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.

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.

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.

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.

Latest North Carolina, South Carolina sports

PANTHERS-KALIL REUNION Panthers sign OT Matt Kalil from Minnesota Vikings CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) --A person familiar with the situation says the Carolina Panthers have agreed to terms with unrestricted free agent left tackle Matt Kalil from the Minnesota Vikings on a five-year deal worth $55.5 million. Of that, $25 million is guaranteed.

The Latest: Rams trade defensive end Hayes to Dolphins

The Latest on NFL free agency (all times Eastern): ___ 12:55 a.m. The Rams have traded defensive end William Hayes to the Miami Dolphins. The clubs also exchanged draft picks, with Miami getting a seventh-round pick and the Rams getting a sixth-round pick. Hayes spent the past five seasons as a key rotation member of the Rams' powerful defensive line. He started 14 games last year, getting 43 tackles and five sacks.

The Latest: Bus was carrying tour from Texas senior center

BILOXI, Miss. (AP) -- The Latest on a train-bus crash in Biloxi, Mississippi (all times local): 8 p.m. A bus hit by a train in Mississippi -- killing four people -- was carrying people on a trip organized by a Texas senior center. A flier for the tour says some passengers boarded Sunday in Austin, Texas, and others boarded about 30 miles east in Bastrop, Texas.

Lawyer: Mississippi flag sends message of 'white supremacy'

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- In the latest legal wrangling over one of Mississippi's most prominent symbols, a lawyer for a man who objects to the state's flag said Tuesday the Confederate-themed banner sends a message of "white supremacy." The comments by Michael Scott came during a federal appeals court hearing on a long-running feud over the Confederate battle emblem on the Mississippi flag.

BC-AP Sports Digest

The supervisor is Fred Lief, followed by Simmi Buttar at 5 p.m. and Doug Feinberg at 1 a.m. The New York sports desk can be reached at 800-845-8450, ext. 1630. Sports Photos, ext. 1918; graphics, ext. 7636; agate, ext. 1635. AP stories and accompanying photos also can be obtained from http://www.apexchange.com For reruns, call the Service Desk (800 838-4616) or your local AP bureau. All times EST. TOP STORIES BKC--T25-VILLANOVA-HEART STOPPER VILLANOVA, Pa.

At cash-strapped UNO, patience and passion pays off

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- University of New Orleans coach Mark Slessinger can't forget the days when he'd show up for a game at Lakefront Arena and see hardly a soul in the 9,000-seat stadium that had been rebuilt amid Hurricane Katrina's lingering ruins. Memories like those help him and others who've refused to give up on UNO and appreciate how far the Privateers, seeded No.

BC-AP Sports Digest

The supervisor is Fred Lief, followed by Simmi Buttar at 5 p.m. and Jay Cohen at 1 a.m. The New York sports desk can be reached at 800-845-8450, ext. 1630. Sports Photos, ext. 1918; graphics, ext. 7636; agate, ext. 1635. AP stories and accompanying photos also can be obtained from http://www.apexchange.com For reruns, call the Service Desk (800 838-4616) or your local AP bureau. All times EST.

New Orleans claims Southland title with win over Nicholls

THIBODAUX, La. (AP) -- Erik Thomas scored 21 points and New Orleans pulled away from Nicholls State in the final two minutes to earn a 74-64 win and clinch the outright Southland Conference title on Saturday. New Orleans (18-11, 13-5) had dropped two straight entering the day, leaving the door open for Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to take a share of the title if the Privateers had lost.

SE Louisiana beats New Orleans, wins tourney berth

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Marlain Veal scored 23 points with three 3-pointers and a career-high six steals, and Southeastern Louisiana rallied late to beat New Orleans 63-58 on Thursday night to clinch a berth in the Southland Conference Tournament. Davon Hayes scored 10 points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer, and had three steals for the Lions (16-15, 9-9 Southland), who have their first winning season since 2010-11.

Mardi Gras: 'One time of year people can act like fools'

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The streets of New Orleans are filled with costumed revelers, dazzling floats featuring kings and queens, and people of all ages screaming for trinkets and beads. Lots of beads. Tuesday marks the culmination of the Carnival season, which started Jan. 6. Mardi Gras is "the one time of year people can act like fools and get away with it," said one reveler, Craig Channell.

Pelicans searching for right plan with Cousins in fold

METAIRIE, La. (AP) -- As Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins hoisted up extra shots near one another after practice, Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry stood in a far corner of the club's practice gym, trying to explain why New Orleans hasn't won in three games since the All-Star big men became teammates.

Police: Too soon to talk about new parade safety rules

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- It's too soon to discuss whether new safety rules will be established after a man accused of driving drunk plowed into a Mardi Gras parade crowd, a New Orleans police spokesman said Monday. "It's probably a little premature," Michael "Beau" Tidwell said. "We're working now to make sure everything was handled correctly and victims were well taken care of.