Associated Press

Governor Bobby Jindal says his budget cut proposal for next year will be presented to lawmakers with a list of "options."

The state faces a $1.6 billion shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year. The Jindal administration is considering state financing cuts up to $400 million for public colleges, and $300 million to health care services.

Jindal's budget proposal is due to lawmakers at the end of next month.

Jindal says his budget proposal will be paired with "suggested solutions" that could reduce some cuts, but would require legislative approval.

Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson is asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by family members he recently removed as heirs of his NFL and NBA teams.

Benson’s lawyers filed an answer to the lawsuit yesterday in civil district court in New Orleans. He says he made a "deliberate, reasoned and difficult decision" to change his succession plan so that Gayle Benson, his wife of 10 years, inherits control of the teams.

The company that manages the Superdome and Smoothie King Center is in line for a contract renewal through 2022.

A panel of lawmakers and other state official agreed yesterday to the five-year contract extension for the SMG company. The action also must win approval from lawmakers through mailed ballot.

Ron Forman is chairman of the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District. He says SMG is taking a $300,000 annual cut in fees, and will pay $5 million toward facility improvements under the new deal.

SMG has held the contract for nearly 40 years.

A historic New Orleans cemetery will soon be off-limits to tourists on their own because of repeated tomb vandalism.

Starting in March, entry to St. Louis Cemetery Number One will be restricted to relatives of those buried there. Others must be accompanied by a tour guide registered with the Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans, which owns the property.

That cemetery may have started the city's tradition of above-ground crypts

In late 2012, someone covered the reputed tomb of voodoo priestess Marie Laveau with pink paint.

Now it’s BP’s turn in court.

The oil company will be calling witnesses as it makes a case for civil penalties lower than the $13.7 billion the federal government wants from the 2010 oil spill.

The second week of a three-week trial is set to begin today in New Orleans.

Last week, government experts testified about environmental, economic and social damage caused by the spill.

BP attorneys disputed much of that testimony, and have argued the recovery of the environment and the Gulf economy has been strong.

Governor Bobby Jindal has told Christians at a weekend prayer gathering that the nation needs a spiritual revival.

Outside that gathering at the LSU basketball arena, hundreds protested his appearance.

Jindal as considering a run at the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. He said the rally was a religious event, not a political one.

At the prayer meeting, he talked about his personal Christian conversion, and urged the crowd to plant seeds of faith in everyone they meet.

A government witness at the trial to determine civil penalties against BP for the 2010 oil spill says the disaster hurt a wide array of industries over a broad geographic area.

Charles Mason also testified yesterday that the harm was only modestly countered by BP's spending and investment in the region.

U.S. Justice Department attorneys are pushing for the maximum $13.7 million Clean Water Act penalty for BP.

BP says the figure should be less.

Skylar Primm / Flickr

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says a female whooping crane released about a year ago has been shot in Vermilion Parish and had to be put to death.

Spokesman Adam Einck said Wednesday there's a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the conviction of whoever shot the endangered bird.

He says the bird was found Nov. 2 with an apparent bullet wound in her upper left leg and was euthanized the next day at the Louisiana State University veterinary school.

duppy5446 / Flickr

The city of New Orleans is offering musicians a chance to learn the business side of the industry at the "Y'Heard Me? Music Business Summit" on Saturday.

The free conference, to be held from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Ellis Marsalis Center, will give aspiring musicians the opportunity to learn from industry professionals about copyright and intellectual property law, artist management and goal setting, fan engagement and Internet marketing, licensing music to motion pictures, and small business development.

Deutschlandreform / Wikimedia

In a move to protect the health of musicians and late-night workers, the New Orleans City Council has voted unanimously to ban smoking in bars and gambling halls.

New Orleans had been one of the last major American cities to allow people to smoke tobacco in bars. Smoking at indoor restaurants is no longer permitted. The new ban is expected to take effect in three months.

The ban was tweaked before being approved. For instance, New Orleans police won't have to enforce the ordinance and smoking will be allowed within 5 feet of bar entrances — not 25 feet away.

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