9News Early Edition from Matt Williams: December 22, 2011

From the desk of Matt Williams: Coming up this morning

From the Christmas Grinch to the Christmas Spirit, people in Walker were not about to let a few "cowards" steal their Christmas from them. A big show of support after vandals attacked some innocent inflatables. Plus, we'll talk BCS. If you'd like to head to New Orleans for the big game, we'll tell you about some of the deals going on. That, and we'll continue our 9Gifts giveaway.  Join us for 9NTM & The Early Edition beginning at 4:30 a.m.

9News Neighborhoods

 Mayor Kip Holden will serve as a Salvation Army bell ringer to collect contributions for the needy today. He'll be located at the Wal-Mart Supercenter at 3132 College Drive from noon until 1 p.m. Click here for more


High 64, Low 58
Showers & t-storms likely. A few storms could be severe. Temps falling during the afternoon.

Don't forget http://www.gowafb.com when you're mobile today. Current conditions; live radar; 5-day, detailed and hourly forecasts; as well as movie times, flight info, lottery numbers, news and more!


Make sure to check out our DOTD Traffic Watch cameras before leaving the house today.


A motorcyclist is in the hospital with serious injuries after colliding with a truck late Wednesday night. The cause of the crash is still being investigated. More

Investigators are looking into a fire that sparked at a vacant home late Wednesday night. Officials said they suspect arson. No injuries were reported. More

Seven students at a Baton Rouge high school were charged after a fight there Wednesday morning. Part of the fight was captured on an iPhone. More

Just days before Christmas, a cheerful Winter Wonderland display set up by a city was destroyed by what the mayor called "cowardly vandals." More


NEW ORLEANS (AP) - BP wants to shield itself from having to compensate Halliburton for punitive damages, fines and penalties the cement contractor may face for its role in the deadly 2010 rig explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. BP says in court papers Wednesday the law and its contract with Halliburton don't permit BP being held responsible for covering punitive damages ultimately faced by Halliburton.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - An Alabama woman has pleaded guilty to a charge she fraudulently received a federally funded homeowner grant following Hurricane Katrina. Federal prosecutors say Rachel Savage, 48, faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison following her guilty plea Wednesday to a theft charge.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - New Orleans-area hotels recorded their fifth straight year-over-year drop in occupancy in November. That's according to Smith Travel Research. CityBusiness of New Orleans said the market ranked No. 18 in occupancy among the top 25 U.S. markets.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Chris Kaman scored 18 points and Eric Gordon added 17 in their first game with New Orleans, leading the Hornets to a 95-80 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night. Gordon and Kaman both came over in the Dec. 14 trade that sent Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)


CHICAGO (AP) - There's growing frustration among American taxpayers as lawmakers on Capitol Hill refuse to agree on a payroll tax cut extension. One lawyer from Santa Clarita, Calif. says, "It's like, `Kids, kids, kids." A construction worker from Aurora, IL says "It's just another smack in our face for the working public."

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Police in Philadelphia are looking for the mother of a newborn found inside a cardboard box on a sidewalk. Police say the baby girl found Wednesday morning is in good condition. She was discovered by two men doing cleanup on the block. Police believe the child, with the umbilical cord still attached, had been born just hours earlier, and a sweater, towel, blanket and bathrobe were left with her.

LOUISVILLE, KY (AP) - UPS says it expects to deliver more than 120 million packages around the world during this peak week leading up to Christmas. That's up 6 percent from a year ago. FedEx says it shipped about 17 million packages on Dec. 12 alone, its busiest day ever.

BAGHDAD (AP) - Several bombings Thursday morning in Baghdad have killed at least 49 people and injured scores more. Iraqi officials say at least nine coordinated blasts went off in neighborhoods around the city. The worst attack was in a neighborhood where a blast appeared to target rescuers who came to the scene of a previous explosion. Seven people were killed.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)


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