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.

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.


DonkeyHotey / Flickr

We’re in the midst of the final push before election day. Early voting has begun.

In the latest poll commissioned by Raycom Media, 23 percent are undecided in the Senate race. Sen. Mary Landrieu is leading with 36 percent, Rep. Bill Cassidy with 32 percent, and Col. Rob Manness pulling 6 percent.

Melinda Deslatte, capitol correspondent for the Associated Press, says we'll find out -- likely in a Dec. 6 runoff -- whether campaign messages on policy issues particular to Louisiana or the broader national political context win out.

Wednesday at Southern University’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, political consultant Ben Jeffers delivered a talk about the minority vote — the black vote — as a factor in this fall’s Congressional elections.

Jeffers has been involved in national, state, and local campaigns for more than 40 years. He was the first African American to head the Louisiana Democratic Party. And he’s working with the party this year to help turn out the vote.


During the last legislative session, state Sen. Ben Nevers fought hard for the expansion of Medicaid in Louisiana under the Affordable Care Act. But ultimately, a bill to put the issue on the ballot didn’t even make it out of committee. 

But the legislature did pass another bill from Nevers, compelling the state Department of Health and Hospitals to come up with a plan for Louisiana to pilot “America Next” — Gov. Bobby Jindal’s alternative to Obamacare. 

DHH put out their initial report in response a few weeks ago.


The nominating committee for the South East Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East has made its selection to fill a slot on the levee board. They voted 7-3 a week ago to renominate Paul Kemp — a geologist in the Coastal Ecology Institute at LSU — who’s current term is expiring. 

The ball is back in Gov. Jindal’s court — he can accept or reject Kemp’s nomination or ask the state Senate to consider it — and the fate of the levee board’s lawsuit against oil and gas companies over damage to coastal wetlands hangs in the balance. 

Bob Marshall, reporter with The Lens in New Orleans, has been following all this.

The Louisiana Board of Regents unleashed a 500-plus page report earlier this week about sexual assault. The report shows wide variation in how sexual assault is dealt with on state college and university campuses. 

State Sen. JP Morrell requested the report and is now putting together a working group that may wind up crafting legislation to make campus responses to the problem more uniform.


Platform supply vessels battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon, April, 20, 2010.
U.S. Coast Guard

BP was to blame — that was U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier’s ruling a week ago in the case over the Macondo well disaster. The judge found Transocean, which was operating the Deepwater Horizon rig in 2010, and cement contractor Haliburton at fault too. But Barbier said BP was guilty of “gross negligence”. And that could mean that payouts by BP balloon to $50 billion or more ultimately.

Dr. Jim Richardson, professor of public administration and economics at LSU explains some of the business implications.


The fundraising push is over, and the ground game has begun in Louisiana’s hotly contested Senate race.

Researchers at Tufts University recently pinpointed Louisiana as one of a handful of states where the youth vote could decide the outcome of a key Senate race this fall.

Jeremy Alford, Publisher of LaPolitics.com, paints a picture of how the campaigns are honing in on voters.

 


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