Louisiana News Briefs

By David Jacobs | The Center Square

Kennedy: Louisiana getting $35.4M in grants for mental health, substance abuse prevention, treatment

Louisiana will receive two grants totaling more than $35.4 million to address mental health and substance abuse issues, U.S. Sen. John Kennedy said.

A Mental Health Services Block Grant will provide almost $12 million meant to support community-based services for people with mental illness, Kennedy’s office said. A Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant will provide nearly $23.5 million.

“The coronavirus pandemic has closed schools, shuttered businesses and given many Louisianians a hard road to walk,” Kennedy said in a prepared statement announcing the grants. “As we help our neighbors struggling with depression and other mental health or substance abuse challenges, it’s good to see this $35 million invested in making communities healthier.”

Early voting ends Saturday

Early voting for the March 20 election ends Saturday.

Two open seats in Congress, another in the Louisiana Legislature and a spot on the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education are at stake, and many voters will consider local tax propositions. Residents of 20 parishes will vote in multiparish and local elections, 23 parishes have only multiparish elections, 10 parishes will hold only local races and 11 have no elections, according to the secretary of state’s office.

Votes can be cast from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at parish registrars of voters’ offices and other designated locations. More information is available at voterportal.sos.la.gov and on the GeauxVote mobile app.

Louisiana redistricting forums planned

The LSU Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs and Fair Districts Louisiana are planning a series of four forums about redistricting, with the first session to be held online March 31.

The spring session will explore issues including transparency, process, history and legal considerations, and will include a look at what Louisiana’s new congressional districts might look like. Panelists have not been announced, but organizers said they will include demographers and key legislators.

The summer meeting will look at redistricting of statewide offices such as the state Supreme Court and the Louisiana Legislature, while the fall meeting will focus on local offices, Fair Districts Louisiana said. The winter meeting will be a comprehensive look-back and look-ahead leading into the redistricting special session and may be held in person “if it’s safe,” organizers said.

New Orleans firm to expand headquarters

Matex Tank Terminals, a company that handles and stores bulk liquids, will spend $1.3 million to expand its New Orleans headquarters and plans by next year to add 42 employees with an average salary of $133,000, Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration announced.

Building on 220 current jobs across its Louisiana operations, the company’s annual payroll in the state will approach $30 million, officials said.

“Following our change in ownership, we are relocating certain back-office functions from Texas to New Orleans,” CEO Carlin Conner said in a statement announcing the expansion. “IMTT was founded in New Orleans over 80 years ago and we have a long and cherished history with the city. We are excited to maintain and expand our corporate headquarters here.”