Author

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 NOLA.com | 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.

Louisiana starts recovery from Hurricane Ida with limited power, phone service

By: - August 30, 2021

Louisiana citizens started to dig themselves out of the wreckage left by Hurricane Ida Monday while dealing with widespread power failures, sewerage system outages and downed mobile phone service across much of the southeastern region of the state.  Some of the parishes most affected by the powerful storm — including New Orleans — didn’t have […]

Hurricane Ida

Louisiana residents seek shelter from Hurricane Ida

By: and - August 29, 2021

Mildred Webster, a Baton Rouge native, tried to evacuate too late when the city flooded in 2016. She and her family were “just a couple blocks away” from their house when their SUV was caught in the water and Webster’s family had to leave the vehicle behind and “wade through all that water.” “We had […]

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards on Hurricane Ida: ‘We’re just getting started’

By: - August 29, 2021

Hurricane Ida will remain dangerous and destructive until at least Monday morning, Gov. John Bel Edwards said at a press conference Sunday afternoon. “We’re just getting started,” he said. The storm came ashore as a Category 4 storm in Port Fourchon on the Louisiana coast just before noon Sunday. With 150 mile-per-hour winds, it is […]

Another Louisiana COVID-19 record is short-lived; 14,000 new cases reported Thursday

When Ida meets delta: 5 ways the COVID-19 surge complicates Louisiana’s hurricane response

By: - August 28, 2021

Hurricane Ida is already expected to be a life-altering, Category 4 storm with winds over 100 miles per hour not only along the Louisiana coast but also more inland parts of the state like Baton Rouge and Lafayette.  But this hurricane also poses a bigger threat because it is expected to strike at a time […]

Gov. John Bel Edwards

Louisiana will increase COVID-19 restrictions on state workers, but questions remain

By: - August 24, 2021

A lot remains up in the air about Gov. John Bel Edwards’ plan to require thousands of state workers to either get vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to regular, mandatory testing. It’s not clear when those additional requirements for unvaccinated state employees will go into effect or how many people they will impact. Employees won’t […]

Tax reform would reduce tax rates and enact tax cut triggers

Louisiana state workers will be subjected to mandatory testing, if not vaccinated

By: - August 23, 2021

Louisiana state workers who are not vaccinated will soon be subjected to mandatory testing and “other requirements” now that the federal government gave full approval for the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer Monday, according to Gov. John Bel Edwards’ office. Those additional requirements for unvaccinated state employees will go into effect “very soon,” Edwards’ office said.  […]

Superdome

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 […]

Prison lockdown

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 […]