Wallis Watkins

Producer & Contributing Reporter

Wallis Watkins is a Baton Rouge native. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Philosophy from Louisiana State University in 2013. Soon after, she joined WRKF as an intern and is now reporting on politics for Capitol Access and science and health for Louisiana's Lab.

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Wallis Watkins

Over the past four years, access to hospitals and emergency rooms has dwindled in north Baton Rouge, forcing residents there to travel farther for health care. As of Wednesday, they have a new — and closer — option. 


For 17 years, residents in parts of East Baton Rouge, Ascension and Livingston parishes have been paying a local tax to help fund construction of the Comite River Diversion Canal, designed to lower the flood risk of nearby homeowners. Then in 2016, record flooding hit the region — causing billions in damage. The incident only ignited the demand for answers from frustrated taxpayers.

Wallis Watkins

Pat Forbes, Louisiana Office of Community Development Director, updated the Legislature’s Homeland Security Committee yesterday on recovery from the 2016 floods.

“We know that recovery - disaster recovery especially for homeowners - is never fast enough. We’re 14 months after the August flood,17 months after the March flood," explains Forbes.


C-SPAN

Congress has voted to give victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria some tax relief as they recover from the disastrous storms. But taxpayers in Louisiana who flooded in 2016 won’t get the same assistance.


Wallis Watkins

Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy, along with South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, is leading the latest effort to repeal and replace Obamacare in the U.S. Senate.  


Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance

The task force charged with reviewing the TOPS scholarship program held its first meeting Wednesday at the Capitol. 


Sue Lincoln

As flooding from Harvey continues to unfold in southeast Texas, Louisiana now faces its own increased challenges from the storm’s heavy rainfall. 


Wallis Watkins

Congress is in recess until September, so meanwhile, senators and representatives are back in their home states. On Wednesday, Senator Bill Cassidy talked health care in Baton Rouge. 


Since rainfall blanketed southeast Louisiana in August 2016, residents have wondered how the state can protect its people from future floods. Answering that question begins with understanding the geography we live in.

Denham Springs saw some of the worst damage in the August 2016 flood. As the rebuilding continues, the city is developing a long-term recovery plan — one designed by the people who live there. Denham Strong, the city's recovery planning group, gives residents an opportunity to advocate for what they want Denham Springs to look like years from now.

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