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News in Brief- October 7, 2018

News in Brief- October 7, 2018

Next Gulf of Mexico oil lease sale to offer 78M acres

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The U.S. Interior Department says the next Gulf of Mexico oil and gas lease sale will offer about 78 million acres - about the same amount as the sale in August.

The sale will be held in March, and will be live streamed from New Orleans. It's the fourth such sale under an Obama administration plan for 2017 through 2024.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke wants to expand offshore drilling starting next year, but his plan may not affect Gulf lease sales.

Zinke's draft proposal initially included tracts off of Florida in two sales in late 2022, after a congressional moratorium on drilling there expires. After pushback from the state's governor and congressional delegation, he said Florida would be exempted.

The plan's next version is to be released later this year.


Shell considering Louisiana expansion, seeking tax break

GEISMAR, La. (AP) — Shell is considering a $1.2 billion expansion in Louisiana that would create 23 permanent positions and support more than 1,000 temporary construction jobs.

The Advocate reports the oil and gas company's expansion of its Geismar facilities would add a world scale mono-ethylene glycol or MEG unit. MEG is a syrup-like liquid vital for making polyester fibers, engine coolants and other products.

Shell Chemical LP Geismar spokesman Kevin Hardy says in a statement the company has applied for a tax break through the state's Industrial Tax Exemption Program for the potential expansion.

The preliminary application says the project would create the job opportunities at the plant where Shell currently employs 653 people.

Kate MacArthur with Ascension Parish Economic Development Corp says she expects Shell to make a final investment decision next year.

Information from: The Advocate,


Library moves 'Drag Queen Story Time' to bigger venue

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Interest in a Louisiana library's planned "Drag Queen Story Time" is so high that the event is moving to a community college auditorium.

A notice on the Lafayette Public Library's webpage states that it's moving the Oct. 6 event from the library to South Louisiana Community College's Health and Sciences auditorium because of safety concerns resulting from an expected overflow crowd.

Libraries and book stores around the country have held programs in which men in drag read stories to children. Some drew protests.

The Lafayette event is being hosted by the library and the university's Umbrella Club, with readings by members of a University of Louisiana-Lafayette chapter of Delta Lambda Phi, a fraternity of "gay, bisexual and progressive men."

Public comments at a city-parish council meeting last month were overwhelmingly supportive. At a library board meeting last week, opponents appeared to outnumber supporters.


Disney Cruise Lines to sail from New Orleans in 2020

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — For the first time, Disney Cruise Lines will set sail from New Orleans.

The company announced Thursday that it will embark from the Big Easy to Caribbean and Bahamian destinations starting in 2020.

The first voyage is set for Feb. 14, 2020 — a seven-night Western Caribbean cruise aboard the 2,700-passenger Disney Wonder. Ports of call include Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Falmouth, Jamaica. The trip also incorporates three days at sea.

Bookings for the cruises from New Orleans became available starting Thursday, Oct. 4.

Disney's other offerings will include four- and six-night Western Caribbean sailings; a seven-night Bahamian cruise and a 14-night Panama Canal Voyage that will go from Feb. 7-March 6.


Louisiana's school grades, with changes, to come out in Nov.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Superintendent of Education John White says annual letter grades for Louisiana's public schools will be released Nov. 8.

The grades, along with accompanying school performance scores, spell out how students fared on key tests, graduation rates and other measurements.

This year, students and their parents will see changes in the rating system that make it harder for schools and districts to land an A. The changes are aimed at making students more competitive with their counterparts nationally.

The Advocate reports an education department analysis predicted the number of F-rated schools is expected to rise 57 percent and those with A ratings to drop 38 percent.

To lessen that blow, lawmakers are requiring that the upcoming round of letter grades show how schools fare under the new grading method and the old one.

Information from: The Advocate,


Professor cooks up class inspired by Anthony Bourdain

THIBODAUX, La. (AP) — A professor in Louisiana is cooking up a class inspired by the late globe-trotting food chronicler Anthony Bourdain.

News outlets report the three-credit course titled "Anthony Bourdain and His Influencers" will be offered at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, starting in spring 2019. Students will compare some of Bourdain's most famous work with the writings and films that influenced him.

The class was the brainchild of Todd Kennedy, who heads the university's film department. Kennedy says he admired how Bourdain helped audiences understand the countries he visited by quoting literature and making references to films he had seen about those places. Kennedy thought it would be worth teaching to others.

The 61-year-old Bourdain killed himself in June in France, where he was working on an episode of his CNN series, "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown."