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.

Clay Schexnayder

Louisiana House Speaker punishes lawmakers over failed veto override

By: - July 30, 2021

Louisiana House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, R-Gonzales, has punished Democrats and independent legislators who sided with Gov. John Bel Edwards over Schexnayder in the state’s veto override session earlier this month. The Speaker has removed two Democrats — Reps. Chad Brown of Plaquemine and Vincent Pierre of Lafayette – from their positions as chairmen of the […]

Louisiana granted $140 million to do COVID-19 testing in schools. Not all schools want the help.

By: - July 28, 2021

Louisiana is offering widespread, routine COVID-19 testing on a voluntary basis to both public and private school communities during the 2021-2022 school year, but not all districts want the assistance. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has given Louisiana $140 million to do regular — sometimes weekly — testing of students, teachers and staff across […]

Louisiana inmate taking out the trash

Louisiana shifts prison work crew schedules in government office buildings over Delta surge

By: - July 27, 2021

The schedules for prison work crews who clean Louisiana state government office buildings in downtown Baton Rouge has been altered because of the threat of the Delta variant of COVID-19. There is also a possible COVID-19 outbreak at the prison where the crews usually live. Incarcerated people who typically clean Baton Rouge state offices are […]

Republicans block 'Jim Crow jury' reform

Louisiana prison system is prohibiting outside visitors and family again because of COVID-19

By: - July 27, 2021

The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections is barring family members, attorneys, volunteers and other visitors from entering state prisons through at least Aug. 16 as the state undergoes its fourth surge of COVID-19 cases.  The prison system has previously been shut down to outsiders. Family visits were completely prohibited for a year — […]

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards picks Senator Ronnie Johns to run gambling board

By: - July 23, 2021

Gov. John Bel Edwards has appointed Sen. Ronnie Johns, R-Sulphur, to lead the state’s Gaming Control Board, which creates and oversees gambling industry regulations in Louisiana. Johns is one of the biggest boosters of the gambling industry in the Louisiana Legislature. He’s sponsored several pieces of legislation to ease restrictions on gambling companies– including the […]

Louisiana Superdome

Louisiana lawmakers sign off on ‘Caesars Superdome’ name

By: - July 22, 2021

Louisiana lawmakers agreed Thursday (July 22) to let the New Orleans Saints change the name of the Superdome to “Ceasars Superdome” — after the Caesars Entertainment casinos and gambling company — for the next 20 years. The new name will be on the building before the Saints first preseason game Aug. 23, according to documents […]

Clay Schexnayder

Louisiana’s historic veto override session: Winners and losers 

By: - July 22, 2021

Republican leaders in the Louisiana Legislature ended the first veto override session in the history of the state Wednesday, three days earlier than the session had to end, when it became obvious the Republican leadership didn’t have enough votes to override any of the governor’s vetoes. They had the option of staying until Saturday at […]


Louisiana Legislature fails to overturn governor’s veto of transgender athlete ban

By: - July 21, 2021

Louisiana will not ban transgender women and girls from participating in women and girls sports — despite efforts of the conservative Christian organizations and the House Republican leadership to push through a new law to do so. The Louisiana Legislature failed to overturn Edwards’ veto of a transgender athlete ban (Senate Bill 156) Wednesday after […]

Tax reform proposal heads to La. voters

Louisiana lawmakers veto override efforts coming down to one bill — a transgender athlete ban

By: - July 21, 2021

The Louisiana Legislature’s historic veto override session appears to be coming down mostly to one piece of legislation — a transgender women and girls athlete ban. Republican lawmakers entered the state’s first ever veto override session angling to overturn Gov. John Bel Edwards’ decision on more than one measure. Edwards vetoed 28 bills and removed […]


Louisiana Senate votes to override Governor John Bel Edwards on transgender women and girls athlete ban

By: - July 20, 2021

The Louisiana Senate has voted again to prohibit transgender women and girls from participating in women and girls sports — overriding Gov. John Bel Edwards’ veto of  Senate Bill 156. The House will have to vote to override the governor, too, in order for the bill to become law. The Senate vote was 26-12 Tuesday, […]

Tax reform would reduce tax rates and enact tax cut triggers

Louisiana Legislature’s veto override session: 6 things to know

By: - July 19, 2021

The Louisiana Legislature will hold a session to override the governor’s vetoes for the first time in the state’s modern history. It’s set to start Tuesday and must end by Saturday at midnight, though lawmakers could vote to adjourn early. Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoed 28 bills and several lawmakers’ pet construction projects from three […]


Louisiana’s prison system allowing in-person visits with attorneys again

By: - July 16, 2021

The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections has started to allow attorneys back into state prisons for in-person visits with incarcerated clients. “Our institutions are encouraging Zoom meetings for visits. If necessary, they will allow non-contact visits for attorneys,” wrote Ken Pastorick, spokesman for the prison system, in an email earlier this month. Attorneys […]