Editors: The following stories from Associated Press members in Louisiana have been sent in advance for use the weekend/holiday period of Feb. 15-17 as part of AP's Louisiana Member Exchange program.
For use in editions of Saturday of Sunday, Feb. 15-16, and thereafter.
THIBODAUX — When the sun goes down, the leisurely pace of daytime commerce in downtown Houma and Thibodaux gives way to nighttime revelry as music fills the air and 20-somethings fill the nightclubs. "During the day there's not much happening, they're all working or fishing or whatever," said Frank Ball, a lifelong musician with a regular jazz and blues gig at Café Milano downtown. "But at night it really comes alive." To Ball, the nightlife is a valuable asset that distinguishes the Houma-Thibodaux area, forming a melting pot where ideas are shared, connections are made and musical talents are exchanged. As parish governments wage efforts to revitalize downtown Houma and Thibodaux, the nightlife business — music clubs, bars and restaurants — is providing a bedrock for bringing back daytime business. By John Harper, The Daily Comet. SENT: 770 words.
LAFAYETTE — Starting in March, students at Ossun Elementary with earaches, sore throats or other common sick-at-school ailments will be seen on the elementary school campus by a doctor in an exam room about five miles away at Carencro Middle School's school-based health center. Through technology, such as Bluetooth-enabled stethoscopes, otoscopes and ophthalmoscopes, pediatrician Dr. Donna Wilson will see patients at the elementary school as part of a telehealth program. The telehealth program is a partnership between the Lafayette Parish School System and Lafayette General Health and its foundation. Students with symptoms that need attention will be seen by a nurse who will assist with the doctor's remote exam, Cruice said. By Marsha Sills, The Advocate. SENT: 725 words. Photo planned.
For use in editions of Monday, Feb. 17, and thereafter
SHREVEPORT — The news that a decaying downtown building has a chance for new life as a museum, performing arts center and a place to kayak and climb has downtown planners and fans jumping for joy. "It is creating excitement," said Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Liz Swaine. "Their plans are ambitious and would mean so much for downtown Shreveport." The building, which formerly housed the YWCA at 710 Travis St., was purchased for $500,000 in September by the nonprofit Rainforest Art Foundation, announced Stephanie Lusk, of Shreveport, foundation co-director. The YWCA closed and the building vacated in 2010. The foundation is comprised of some 90 artists of different media from around the world and the mission is to increase appreciation of nature through art, in hopes of stimulating further preservation, Lusk said. Rainforest co-director James Yu, Lusk's father, says that renovation will be done on a shoestring, but estimates it will take six to eight months and cost from $1 to$1.5 million. By Maggie Martin, The Times. SENT: 865 words. Photo planned.
BATON ROUGE — Several years after Sue and Burton Weaver moved into their Georgian colonial home overlooking University Lake, Sue peeked out one of the many windows to notice a group of people heading out to their gazebo. The sight was -- and still is -- a common one in the nearly 25 years the Weavers have lived there, watching people take posed photos, paint or fish from the little building tucked into one of the bodies of water around their home. But this one was a little different. This was a full-blown engagement party. "They were setting up for their party," laughed Sue Weaver, "so we let 'em have the party, of course." The small screened-in gazebo is accessed via a narrow, scalloped concrete walkway, and many people have assumed it's part of City Park. "We watched them have their party from the back porch all evening," Weaver said. "They brought us a little bottle of champagne." It was just one of the many happy memories the pair have shared in their lake-shore home, which they call the Farr-West House for its previous owners, but getting there took some persuasion. By Chelsea Brasted, The Times-Picayune. SENT: 838 words. Photo planned.
For use in editions of Tuesday, Feb. 18, and thereafter
BROUSSARD — A new exhibit at Zoosiana has plenty of visitors asking questions. The zoo, formerly the Zoo of Acadiana in Broussard, welcomed a two-headed animal recently, a slider turtle named Michael and Angelo after Michaelangleo from the animated television show "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." Zookeeper Matt Oldenburg said the animal came from RainForest Adventures Discover Zoo in Sevierville, Tenn. The local zoo has a positive relationship with the zoo in Tennessee, he said, so they reached out to Acadiana about caring for the animal. The slider turtle, which is native to the United States, is bicephalic, meaning it has two heads, Oldenburg said. Michael and Angelo actually are twins that did not fully separate and resulted in having two heads on one body, he said. "They're two completely different animals; they're just attached to each other," Oldenburg said. By Sarah Blanchard, The Daily Iberian. SENT: 515 words. Photo planned.
OPELOUSAS — From the moment she read the story in the newspaper, the search was on. Less than an hour later, Joanne Rose, a retired nurse, had accomplished what police and reporters had been unable to do for weeks: she had found the family of Fanchon Chamberlain. Chamberlain, a homeless woman who had wandered the streets of Opelousas as Frances Cunha for years, had frozen to death behind a north Opelousas fire station Jan. 6. Her real identity remained unknown for two weeks, until Rose read a story in the Daily World about the futile attempts to locate her family. "I just thought, 'I'll bet I can find her family,' "said Rose. "So, I did." It took Rose about 45 minutes at her computer to locate Chamberlain's mother and a phone number. Rose had a slight advantage. At age 65, she has been an adoption "search angel" for the past 18 years, reuniting missing family members with others. Her success rate is impressive. More than 1,000 people have been united with the help of Joanne Rose. Search angels are an amorphous group. There is no official registry for them, no specific requirements or qualifications to become one except the desire to help others for no pay. Scattered across the country and loosely allied with one or more of several search groups, they are volunteers who help people locate missing relatives, usually birth mothers, or adoptees. By Evan Moore, The Daily World. SENT: 900 words. Photo planned.
— The Associated Press, New Orleans