

To get free help filing your income taxes, you can dial United Way's help line at 211 or log onto entergy.com/freetaxhelp

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Livingston Parish public schools will remain open 21 minutes longer http://www.wbrz.com/news/livingston-parish-public-schools-will-remain-open-21-minutes-longer/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/livingston-parish-public-schools-will-remain-open-21-minutes-longer/ Links Tue, 3 Jan 2017 10:58:20 AM Kevin Dupuy Livingston Parish public schools will remain open 21 minutes longer

DENHAM SPRINGS – Students in Livingston Parish will have to stay in school an extra 21 minutes longer this spring semester.

School officials announced Tuesday that all public schools will add 21 minutes of instructional time to their master schedules. This time will be divided between the start and end of each school day. Classes will begin 10 minutes earlier in the morning and will end 11 minutes later in the afternoon.

Officials say this replacement time schedule will start on Jan. 5, 2017 and will continue until May 24, 2017.


Albany High


Albany Lower


Albany Middle


Albany Upper


Denham Springs Elementary


Denham Springs Freshmen High


Denham Springs High


Denham Springs Junior


Doyle Elementary


Doyle Highe


Eastside Elementary


French Settlement Elementary


French Settlement High


Freshwater Elementary


Frost Elementary


Gray’s Creek Elementary


Holden High


Juban Parc Elementary


Juban Parc Junior High


Levi Milton Elem


Lewis Vincent Elem


Literacy and Technology Center


Live Oak Elementary


Live Oak High


Live Oak Middle


Maurepas High


North Corbin Elementary


North Corbin Junior High


North Live Oak Elementary


Northside Elementary




Pine Ridge


Seventh Ward Elementary


South Fork Elementary


South Live Oak Elementary


South Walker Elementary


Southside Elementary


Southside Junior High


Springfield Elementary


Springfield High


Springfield Middle


Walker Elementary


Walker Freshmen High


Walker High


Westside Junior High



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BRAF offers free service to clear property titles for flooded homes http://www.wbrz.com/news/braf-offers-free-service-to-clear-property-titles-for-flooded-homes/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/braf-offers-free-service-to-clear-property-titles-for-flooded-homes/ Links Wed, 30 Nov 2016 4:40:43 PM Alicia Serrano BRAF offers free service to clear property titles for flooded homes

BATON ROUGE – The Baton Rouge Area Foundation, with support from a W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant, is offering a free program to help people clear property titles for residents in flood-damaged homes.

According to BRAF, FEMA has denied funding to more than 2,500 people in disaster-impacted parishes who could not prove home ownership. The new free program could potentially make low-income residents eligible for hundreds or thousands of dollars in federal grants to help in repairing their flood-damaged homes.

With a clear title, homeowners may receive money for rebuilding their homes that were impacted from the flood.

To qualify for the program, the flooded home must be the resident's primary residence and located in East Baton Rouge, Livingston and Ascension parishes. Residents must also meet an income eligibility. 

People can apply for assistance at apply.lanonprofitjustice.org or by calling 1-844-244-7871.

BRAF and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation hope to clear 500 titles while searching for ongoing funding for the program. Both organizations have come together to commit $550,000 to the program. 

Also contributing to the program are Capital Area United Way, Greater New Orleans Foundation and the Louisiana Bar Foundation.

The program will be overseen by Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, who is partnering with the following organizations for the work:

- Baton Rouge Bar Foundation

- Southern University Law Center

- LSU Law Clinic

- Baton Rouge Bar Association, Louisiana Appleseed

- Equal Justice Works

- Louisiana State Bar Association

- Louisiana Bar Foundation

- East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority

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Taxes to fund road work, transportation projects on December ballot http://www.wbrz.com/news/taxes-to-fund-road-work-transportation-projects-on-december-ballot/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/taxes-to-fund-road-work-transportation-projects-on-december-ballot/ Links Tue, 29 Nov 2016 2:44:42 PM Ashley Fruge Taxes to fund road work, transportation projects on December ballot

BATON ROUGE – On the December ballot, East Baton Rouge voters will get a chance to vote on two taxes that will fund road work and transportation projects.

The city wants voters to vote for the re-purposing of the existing tax and to add a 5-mill property tax.

"The plan is here we want to accelerate, expand, and extend, the existing Green Light Plan," Steve Bonnette, of the Department of Transportation and Drainage, said.

The Green Light Plan was approved by voters eleven years ago. 70 percent of the 25-year-long project is complete.

Officials say the increase in property tax is about $60 for a $200,000 home and that would pay for the remaining projects and about 40 new ones. A value some say would be worth the tax.

"I'm for it, I mean the traffic everywhere in Baton Rouge is bad, I mean when you are trying to get to work and trying to get home, I don't see why it would hurt to spend a few extra dollars so I can get on where I need to go, or get home," Yancie David, one driver, said.

"I'm tired of sitting in traffic everyday, anything to help it, I'd be willing to vote for it," Scott Beckman, another driver, said.

Voters will be able to decide on two separate tax proposals. There is a sales tax which will help projects like fixing potholes and roadways and there is a property tax that will help with capacity such as a project to widen Nicholson Drive, where there is always congestion.

If city projects like widening Nicholson do get the green light, it will work hand in hand with state-wide improvements.

"They are considering, possibly a new bridge, crossing south of the existing bridge, and if that were to happen, that crossing would probably connect with Nicholson Drive, at some location along there and we feel like we would be prepared for that," Bonnette said.

There are about 1,600 miles of streets in East Baton Rouge and current funding allows for only 20 miles a year. The city says the re-purposed sales tax would change that.

"We want to keep this same pace of this program. We hope the citizens have seen this is successful and they want to keep this program moving forward,"Bonnette said.

A series of meetings about the Green Light Proposal is being hosted by the City-Parish. The meeting schedule is below:

Tuesday, Nov. 29

5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Council District 11
Main Library 
7711 Goodwood Blvd.

Wednesday, Nov. 30
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Council District 5
Charles R. Kelly Community Center 
3535 Riley Street 

Thursday, Dec. 1
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Council District 10
Dr. Leo S. Butler Community Center
950 Washington E. Street 

Monday, Dec. 5
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. 

Council Districts 12 & 3
Bluebonnet Branch Library
9200 Bluebonnet Blvd.

Tuesday, Dec. 6
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Council Districts 6 & 7
Dr. Martin Luther King Community Center
400 Gus Young Avenue 

Thursday, Dec. 8
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. 

Council District 2
Scotlandville Branch Library 
7373 Scenic Highway 

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Juban Crossing stores reopen in time for Black Friday http://www.wbrz.com/news/juban-crossing-stores-reopen-in-time-for-black-friday/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/juban-crossing-stores-reopen-in-time-for-black-friday/ Links Wed, 23 Nov 2016 3:46:15 PM Michael Vinsanau Juban Crossing stores reopen in time for Black Friday

DENHAM SPRINGS - Three months after the historic August flooding, stores in the Juban Crossing shopping center are opening for the second time.

"The irony in that is amazing," Belk store manager Joshua Ballay said. "We actually just opened this store 26 months ago, almost to the exact day."

Juban Crossing took at much as four feet of water during the August flood. For the last three months, contractors have been working to get things back in place. According to Ballay, work to get his store ready took only 13 weeks rather than the average time of 6-8 months.

More than a dozen stores will be open Friday. A few others will be open in December, just before Christmas.

"Knowing that you can do your Christmas shopping, it just means so much, you don't have to drive to Baton Rouge. That's tremendous," Layton Ricks, Livingston Parish president, said.

Denham Springs officials say that it will also help drive the recoverying city's budget. Since the flood, Denham Springs has operated on a slim budget, but now the city is inching closer to normal operation.

"The sales tax is 60 percent of our revenue that we operate off of," Denham Springs Mayor Gerard Landry, said. "Normalcy is what we are all looking for, and it's going to be a long time before we are normal." 

The following stores will be open on Black Friday:

Walk On's Bistreaux & Bar


Ross Dress for Less

Pot & Paddle Jambalaya Kitchen

LA Nail Spa

Mattress Firm

Shoe Carnival


Lane Bryant

Men's Wearhouse

Moe's Southwest Grill





TJ Maxx


Academy Sports + Outdoor (Grand re-opening is Friday at 5 a.m.)

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Early voting for Dec. 10 runoffs begin Saturday http://www.wbrz.com/news/early-voting-for-dec-10-runoffs-begin-saturday/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/early-voting-for-dec-10-runoffs-begin-saturday/ Links Wed, 23 Nov 2016 2:19:26 PM Kevin Dupuy Early voting for Dec. 10 runoffs begin Saturday

BATON ROUGE – Early voting for the December 10 general elections begins this Saturday.

Statewide early voting will be last for one week starting Saturday, Nov. 26 through Saturday, Dec. 3. According to the Louisisana Secretary of State's Office, residents can vote at the Registrar of Voters office in each parish and at other designated locationd between 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Click here to view polling locations or sample ballots

Among local proposals and property taxes, voters will decide runoffs for Louisiana’s U.S. Senate seat, Baton Rouge Metro council and Mayor-President.

Louisiana voters turned out in record numbers during early voting for the general election earlier this month, surprising the state's top elections officials.

More than 515,000 voters cast their ballots early in Louisiana's weeklong early voting period. That's 17 percent of the state's 3 million registered voters. By comparison, nearly 357,000 people early voted for the presidential election four years ago.

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Cortana Mall closed for Thanksgiving; Mall of Louisiana opens at 6 p.m. http://www.wbrz.com/news/cortana-mall-closed-for-thanksgiving-mall-of-louisiana-opens-at-6-p-m-/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/cortana-mall-closed-for-thanksgiving-mall-of-louisiana-opens-at-6-p-m-/ Links Wed, 23 Nov 2016 11:41:30 AM WBRZ Cortana Mall closed for Thanksgiving; Mall of Louisiana opens at 6 p.m.

BATON ROUGE - The Cortana Mall in Baton Rouge will join dozens of other stores across the country who are scheduled to close their doors Thursday for Thanksgiving. 

A spokesperson for the Cortana Mall told WBRZ that doors will open at 6 a.m. on Black Friday. Anchor stores like JC Penny, however, will be able to open their doors at their discretion.

Cortana Mall shoppers will have to brave the crowds at The Mall of Louisiana off Bluebonnet Blvd. According to its website, the Mall of Louisiana will be open Thanksgiving Day from 6p.m. to midnight then will reopen at 6 a.m. Friday morning. 

Last month, CBL and Associates, who owns 89 regional malls including the Acadiana Mall in Lafayette, announced that they will close their doors at almost all of their locations until 6 a.m. Friday. 

Many of the nation's major mall operators and the big retailers that anchor them, such as Toys R Us, J.C. Penney, and Macy's, are sticking with what they want to be a new tradition, kicking off the holiday shopping season on Thanksgiving Day.

The Mall of America, the nation's largest shopping mall, is closing for Thanksgiving this year after being open for the past several years. Some retailers that are closing cite respect for the holiday, but in truth the cost of being open may be more than the return.

"Once you let the genie out of the bottle, it's hard," said Stephen D. Lebovitz, president and CEO of CBL & Associates Properties, a mall operator that is closing 72 of its malls for the day. "More retailers are coming to their senses and realizing it is a family holiday and from a business point of view, it's not making much business sense."

Stores being open on Thanksgiving started in earnest in 2011 and took a punch out of sales on Black Friday, which had usually launched the shopping season. Many places like Macy's, Target and J.C. Penney have been opening earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving as they try to outdo others to get first dibs on customers who could easily buy online. But the move has been controversial, as many workers have voiced complaints that stores are putting profits over workers' time to be with their families.

For department stores, the competition is fierce. Last year, J.C. Penney opened at 3 p.m. for the first time, three hours earlier than its rivals Kohl's and Macy's. That may have hurt Macy's, which had a weak holiday season and aims to reverse a sales slump. This year, Macy's decided to open an hour earlier at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Penney is sticking to 3 p.m., while Kohl's will be opening again at 6 p.m. Most Sears stores will be open on Thanksgiving for the fourth year in a row, starting at 6 p.m. — the same as a year ago.

Below are times that some stores will be open for the holiday:


Thanksgiving Store Hours

Black Friday Store Hours



5 a.m.

Ashley Furniture


9 a.m.

Bass Pro Shops

8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

5 a.m.

Bed Bath & Beyond


6 a.m.


4 p.m. – 1 a.m.

6 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Best Buy

5 p.m. – 1 a.m.

8 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Big Lots

7 a.m – midnight.

6 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Burlington Coat Factory


7 a.m. – 11 a.m.



5 a.m. – 10 a.m.

Dick’s Sporting Goods

6 p.m. – midnight

5 a.m. – 10 p.m.



8 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Family Dollar

7 a.m. – 7p.m.


Five Below

6 p.m. – 1 a.m.

7 a.m. – 9 p.m.



5 a.m.


10 a.m. – 1 a.m.

6 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Guitar Center


6 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Harbor Freight Tools


7 a.m. – 9 p.m.

HH Gregg


7 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Home Depot


6 a.m.

Home Goods


7 a.m. – 10 p.m.


3 p.m. – midnight

12 a.m. – 10 p.m. 


6 a.m. (check locally)

8 a.m. – 10 p.m.


6 p.m. – midnight (check locally)

24 hours



6 a.m. – 9 p.m.


5 p.m. – 2 a.m.

6 a.m. – 10 p.m. (check locally)



7 a.m. – 10 p.m. (check locally)


6 p.m. – 12 a.m.

7 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Office Depot & OfficeMax


6 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Pier 1 Imports


8 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Pottery Barn


8 a.m. – 9 p.m.


8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

8 a.m. – 7 p.m. (check locally)

REEDS Jewelers


8 – 9 p.m. (check locally)

Sam’s Club


7 a.m. – 10 p.m. (check locally)


6 p.m. – midnight (check locally)

5 a.m. – 10 p.m. (check locally)

Sears Outlet

6 p.m. – 11 p.m.

6 a.m. – 9 p.m. (check locally)

Shoe Carnival

6 p.m. – midnight

6 a.m. – 9 p.m. (check locally)



6 a.m. – 9 p.m.


6 p.m. – midnight

12 a.m. – 10 or 11 p.m.



7 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Toys R Us

5 p.m. – midnight (check locally)

12 a.m. – 11 p.m.


8 a.m. – 10 p.m.

7 a.m. – midnight


6 p.m.

24 hours

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Veterans home damaged in flood hopeful to reopen soon http://www.wbrz.com/news/veterans-home-damaged-in-flood-hopeful-to-reopen-soon/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/veterans-home-damaged-in-flood-hopeful-to-reopen-soon/ Links Fri, 11 Nov 2016 5:39:09 PM Danielle Jackson Veterans home damaged in flood hopeful to reopen soon

BATON ROUGE – Several, once homeless and disabled veterans, called the Magnolia Veteran's Home their home, until the August flood swept everything away.

This year, Byron Comeaux spent his Veteran's Day putting the pieces back together.

"The happiest day is when we reopen and the veterans come home. That is the happiest day, that is going to be our Veteran's Day," Comeaux said.

Comeaux is a veteran and opened a non-profit center for homeless and disabled veterans. He says that after fighting for the country, each veteran should have a home to go to. However, now he is doing work to get the center back up and running again.

"The American Legion hats, they ask me how many hats did we save. They came up and picked up little items that they could find when we were moving things out. They asked us to wash them, but I ordered new hats for them, because something like that sentimental is the only thing they have left of to hold on from the combat zone," Comeaux said.

The eight veterans who lived at the facility before the flood, spent their time in the game room to cope with their Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Now, they are ready to come back home.

"Number one they want to know when they are coming home that's the biggest thing, it's just like being overseas, being in combat zone, 'When is it going to get over?, When can I get back to my normal life?' " Comeaux said.

Comeaux said that the Magnolia Veteran's Home will be back up and running at the end of November. If you would like to help the center visit here.

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EBR residents seeing more rodents around homes http://www.wbrz.com/news/ebr-residents-seeing-more-rodents-around-homes/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/ebr-residents-seeing-more-rodents-around-homes/ Links Tue, 1 Nov 2016 4:55:00 PM Danielle Jackson EBR residents seeing more rodents around homes

BATON ROUGE – East Baton Rouge is seeing an uptick in rodents roaming around homes.

The East Baton Rouge Mosquito Abatement and Rodent Control facility said the number of calls for rodent inspection increases this time of year.

"Most of the time there's an active borough you'll see the dirt clean around the hole," an East Baton Rouge Rodent Control employee said.

Roof rats, Norway rats and house mice are the three main rodents that are seen in the parish.

"Three weeks after the flood we were doing about 80 rodent inspections a week, now we're doing well over 100 so actually we are seeing more rodent calls now in the end of October beginning of November," Randy Vaeth, executive director of the East Baton Rouge Mosquito Abatement and Rodent Control, said.

Vaeth said that the increased number of rodents being seen by residents this time of year is also due to the change in weather.

"We are experiencing cooler weather at night and the rodents can actually detect the changes in the number of hours of daylight so, I think the rodents that come up from the flood are not the issue we're seeing now, we're seeing our typical rodent problem that we see in the fall where they are coming into people's residences," Vaeth said.

Vaeth said that the Rodent Control is happy to help residents with getting rid of the rodents.

"Now we can't go in a home like a commercial pest control guy but we'll bring you out some bait or a trap that you can help solve your own rodent problems. We're happy to do that, it's a free service you would pay for it with your dedicated property tax," Vaeth said.

For more information on how to get rodent bait residents can call the East Baton Rouge Mosquito Abatement and Rodent Control at (225) 356-3297.

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Record-breaking early voting on first day; Voting continues all week http://www.wbrz.com/news/record-breaking-early-voting-on-first-day-voting-continues-all-week/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/record-breaking-early-voting-on-first-day-voting-continues-all-week/ Links Mon, 24 Oct 2016 9:34:34 AM Alicia Serrano, Trey Schmaltz Record-breaking early voting on first day; Voting continues all week

BATON ROUGE – The first day of early voting brought record crowds to voting locations Tuesday.

Preliminary data provided to WBRZ showed roughly more than 5,300 people voted in one day in East Baton Rouge.  Livingston reported as many as 2,040.  Both parishes said as they reported the statistics, more people were in line to vote.  Early voting ends at 6 p.m.  With lines reaching hundreds deep, numbers could rise significantly by the time early voting resumes Wednesday morning.

Officials in EBR said 5,300 was a single-day record for early voting.

Rough numbers were unavailable from Ascension Parish but people reported long lines there, too.

"I always like to come out and vote early and try to avoid the long lines on voting day," Willis Sawyar, an Ascension Parish voter, said coincidentally as he waited in an early voting line.

Early voting began Tuesday, Oct. 25 and continues through Tuesday, Nov. 1 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily excluding Sunday, Oct. 30.

"Early voting gives people a whole week to vote when it's convenient for them and lines may be shorter," Secretary of State Tom Schedler, said.

Voters who vote in-person will receive a limited edition "I Voted" sticker featuring George Rodrigue's iconic Blue Dog.

Voters can use the smart phone GeauxVote Mobile app or go online here to find out where to early vote along with what will be on their ballot. In addition to the election for president, there are more than 220 races statewide involving 728 candidates. In addition, there are six constitutional amendments votes will be asked to decide as well as 78 propositions across 38 parishes. A sample ballot can be found by clicking here and then clicking "Sample Ballot" at the top of the page. 

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