NEW ORLEANS – As we count down the final hours of 2019, we take a look at some of the top news stories across Louisiana.
Birthdays were celebrated, sports teams went all the way, and major awards were won.
At the same time, several local heroes died, and severe flooding, hurricanes, and tornadoes shook the state.
Follow along as we share the top 10 local stories of 2019.
LSU’s Sha’Carri Richardson accomplished a feat that no sprinter in world history has ever done. Nobody.
Richardson ran times of 10.99 in the 100 meters and 22.37 in the 200 meters to become the first U20 woman in world history to run sub 11 seconds in the 100 meters and sub 23.4 seconds in the 200 meters… in one day.
Only four U20 women in world history had ever run sub 22.40 in the 200 meters, and she is one of only six women in U20 world history to crack 11 seconds, but no one had ever done both until Richardson ran her 22.37 on Thursday night.
Another result of the ongoing, historic flooding of the Mississippi River into the Bonnet Carre Spillway into Lake Pontchartrain.
Exceptionally warm temperatures coupled with historic amounts of nutrient-rich water that contains excess fertilizer and pesticides from the Mississippi River into Lake Pontchartrain triggered the worst algae bloom some residents have ever seen.
The blue-green algae is made up of cyanobacteria, which can produce a variety of toxins. It can cause rashes, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, according to the Louisiana Department of Health. High exposures can also affect the liver and nervous systems.
He’s the star of the hit show Supernatural on NOLA 38 – The CW.
His name is Jensen Ackles, and now, he’s the ruler of the Krewe of Bacchus.
Golden Meadow Police Department officers spotted suspicious activity at the home of Lori Dupuy. When the officers approached to investigate, Dupuy gave a false name and then fled the scene.
The officers then questioned Justin Savoie, who was also at the home. During a pat down of Savoie, officers discovered a concealed handgun, marijuana, and a pipe used for smoking marijuana.
The officers also spotted a homemade “zip gun” on the floorboard of Savoie’s truck, which was parked with the door open, and found several additional firearms and homemade suppressors inside the truck after obtaining a search warrant.
While Savoie was undergoing a strip search during his processing into the Lafourche Parish sub-station, deputies found a small gun concealed in his buttocks.
Laine Hardy from Livingston Parish is the 2019 American Idol. Fans voted for him and he was crowned the winner on the season finale of the hit ABC show.
News with a Twist Reporter Kenny Lopez spent an entire day at a Laine Hardy American Idol watch party, where family and friends were cheering on their bayou boy! Watch reaction from family and friends in Laine’s hometown after he won!
Laine Hardy first auditioned for “American Idol” in 2018, and didn’t make it past the Top 50, but this year was quite different.
Laine went to the 2019 auditions to play guitar for his friend Ashton Gill. He didn’t plan on auditioning, but then the celebrity judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie asked him to try out again and they were amazed by how much he’s grown.
The judges sent him through to Hollywood once again, and the rest is “American Idol” history.
The Eastbank Little League Baseball team won the Would Championship, and with that came many perks. But the best one by far, came from the President of the United States.
The team traveled to Washington to meet with the president in the White House.
At the meeting, Trump reportedly asked the team members’ parents if the team could hop on Air Force One for the ride back to Louisiana since Trump was already headed to the state for a campaign rally.
The team met the president on the tarmac outside of Air Force One, and they all ascended onto the plane together.
In a commercial for shirt company”Untuckit,” Brees gets the last laugh– with a smile.
In the commercial, several actors feature “before and after” examples of Untuckit shirts, and in the end, a young couple strolls down a sidewalk with the girl happily taking the arm of her boyfriend, who’s wearing an Untuckit shirt.
As Brees walks past the couple he says, “at least somebody made the right call.”
Subtle, but for Saints fans, a definite score.
Popular Louisiana charter-fisherman Theophile Bourgeois was killed in a plane crash in August.
The Coast Guard received a report that Bourgeois Fishing Charters had lost communications with one of its seaplanes.
A Coast Guard helicopter aircrew searched the last known position of the seaplane in the Chandeleur Sound.
Two people were recovered from the water and transported to University Medical Center. One of those passengers, later identified as Theophile Bourgeois, was declared deceased upon arrival.
Theophile was a bit of a living legend as a popular fisherman, fish guide and all around sportsman.
In November, Major Crimes Task Force Agents were alerted of a portable storage container containing possible narcotics, being shipped from California to Shrewsbury Road in Jefferson Parish.
Agents had a drug sniffing dog search the outside of the container, and were able to request and obtain a lawful order of search and seizure for the container.
After searching the unit, officers discovered 302 clear plastic bags, containing approximately 325 pounds of marijuana, with a street value of approximately $1.2 million.
As the investigation progressed, Agents learned that the storage container was headed to an address in Marrero. At the residence, investigators located another 20 pounds of marijuana and packing materials. In addition, investigators found multiple items required to establish a marijuana grow operation, including instruction books on cultivating marijuana.
Only in Louisiana… a HUGE Alligator Bonfire constructed on the Mississippi River Levee in Garyville in anticipation for the annual bonfires of Christmas Eve in St. James and St. John Parishes!
Measuring nearly 60 feet from head to tail, and 25-feet at its widest, this alligator was quite a sight to see.
The annual tradition of the bonfires is like no other residents say. It’s an event that takes place every year in St. James and St. John Parishes with the communities of Garyville, Lutcher, and Paulina.