Associated Press

Mayor Mitch Landrieu welcomed a new class of police recruits and praised them for taking the challenge to don a police badge in one of the nation's most crime-plagued cities.

The new class begins its 10 months of training as crime spikes in the French Quarter and the New Orleans Police Department struggles with a shortage of officers on the streets.

Landrieu spoke to the 30 recruits today at the start of their first day of tough physical training at a training facility in eastern New Orleans.

Laurie / Flickr

Elton John, The Who, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga will headline this year's New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

The festival annually draws hundreds of thousands to New Orleans for two weekends of jazz, blues, Cajun, zydeco and gospel. The lineup draws heavily from Louisiana but it's accented with national acts. This year they will also include No Doubt, Keith Urban, Pitbull, John Legend, Ed Sheeran and Chicago.

St. Tammany Parish District Attorney-elect Warren Montgomery will be inaugurated today, ending the long tenure of Walter Reed.

The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. at the St. Tammany Parish Courthouse in Covington.

NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reports Montgomery won a runoff December 6 to take the 22nd Judicial District's district attorney post. The district covers St. Tammany and Washington parishes.

Reed held the post for the last 30 years. He announced he would not seek a sixth term amid a federal investigation.

Governor Bobby Jindal is headed to Europe.

The trip is aimed at seeking new foreign investment for Louisiana. It also offers an opportunity for the possible presidential candidate to bolster his foreign policy credentials.

An economic development mission starts in London and continues in Switzerland and Germany. Jindal, his wife, chief of staff and economic development secretary are all included. The group returns January 20th.

Jindal will meet with executives of five companies in the manufacturing and services industries.

Entergy Gulf States Louisiana says it plans to build a $187 million transmission project in the Lake Charles area.

It’s part of Entergy’s plan to ready its grid for rising electricity demand expected from a regional industrial boom.

Entergy said yesterday that the work would be one of the largest transmission projects in its history. If approved, the company expects the project to be in service by 2018.

Bans on gay marriages in three conservative Southern states are getting a hearing in a federal appeals court in New Orleans today.

It’s the latest legal battle over an issue expected to be settled by the nation's highest court.

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal is scheduled to hear arguments from state attorneys today from Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi.

They all passed bans on same-sex marriages. 

It’s a bitter cold morning in the New Orleans region.

The National Weather Service says a wind chill has pushed temperatures down to around zero early this morning.

It’s so cold that utilities won’t cut off service to households that are behind on payments.

A 2007 Public Service Commission rule instructs utilities to avoid cutting off customers when temperatures reach 32 degrees or colder and remain there.

Vishal

Strawberry farmers are bracing for Wednesday night's cold snap.

WBRZ-TV reports that crews worked to cover their strawberries and protect them from the cold weather moving in.

Farmers say if temperatures get too cold and stay there for too long, they could be facing a total loss of their crops.

Lows are forecast to be around 20 degrees in southern Louisiana and stay in the 20s for the next two or three days, with the potential for freezing rain later in the week.

The St. Bernard Parish Council has approved an ordinance amendment that nearly doubles resident's water and sewer rates.

It triples them for some commercial users.

The council said yesterday that the rate increase will help improve water quality. It comes about a year after a brain-eating amoeba was found in the water system.

The parish's water and sewerage rates had not changed since 1997. The average residence in St. Bernard will see its water rate jump from about $13 a month to $24 a month.

drp / Flickr

Neighborhood groups came out strongly on Tuesday against a massive overhaul of the codes governing new development in New Orleans, setting the stage for fights over new condominiums along the Mississippi River, the spread of live music into quiet neighborhoods and the delicate balance between economic growth and residents' wishes.

The groups paid for a new billboard near City Hall calling on city leaders to "Fix the CZO!," a reference to the new 600-plus page comprehensive zoning ordinance under review. The City Council is expected to adopt the new codes this year.

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