News

MARDI GRAS

As Mardi Gras revelry ends with a party, Lent begins

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The party is over in New Orleans as Mardi Gras comes to a close.

Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, for many Christians a period of reflection or fasting ahead of Easter.

On the last day of revelry, thousands of people took to the streets.

They wore elaborate costumes and watched the parades along St. Charles Avenue.

At midnight, police held a ceremonial clearing of Bourbon Street to symbolize the end of the season.

Carnival starts on Jan. 6 and includes parades in various parts of the city as well as other cities and towns along the Gulf Coast.

This year, Fat Tuesday was marred by a crash. In the Alabama beach town of Gulf Shores, police said a car accidentally plowed into a band, injuring 12 people.

OBIT-SUMMERLIN

Former AP correspondent Sam Summerlin dies at 89

CARLSBAD, Calif. (AP) — One of The Associated Press’s most distinguished correspondents, Sam Summerlin, has died. He was 89.

His daughter Claire Slattery says Summerlin died Monday in Carlsbad, California, from complications of Parkinson’s disease.

Summerlin joined the AP in 1949 and became one of the youngest war correspondents in Asia when he was sent to cover the Korean War. He was the first to report its end with the signing of an armistice in 1953.

He later reported from Cuba, Argentina and the Philippines and covered the U.S. civil rights movement in the 1960s.

He left the AP in 1975 to run The New York Times news service and syndicate. Summerlin had long and successful careers as a Times executive and manager of his own media companies.

VANDALISM SUSPECT KILLED

Man arrested in shooting death of suspected vandal

MANSFIELD, La. (AP) — Authorities say a man has been jailed on a second-degree murder charge in DeSoto Parish after shooting a suspected vandal in the back.

Northwest Louisiana media report that 34-year-old Cody Carl Parker of Mansfield was arrested in the Sunday night death of 50-year-old James Hewitt, also of Mansfield.

Mansfield Police Chief Gary Hobbs said Hewitt was shot with a rifle as he ran from Parker’s home.

Hobbs said Parker apparently heard the sound of his car’s headlights being knocked out. He picked up a rifle, stepped outside and fired.

Hobbs said Hewitt was running away and posed no threat to Parker.

Online records show Parker was being held Tuesday in the DeSoto Parish jail. There was no information on whether he had an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

DEEP SOUTH-STORMS

NWS: Deep South states at risk for strong storms

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The National Weather Service says Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia are all at risk for severe weather on Wednesday.

The Storm Prediction Center says a weather system moving eastward across the Deep South could spawn severe thunderstorms with high winds and isolated, brief tornadoes.

The areas at greatest risk include northeastern Mississippi, northern Alabama, and the northwestern corner of Georgia. The chances of strong storms are lower near the coast.

Forecasters say there’s an enhanced risk of severe weather from eastern Tennessee all the way north to West Virginia.

NEW ORLEANS SHOOTING

Police investigating shooting of woman in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Police are investigating the shooting of a woman in New Orleans.

New Orleans Police said in email that the woman was shot in the head around 6 a.m. Tuesday. She was taken to the hospital, but her condition wasn’t immediately available.

Police say the shooting occurred at St. Roch Avenue and Treasure Street.

The woman’s identity or age has not been released. Information regarding a motive for the shooting was not available.

FLOAT INJURY-MARDI GRAS

Man injured in fall from float during Mardi Gras parade

(Information from: The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Police say a man fell off a float and injured himself near the end of a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans.

New Orleans police told The Times-Picayune the man was riding in the Krewe of Thoth parade around 5:10 p.m. Sunday. A krewe representative says the man suffered a head injury.

Krewe spokesman Penny Larsen says the man had a concussion but was reported to be responsive.

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MARDI GRAS-CAR HITS CROWD-THE LATEST

The Latest: Police: Too soon to talk about new safety rules

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans police say it’s too soon to discuss whether new safety rules will be established after a man accused of driving drunk plowed into a Mardi Gras parade crowd.

Police spokesman Michael “Beau” Tidwell says he’s also trying to track down why a police report says 32 people were hit. Earlier statements had the number at 28, with 21 taken to hospitals and seven declining treatment.

He says those injured include a police lieutenant. Tidwell says he believes Lt. Michelle Woodfork was on duty at the time of the accident Saturday night. He says she’s the niece of former Police Superintendent Warren Woodfork.

The driver, 25-year-old Neilson Rizzuto, is jailed, his bond set at $125,000. The accident happened during one of the season’s glitziest parades, the Krewe of Endymion.

MARDI GRAS-THE LATEST

The Latest: Man dies after falling from truck onto rebar

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A man watching a Mardi Gras parade in Biloxi, Mississippi, died after falling from the back of a pickup truck onto a piece of exposed rebar.

Biloxi officials told Gulf Coast media that Tuesday’s accident happened at an Interstate 110 underpass.

Fire Chief Joe Boney said the man was standing or sitting on the back of a pickup truck, fell off, and the rebar pierced his body.

The Gulf Coast Carnival Association parade was halted so that an ambulance could get to the man.

The man’s name was not available. Boney estimated he was in his early 20s.

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