Two tornadoes ripped into a New Orleans suburb Wednesday afternoon, damaging homes and knocking down power lines, but no injuries were reported, a local government spokeswoman said.
The storm hit in Kenner, Louisiana, near the city's international airport. The tornadoes damaged cars and roofs and brought down trees and electrical wires, Jefferson Parish spokeswoman Kriss Fortunato said.
Mike Efferson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in New Orleans, said the twister had estimated top winds of 90 mph. The second one had winds of 75 mph, the agency said on its Twitter account.
Connecticut's powerful offense scored almost at will Tuesday night as the Huskies blew out Louisville 93-60 to win the NCAA women's Division I basketball championship in New Orleans.
The title is head coach Geno Auriemma's eighth at UConn, tying him for the most all time with Tennessee's recently retired Pat Summitt.
The 33-point margin is the largest in the history of the tournament final.FULL STORY
A combination of technical and communication failures contributed to the partial power outage that disrupted this year's Super Bowl, an independent analysis has determined, utility Entergy New Orleans said Thursday.
The power was cut off to half the Mercedes-Benz Superdome early in the third quarter of Super Bowl XLVII between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers, causing a 34-minute delay in the February game.
Dr. John Palmer of Palmer Engineering & Forensics said a recently installed relay had a "design defect" that caused it to trip in an unpredictable way.
He said the device's trip level had been left at the factory default setting, which was inappropriate for its application in the dome.
Palmer's report also cited "inadequate communication between the manufacturer and the utility" as a contributing factor.
Terrilynn Monette had no problem uprooting her life to help children.
When the California native learned of the "teachNOLA" program, which sends educators to New Orleans to teach in impoverished areas, she packed her bags and headed to Louisiana.
"I always wanted to be a teacher, and what better place to teach than New Orleans, where passionate teachers are needed most?" Monette said in a 2011 video.
Her dedication and excellence in the classroom earned her a "Teacher of the Year" nomination in her district.
But after a night celebrating the accolade with friends, the 26-year-old vanished.FULL STORY
A tugboat pushing a barge loaded with crude oil struck a natural gas line Tuesday evening off the Louisiana coast, causing an explosion and fire in the Gulf of Mexico, officials said.
Deano Bonano, an aide to the council chairman in nearby Jefferson Parish, said two crew members from the tugboat were hospitalized.FULL STORY
[Updated at 3:41 p.m. ET] We're now getting possibly competing explanations about why the Super Bowl power outage happened Sunday.
Hours after the Entergy New Orleans power company announced that it believed a newly installed electrical relay device was to blame, the device's manufacturer responded that the outage happened because the device was operated at an incorrect setting.
[Posted at 9:49 a.m. ET] The cause of Sunday's power outage at the Super Bowl in New Orleans has been traced to an electrical relay device, Entergy New Orleans Inc. announced Friday. This device has since been removed from service and new replacement equipment is being evaluated.
The 35-minute electrical outage at the Super Dome set off a storm of social media amusement among viewers and inspired advertising tweets with blackout twists.
Call it the Super Bowl MVP - the most valuable power outage.
For 35 bewildering minutes Sunday night, the Super Bowl showdown between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers ground to a halt when half of the lights in the New Orleans Superdome went out.
Players stretched on the field. The more than 71,000 fans in attendance did the wave.
And with no immediate explanation for the outage, social media lit up.FULL STORY
Sean Payton's season of exile from the National Football League is officially over.
The NFL on Tuesday reinstated the New Orleans Saints head coach after he served a seasonlong suspension for the Saints' bounty scandal. The reinstatement came after Payton met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and "acknowledged ... his responsibility for the actions of his coaching staff and players," an NFL news release said.
"Sean fully complied with all the requirements imposed on him during his suspension," Goodell said in the release. "More important, it is clear that Sean understands and accepts his responsibilities as a head coach and the vital role that coaches play in promoting player safety and setting an example for how the game should be played at all levels.”
Payton said he was "thankful today Commissioner Goodell has granted me reinstatement."
"As I stated back in March, I, along with (Saints General Manager) Mickey Loomis, take full responsibility for all aspects of our football program,” Payton said in a statement released by a Saints spokesman.
"I clearly recognize that mistakes were made, which led to league violations. Furthermore, I have assured the commissioner a more diligent protocol will be followed."
Payton's reinstatement is immediate, meaning he can attend this week's Senior Bowl, a college all-star game featuring NFL Draft prospects.
Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who captured the drama of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 with an "SOS" call to the nation, was indicted Friday on 21 federal corruption charges, including bribery, money laundering, fraud and filing false tax returns.
Nagin (pictured) allegedly defrauded the city through "a bribery and kickback scheme" in which he received checks, cash, wire transfers, personal services and free travel from businessmen seeking contracts and favorable treatment from the city, the 25-page federal indictment says.FULL STORY
[Posted at 2:43 p.m. ET] We've just gotten a statement from BP with their reaction to the Transocean fine. BP agreed in November to plead guilty to criminal charges and pay penalties in relation to the incident.
"Today's settlement between Transocean and the United States underscores what every official investigation has found: that the Deepwater Horizon accident resulted from multiple causes, involving multiple parties.
In settling, Transocean has acknowledged that it played a significant role and has responsibility for the accident. Transocean is finally starting, more than two-and-a-half years after the accident, to do its part for the Gulf Coast.
Unfortunately, Halliburton continues to deny its significant role in the accident, including its failure to adequately cement and monitor the well."
[Posted at 1:00 p.m. ET] Offshore drilling firm Transocean will pay $1.4 billion in fines and penalties in connection with the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Justice Department announced Thursday.
Transocean owned and provided a crew for the Deepwater Horizon rig, where an explosion in 2010 killed 11 men and triggered the worst maritime oil spill in U.S. history. The well was capped three months later, but not before millions of barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf.
Transocean was contracted by BP, which leased the rig and directed staff onboard. BP agreed in November to plead guilty to criminal charges in connection with the incident and pay $4.5 billion in government penalties.FULL STORY
Tyrann "Honey Badger" Mathieu - a Heisman Trophy finalist last year at Louisiana State University, only to be suspended from the football team months later - was arrested Thursday on a drug charge, Baton Rouge police said.
[Updated 4:15 a.m. Friday] Isaac, now a tropical depression is working its way up the Mississippi River Valley, bringing heavy rain and the threat of flash floods to the area. A tornado watch remains in effect for much of Mississippi. Parts of Arkansas and Mississippi are under flash flood watches and warnings, according to the National Weather Service.
[Updated 10:35 p.m. ET] And finally ...
[Updated 10:21 p.m. ET] The folks who catch the shrimp we enjoy on our tables are a tough lot, a breed apart. Not a few of them rode out Isaac on their boats.
[Updated 10:09 p.m. ET] Electric utility Entergy says it will bring its Waterford 3 nuclear plant back online over the coming days. The plant, 25 miles from New Orleans, was shut down Tuesday as a precaution as Tropical Storm Isaac approached. About 41 percent of all homes in Entergy's Louisiana service area were without power as of late afternoon.
[Update 10:01 p.m. ET] Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport received its first post-Isaac incoming flight this evening, from Aspen, Colorado, Mayor Mitch Landrieu's office says.
[Updated 9:54 p.m. ET] The Salvation Army says it has provided more than 8,000 meals, 7,000 drinks, 6,000 snacks, and emotional and spiritual care to nearly 600 individuals along the Gulf Coast during the storm period.
[Updated 9:44 p.m. ET] New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees tweeted a message of support for the folks back home while the Saints prepared for a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans in Nashville:
[Updated 8:39 p.m.] Storm surge and high winds pushed several pleasure boats out of Mississippi's Pass Christian Harbor, leaving vessels high and dry on streets and in parking lots, CNN affiliate WLOX reports.
"I'd say in one word, it's a mess," Pass Christian Mayor Chipper McDermott told WLOX. "We had 215 boats in the harbor, and all but six or seven got out. As you can see, three are in the road, and that is a big problem."
Boat owners were under orders to remove their vessels from the harbor before the storm struck. McDermott wants to have a word with those who didn't.
"I'm personally taking it upon myself to talk with these boat owners," he said. "I'm personally doing it."
Refresh this page for the latest updates or read the full CNN story here.
[Updated 10:28 p.m. ET]
[Updated 10:20 p.m. ET] Water that overtopped levees was trapped in Plaquemines Parish with nowhere to drain. Officials were considering intentionally breaching a levee downstream to allow some of the floodwater to flow back out of the inundated area, Gov. Bobby Jindal said.
Parish President Billy Nungesser said parish officials will go out at low tide to check the back levee - a second line of defense - at the town of Braithwaite and determine where to punch holes in it. It will be Saturday, at the earliest, before crews can cut the levee open, letting water flow out into the marsh.
[Updated 10 p.m. ET]
[Updated 9:52 a.m. ET] New Orleans officials said there had been 12 incidents of looting. Police said arrests were made in each case, but didn't specify how many people were involved.
[Updated 9:48 p.m. ET] Lake Pontchartrain's water levels are "beginning to stabilize," St. Tammany Parish officials said, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Water had spilled out from the lake and flooded low-lying areas of the parish.
Rescues continue in areas around the vast Louisiana lake, including Lewisburg, Guste Island, Lacombe and Slidell, the newspaper's website reported.
[Updated 9:29 p.m. ET] Joey Amann gathered family and friends into his home in Hancock County, Mississippi, to ride out the storm, he told CNN affiliate WALA.
"You know, we just figured we'd be safer in numbers. Since our house is eight feet off the ground, we figured we'd be safer there but the water just kept coming," Amann said.
"It was scary. I mean, I've never seen the water raise this fast on this road and I've been here all my life. It just came out of nowhere."
The group ended up being rescued by emergency personnel in boats.
Amann told the station he lost his home to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
"Thirty-six years I've lived here, and it's just devastating," he said. "Seven years ago, we were going through the same thing. No one thought it would be this bad, but it's worse than we anticipated."
From CNN's Soledad O'Brien in New Orleans
The concrete is so clean on the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal/Surge Barrier that it looks like they poured it yesterday. But the roiling clouds above it made it clear why its completion in May was critical. It's about to face its first test
They call it "the wall" - a two-mile long stretch of concrete that's designed to keep the waters of the Gulf from flooding into Lake Borgne then inundating New Orleans neighborhoods like the Lower Ninth Ward, a surge that destroyed homes and left a trail of dead during Hurricane Katrina.
This massive post-Katrina effort by the Army Corps of Engineers with three 150-foot-wide gates began in 2009. At 10:30am on Tuesday, the two doors were closed for the first time in anticipation of Hurricane Isaac.
"It will keep water from coming from the Gulf of Mexico through Lake Borgne. Last time the surge went into Lake Borgne and into the heart of the city, " said Col. Edward Fleming of the US Army Corps of Engineers. "This wall is built to 26 feet high and we expect to see surges of eight to 10, maybe 15, feet."
Governments, business and residents in New Orleans and the central Gulf coast rushed Tuesday to complete last-minute preparations to bear the brunt of Hurricane Isaac.
The storm made initial landfall Tuesday evening as a Category 1 hurricane after graduating from tropical storm status Tuesday afternoon.
[Updated 11:29 p.m. ET]
[Updated 11:11 p.m. ET] Hurricane Isaac is "producing a dangerous storm surge" along the northern Gulf Coast, the National Hurricane Center said in its 11 p.m. ET update. Flooding from heavy rainfall will follow the storm surge, the NHC said.
At 11 p.m. ET, the storm's center of circulation was about 75 southeast of Houma, Louisiana, or 75 miles south-southeast of New Orleans, still moving at 8 mph with 80 mph maximum sustained winds.
[Updated 11:01 p.m. ET] Designer John Nelson created this fascinating and oddly beautiful visualization of every hurricane recorded since 1851. It's reproduced by Fast Company.
The image takes some getting used to, as it employs a southern polar projection; that is, Antarctica is in the center of the picture, with the other continents extending away from it. Hovering your mouse over the map enlarges an area so you can see greater detail.
[Updated 10:45 p.m. ET] Tropical Depression 11 rapidly intensified Tuesday evening and became the 11th named storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, Tropical Storm Kirk, the National Hurricane Center said. Kirk is located in the middle Atlantic and is not likely to become a threat to land.
[Updated 10:40 p.m. ET] Utility companies in four states report more than 200,000 customers have lost power because of Hurricane Isaac, all but 1,000 of them in Louisiana.
Thousands of people on the Gulf Coast have been told to leave ahead of Tropical Storm Isaac. Forecasters warn the storm will gain strength and is following the path Hurricane Katrina took seven years ago.
The tropical storm was expected to make landfall late Tuesday or Wednesday, coinciding with the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, though as a much weaker Category 1 hurricane, compared with 2005's monster storm.
Read the full CNN.com story here.
[Updated 5 a.m. ET Tuesday] Isaac is still a tropical storm and is located 125 miles from the mouth of the Mississippi River, moving northwest at 12 mph.
[Updated 4:35 a.m. ET Tuesday] The top sustained winds early Tuesday morning are 70 mph. The storm is expected to become a hurricane today.
[Updated 11:17 p.m. ET] The National Hurricane Center projected storm surges of 3 to 6 feet for the Florida Panhandle, 6 to 9 feet for the Alabama coast and 6 to 12 feet for the Mississippi and southeastern Louisiana shores.
[Updated 10:02 p.m. ET] Here's another way people can help their neighbors, at this location and others:
[Updated 9:54 p.m. ET] Mandatory evacuations are under way in the low-lying coastal areas of Mississippi's Hancock County, which includes Bay St. Louis and Waveland.
Informed and prepared. They're the two things you want to be if you’re in the path of a tropical storm or hurricane.
Some preparations for storms like Isaac, the tropical storm making its way toward the U.S. Gulf Coast, can begin (ideally) months ahead of time or within hours of its expected landfall.
But knowing how to react and whether to evacuate requires that you stay informed of the storm’s progress by tuning into local television and radio stations – preferably, with a battery-powered radio. You can buy a battery-powered NOAA radio that tunes in to special Weather Radio frequencies.
While the power is still on, people can find the most recent information on the storm's movement on the National Hurricane Center's Isaac advisory page. You can also get NHC updates on your mobile phone. Other useful apps can be found for iPhone at the App Store and for Android devices at the Google Play Store.
Some states keep general information about hurricane preparedness on their websites, including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Here's a state-by-state breakdown of Isaac's impacts. Many towns, counties and parishes keep information on their websites regarding the storm's progress, evacuation procedures, shelters and suspension of services. Some use Twitter and/or Facebook to post real-time updates. Below are just a few municipal websites that CNN.com has identified, though the list is not exhaustive:
Develop an evacuation plan tailored to your family’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding and wind. Locate a safe room or the safest areas in your home for each hurricane hazard. If the safest areas are not in your home, locate safe areas or buildings in your community and listen to local news for announcements on schools, shelters or designated safe areas. Determine an escape route from your home and places to meet in case family members become separated.
If your family hurricane plan includes immediate evacuation because of the location or conditions of your home, the National Hurricane Center recommends that you do not delay your departure. You may want to evacuate ahead of official orders to avoid travel delays or traffic congestion. Pick a location as close to your home as possible. If it’s a motel or hotel, make a reservation before you leave to ensure space. If you have a pet, this may be your best bet, as many shelters do not accept pets.
Before you leave, make sure you have an out-of-state friend as a family contact, so all your family members have a single point of contact.
Securing your home includes putting away anything surrounding the home that the wind can pick up: bicycles, lawn furniture and decorations and branches, to name a few. Seal all your windows and doors, and if you don’t have hurricane shutters, board up windows with plywood. Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure to reduce roof damage.
The National Hurricane Center has tips for preparing yourself and your home for a storm and coping with its aftermath, as well as assembling a plan and emergency kit.
Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed. Close off propane tanks.
Whether you ride out the storm in your home or evacuate, you’ll want to have a disaster supply kit at the ready that includes these items, according to the National Hurricane Center:
– Water: At least one gallon daily per person for three to seven days
– Food: At least enough for three to seven days nonperishable packaged or canned food and juices, snack foods.
– Eating supplies: Nonelectric can opener, cooking tools, disposable plates and utensils.
– Flashlights and extra batteries, radio
– Baby supplies: Bottle, formula, baby food, diapers.
– Toiletries: Hygiene items, moisture wipes, etc.
– Bedding: Blankets and pillows, etc.
– Clothing: Seasonal clothes, rain gear, sturdy shoes.
– First aid/medical: Pain relievers, bandages, splints, insect repellant, sunscreen, seven-day supply of prescription drugs, hearing aids with extra batteries, eyeglasses.
– Modern necessities: Fully charged cell phone with extra battery and a telephone set with a cord, cash in small bills, extra sets of house and car keys,
– Important documents in a waterproof container: Passports, birth certificates, insurance policies, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc.
More tips can be found here.
Seven people have been arrested in connection with the shooting of a Louisiana police officer on Thursday, a state police official said Friday.
Five of the people arrested are in jail and two others remain hospitalized and are being treated for gunshot wounds, Louisiana State Police spokesperson Melissa Matey said.
The seven are charged in connection with the shooting of Deputy Michael Scott Boyington, the first of four deputies shot in related incidents on Thursday.
Boyington was shot and wounded in a parking lot at a steel plant in LaPlace, about 25 miles west of New Orleans, St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre said Thursday.
The related incident happened when deputies went to a nearby trailer park to investigate the first shooting and were ambushed by a man armed with what Tregre described as an assault rifle, he said. Two deputies were killed and one was wounded in that confrontation.
Tregre identified the dead as Deputies Brandon Nielsen, 34, and Jeremy Triche, 28. Nielsen was married with five children and Triche had a wife and a 2-year-old son, Tregre told reporters Thursday.FULL STORY
Two Louisiana police officers were killed and two wounded Thursday morning in what state police are calling an ambush.
The four deputies from the St. Johns Baptist Parish office were shot as they were directing traffic outside the Bayou Steel Plant in LaPlace, Louisiana, State Police Sgt. Ann Dusang said.
"They were ambushed," Dusang said. "Two have been killed and two hospitalized."
Dusang said a search was under way for the gunman.FULL STORY
It's been said that Honey Badger don't care, but what may be more accurate is that Honey Badger don't play - at least not for the LSU Tigers.
The team, which played in last year's national college football championship game, announced this afternoon that their top player and arguably the nation's best cornerback, Tyrann Mathieu, has been dismissed for violating team policy.
“This is a very difficult day for our team,” head coach Les Miles said. “We lose a quality person, teammate and contributor to the program. However, with that being said, we have a standard that our players are held to and when that standard is not met, there are consequences."
Miles added, “It’s hard because we all love Tyrann. We will do what we can as coaches, teammates, and friends to get him on a path where he can have success. We are going to miss him.”
LSU did not say which team rule Mathieu broke. The 20-year-old All-American ran into trouble last year when he and two other players violated the team's drug policy. ESPN reported at the time that the trio tested positive for synthetic marijuana.
Despite missing the game, Mathieu was still a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, awarded to college football's best player, as a sophomore. In addition to winning the Chuck Bednarik Award, given to the top defensive player, he came in fifth in Heisman voting with 34 first-place votes and was the only defensive player among 10 finalists.
According to LSU, the Columbus, Ohio, native who attended high school in New Orleans, has registered 133 tackles - 16 for a loss - in 26 games for the Tigers. He also has four picks, 11 forced fumbles and eight fumble recoveries, as well as four touchdowns, two on punt returns and two on fumble returns.
The 5-foot-9, 175-pound Mathieu got his nickname for his fearlessness on the gridiron. Honey badgers are known to scrap with animals many times their size, including lions, and even tangle (successfully) with poisonous snakes.
Said the Dallas Cowboys' Morris Claiborne, a former teammate of Mathieu's: "Tyrann deserved the nickname ... because the honey badger takes what it wants, and Tyrann takes what he wants on the field," ESPN reported today in a profile.
The sports network had to add an editor's note, saying, "This story was published prior to Tyrann Mathieu's dismissal from LSU's football program on August 10."