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MARDI GRAS PARADE-FATALITY

New Orleans agency: 1 fatally struck by Mardi Gras float

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Authorities say a person has been struck by a float and fatally injured during one of the iconic parades of the Mardi Gras season in New Orleans. It was the second death in days to mar this year's Carnival festivities. A city agency tasked with emergency preparedness tweeted online that the death occurred Saturday night on a downtown New Orleans parade route of the popular Krewe of Endymion. It gave no immediate details about what exactly happened or the identity of the person. The city's emergency preparedness social media outlet, NOLA Ready, also tweeted that Endymion's parade was halted and marching groups disbanded afterward.

HEMP FARMING-LOUISIANA

Louisiana licenses issued allowing farmers to grow hemp

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana has started handing out its first licenses to farmers to grow industrial hemp. Lawmakers legalized the crop last year in a bid to start a new agricultural industry in the state. The prospect of hemp as a new crop has excited farmers in Louisiana. Hemp is a member of the cannabis plant family but contains only traces of the THC chemical compound that causes a high for marijuana users. Louisiana's hemp legalization came after Congress' 2018 Farm Bill removed the crop from the list of federally controlled substances. It also coincides with the increasing popularity of CBD, the non-psychoactive compound in the cannabis plant that is often extracted from hemp.

MAYOR'S COURT-LAWSUIT

Ruling: No budget conflict in Louisiana city's Mayor's Court

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal court has ruled that officials in a Louisiana city do not have a conflict of interest involving fines and fees collected by a city court. A 2017 lawsuit claimed the “Mayor's Court” in Gretna collects fines and fees that go into the city's general fund. The suit claimed that's an incentive for officials to prosecute minor crimes. But a federal magistrate judge says the system is structured so that the court officials would not be tempted to prosecute or convict for financial reasons.

TEXTILE MUSEUM REOPENING

LSU textile museum reopening in larger, renovated space

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A textile museum at Louisiana State University is growing and will reopen its renovated, larger space with an exhibition celebrating four decades of its collection. The opening exhibition in the LSU Textile and Costume Museum's new gallery will include a 1960s special occasion dress designed by American designer James Galanos; a 1938 SEC Championship LSU boxing robe; and the outfit worn by Baton Rouge WAFB-TV personality “Buckskin Bill” Black. Other items include clothing from past governors and their spouses; a Haspel labeled seersucker man’s suit; and non-western artifacts such as a 19th century Chinese “dragon robe.” The exhibition can be viewed by the public Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from March 30 to April 6.

MARDI GRAS-ALABAMA

Parades, balls planned on Alabama coast ahead of Mardi Gras

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — It's the last weekend of the Mardi Gras season on the Alabama coast. Nine parades are planned for Saturday and Sunday around Mobile and Baldwin County. And Sunday is Joe Cain Day in Mobile, where thousands of revelers will celebrate the man credited with creating Mobile's Mardi Gras festivities. There are more parades on Monday and Tuesday, when all the parties come to an end as the religious observance of Lent begins the next day. Storms have hurt crowds this year, but the weekend forecast is for sunny, cool weather.

WHOOPING CRANES SHOT-REWARDS

$11,000 in rewards for leads to whooping crane killers

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Louisiana and other donors are offering $11,000 for information about people who shot and killed two endangered whooping cranes. There's a $5,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of whoever killed one in Jefferson Davis Parish in November, and another $6,000 for tips in a November 2018 killing. Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement spokesman Adam Einck says the more recently killed bird was found Nov. 15 in a rice and crawfish field in the town of Elton. A necropsy determined that it had been shot and killed a day or two earlier.

TEXAS ATTORNEY-GIRLFRIEND BEATEN

Dallas lawyer gets 5 years in Louisiana for beating woman

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — A Texas attorney has pleaded guilty and been sentenced to five years in a Louisiana prison for breaking his girlfriend's eye socket and knocking out a tooth. Prosecutors say 33-year-old Willlie Richardson Joseph Jr. of Dallas was sentenced Friday immediately after pleading guilty to one count of battery of a dating partner with serious injury. The Caddo Parish District Attorney's Office says Joseph punched the woman repeatedly during an argument after a movie date on April 13 in Shreveport, about 180 miles south of Dallas.

LOUISIANA BUDGET-PRISONS

Another $34M sought to fill gaps in Louisiana prisons budget

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration is seeking another $34 million to cover Louisiana prison costs this year. That is prompting questions from state lawmakers who have seen continued requests for infusions of cash for corrections charges annually. The request came up Thursday at a meeting of the House and Senate budget committee. Republican lawmakers noted a package of bipartisan sentencing law changes passed three years ago was supposed to save Louisiana money by shrinking the prison population. The administration is seeking more than $18 million for the Department of Corrections to fill budget holes and nearly $16 million to pay parish sheriffs for housing state inmates in their jails.