News roundup: Construction starts on new West Feliciana Parish hospital … Buddy Guy to headline free Baton Rouge Blues Festival in April … Fight over Confederate monuments in New Orleans goes to state court
Build it up: Construction has started on the $27.7 million West Feliciana Parish Hospital in St. Francisville. The hospital is expected to be completed in spring 2017. The 19-acre medical campus will feature a 53,000-square-foot facility as its centerpiece. CEO Lee Chasant tells The Associated Press the hospital will offer 12 in-patient rooms with bathrooms and private courtyard views. He says it will have unique amenities as well with separate inpatient, emergency room and outpatient admitting areas, conference and classrooms, private family consulting areas, a non-denominational chapel and an upgraded cafeteria. The project is funded with a $17.75 million U.S. Department of Agriculture loan, $8 million in bridge funding from Investar Bank and $2 million in hospital reserves. Work is also underway on a road project that connects the entire medical campus.
Nothing but the blues: Legendary bluesman Buddy Guy will return to his native Baton Rouge to headline this year’s free Blues Festival in downtown, which is being expanded to a two-day event in April. The Baton Rouge Blues Foundation announced this year’s lineup today. The festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday, April 9-10, at Repentance Park and Galvez Plaza. Along with Guy, performers include Latimore, Curtis Harding, Kenny Neal & the Neal Family, Walter “Wolfman” Washington & the Roadmasters, The Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Kent Burnside, Henry Gray and many others. Though the festival is free, VIP passes are being offered for $125. They’ll get you complimentary food and beverages, drink tickets for beers or cocktails, private bars and bathrooms, and exclusive viewing areas at both stages. Get complete details on the 2016 Baton Rouge Blues Festival.
Brand new suit: A plan to remove prominent Confederate monuments in New Orleans is being challenged in state court, and it comes shortly after a federal judge dismissed a similar attempt. The Associated Press reports the lawsuit was filed Wednesday and again seeks to halt the city’s planned removal of four Confederate monuments. The latest suit was filed by Pierre McGraw, president of the Monumental Task Committee Inc., a group that maintains the monuments. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier rejected a similar challenge by McGraw’s group and other preservationists as well as a chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. They claimed the removal violated their constitutional rights and several laws. In December, the City Council voted 6-1 to remove the monuments because they represent white supremacist ideologies. Read the full story.