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Louisiana at 2 a.m. on Tuesday

Happy Mardi Gras, Louisiana editors.

If you have any contributions for or questions about the report, call 1-800-662-7717. To report technical problems: 1-800-469-1362. AP stories, along with the photos that accompany them, can also be obtained from http://www.apexchange.com. Reruns are also available from the Service Desk (800-838-4616). The news editor is Brian Schwaner. Bill Fuller will be the breaking news staffer in New Orleans beginning at 4 a.m.

TOP STORIES

MARDI GRAS-NEW ORLEANS

NEW ORLEANS — Despite rain and cold in Tuesday's forecast, thousands lined the traditional parade routes overnight to get a prime spot for Mardi Gras — New Orleans' biggest free show. Mark Nelson of St. Louis will be attending his first Fat Tuesday. He said he's going to be in the mix even in a downpour. "That's why God made washing machines," said Nelson, who was sipping on a daiquiri as he enjoyed the sounds of trumpeter Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers who performed at the Lundi Gras festivities along the Mississippi River. UPCOMING: 350 words by 3:30 a.m.

OIL SPILL-CLAIMS

NEW ORLEANS — A divided three-judge federal appeals panel has ruled that businesses and individuals don't have to prove that they were directly harmed by BP's 2010 oil spill to collect settlement payments. The ruling is likely to clear the way for payments to resume from a settlement administrator after they were frozen earlier. By a 2-1 vote, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld a December 24 ruling by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans. SENT: 500 words.

SEX ABUSE CHARGE-FLIGHT

NEWARK, N.J. — Federal prosecutors in New Jersey say a Louisiana man is accused of sexually touching a sleeping woman aboard a cross-country flight. Devender Singh, a 61-year-old Indian national who lives in Baton Rouge, was taken into custody by the FBI after the plane arrived in New Jersey on Sunday. The arrest was made public on Monday, the same day Singh appeared in U.S. District Court on a charge of abusive sexual contact. SENT: 225 words.

FBH -OBIT-SHOWS

WEST MONROE, La. — A high school football coach who won eight Louisiana state championships has died. Don Shows (SHOWS), who was 75, died early Monday morning at Ochsner Medical Center near New Orleans. Shows will be cremated, The News-Star reports (http://tnsne.ws/1kPpwRG) and a memorial service will be held Friday at the West Monroe High School stadium. On a field named for him, the service is planned to simulate a football game. SENT: 450 words.

WILDLIFE TIPSTERS

NEW ORLEANS — State officials say Louisiana paid $18,000 last year to tipsters who helped arrest 68 people accused of killing protected animals, poaching and other wildlife violations. Department of Wildlife and Fisheries spokesman Adam Einck says Louisiana Operation Game Thief reviewed 47 cases and gave rewards in 41 considered flagrant violations. He says four cases brought more than one tipster, so 48 people were paid. Last year's largest total reward — including $7,000 from other sources — was $8,000 to three tipsters who helped arrest a man later convicted of killing a threatened Louisiana black bear Nov. 27, 2012, in Avoyelles Parish. A $15,000 reward for information about whoever killed an endangered whooping crane in Red River Parish went unclaimed. Einck says Operation Game Thief doesn't keep require or track convictions. By Janet McConnaughey. SENT: 400 words.

LOUISIANA COLLEGE-AGUILLARD

PINEVILLE — Joe Aguillard could soon receive a contract extension to remain at the private Baptist school in Pineville. Tommy French, chairman of the Executive Committee of the Louisiana college Board of Trustees, said the board began working on Agulliard's contract last week. French says the executive committee will meet again this month. If a contract extension is offered to Aguillard, French says it must be approved by the full board, which is scheduled to meet in April. French said he couldn't speak for the committee or the board, but he saw no reason Aguillard would not receive a new contract. Aguillard has been president at Louisiana College since Jan. 19, 2005. SENT: 365 words.

GIBSON LIBRARY

GIBSON — Gibson is getting a new library with more computers and parking space. Terrebonne Public Library officials say the library, which will face La. Highway 182 and be located behind Gibson Elementary School, could be built by next year. The Terrebonne School Board is partnering with the Library Board to use up to one acre of school property for the project. Library Director Mary LeBoeuf said the library will have about 2,500 square feet and cost about $700,000 to $800,000, which will be paid from local sales tax money designated for the public library system. The cost will cover construction and equipment such as tables, chairs, shelving and computers. SENT: 264 words.

HEALTH ALERT

LAFAYETTE — Health officials are urging people to take precautions against meningitis. The state Department of Health and Hospitals says an East Baton Rouge high school student died earlier this month from a strain of meningitis. State Epidemiologist Raul Ratard says the type of virus found in the girl was not contagious. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two colleges, Princeton University and the University of California, Santa Barbara, are experiencing unrelated outbreaks of serogroup B meningococcal disease. In Acadiana, Michael Odinet, emergency medicine physician, at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center, said hospitals and other health care facilities commonly see viral, or "aseptic," cases of meningitis. Odinet says viral meningitis is less dangerous that bacterial meningitis, but both can be lethal if not detected in time. SENT: 249 words.

ONLINE MBA DEGREE

RUSTON — Louisiana Tech University's College of Business has developed and is accepting applications for its new online master of business administration degree program, which will begin in the fall. James Lumpkin, dean of the College of Business, says the online program is identical to Tech's existing MBA program. He said the classes have the same content, rigor and quality as the on-campus courses and the program is fully accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International. Like the traditional MBA, Tim Bisping, associate dean of graduate programs in the College of Business, said the degree could be completed in one year if a student wants to go full time. SENT: 240 words.

LOUISIANA IN BRIEF

Editors: The following brief items may be of interest for your Tuesday editions.

WINTER WEATHER-LOUISIANA

LAKE CHARLES, La. — It could be an icy Mardi Gras for parts of Louisiana. The National Weather Service warned Monday that freezing rain could begin falling before dawn Tuesday across a region running from Many, Natchitoches and Winnfield south to parishes along Interstate 10 west of the Atchafalaya River. UPCOMING: 130 words by 2 a.m.

LOUISIANA BICYCLE DEATHS

BATON ROUGE, La. — More Louisiana bicycle riders died in crashes in 2012 than in any year in the preceding decade. The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission says 24 bicycle riders died that year, even as the number of people who died in motor vehicle crashes declined. UPCOMING: 130 words by 3 a.m.

HARAHAN DRAINAGE

HARAHAN, La. — The Army Corps of Engineers says a segment of Powerline Drive in Harahan will be closed for about 6 months while a drainage line is installed. The closing will begin Wednesday on Powerline Drive near River Road. UPCOMING: 80 words by 3 a.m.

HOSPITAL CEO

NEW ORLEANS — Children's Hospital has named Mary Perrin its new chief executive officer. NOLA.com ' The Times-Picayune reports (http://bit.ly/1g523aS ) the appointment is effective April 1. UPCOMING: 80 words by 3 a.m.

PARENTS HELD CAPTIVE

GONZALES — Deputies say an elderly Gonzales couple's son is accused of holding them captive in their own home for five days until their granddaughter came to their rescue. Maj. Ward Webb of the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office said Richard Miley, 44, was arrested last week and booked on counts of false imprisonment, domestic abuse battery, simple criminal damage to property and parole violation. SENT: 131 words.

DISINFECTANT COFFEE

BATON ROUGE — East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff's deputies have arrested a 31-year-old Denham Springs woman on accusations she squirted a disinfectant into a co-worker's coffee cup with the intent of injuring the woman. Cristina Collica was booked on a count of mingling harmful substances. SENT: 127 words.

JARREAU-FATAL HOUSE FIRE

JARREAU — Authorities say the body of an 85-year-old Jarreau man was pulled from the charred remains of his mobile home. The chief deputy for the state Fire Marshal's Office, Brant Thompson, identified the victim as Henry H. Jipson. SENT: 108 words.

UTV-FATAL ACCIDENT

GLENMORA — State police say an accident involving a utility task vehicle has claimed the life of a 4-year-old girl. The accident happened late Saturday near Glenmora in Rapides Parish. Trooper Scott Moreau says 43-year-old William P. Antee, of Boyce, was driving a Polaris Razr that overturned. SENT: 106 words.

ACADIA-FATAL CRASH

CHURCH POINT — State police have arrested a 22-year-old Lake Charles woman following a fatal crash on La. Highway 370 near Church Point. Troopers say Emily Marcantel was westbound on Highway 370 Sunday when her car left the roadway, stuck a ditch and overturned. Marcantel was not wearing a seat belt and was not injured. SENT: 107 words.

SOUTHEASTERN-OPEN HOUSE

HAMMOND — Southeastern Louisiana University plans an open house Thursday to celebrate the recent opening of the new Student Union addition. The addition opened Feb. 17 and is part of a $32 million student-funded initiative to expand and renovate the existing Student Union. SENT: 49 words.

BUSINESS IN BRIEF

MOREHOUSE-JOB FAIR

BASTROP— DG Foods plans a job fair in Bastrop Wednesday to seek candidates to fill jobs created by an expansion of its operations in Morehouse Parish. The company's local plant will be adding a new division, creating 100 jobs. The fair is planned from 5-8 p.m. at the Bastrop Municipal Center. SENT: 67 words.

SPORTS

PELICANS-KINGS

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The New Orleans Pelicans try to snap a seven-game losing streak when they play the Sacramento Kings, who are tied for the worst record in the Western Conference. SENT: 700 words. With AP Photos.

FBN-SAINTS-GRAHAM

NEW ORLEANS — The NFL has formally designated New Orleans' Jimmy Graham as a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag value, which is now set at $7.05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal.

LOUISIANA OUTDOORS

RED SNAPPER FIGHT

BATON ROUGE — It's amazing to think anyone in Louisiana would try to derail recreational fishing efforts in our Sportsman's Paradise. Yet, every time there's a chance to make public comment about the ongoing battle between recreational and commercial fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, especially when it comes to red snapper, the Louisiana Restaurant Association lines up squarely against recreational fishermen. Make no mistake, the LRA is a mighty organization in our state. Our restaurants are renowned around our world, and chefs working in our restaurants have produced culinary masterpieces in part because our waters yield so much of what others wish they had. By Joe Macaluso, The Advocate. SENT: 457 words.

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The Associated Press

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