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Retired NOLA priest indicted; unhoused in heat; dance programs for people with disabilities

7-year-old Gigi Riley dancing on stage independently in her fourth year of classes
Kristi Riley
7-year-old Gigi Riley dancing on stage independently in her fourth year of classes

This summer has been the hottest New Orleans has ever measured. Public officials — including the mayor and the governor — have issued heat emergencies, warning people to take shelter during the hottest parts of the day. But those who work and live outside may not have that option.

A new report in The Guardian by journalist Delaney Nolan revealed a huge spike in emergency calls from unhoused people experiencing heat illness. She sat down with the Gulf States Newsroom’s Drew Hawkins to talk about what her reporting found.

An organization in Baton Rouge is committed to making dance a more accessible means of expression. Dance for All is a program that offers specific classes and events designed for participants with developmental and physical disabilities, and they’ve got some events just around the corner. Dance instructor Kaitlyn Odell and 7-year-old Gigi Riley tell us more about Dance for All and why they believe dance is a universal form of communication.

Back in June, we covered the story of retired New Orleans priest Lawrence Hecker, who, according to church documents obtained by The Guardian, confessed to his superiors that he had sexually abused minors during his ministry. Hecker was allowed to continue working, retired in 2002 and just last week, was indicted at age 91. He pleaded not guilty, according to The Guardian, to charges of “aggravated rape, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated crime against nature and theft.”

The Guardian reporter covering this story, Ramon Antonio Vargas, joins us for an update.

Today’s episode of Louisiana Considered was by Alana Schreiber. Our assistant producer is Aubry Procell and our engineer is Garrett Pittman.

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

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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.