Ian Stewart

In front of City Hall, a crew shovels through debris, clearing a path to the front door. Bricks and broken glass from office buildings litter downtown. Gas station awnings have been flipped on their sides.

The best news in Lake Charles, La., in recent days: an announcement that 95% of the streets here are just now navigable, nearly a week after Hurricane Laura tore through the region.

In Orange, Texas, just across the Sabine River from Louisiana, a line of cars hundreds deep snakes along a highway shoulder and into a parking lot. A local supermarket has set up an aid distribution center in the hot sun and humidity. Families are packed in their cars, waiting to get the basics: ice, water, a hot meal.

Hurricane Laura is the first major test of whether the Gulf Coast is prepared to handle two disasters at once. Coronavirus case numbers in Southwest Louisiana were already spiking at an alarming rate. Then a Category 4 hurricane came ashore.

At least 36 crew members from a Norwegian cruise ship have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Hurtigruten, the company that owns the ship. Several passengers have also tested positive in what the cruise line describes as an "outbreak" onboard the MS Roald Amundsen.

Four patients were admitted to a hospital in the northern Norwegian city of Tromso where the ship is now docked.

Adria Gonzalez still remembers the blood, the screaming, the bodies.

On August 3, 2019, she was shopping with her mother at a Walmart Supercenter in El Paso, Texas, when a gunman opened fire with an AK-47, killing 23 people and leaving more than two dozen others wounded.

Major League Baseball has postponed two Monday games over fears of a coronavirus flare-up.

The Miami Marlins were scheduled to play their home opener against the Baltimore Orioles. The Marlins played their first three games of the season against the Philadelphia Phillies. A Phillies game against the New York Yankees in Philadelphia also has been postponed.

Michael Ertel, Florida's secretary of state, resigned Thursday after photos emerged of him in blackface in 2005.

The photos show Ertel at a Halloween party when he was the Seminole County Supervisor of Elections – his lips are painted red and his face is painted black.

Updated at 10:10 p.m. ET

At least five people were killed when a man opened fire Wednesday afternoon in a bank in Sebring, Fla., according to officials.

At a brief news conference, Sebring Police Chief Karl Hoglund named 21-year-old Zephen Xaver, of Sebring, as the suspect. Xaver is in police custody.

For more than a century, a 52-foot obelisk has stood in the center of Birmingham, Ala., a monument to Confederate soldiers and sailors who fought in the Civil War.

In 2017, amid a national reckoning on racial violence and Confederate symbolism, the city's mayor decided the monument should be covered up. Tall plywood walls were installed around its base, obscuring inscriptions on the pedestal.

For the first time in U.S. history, a leading cause of deaths — vehicle crashes — has been surpassed in likelihood by opioid overdoses, according to a new report on preventable deaths from the National Safety Council.

Americans now have a 1 in 96 chance of dying from an opioid overdose, according to the council's analysis of 2017 data on accidental death. The probability of dying in a motor vehicle crash is 1 in 103.

A transgender woman says she was sexually assaulted in a North Carolina bathroom last month, according to police records.

Jessica Fowler, 31, and Amber Harrell, 38, have both been charged with sexual battery and second-degree kidnapping in connection with the alleged incident on Dec. 9 at a bar in downtown Raleigh.

A for-profit higher education company will no longer collect nearly a half-billion dollars in student debt, now that the firm has reached settlements with 48 states and the District of Columbia.