The 318: COVID omicron causes ER crowding, campus delays; governor advises masking

Kendrick Dante
Shreveport Times

Good evening, Shreveport. This week the temperature is currently in the low 30s and declining after a warm holiday break that ended with a 50-degree dip in the past 24 hours.

State and local press conferences advocate new COVID recommendations as omicron surges

Medical leaders join together December 31, 2021 for a press conference about COVID at Government Plaza.

Governor John Bel Edwards held a virtual press conference Thursday where he advised against New Years celebrations and urged school districts to implement mask mandates, citing a record number of COVID cases statewide.

Friday, officials for Shreveport and Bossier City hospitals held a press conference to curtail the number of visits to the emergency room for COVID testing and mild symptoms. They say those visits are bad uses of critical resources.

Officials at both press conferences urged Louisianans to get vaccinated and get booster shots if eligible. 

Edwards chooses Alan Jackson to fill Shreveport City Council seat

Alan Jackson, Ph.D., was appointed interim District E representative on the Shreveport City Council by Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Tuesday, Gov. Edwards chose Shreveport businessman Alan Jackson to fill the Shreveport City Council left vacant in District E by James Flurry.

“I was truly, truly shocked when I received the phone call,” Jackson said of his interim appointment to represent District E.

Read more Jackson's appointment here: Who is the governor's appointee to the Shreveport City Council? Get to know Alan Jackson

Shreveport fire leaves  man and two children injured

Shreveport firefighters respond to a fire in an unattached garage behind a house on Egan Street Wednesday afternoon, December 29, 2022.

An early morning fire in Shreveport left a father with burns and his two kids in serious condition as a result of smoke inhalation.

Five of the seven occupants were able to exit the home before the fire department arrived on the scene. The father entered the burning residence to save his trapped children, but was unsuccessful due to extreme smoke and heat. 

Earlier in the week, an explosive fire erupted at a locale in the 500 block of Egan Street. The fire department discovered a drum of kerosene and determined it caused the blaze.

Over 20 Caddo sheriff deputies searched for greenwood woman as temperatures drop

Heather Diane Russell, 40, was reported missing to the sheriff's office around 4 p.m. Saturday when family said she never returned home home her walk. 

A score of officers were dispatched to search for Russell, hoping to find her before temperatures dipped.  

On Sunday, officials confirmed that a female pedestrian struck and killed by a motor vehicle on Interstate 20 late Saturday, Jan. 1 was Russell. 

Cancellations and postponements due to COVID

Blue rectangles containing "Omicron variant COVID-19" text, coronavirus images, charts, and DNA images.

Multiple local entities have postponed functions due to the recent COVID surge.

The Bossier City clerk announced Thursday morning that the City Council will be canceling its Jan. 4 regular meeting and instead holding a special meeting Jan. 11.

The Southern University and A&M College system will delay the start of its spring semester. In-person classes, originally scheduled to begin Jan. 12, 2022, will now start on Jan. 26, 2022. This delay will affect the Shreveport campus. 

Bossier firefighter laid to rest

Local firefighter Jessie Henry was laid to rest with a ceremony on the ice floor at the Hirsch Memorial Coliseum Wednesday morning. 

In his obituary Henry was described as a wonderful father, son and brother, "To know Jessie was to love him. He will be greatly missed by those who knew him best and loved him most." 

Check out The 318 every Sunday for a weekly summary of the biggest headlines of the past seven days.

If you're interested in a deeper dive into the week's local business happenings, check out Business in the 318.

If you'd like to know more about art, food and entertainment from this week, check out Life in the 318.

Kendrick Dante writes for the USA Today Network and is a government watchdog reporter in Shreveport, Louisiana. He enjoys cooking, concerts and content. Email him at or connect on Twitter @kendrickdante.