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WRKF News

As of Friday, May 11, the state Legislative session has three weeks until it must adjourn.

The budget has yet to be balanced even though the house passed an amendment Friday to end the dispute over the use of one-time money, and Governor Bobby Jindal's pension reforms remain in limbo.

Robert Mann is the Director of the Reilly Center for Media and Public Affairs at the Manship School at LSU.

WRKF's Ashley Westerman sat down with him earlier this week and asked what the biggest priority for the legislature is at this point.


En Luisiana, Los Cubanos Tocan Ranchera

May 4, 2012

Como consecuencia de Katrina, la población Mexicana en Luisiana ha crecido substancialmente y con ella, la demanda de grupos de Mariachi.  Luisiana solo tiene un grupo de mariachi, pero no son mexicanos.  Son cubanos.


In Louisiana, Cubans Play Mexican Ranchera Music

May 4, 2012

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana's Mexican population has grown substantially, and with it the demand for mariachi bands. Louisiana only has one mariachi band -- but they're not Mexican, they're Cuban.


Sick Fish Suggest Lingering Impact of BP Spill

Apr 27, 2012

In November 2011, roughly a year and a half after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, commercial fisherman began catching red snapper with dark sores and lesions in the Gulf.

A group of LSU scientists studying the impact of the disaster is still finding large numbers of sick fish -- snapper in particular -- throughout the area of the oil spill.


Designer and reality TV star Kenneth Brown says the best way to design a space is to get a fresh start - take everything out of the room and take a good long look at it.

Brown recently moved back to Baton Rouge from Los Angeles to start a new design firm. He's the featured speaker for this month's Creative Louisiana monthly meet-up.

He talked with WRKF's Tegan Wendland about why he moved back, and what the city has going for it.


Big Charter School Push Coming to Baton Rouge

Apr 26, 2012

The Recovery School District is announcing plans for an "Achievement Zone" in north Baton Rouge where the schools have been failing for decades.

As part of that effort, New Schools for Baton Rouge will be facilitating the development of charter schools.

Before moving upriver to launch the new non-profit, Chris Meyer worked for the RSD in New Orleans, identifying which schools to turn over to charter operators there.

As he told WRKF's Amy Jeffries, Meyer is out to prove that you don't need a hurricane to make radical changes to the way schools work.


Pension Debate Pits Government vs. Government Workers

Apr 23, 2012
Alex C. Balla

Key pieces of Governor Bobby Jindal's pension reform have started to make their way through the legislature.

A bill that aims to change retirement eligibility heads to the full House tomorrow for further debate. Meanwhile, legislation to create a cash-balance plan for retirees and raise employee pension contribution by 3-percent is slated for the full Senate floor in the coming weeks.

Jeffrey Sadow is an Associate Professor of Political Science at LSU Shreveport. He is also the author of the Louisiana politics blog "Between The Lines".

Sadow spoke with WRKF's Ashley Westerman via telephone about the political dynamics at play in order to get pension reforms passed.

Audio Pending...

Coastal Communities Still Feeling Effects Of Spill

Apr 20, 2012

Two years ago today, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, killing 11 workers, and causing the largest marine spill in American history.

Beyond the effects on wildlife, tourism and fishing along the Gulf Coast, the spill has had a lasting impact on the lives and relationships in communities there.

Diane Austin, an anthropologist at the University of Arizona, was part of a research team that published a report last year on those social effects. She talked with WRKF's Ashley Westerman by phone about the pervasiveness of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.


Voters Consider CATS Transit Tax

Apr 20, 2012

Baton Rouge's bus system is in crisis. The future of the Capital Area Transit system, or "CATS," will be determined in a special tax election on Saturday. As WRKF's Tegan Wendland reports, the system is facing a $2.1 million deficit in a budget currently projected at $12.6 million. The tax revenue would not only close that gap, but totally overhaul the existing system, and if it doesn't pass? Proponents say the buses could shut down in July.

Neglected Louisiana Graveyards Face Continued Disrepair

Apr 19, 2012

Baton Rouge's historic cemeteries are part of the backdrop of everyday life here. You probably drive past them on your way home from work or see the above-ground tombs when you drop your kid off at school. But many of the state's graveyards have been beaten up by hurricanes and other natural disasters, and remain in a stunning state of disrepair. In fact, as WRKF's Tegan Wendland reports, there are few resources to keep them from crumbling away.


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