Julie O'Donoghue

Julie O'Donoghue

Julie O’Donoghue is a senior reporter for the Louisiana Illuminator and producer of the Louisiana Illuminator podcast. She’s received awards from the Virginia Press Association and Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press. Julie covered state government and politics for | The Times-Picayune for six years. She’s also covered government and politics in Missouri, Virginia and Washington D.C. Julie is a proud D.C. native and Washington Capitals hockey fan. She and her partner, Jed, live in Baton Rouge. She has two stepchildren, Quinn and Steven.

several stacks of books

6 reading recommendations: Notable Louisiana nonfiction

By: - November 30, 2022

This short list of notable, Louisiana-focused nonfiction books might help folks with gift-giving this holiday season. I picked up most of the following books at the public library, so there’s a good chance you can find them at your local branch as well. I do read novels, but for whatever reason, I have read a […]

Governor: Some lawmakers focused on ‘non-issues’

Louisiana runs into problems distributing lawmakers’ pet project money

By: - November 22, 2022

For months, Louisiana has struggled to fund a handful of legislators’ controversial pet projects because lawmakers inserted the wrong information into state budget documents or used vague language that financial staff can’t decipher.  Legislators have been voting on a rolling series of corrections to the pet project portion of the state budget since early June. […]

Louisiana spent $550,000 making Angola suitable for incarcerated youth

By: - November 19, 2022

The Office of Juvenile Justice spent $550,000 to renovate the former death row facility at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola so they could use it to house incarcerated youth over the next year.  Interim Deputy Secretary Curtis Nelson told state senators Friday the money was spent on security cameras, new classrooms, a medical facility and […]

Bridge City Center for Youth

Lacking space, Louisiana officials ask judges to release incarcerated youth early

By: - November 16, 2022

The Office of Juvenile Justice has asked judges to release people from its facilities as Louisiana runs out of space to put children and young adults in custody for committing crimes.  “It is a day-to-day task to try to release a child from OJJ’s custody so we can receive a child,” Assistant Secretary Curtis Nelson […]

Louisiana should remove incarcerated youth from Angola immediately, federal official says

By: - November 16, 2022

A juvenile justice program administrator for the federal government told Louisiana officials Wednesday that incarcerated youth should be removed immediately from the campus of Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. “Let me be clear on this point: Children do not belong in adult courts and certainly not in adult prisons and jails,” Liz Ryan, administrator of […]

Louisiana looks to cover tattoo removal for human trafficking survivors

By: - November 15, 2022

Louisiana may soon cover the cost for people to remove tattoos forced upon them by sex traffickers. The Louisiana Crime Victims Reparations Board is considering a regulation that would make it easier to provide public money for human trafficking survivors. Bob Wertz, the board’s chief staff member, said the state can only award a victim […]

Courtroom gavel

More than 1/4 of Louisiana’s public defenders can’t cover their costs

By: - November 11, 2022

Eleven of Louisiana’s 41 public defender offices did not bring in enough money to cover their costs during the 2020-2021 state budget cycle, providing more evidence the state’s public defender system is in a financial crisis.  The 19th Judicial District Court in East Baton Rouge Parish had the largest cost overruns, spending $243,000 more than […]

Water main cover

Legislators want Edwards administration to spread around water, sewer money

By: - November 11, 2022

Louisiana lawmakers put off a vote on funding 100 water and sewer projects worth $406.4 million Thursday after legislators raised concerns that too much of the money was going to Northshore parishes. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality recommended a single Northshore project – the combination of 10 sewer systems near the city of Amite […]

Royce Duplessis, Caleb Kleinpeter win elections to join Louisiana Senate

By: - November 8, 2022

Tuesday’s election didn’t do much to change the political dynamic of the Louisiana Senate, though two new members will join the upper chamber. State Rep. Royce Duplessis beat out fellow Democrat Rep. Mandie Landry to take a Senate seat in New Orleans. He replaces former Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, a Democrat who resigned shortly before […]

a fence topped with barbed wire

John Bel Edwards launches second investigation into Ware Youth Center

By: - November 4, 2022

Gov. John Bel Edwards has announced he will  launch a second state investigation – one that includes the Department of Children and Family Services and the Office of Juvenile Justice – into Ware Youth Center, a large juvenile detention facility in Coushatta.  Ware’s staff allegedly engaged in sexual abuse, choking and other physical violence against […]

Louisiana health department declines to answer doctors’ questions on abortion law

By: - November 1, 2022

The Louisiana Department of Health refuses to answer questions from doctors about the state’s abortion ban, making it difficult for physicians to determine what medical care for pregnant people might put them at risk for criminal charges.  The health department’s lead attorney Stephen Russo said his agency is not responsible for clearing up physician confusion […]

New Orleans protest over Supreme Court overturning abortion ruling

Both sides of abortion debate criticize Louisiana’s list of exceptions

By: - October 25, 2022

Few people appear happy with Louisiana’s approach to carving out medical exceptions for the state’s sweeping abortion ban.  Doctors and anti-abortion advocates criticized the state’s list of two dozen “medically futile” pregnancy conditions that could still be used to access a legal abortion. They spoke Tuesday at a sparsely attended public hearing held on the […]