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Posted: Thursday, 30 January 2014 5:00AM

Another frigid night in Louisiana



Another night of icy weather meant one more day of government offices and school closures in parts of Louisiana.

State government was to be closed Thursday in 23 parishes. And at least 18 school districts were expected to remain closed.

Most of the state was under another hard freeze warning overnight. And motorists were advised to be alert for possible lingering patches of ice from the cold, wet weather of the last couple of days.

Although most major roads were being re-opened, the cold meant another night of road closures in some areas, including parts of Interstate 10.

The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway opened only briefly Wednesday. Officials hoped to re-open it Thursday.

In New Orleans, where canceled flights stranded numerous tourists, flights were expected to fully resume Thursday.

If anyone benefited from the cold, it may have been bars and restaurants catering to stranded tourists Tuesday and Wednesday.

"All day yesterday, we had quite a flow of guests," Deborah Schumacher, manager of one city bar and grill said Wednesday. Schumacher estimated that 60 percent had come for the National Automobile Dealers of America convention that ended Monday.

At Pat O'Brien's bar in the French Quarter, stranded tourists Chris and Shannon Forcier of Madison, Wis., were anxious to get back home to their children, ages 5 and 7, after canceled flights lengthened their trip. They had been scheduled to fly out Wednesday morning after celebrating Shannon's birthday Monday.

Asked what they'd done during their unintended stay, Shannon Forcier said, "Eat. Drink. Repeat."

At the weather's worst, state government had closed in more than 50 parishes. Ice closed more than 20 highways statewide, including every interstate through Baton Rouge, where yards were frosted and streets mostly empty. State police logged dozens of weather-related crashes overnight, but said there were fewer than during the storm last week.

Bill McIntyre, fresh from hauling a car back onto Louisiana Highway 30 between Baton Rouge and St. Gabriel, said he'd had 15 calls between 5 and 11:30 a.m. from people who needed his winch truck.

"It's a mess. All morning long, they can't find enough wreckers to get them out of ditches. People don't know how to handle the ice at all," he said.

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