Louisiana News Briefs

By David Jacobs | The Center Square

Federal government sending Louisiana $12.46 million for hurricane protection project

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is sending Louisiana $12.46 million to help pay for the Morganza-to-the-Gulf hurricane protection project, officials said Tuesday.

This marks the first time the federal government has chipped in money for the project, Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Chairman Chip Kline said. State and local governments have invested more than $600 million to date, he said.

The system integrates levees, locks and floodgates designed to provide 100-year, Category 3 storm surge protection to more than 150,000 people in coastal Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes over 1,700 square miles of fresh and saltwater marsh, CPRA says.

“Over the past three years, CPRA, along with local levee districts, led the effort to reduce the overall cost of the project by several billion dollars while still providing the same level of protection for Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes,” Kline said.

Louisiana Capitol to close to public Wednesday

The Louisiana State Capitol will be closed to the public Wednesday out of “an abundance of caution” related to possible protests associated with President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration in Washington, D.C.

Most employees will not be there and security will be tighter than usual, a House of Representatives spokesman says.

Trump supporters have held several rallies at the State Capitol to protest Biden’s election, though the crowds have been small and peaceful unlike the pro-Trump supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.  

Louisiana governor and National Guard members to be in Washington, D.C. for inauguration

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards will represent the state when Joe Biden is inaugurated president.

In a statement announcing his plans, Edwards condemned the “insurrectionist actions” of the “riotous mob determined to prevent Congress from performing its constitutional duty to count electoral college votes certified by the states.” He thanked the outgoing Trump administration for a “close working relationship” and said he looked forward to working with Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

Edwards also expressed gratitude to 174 members of Louisiana’s National Guard, who will help to provide inauguration security.

Jazz Fest pushed back to October because of COVID-19 concerns

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, typically held in the spring, has been pushed back to October, organizers announced Tuesday.

“It’s taking longer than we want, but we’ll all have our celebration when the time comes,” said Quint Davis, the festival’s producer and director. “Your health, along with the health of our musicians, food and crafts vendors, and all of the folks that work to make the magic happen, remains the priority as we plan the return of Jazz Fest.”

Jazz Fest 2021 currently is scheduled to begin Oct. 8. Last year’s festival also was postponed to the fall before organizers canceled the event entirely.