Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by 12 this week to 1,775.

The state labor department figures released Friday show the initial claims decreased to 1,850 from the previous week's total of 2,854. For the comparable week a year earlier, there were 4,048.

A new statewide poll released before the holiday break shows U.S. Sen. David Vitter of Metairie atop a gubernatorial field dominated by Republicans.

President of The Lemoine Company and chairman of the nonprofit overseeing the conversion of the Horse Farm property into Lafayette’s central park will be profiled in the December-January issue.

The state labor department figures released Monday show the initial claims increased to 2,854 from the previous week's total of 2,363. Initial claims were above the comparable week a year earlier at 2,705.

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