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FRENCH QUARTER SHOOTOUT

Man points gun in French Quarter, wounded in police shootout

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A man who had been pointing a gun at people in New Orleans' historic French Quarter was critically wounded Saturday in a shootout with police. New Orleans Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said officers responded to reports of an armed man near St. Louis and Bourbon streets around 7:30 a.m. Saturday. When they arrived, an “exchange of gunfire” began and the armed man was hit in the chest. He's being treated at University Medical Center, Ferguson said. No officers were injured.

ELECTION-VOTING STICKERS

Louisiana's 2019 "I Voted" sticker honored for creativity

MONROE, La. (AP) — Louisiana's 2019 “I Voted” sticker has won a national award for originality and creativity from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. The sticker was created by Cajun artist Tony Bernard of Lafayette. It featured a pelican wearing a crown centered in a rendition of the state seal. Voters received the sticker when they cast ballots in the Oct. 12 primary and Nov. 16 runoff elections. Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin says his agency spent $18,000 for the more than 3 million stickers distributed at polling places. Ardoin says his agency is considering Louisiana artists to produce a new sticker for this year's presidential election.

LOUISIANA-BOY FATALLY SHOT

Authorities: Boy, 3, dies in apparent accidental shooting

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Authorities say a 3-year-old boy has died in what appears to be an accidental shooting in East Baton Rouge. Police said Amir Antoine was shot just before noon Saturday in a home near Memorial Stadium in East Baton Rouge Parish. East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore III said the initial information he received indicated it was an accidental shooting though he said an investigation is ongoing. Authorities did not immediately release further details about the shooting. A coroner's report is awaited to determine the official cause and manner of death, according to officials.

NEW ORLEANS SCHOOLS

Audits reveal record-keeping issues at New Orleans schools

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A New Orleans school district's audit of several public high schools' record-keeping has revealed  problems that could impede graduation for some students if left unresolved. The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reports that district documents show that several charter high schools were struggling last fall with issues related to tracking student grades and other records. Some schools said last week that they had resolved the issues. Others said they were still working to do so.  The district is working to provide oversight in a city school system involving 38 independent, largely autonomous charter organizations.

MEDICAID CONTRACTS

Appeals challenge scrapping of Louisiana Medicaid contracts

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana's health department and four insurance companies chosen for $21 billion in Medicaid deals are challenging a decision to rescind the contract awards. The Department of Health and the private companies filed their appeals late Friday. They're arguing Louisiana's state procurement officer Paula Tregre didn't follow the law when she decided to throw out the three-year contract awards. Lawyers for the health department say Tregre made “multiple factual and legal errors” in her decision, and they argue that she took too long to decide. At issue are multibillion-dollar Medicaid contracts awarded by Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration to companies that will oversee care for about 90% of Louisiana's Medicaid enrollees, about 1.5 million people.

AP-US-HOTEL-COLLAPSE

New Orleans: Protesters demand action on damaged hotel

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — People in New Orleans are demanding something be done about the partially collapsed Hard Rock Hotel and that the two bodies still inside be recovered. Dozens of protesters marched from the hotel's remains on the edge of the French Quarter to City Hall on Friday. The hotel was under construction when it partially collapsed on Oct. 12, killing three people. Two bodies are still inside the building's unstable remains. People in the city were outraged earlier this week when a tarp that had been covering the remains of one of the victims shifted, exposing the remains to onlookers. The tarp has since been replaced but it sparked cries for greater accountability.

DOUG KERSHAW AT 84

At 84, Cajun musician Doug Kershaw still going strong

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — As 84-year-old Cajun music legend Doug Kershaw looks back, he's still looking ahead too — fiddling, singing, writing and performing as the quintessential “Louisiana Man.” In early February, he'll headline a festival in Spain. He's booked May 2 at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Kershaw says he's honored that his music has lasted so long.  Kershaw's autobiographical “Louisiana Man” is among nearly 500 songs he's written and recorded. He's filled in lots of details in a recently published 320-page memoir about his hard childhood,  his high-flying, hard-drinking and drug-wracked career and his hard-won happiness.

STORE-RACIST ITEMS

Store owner says she'll stop selling Nazi, racist items

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A store owner in New Orleans' French Quarter has told a newspaper she will stop selling items such as a Nazi flag and Jim Crow-era caricatures of African Americans. The leader of a group that combats antisemitism and racism had called for their removal. Rare Finds owner Sue Saucier first told The Times-Picayune / The New Orleans Advocate the items represent history, and are not meant to offend. However, she called back minutes later on Thursday and said she'd remove the items on Friday.  A call Friday to a number found online for the store got only a prompt for an access number.