The attorney for suspended New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma says a ledger of cash bonuses and fines for Saints players shows no proof of bounties placed on targeted opponents. Lawyer Peter Ginsberg says the leaking of the ledger shows how "irresponsible" NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been in handling the bounty probe.
Two Hollywood stars could spend the next two weeks in a New Orleans courtroom rather than on camera, on opposite sides in a real-life legal drama.
Jury selection is scheduled Monday for Stephen Baldwin's federal lawsuit against fellow actor Kevin Costner over their investments in a device BP used in trying to clean up the huge Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Both are expected to testify. U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman says every litigant must be in court every day because of the seriousness of the claims and in case of mid-trial settlement talks.
New Orleans hotel operators say occupancy is the highest in more than a decade. They credit refurbished hotels, a jam-packed calendar and continued recovery from the levee breaches after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Room rates are up, too. The Times-Picayune reports that Smith Travel Research quotes the city's average daily hotel rate at $154 — the highest since February 2002, when it averaged $159.40 a night.
Rates through April of this year averaged $148.61. That's 12.6 percent better than same four months last year.
BATON ROUGE — The Louisiana House has agreed to a $25.6 billion budget for next year that includes hundreds of millions of dollars in spending above the figure sought by a group of conservative Republicans.
Lawmakers voted 62-40 Sunday for the Senate version of the spending plans for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The vote gave final passage to the measure, sending it to GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal. He supports the larger budget, rather than the deeper cuts sought by the conservative bloc.
SULPHUR, La. — "American Idol" contestant Josh Ledet gave a free outdoor concert in Sulphur. At the Saturday show, Ledet sang gospel music and songs made famous by Whitney Houston and Beyonce, as well as "Idol" fan favorites "When A Man Loves a Woman" and "It's a Man's Man's Man's World."
BILOXI, Miss. — Mississippi's Department of Environmental Quality has posted more warnings of high bacteria levels along Mississippi beaches so far this year than in all of 2011. But the head of the Harrison County Sand Beach Authority says there have been fewer sewer-related problems in the past few years than there used to be.
BATON ROUGE — The Louisiana House will take up a proposal to use $205 million from the state's "rainy day" fund to offset a deficit in this year's budget. The House Appropriations Committee voted yesterday to tap into the Budget Stabilization Fund. The move is overwhelmingly backed by the Senate. A bloc of conservative House Republicans voted against using the money.
BATON ROUGE — Louisiana's Department of Education says the state's annual dropout rate has fallen for three years in a row. A department news release says the percentage of dropouts in seventh- through 12th grades decreased from 3.5 in 2009-2010 to 3.1 in 2010-2011. That means 1,100 more students chose to stay in school.