Amy Jeffries

News Director

Amy started her career in public radio at WNPR in Hartford, CT more than a decade ago. NPR flew her in to Baton Rouge to help WRKF cover the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina while she was still based in the North. Here she found her journalistic calling.

After getting a Master of Journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley and taking a detour through online media as a local editor for Patch, she finally returned to public radio and to Baton Rouge in January 2012.

Ways To Connect

One of Lafayette’s rising stars, blues rocker Lane Mack, released his self-titled debut earlier this month, and it hit No. 2 on the iTunes blues charts.

After his son was born, Mack says he wanted to record a collection of his own songs rooted in the blues and Cajun music he was raised on.


Following Ladies of Liberty and Founding Mothers, NPR and ABC News regular Cokie Roberts has written another book giving women in American history credit where credit is due.

The latest, Capital Dames, looks at the Civil War and the Women of Washington, D.C. from 1848-1868.


Robert Travis Scott
Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana

The first week of the 2015 state legislative session is in the books.

The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana recently put out a guide to the budget crisis lawmakers are grappling with. And PAR President, Robert Travis Scott, is following along as the budgeting process unfolds.


Bobby Jindal addresses the Louisiana legislature one last time as governor, kicking off the 2015 legislative session.

It’s a fiscal session, so lawmakers will be focused on finding solutions to close a $1.6 billion budget gap, with the future of higher education and healthcare services at stake. The governor has already made his “guardrails” clear: he won’t accept any tax increases.

Beyond the budget, Jindal is aiming to yank Common Core education standards from Louisiana’s public schools. And he’s looking to frame the debate around a religious freedom bill filed in anticipation of a Supreme Court ruling on the marriage of same-sex couples.

With host Amy Jeffries, Michael Henderson, director of LSU’s Public Policy Research Lab, and political scientist Robert Hogan provide context and analysis as Gov. Bobby Jindal lays out his agenda for the 2015 legislative session.
 


Congress heads back to Washington on Monday. Freshman House member Garret Graves has been home here in the 6th District during his first long break from Capitol Hill.

Arrested Development frontman, Speech.
Courtesy of the artist

The Atlanta-based group Arrested Development hit it big in 1992 with its debut album pioneering hip hop with a message.

Arrested Development disbanded for a while, then came back together about 15 years ago. And, as frontman Speech told WRKF's Amy Jeffries when he called in to the newsroom, they’ve been working mostly overseas since then.

They came back from a tour in Japan just in time to perform at the Baton Rouge Blues Festival this Saturday, April 11. Arrested Development will be talking more with WRKF's Amy Jeffries Backstage at Blues Fest at 2:45 p.m.

The Louisiana survey takes the pulse of the people every year about major policy issues facing the state. LSU’s Public Policy Research Lab has been rolling out the results of this year’s edition.

Research Director Michael Henderson agrees public opinion is leaving lawmakers between a rock and a hard place when it comes to closing the state budget hole. As for state services, the public gives the colleges and universities particularly high marks. And though a majority still opposes it, there's slowly growing acceptance of same-sex marriage.


Dr. Isiah Warner on the campus of LSU.
LSU

The sciences are tough enough. For students of color, studying science, technology, engineering or math can be particularly daunting.

At LSU over the last decade and then some, Isiah Warner has been leading efforts to help those students make it from high school all the way through graduate school. And it seems to be working.

The graduation rate for African American undergrads who’ve gotten scholarships and mentorship through a program called La-STEM is 86 percent — by comparison, it was just 60 percent for the LSU campus overall among last spring’s cohort.

Warner is now Vice Chancellor of Strategic Initiatives and Boyd Professor of analytical and environmental chemistry.

As an African American growing up in Bunkie, his enthusiasm for science was unusual — to say the least.

Hillar Moore, was an investigator in the East Baton Rouge District Attorney’s Office for 11 years, and a criminal defense attorney for 16 years, before he was elected DA himself.

With his long career in law enforcement, it has not escaped him that Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the country.

At his talk at TEDxLSU last Saturday, John Gray — a musician and educator — talked about “music as a connector”.

When you hear a few bars of the "Star Spangled Banner", that might make you feel patriotic. And, “When the Saints Go Marching in”, might stir up some football fandom.

If culture were a gumbo, he said, music is the roux — the special ingredient that binds us together and makes us who we are.

And he’s calling on his city, Baton Rouge, to consciously sustain its own culture.

At his talk at TEDxLSU last Saturday, John Gray — a musician and educator — talked about “music as a connector”.

When you hear a few bars of the Star Spangled Banner, that might make you feel patriotic. And, “When the Saints Go Marching in”, might stir up some football fandom.

If culture were a gumbo, he said, music is the roux — the special ingredient that binds us together and makes us who we are.

And he’s calling on his city, Baton Rouge, to consciously sustain its own culture.
 


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