Latest Louisiana news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. CDT


Louisiana governor: State may be turning the corner on virus

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards says Louisiana is starting to see hospital admission and death rates that could suggest new infections are slowing. The Democratic governor offered a hint of optimism Monday in a state with one of the nation’s highest per capita virus infection rates. Still, the virus was blamed for the death of a baby girl born prematurely after her mother contracted the disease. And Edwards cautioned that Louisiana residents must stay home as much as possible and continue to avoid public gatherings. Louisiana has nearly 15,000 people with confirmed infections and more than 500 virus-related deaths.


Sheriff: Louisiana man kills kidnapped woman after escape

LAPLACE, La. (AP) — Authorities in Louisiana said a man kidnapped a woman and fatally shot her when she escaped. Corrie Wallace was charged Monday with first-degree murder in the death of 25-year-old Ja’Riel Sam. St. John the Baptist Parish deputies said Sam and Wallace were acquaintances and sometime Sunday morning Wallace went to Sam’s apartment. Deputies said the pair argued and Wallace later put Sam in the trunk of her own car and drove off. Deputies said Sam managed to open the trunk and jump from the car but Wallace also jumped from the moving vehicle, catching up to Sam and shooting her in the head. It’s unclear whether Wallace had an attorney.


New Louisiana Medicaid director begins job in virus outbreak

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana has a new state Medicaid director. Ruth Johnson started the job Monday in the middle of the coronavirus epidemic. The state health department announced Johnson's hiring Monday. She has has worked in state government agencies across Louisiana, South Carolina and Texas over the last three decades. Johnson worked as the secretary of the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services from 2010-12 during former Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration. Most recently, Johnson was chief operating officer for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. Louisiana also will soon have a new health secretary. Courtney Phillips is supposed to take over the position later this month. Phillips has led the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.


ACLU seeks release of federal prison inmates where 5 died

A new class-action lawsuit demands the release of hundreds of high-risk inmates at a federal prison in Louisiana where the coronavirus has claimed the lives of five prisoners and infected nearly two dozen others. The American Civil Liberties Union says authorities are not acting quickly enough to release medically vulnerable prisoners to home confinement. A coronavirus outbreak at the low-security facility already has killed five inmates and infected nearly two dozen others. The federal Bureau of Prisons declined to comment. The lawsuit says Attorney General William Barr's instructions to federal prisons last week did not offer specific details or a timeline.


Police: Man accused of shooting officer arrested in standoff

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — Authorities in Louisiana say a man accused of shooting a police officer has been arrested after an hourslong standoff at an apartment complex. Sixty-five-year-old William Torrans was charged Monday with first-degree attempted murder. Shreveport police said authorities responded to a call about gunfire at an apartment complex before noon. Police said groundskeepers were cutting grass there when 65-year-old Torrans became agitated and fired at least one shot toward them. Police said Torrans shot the responding officer. The officer was hospitalized and was expected to recover. Police said Torrans was forcibly taken into custody to end the standoff. It’s unclear whether Torrans had an attorney.


Louisiana college president who led for 3 decades dies at 91

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — A Louisiana university has announced that an educational leader once recognized as the nation's longest-serving public university president has died at the age of 91. A statement from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette said former president Ray P. Authement died Sunday. A spokesman said he had been ill for the last year and was in hospice care. Authement led the institution for three decades from the early 1970s until 2008. Officials said that under Authement’s tenure, the school earned global recognition in research and engineering fields as well as Francophone studies.


Ex-NFL kicker, Saints hero Tom Dempsey dies at 73

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Former NFL kicker Tom Dempsey has died at 73 from what his family described as complications from the new coronavirus. Dempsey was known for being the first to hit a field goal from 63 yards and for succeeding in pro sports despite being born without toes on the right foot with which he kicked. The 63-yard field goal stood as the longest in NFL history for 43 years until 2013. Dempsey kicked 11 seasons in the NFL with New Orleans, Philadelphia, the Los Angeles Rams, Houston Oilers and Buffalo. He had been diagnosed with dementia and was living in a New Orleans nursing home that was hard hit by the virus.


Texas troopers begin screening travelers from Louisiana

ORANGE, Texas (AP) — Texas state troopers are now screening travelers coming into the state from Louisiana in accordance with an executive order issued by Gov. Greg Abbott. Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Stephanie Davis told KDFM-TV that troopers began stopping vehicles on Interstate 10 near Orange in southeast Texas and requiring travelers to complete a travel form. The screening comes as state health officials on Sunday reported at least 6,669 cases and 118 COVID-19 deaths in Texas. The vast majority of those who contract COVID-19 recover.