Friday, May 17 2013 9:05 PM EDT2013-05-18 01:05:04 GMT
The Southwest Louisiana Tea Party movement began picking up steam in 2009 as members from throughout the five parish area began gathering for rallies and becoming more visible and involved in local governmentMore >>
The Southwest Louisiana Tea Party movement began picking up steam in 2009 as members from throughout the five-parish area began gathering for rallies and becoming more visible and involved in local government and the political scene.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 8:55 PM EDT2013-05-18 00:55:58 GMT
An arrest has been made in the 1962 death of Mary Horton Vail. Vail was found dead in the Calcasieu River in October 1962, her husband, Felix Vail, claimed she was the victim of a boating accident. TheMore >>
Mary Horton Vail was found dead in the Calcasieu River in October 1962. Her husband, Felix Vail, claimed she was the victim of a boating accident.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 6:17 PM EDT2013-05-17 22:17:04 GMT
Friday marks the anniversary of the first woman reported missing in the Jeff Davis Eight case. On May 17, 2005, 28-year-old Loretta Chaisson Lewis went missing. Three days later, her body was found floatingMore >>
Friday marks the anniversary of the first woman reported missing in the Jeff Davis Eight case.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 5:47 PM EDT2013-05-17 21:47:38 GMT
More than 825 students - the largest graduating class in McNeese State University history - are expected to receive degrees at the university's spring commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 18,More >>
More than 825 students - the largest graduating class in McNeese State University history - are expected to receive degrees at the university's spring commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday at Burton Coliseum.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 5:44 PM EDT2013-05-17 21:44:31 GMT
In an area prone to hurricanes, flood insurance is important for Louisiana residents. Calcasieu Parish became a part of the National Flood Insurance program in 1978. By participating in the program,More >>
As a way to continue offering flood insurance, Congress passed the Biggert Waters Act in 2012. More >>
Despite a detailed 800 page report by Louisiana State Police, the family of Westlake Mayor-Elect Gerald Washington is not convinced he took his own life.
"We are in no way shocked, and not embarrassed by any of this, we knew what was going to be released in this report," said Germaine Washington Broussard, daughter of Gerald Washington.
7 News spoke to Broussard via phone from Denver, Colorado. She says the evidence investigators say supports their findings, namely financial records showing Washington gambled away hundreds of thousands of his retirement, is not at all surprising to the family. Broussard says the family was well aware of her father's gambling activity.
"Gambling is legal. My father was not hiding from the fact that he was gambling -- you would see him at Isle of Capris, you would see him at Delta Downs. You ask anyone did "Wash" gamble? -- It's no surprise that he gambled. At the end of the day, it was his money that he worked 32 years and saved," said Broussard.
As for the three women who claimed to be having extramarital affairs with the then soon to be mayor... "All of these are allegations, this is their word against my father, who we can't ask to verify these things and they don't have anything to prove the affairs took place. It is simply these women who lack credibility," said Broussard.
In the report, Washington's wife Mary was quoted as saying the night of his death... he was suicidal and had been very depressed in the weeks prior. "My mom, if she did say that... she was not in her right mind. Her husband of 37 years was found dead. She was in no mind frame to speak. There's no way you deliver devastating information like that and in the same breath start questioning the wife," said Broussard.
But perhaps the biggest question the family wants answered is why the Westlake Fire Department was called to wash down her father's truck and crime scene the night his body was found.
"As I said to Sheriff Mancuso, when you wash down blood, when you wash down and wash away evidence, regardless of how you look at it... It appears as though you are trying to cover something up," said Broussard.
"My investigators felt there was nothing in that truck that would point to anything other than suicide. So we decided to wash the truck off and release it to the family," said Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso.
While the investigation into her father's death may be closed, Broussard says her family will continue their search for justice in what they believe is murder. "There was something else besides gambling and those women's allegations. That I don't believe has anything to do with my father was assassinated," said Broussard.
Broussard says her family is also disappointed in the Calcasieu Parish District Attorney's Office for not contacting the family before the report was released into public record. However, District Attorney John DeRosier says he did speak with a family spokesperson Thursday afternoon before signing off on the report.