BAYOU CORNE — Scientists have noticed a recent increase in seismic activity near the 8.5-acre sinkhole at Bayou Corne, and worry that it might grow again, Assumption Parish officials say.
The increase was first noticed about two weeks ago, said John Boudreaux, director of the Assumption Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.
Scientists noticed more than 80 such events on Friday, but activity dropped after the sinkhole “burped” crude oil, debris and hydrocarbons to the surface on Saturday morning, he said.
Boudreaux says officials worry that something may be shifting in salt deposits just east of the failed Texas Brine Co. LLC cavern that scientists believe caused the sinkhole.
Company officials don’t know of any seismic activity since Saturday, spokesman Sonny Cranch told The Associated Press on Sunday.
The movement appears to have cracked a concrete drilling well pad directly above the failed cavern and on the eastern side of the sinkhole. Cracks 1 inch wide and 14 inches deep stretch from the pad’s north side to the southwest side, he said.
Louisiana Department of Natural Resources scientists have said they believe that when the Texas Brine cavern failed, the brine it held gushed out, opening the sinkhole sometime between the night of Aug. 2 and the morning of Aug. 3.
Residents of 150 homes in the two communities were ordered on Aug. 3 to evacuate their homes and camps. The order remains in place.
Feds investigate shrimp subsidies
NEW ORLEANS — The U.S. Commerce Department says it is investigating subsidies in seven nations for frozen warmwater shrimp. Gulf of Mexico shrimp processors had asked for the investigation of subsidized imports from China, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
“We continue to believe that the long-term survival of the entire Gulf shrimp community is at stake with this case,” said Eddy Hayes, attorney of the Coalition of Shrimp Industries, a group which had asked for the investigations. They claim that subsidies let other countries undercut local prices, hurting the industry and costing jobs.
Most shrimp imported in 2011 — about $1.4 billion worth — came from Thailand. Ecuador and Indonesia were next with imports worth about $512 million and $493 million respectively, according to Commerce.
It said total shrimp imports from those seven countries were worth about $4.2 billion.
to N.O. suburb
NEW ORLEANS — A Brooklyn bottler of bitters is sweet on Louisiana.
Bittermens Bitters owners Avery and Janet Glasser are relocating to suburban Jefferson Parish and plan to open their new plant in February, after Mardi Gras.
Their business making hand-made, small-batch bitters grew much faster than expected and they will need to double their current 5,500 bottles a month by midyear, Avery Glasser said.
New York real estate was just too expensive, he said.
Glasser says Bittermens ships to locations including Europe, Singapore and New Zealand, as well as to 37 U.S. states.
Bittermens Inc.’s flavors of bitters include Hopped Grapefruit, Xocolatle Mole and Boston Bittahs, according to its website. It also makes extracts, liqueurs and other products such as Orange Cream Citrate, Hellfire Habanero Shrub, Taza Chocolate Extract and Commonwealth Tonic Cordial.
Both its regional bitters and its liqueurs include a product based on New Orleans-style coffee with chicory.
The New Orleans area was also ideal because of its port. Bittermens ships to Europe, Singapore and New Zealand, among other locations, as well as 37 U.S. states, Glasser said.
Wreck kills Alabama woman
VILLE PLATTE — Louisiana State Police say a 53-year-old Alabama woman is dead after a collision with a tractor-trailer.
Trooper Stephen Hammons says Donna Saenz of Sampson, Ala., failed to stop at a two-way stop sign on La. 365 and La. 35 in Acadia Parish. She was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at a hospital Saturday.
The crash remains under investigation.
on exhibit Sunday
HOUMA — The Southdown Plantation House has an exhibit celebrating Cajun craftsmanship, compiled primarily by the late artisans’ families.
At the center is Ebdon Alleman, a pirogue-maker from Pierre Part who caught the attention of two filmmakers in the 1940s. Director Robert Flaherty used a pirogue Alleman made in his film “Louisiana Story.” The movie was nominated for an Oscar in 1948.
The exhibit celebrates the bygone era of Cajun artisans. Its formal opening is Jan. 27.
Jindal names new executive counsel
BATON ROUGE (AP) — The top lawyer for Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration has resigned from the job after only three months.
The Republican governor’s office announced Friday that Gary Graphia is leaving the position of executive counsel that he took in October.
Jindal’s office said Graphia didn’t write a resignation letter. The governor’s spokesman Kyle Plotkin says Graphia wanted to pursue job opportunities in the private sector. Jindal announced his replacement while thanking Graphia for his service.
The governor’s new executive counsel will be Thomas Enright, who assumes the position on Feb. 4.
Enright previously worked as the executive counsel for the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and as deputy secretary for the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs. Before that, Enright worked in the attorney general’s office from 1997 to 2008.
New permit required for offshore anglers
HOUMA — A new program requires recreational offshore anglers to acquire a free offshore landing permit to catch tuna, billfish, swordfish, amberjacks, grouper and snapper. The new program also requires them report catches of yellowfin tuna to the state.
Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says the goal of the program is to provide its biologists with accurate records of yellowfin tuna landings to help manage the fisheries.
The permit is available online at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/rolp.
Coaches booked on marijuana charges
OPELOUSAS — Two coaches from a high school in St. Landry Parish have been arrested on marijuana charges.
The Sheriff’s Office says North Central High School athletic director and basketball coach Clarence “Butch” Fontenot and football coach Abdule Levier were arrested after drug dogs sniffed out marijuana in their cars Thursday night.
St. Landry Sheriff Bobby Guidroz said in a written statement Friday that the sheriff’s office narcotics team went to the school after receiving an anonymous tip.
From The Associated Press.
Neither the coaches nor the St. Landry School Board have commented publicly. Calls to the school board office were unanswered Saturday.