Court OK of student-led school board prayers to be appealed

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- A federal appeals court in New Orleans will be asked to reconsider its ruling allowing student-led prayer at school board meetings. On Monday, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled in a Texas case that such prayers don't run afoul of the prohibition against government-established religion. The American Humanist Association, a plaintiff in the case, disagreed.

Dunleavy: 3 to transfer out of Tulane's basketball program

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Tulane coach Mike Dunleavy Sr. says sophomore guards Kain Harris and Von Julien, as well as freshman forward Darian Jones, have been granted releases from the men's basketball program and will transfer. Dunleavy, in a news release Wednesday, said all three are great kids and he wishes them the best. Harris, of Chicago, was Tulane's fourth-leading scorer in 2016-17, averaging 9.1 points and 18.4 minutes per game.

Carnegie Hero Fund Commission announces 20 medal winners

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- A Massachusetts man who died saving a waitress from being stabbed by a mentally ill man and a 12-year-old Pennsylvania boy who died trying to save his father from a house fire are among 20 people being honored with Carnegie medals for heroism. The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, based in Pittsburgh, announced the winners Wednesday. George A.

Court: Student prayers OK at school board meetings

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- A Texas school board can open its meetings with student-led public prayers without running afoul of the Constitution's prohibition against government-established religion, a federal appeals court ruled Monday. The ruling by a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld a lower court ruling dismissing a lawsuit against the Birdville Independent School District.

Prosecutor: Officers who fatally shot boy weren't in danger

MARKSVILLE, La. (AP) -- Two Louisiana law enforcement officers weren't in any danger when they fired a barrage of bullets at a car, killing a 6-year-old autistic boy and critically wounding his father, a prosecutor said Monday at the start of a murder trial for one of the officers. But an attorney for Derrick Stafford blamed the deadly confrontation on Jeremy Mardis' father, calling him "the author of that child's fate.

Louisiana sheriff's deputy shot, killed while on-duty

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- A sheriff's deputy in Louisiana is dead after being shot near a movie theater in Baton Rouge, police said Sunday. East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office deputy Shawn T. Anderson was rushed to the hospital after being shot while on duty late Saturday, spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks said in a news release.

Vanzant, DuVernay, Sharpton among fest's daytime speakers

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Many people who attend the annual Essence Festival in New Orleans do so without ever setting foot in the Superdome, where nightly, ticketed concerts are held as part of the experience. Instead, they attend the free daytime programs held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Festival organizers announced Thursday that life coach Iyanla Vanzant, U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters of California, the Rev.

Mount St. Mary's beats New Orleans 67-66 to open First Four

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) -- Diminutive point guard Junior Robinson fearlessly dribbled into the heart of New Orleans' defense, pulled up and hit yet another of his oh-so-soft jumpers. This one decided a frenetic opening game for the NCAA Tournament. The smallest player in Division I scored 23 points Tuesday night, including that go-ahead jumper with 1:27 to play, and Mount St. Mary's held on for a 67-66 victory over New Orleans in the First Four.

Tight budgets could complicate Sessions' vow to fight crime

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions is promising his Justice Department will lead the charge in helping cities fight violent crime, and police chiefs are ready with their wish-lists. More technology to trace guns after shootings. More grant money. More intelligence analysts to help dismantle gangs. More protective gear and equipment. As the head of one police officers' union put it, "We need more of everything.

White woman's use of Mardi Gras krewe blackface stirs debate

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- There's blackface -- the racist, minstrel-show practice of whites imitating blacks. And there's blackface -- black Mardi Gras revelers donning outlandish garb to poke fun at that racism. And then there's blackface -- modern-day whites wearing paint and accompanying New Orleans' black Zulu krewe. But as New Orleanian Ann Tuennerman found out last month, that third blackface can still offend people in a big way.

Troy women beat Louisiana 78-64, repeat as Sun Belt champs

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- ArJae' Saunders scored 13 points, Claresa Banks added 12 before each fouled out and Troy won back-to-back Sun Belt Conference Tournament championships after a 78-64 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette on Sunday night. La'Tia Fils-Aime' added 12 points for third-seeded Troy (22-10), which will make its third appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

No. 1, 2 seeds in Sun Belt fall; Troy tops Georgia St. 74-63

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Wesley Person scored 16 points, Jordon Varnado had 15 points and nine rebounds, and sixth-seeded Troy upset No. 2 seed Georgia State 74-63 on Saturday in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. Top-seeded UT Arlington also lost on Saturday, setting up a finals matchup with No. 4 seed Texas State on Sunday. It will be the Trojans' first championship game since losing to North Texas in 2010.

Georgia State beats Louisiana-Lafayette in Sun Belt quarters

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- D'Marcus Simonds scored 17 points, Jeremy Hollowell added 16 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, and second-seeded Georgia State beat Louisiana-Lafayette 86-76 in Friday's quarterfinals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. Malik Benlevi scored 15 and Isaiah Williams had 14 for the Panthers (20-11), who snapped the Ragin' Cajuns' seven-game win streak and will face either No. 3 Georgia Southern (18-13) or No. 6 Troy (19-14) in Saturday's semifinals.

Marshall hits C-USA tourney-record 19 3s, advances to finals

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- Jon Elmore scored 21 points on seven 3-pointers, Ryan Taylor had his 40th career double-double and No. 6 seed Marshall hit a Conference USA Tournament-record 19 3s on Friday to beat Louisiana Tech 93-77. Taylor finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Stevie Browning and Austin Loop each scored 18 points for Marshall (20-14), which will play No. 1 seed Middle Tennessee in the championship game Saturday.

Pearson leads Texas State into Sun Belt semifinals

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Nijal Pearson had 16 points, six rebounds, five assists and five steals and No. 4 Texas State defeated No. 12 seed Louisiana-Monroe 63-51 on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Sun Belt Tournament. The Bobcats (19-12) will take on top-seeded UT Arlington, a 74-51 winner over Coastal Carolina earlier Friday, in a semifinal on Saturday.

Hervey leads top seed UTA into Sun Belt semifinals

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Conference player of the year Kevin Hervey scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead top seed UT Arlington to a 74-51 victory over No. 8 seed Coastal Carolina on Friday in the Sun Belt Tournament quarterfinals. The Mavericks (25-7) will play No. 4 seed Texas State, a 63-51 winner over Louisiana-Monroe earlier Friday, in a Saturday semifinal.