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How GUMBO, a new state program, is expanding broadband in rural Louisiana

Mural in downtown Lake Providence, La., a town in East Carroll Parish slated to receive expanded broadband access
Catherine Arvin
Mural in downtown Lake Providence, La., a town in East Carroll Parish slated to receive expanded broadband access

On today’s episode of Louisiana Considered, we hear an update on the Jackson water crisis and learn about efforts to increase monkeypox vaccination rates. We also discover how a new state grant will expand broadband access in rural areas and learn about a new community college program for legal scholars. This episode originally aired on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022. To hear the full episode, click the “play” button above.

Access to reliable fast internet is a problem in many parts of Louisiana, particularly rural and economically disadvantaged parts of the state. Now the GUMBO grant program is seeking to change that. Laura Arvin, one of the members behind the push for broadband expansion, tells us about bringing internet service to East Carroll Parish in north Louisiana.

But first: We get an update on the unprecedented water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi after its main water facility failed following recent flooding. While the water pressure is now somewhat stable, officials say there is a small margin for error. Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s Kobee Vance tells us how officials are navigating the current crisis and what the city needs in order to have a more sustainable water supply.

Then: Hundreds of thousands of people visited New Orleans over the weekend for the city’s 50th anniversary of Southern Decadence — its annual LGBTQ community festival and parade. Shalina Chatlani of the Gulf States Newsroom tells us how health officials used the event as an opportunity to promote and administer the monkeypox vaccine.

And finally: Baton Rouge Community College has entered an agreement with the Southern University Law Center to eliminate employment obstacles for students and to encourage more graduates to enter the legal field. The agreement will also remove barriers for BRCC students by offering them services to help with expungement of previous justice related issues. Dr. Willie Smith, chancellor of Baton Rouge Community College, tells us more.

Today’s episode of Louisiana Considered was hosted by Adam Vos. Our managing producer is Alana Schreiber and our digital editor is Katelyn Umholtz. Our engineers are Garrett Pittman, Aubry Procell, and Thomas Walsh. 

You can listen to Louisiana Considered Monday through Friday at 12:00 and 7:30 pm. It’s available on Spotify, Google Play, and wherever you get your podcasts. 

Louisiana Considered wants to hear from you! Please fill out our pitch line to let us know what kinds of story ideas you have for our show. And while you’re at it, fill out our listener survey! We want to keep bringing you the kinds of conversations you’d like to listen to.

Louisiana Considered is made possible with support from our listeners. Thank you!

Adam is responsible for coordinating WRKF's programming and making sure everything you hear on the radio runs smoothly. He is Newscast Editor for the WRKF/WWNO Newsroom. Adam is also the Baton Rouge-based host for Louisiana Considered, our daily regional news program, and is frequently the local voice afternoons on All Things Considered.
Alana Schreiber is the managing producer for the live daily news program, Louisiana Considered. She comes to WRKF from KUNC in Northern Colorado, where she worked as a radio producer for the daily news magazine, Colorado Edition. She has previously interned for Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul and The Documentary Group in New York City.