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.


Republicans stall millions of dollars of funding for New Orleans construction projects

By: - August 20, 2021

The Louisiana State Bond Commission voted 12-2 Thursday to withhold financing for over $30 million worth of construction projects in New Orleans that affect both public and private facilities. The board said it will take up the projects at its meeting in September instead.  The surprise vote fell along partisan lines, with Republicans deciding to […]

Louisiana nursing home workers have a low vaccination rate. Biden mandate should change that.

By: , and - August 19, 2021

Nursing homes will be required to ensure their staffers are vaccinated against COVID-19, or risk losing billions of federal healthcare dollars in the Medicaid and Medicare programs, the Biden administration announced Wednesday. The president’s new mandate is likely to have a big impact on Louisiana, which has persistently had one of the lowest COVID-19 vaccination […]

Louisiana lawmakers are unhappy with the way some criminal justice savings were used

By: - August 16, 2021

A few high-ranking lawmakers are unhappy about the way Louisiana’s prison system spent the money it saved by shrinking its incarcerated population over the past few years. The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections used savings from its prison population reduction to construct a new building at Raymond LaBorde Correctional Center in Cottonport. Lawmakers […]

Louisiana Congressman Troy Carter wants to erase student debt

By: - August 12, 2021

U.S. Rep. Troy Carter (D-New Orleans) has made canceling student debt one of his top priorities as a new congressman. Carter filed legislation in late July to direct the U.S. Department of Education to get rid of up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt for each borrower. It was one of the first two […]

Republicans ask Gov. Edwards to rescind mask mandate in schools

19 Louisiana House Republicans want school mask mandate rescinded

By: and - August 11, 2021

Despite an unprecedented number of coronavirus infections in children, 19 Louisiana House Republicans sent a letter to Gov. John Bel Edwards Monday, asking him to rescind the face mask mandate for K-12 schools and allow local school districts to decide their own mitigation measures. “We believe this is a blatant disregard of [state education] Superintendent […]

LSU Student Union

LSU still trying to staff office that handles sexual misconduct

By: - August 10, 2021

LSU has made progress — but still hasn’t fully staffed — its Office of Civil Rights and Title IX, which investigates and handles sexual misconduct. The office will have eight employees by the start of the fall semester on Aug. 23, according to the university. That’s way up from the two staff members it had […]

Jeff Landry challenges John Bel Edwards’ authority on K-12 schools mask mandate

By: - August 7, 2021

Attorney General Jeff Landry believes that only Louisiana’s state school board — not Gov. John Bel Edwards — can put a mask mandate in place in K-12 schools this coming school year. Landry, a Republican, issued a legal opinion stating as much Friday, three days after the governor’s mask mandate for all indoor spaces, including […]

John Bel Edwards says Jeff Landry is undermining Louisiana’s COVID-19 vaccine efforts

By: - August 4, 2021

Gov. John Bel Edwards said Wednesday that Attorney General Jeff Landry is undermining the state’s efforts to get the COVID-19 crisis under control by assisting anti-vaccine and anti-masking campaigns.  “Quite frankly, I don’t believe he’s consulting with any public health experts and what he’s doing has no basis in the law,” Edwards, a Democrat, said […]

Governor John Bel Edwards

John Bel Edwards on vaccine mandates: 6 things to know

By: - August 4, 2021

Gov. John Bel Edwards repeatedly said Wednesday that he won’t be issuing COVID-19 vaccine mandates for the public sector — including for K-12 schools, universities and state employees — until a vaccine receives full approval from the federal Food and Drug Administration and not just emergency use authorization. “I do look forward to the day […]

Jeff Landry sues ULM med school over vaccine mandate

Louisiana AG Jeff Landry advises his employees on how to circumvent school COVID-19 restrictions

By: - August 3, 2021

Attorney General Jeff Landry sent a departmentwide email blast to his employees Monday suggesting strategies for getting students out of the mask mandate that will be imposed in K-12 schools — as well as any school vaccine requirements that could be imposed in the future. Landry’s recommendations went out to people at the Louisiana Department […]

Lt. Gov. Nungesser raises objections to Louisiana’s coastal restoration project — again

By: - August 3, 2021

Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser has again raised objections to a $1.4 billion coastal restoration project that Louisiana’s state government has said for years is key to combating the state’s land loss. “I just can’t understand why more people are not outraged,” Nungesser, a Republican, said at the Baton Rouge Press Club Monday.  Nungesser has been […]


Louisiana law that eliminates prison time for modest marijuana possession takes effect Sunday

By: - July 31, 2021

A new law that eliminates jail and prison time for the possession of modest amounts of marijuana will take effect Sunday.  The law will impose a fine of up to $100 on a person caught with 14 grams or fewer of marijuana in lieu of incarceration — even for repeat offenses.  The current penalties for […]