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.

Gov. John Bel Edwards

Louisiana governor vetoes changes to the emergency election plan process

By: - November 13, 2020

Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoed Wednesday legislation that would have changed the process for implementing an emergency election plan like the one used over the summer to make it easier to vote during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Edwards said he was uncomfortable with provisions of the bill that would have allowed the Legislature to approve an […]

Louisiana Capitol Building

Louisiana governor vetoes oil and gas tax break from special session

By: - November 13, 2020

Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoed Wednesday an oil and gas industry tax break passed by the Louisiana Legislature that would cost the state over $38 million over the next five years. Edwards said the bill contained technical errors that would have created difficulties for the oil well operators it was supposed to help as well […]


Louisiana rewards prisoners with $5 for getting flu shot

By: - November 12, 2020

The Louisiana Department of Corrections is giving a $5 prison-canteen credit to inmates who get the flu shot in its state facilities this year — an incentive that is rare, if not unprecedented. “[G]iven the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical we go above and beyond to urge all inmates, who are otherwise able, to take […]

Gov. John Bel Edwards

Louisiana governor leaves most pet projects in state budget

By: - November 6, 2020

Gov. John Bel Edwards kept almost all of the 118 pet projects Louisiana lawmakers inserted into the budget intact when he signed legislation this week. He vetoed just five items — costing a combined $718,000 — out of the $25.2 million list Wednesday. The governor removed money for Madisonville lighthouse repairs ($250,000), Grant Parish waterworks […]

Letlow, Harris prepare for all-Republican runoff in Louisiana’s 5th congressional district

By: - November 5, 2020

Republicans Luke Letlow and Lance Harris are trying to distinguish themselves from each other as they head into a runoff election for Louisiana’s 5th congressional district Dec. 5. Letlow, 40, touts his experience working in politics and government for years. He served as outgoing Congressman Ralph Abraham’s chief of staff and has held other positions […]

Lake Charles voting

Battered by hurricanes and the pandemic, Lakes Charles headed to polls on Election Day

By: - November 4, 2020

Zoe Glaspie wasn’t able to get up and go just down the road to vote like most people this year. She and her family had to drive over two hours and 140 miles to reach their polling location. Glaspie lives in Lake Charles, but for the past month, her family has been crashing with relatives […]

Lamar Davis

Louisiana Governor picks new state police chief as agency grapples with controversies

By: - October 30, 2020

Gov. John Bel Edwards appointed a new Louisiana State Police superintendent Friday just a few hours before another round of allegations of racism within state trooper ranks surfaced. Captain Lamar Davis, who is Black, will succeed retiring Col. Kevin Reeves, who is White. Davis is a Baton Rouge native who previously worked on highway patrol, […]

Louisiana local pet projects map

Most of Louisiana’s ‘pet projects’ go to parishes of lawmakers who wrote budget

By: - October 28, 2020

Lighthouse repairs in Madisonville. A new generator for a water tower in Iota. Economic development in downtown Houma. Crime cameras in New Orleans. Fire hydrants in Assumption Parish. HVAC equipment for the Washington Parish jail. Town hall repairs in Maurice.  Those are a few of the 118 local pet projects lawmakers voted to spend $25.2 […]

Gov. John Bel Edwards

Governor vetoes bill to give legislators power over COVID-19 restrictions

By: - October 27, 2020

Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoed legislation Tuesday that gives legislators the power to rescind COVID-19 restrictions and weakens his authority over emergencies overall.  “I have said repeatedly that an emergency cannot be managed by committee and that is exactly what this bill would allow,” wrote the governor in his veto explanation to the legislature. Edwards […]

Clay Schexnayder

Louisiana House GOP move to throw out COVID restrictions — for a week

By: - October 26, 2020

This story has been updated to include House Republicans’ threat of a lawsuit and a statement from Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry. Louisiana House Republicans have collected enough signatures for a petition to direct Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, to remove all of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions for seven days, though they aren’t certain […]

Louisiana bill meant to prevent ‘Defund the Police’ efforts dies in the Louisiana Senate

By: - October 24, 2020

The Louisiana Senate killed a bill meant to prevent local governments from “defunding the police” by not taking it up for a vote before the legislature ended its special session Friday. Sen. Jay Luneau, D-Alexandria, stymied the proposal by conducting a short, 20-minute filibuster. “Sen. Luneau: Are you going to have the floor — are […]

Senate committee waters down bill to preempt ‘Defund the Police’ Efforts

By: - October 21, 2020

A Senate committee significantly watered down legislation that would make it harder for municipalities to “defund the police” in their communities.  The bill allows the legislature’s joint budget committee to withhold construction dollars and other funding from local governments who substantially cut their law enforcement budgets. The original proposal, sponsored by Rep. Lance Harris, R-Alexandria, […]