Insight

Fridays at 6:44 a.m. and 8:44 a.m.

One-on-one conversations with reporters, researchers, community leaders, and thinkers about what's happening around us in Baton Rouge and Louisiana at large.  Insight probes the big big ideas, and the big picture.

Gwen Hamilton
Don Kadair

Gwen Hamilton was involved in forming the East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority. She was recently called back in as its interim CEO.

She talks a lot about “transformative change” — the sort of change you can’t help but notice.


Melinda Deslatte
Associated Press

Melinda Deslatte, capitol correspondent for the Associated Press, sums up 2014, or at least the year in Louisiana politics.

 


Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition

What to do with all the billions in Clean Water Act fines to be paid by BP and its contractors for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill?

Officially, it’s up to the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, made up of governors from the five affected states and heads of several federal agencies, to decide.

A coalition of environmental groups has come up with their own ideas for how the first millions can best be spent to restore the coast.

Business-backed candidates secured a new 5-to-4 majority on the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board last Saturday.

FuturePAC, which is affiliated with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, put up about $50,000 for candidates in these school board elections. BRAC CEO Adam Knapp discusses what business interests are investing in.


We’ve come to the final act in the fall elections. Saturday voters will cast their ballots in runoffs for Senate, Congress, school board, and judge. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Secretary of State Tom Schedler is projecting turnout will be around 40 percent statewide, down from about 50 percent for the primary.


aliceintheflowers

It has not been a terrific few weeks for state finances.

Oil revenues dropped. And then a $180 million hole appeared in the state budget.

Melinda Deslatte, AP reporter on the state budget beat, explains how Gov. Bobby Jindal plans to close the gap.


The state Dept. of Education has been rolling out all sorts of tests results in the last few weeks – student test scores, teacher evaluations, and school performance calculations.


Headmaster Josh LaSage in Hosanna Christian Academy's in 2012 in "war room" where the student progress is tracked.
Sue Lincoln

In 2012, when Louisiana’s taxpayer funded scholarship program was expanded statewide, Hosanna Christian Academy in Baton Rouge went all in.

In that first year, the school took on almost 300 voucher students, nearly doubling its enrollment. By the start of this school year, Hosanna had more voucher students than any other school in the state -- about 85 percent of its student are enrolled with a voucher. 

Hosanna's students didn't score well enough on state tests, and it won't be allowed to enroll more voucher students next year. Still, headmaster Josh LaSage says the school isn't giving up. 


Louisiana has gone immediately from a primary campaign to a runoff campaign.

Sen. Mary Landrieu will again be at the top of the ticket Dec. 6 fighting for reelection. Congressman Bill Cassidy is continuing to battle to win her seat.

Jeremy Alford, publisher of LaPolitics.com, says with Republicans taking control of the Senate Tuesday, both candidates have new war cries. 

 

 


Tuesday marks the first East Baton Rouge Parish school board election since a redistricting plan was passed this summer, shrinking the board from 11 members to 9.

Charles Lussier is a reporter for The Advocate and has been following the races for the six contested seats.


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