Before leaving New Orleans, I produced a radio piece for AARP’s Primetime Postscript. The announcer made the typical mistake with my name, but I still enjoy the story tremendously. The piece features the bluegrass music and voices from a regular Monday night at the Hi-Ho Lounge on St. Claude Avenue, one of my favorite places and events in the city. In an earlier posting on this site, you can see several photos from another bluegrass night, and if you look at those while you listen to the story, you can have a real multi-media experience.
This is an excerpt from an interview with Daniel Schwartz, who runs the interfaith organizing group, the Micah Project. Schwartz told me about efforts his organization is making in healthcare, criminal justice and education, although this excerpt focuses primarily on Micah’s criminal justice work. You can find more on the Micah Project at their web site: http://www.micahpico.org/. You can listen to the interview here.
In October, David Baker, my editor at The Louisiana Weekly asked me to cover a story of neglect in a low-income housing development, The Estates, that had been built where the Desire projects used to stand. The Housing Authority of New Orleans, which is in receivership due to mismanagement, had issued a repair deadline of November 30th to the private company managing The Estates. After that piece came out, The Lens asked me if I’d be willing to do a follow-up story for them. After publishing the piece online last Friday, The Advocate picked it up for their Sunday edition.
I’ve done a bit of reporting on the topic of New Orleans’s new pre-trial services program. The program launched in late April and assesses people arrested to determine whether they represent a pre-trial risk of flight or re-arrest. This offers an important service to the city, since it helps cull the jail population, and, consequently, costs.
A few weeks ago, I learned that the program was facing its demise due to a lack of funding. When I went to the city council’s budget hearing, a raft of opponents stood up to ask the council to let the program lapse. This scene inspired this feature. It runs just under eight minutes.
This week I’ve been following the budget discussions around the city’s new pre-trial services program. The program currently assesses 60% of New Orleans’s felony arrests and no misdemeanors. The former Crime Commissioner, James Carter, requested $623,000 to enable the program to screen all of the city’s arrestees, the Mayor’s proposed budget offer was roughly a third of this figure. As part of my reporting, I had the opportunity to speak with Graymond Martin, who previously represented the commercial bail industry and now works in the District Attorney’s office.
Jerome Jupiter runs the educational programs division, New Orleans Providing Literacy to All Youth, of The Youth Empowerment Project. His office sits in the Tulane Towers Learning Center (TTLC), on Broad Street between Canal and Tulane. Roughly 95% of the students in the GED classes at TTLC are minorities. 80% of them come on their own initiative. The center is a welcoming, safe place, and Jupiter says this helps the youth stick with it. You can hear an edited, roughly 7-minute, version of the interview here.
This week I interviewed Malcolm Suber of CDC 58:12, a community organization based in the Desire area that is now serving residents of the community that replaced that project. The privately managed community, The Estates, is overseen by the Housing Authority of New Orleans. Residents have been dealing with leaks and water for some time, but Hurricane Isaac exacerbated the situation. Listen to his comments here.
Late this spring I responded to a call for pitches from a new podcast that examines how the legal system intertwines with our everyday lives. The producer was intrigued by my description of the issues facing the Vietnamese community on the Gulf Coast related to the BP oil spill and its aftermath. This piece is the result. The amazing sound design was done by Kaitlin Prest. Julia Barton offered exquisite editing assistance, and numerous people from the New Orleans area helped me find the interviews for this story. Special thanks go to Daniel Nguyen and Grace Scire.
This is a story I did for Marketplace. It aired on the evening show October 9th. According to Realty Trac, Florida currently has the second highest foreclosure rate in the country. But advocates in Louisiana and Mississippi say rising insurance rates are pushing up foreclosures on other parts of the Gulf Coast.
Tania Tetlow is a professor of law with Tulane’s law school, and she runs the school’s domestic violence clinic. We sat down to talk about disparities in murder sentences between women and men on trial for killing their partners, as well as other issues related to domestic violence.