Betsy Shepherd

Betsy Shepherd covers environmental news and is producing a podcast on the Civil Rights Movement in small-town Louisiana. She won a regional Edward R. Murrow award for a feature she reported on Louisiana’s 2016 floods.

Before joining New Orleans Public Radio, Betsy served as the managing producer of American Routes and online content coordinator at Indiana Public Media. She received her undergraduate degree from Louisiana State University and earned two master’s degrees in journalism and ethnomusicology from Indiana University.

In addition to her work at WWNO, Betsy is a freelance radio producer and reporter for the BBC and The Southern Foodways Alliance.

Hundreds marched through downtown New Orleans and flooded the interstate Tuesday night during the fifth consecutive day of protests organized in response to the police killing of George Floyd. 

Before the coronavirus, people would line the block waiting to get a table at Willie Mae’s Scotch House, a Treme neighborhood restaurant that serves world-famous fried chicken. Now the block sits quiet — the dining room closed indefinitely and line-forming a dangerous act.

The New Orleans Police Department broke up large crowds of people gathered at two establishments on Magazine Street — Tracey’s and the Bulldog Uptown — on Saturday, the first day New Orleans businesses were allowed to reopen.

Louisiana can begin Phase One of reopening on Friday, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced at a Monday press conference. 

Dozens of people line up outside the Broadmoor Church in New Orleans for the Broadmoor Improvement Association’s monthly food pantry. Standing six feet apart, participants wait their turn to show their ID in exchange for a box of groceries.

From March 14 to May 2, more than 560,000 Louisiana residents applied for unemployment benefits.

That's about 12 percent of the total population of 4,645,184 people. But some estimates suggest nearly a quarter of the state is now jobless.

Steven is an addict. He has been off of drugs for six years now, and says he maintains his sobriety by regularly attending a Narcotics Anonymous support group.

Maya Smith works as a cashier at a Walmart in New Orleans. She is 21 years old, the breadwinner in her household, and she just walked out in protest of her workplace conditions.

Across the globe, there is massive demand for a limited supply of ventilators, which are needed to save critically ill COVID-19 patients.

Gov. John Bel Edwards has said that if the current rate of infection persists and new ventilators are not made available, the state will run out of the life-saving devices by next week.

Record numbers of laid-off workers across Louisiana are waiting for badly needed assistance, while the state struggles to process hundreds of thousands of new unemployment claims. Their lives have been doubly upended by quarantine and financial hardship.

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