Louisiana News Briefs

By David Jacobs | The Center Square

New representative quits Louisiana House

State Rep. Charles Henry, a Metairie Republican, has resigned from the Louisiana House of Representatives only a year after taking office.

In a statement issued to media, Henry said his priorities have changed due to the pandemic and the birth of his son last year.

Henry was elected to the District 82 seat in 2019. He is the former chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise and the brother of state Sen. Cameron Henry, both of whom have held the same state House seat.

Federal government approves Zeta disaster declaration

The federal government has approved Gov. John Bel Edwards’ request for a Major Disaster Declaration related to Hurricane Zeta, the governor’s office announced.

The declaration opens the door to direct assistance for people and communities affected by the storm. Individuals and households in Jefferson, Lafourche, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, and Terrebonne parishes are eligible. Many more parishes are eligible for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities. The entire state is eligible for the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which helps with actions taken to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural hazards.

Hurricane Zeta made landfall in Lafourche Parish on Oct. 28 with sustained winds of at least 110 miles per hour with stronger gusts and heavy rainfall. Some areas hit by Zeta are also still recovering from Hurricane Laura and Hurricane Delta.

Louisiana officials participate in ‘virtual trade mission’ to Mexico

Louisiana Economic Development and state Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Mike Strain joined agriculture officials from Mississippi for a “virtual trade mission” to Mexico, Strain’s office announced.

Topics of discussion include opportunities for collaboration, increasing imports and exports, the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement, challenges and response to the pandemic, and sustainability.  

“Mexico is the number two trading partner with the United States behind Canada,” Strain said. “This trade mission is meant to explore all opportunities of American trade with commodities coming from Louisiana.”

Mexico was Louisiana’s top export market in 2019, Strain’s office says. Mexico imports rice, poultry, eggs, corn, soybeans and cotton from Louisiana, and more than 65,000 Louisiana jobs depend on trade with Mexico, Strain says.

Black Caucus celebrates minority leadership at State Police

Black troopers hold three key leadership roles at Louisiana State Police for the first time since the agency’s inception in 1936, the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus says.

Gov. John Bel Edwards tapped Col. Lamar Davis to lead the agency in October. Davis promoted Captain Chavez Cammon to lieutenant colonel over patrol and Captain Kenny Van Buren to lieutenant colonel over investigations, according to the Black Caucus statement.

“These promotions are significant due to the recent changes in leadership which champions diversity, while highlighting their years of experience and dedication to LSP and the citizens of Louisiana,” the statement reads.

Under Davis’ predecessor, State Police came under scrutiny for the death of Ronald Greene, a Black man, and for the alleged widespread use of racial slurs and racially charged statements among troopers.