Michael Isaac Stein, Verite

Michael Isaac Stein, Verite

Before joining Verite, Michael Isaac Stein spent five years as an investigative reporter at The Lens, a nonprofit New Orleans news publication, covering local government, housing and labor issues. Before working at The Lens, Stein was a reporter for WWNO New Orleans Public Radio and freelanced for various national publications including The Intercept, The New Republic and Bloomberg’s CityLab. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy.

Entergy sign with power plant in distant background

Utility shutoffs continue in New Orleans despite record heat, public objections

By: - September 24, 2023

NEW ORLEANS — Amid record-setting heat earlier this summer, the New Orleans City Council asked Entergy New Orleans and the Sewerage & Water Board to suspend service disconnections until Oct. 1. But the utilities are continuing to cut customers off, leaving thousands of residents at risk of losing water and electricity. Despite the council’s urging, […]

A person crosses Canal Street in New Orleans during Hurricane Ida on Aug. 29, 2021.

Entergy can recover $170 million in Ida costs from customers, consultant says

By: - August 28, 2023

NEW ORLEANS — Consultants for the New Orleans City Council have issued a new report saying that Entergy New Orleans should be able to collect $170 million from local customers to pay for damages caused by Hurricane Ida, just shy of the $179 million the company has asked for. The consultants found the company responsibly […]

New Orleans Police Department officers stand at attention.

New Orleans police use of facial recognition nets zero arrests in nine months

By: - July 28, 2023

NEW ORLEANS — Facial recognition technology that has been touted as an important tool to reduce violent crime in the city was used by the New Orleans Police Department only 13 times from Oct. 1, 2022, to July 1, 2023, resulting in zero arrests, according to a new report from City Council consultant AH Datalytics. […]

An aerial view of downtown New Orleans.

Bid-rigging, ethics violations found in unreleased New Orleans ‘smart cities’ investigation

By: - July 23, 2023

NEW ORLEANS — Investigators hired by the New Orleans City Council last year to look into the now-abandoned “smart cities” project found evidence of potential contract-rigging, ethics violations and perjury by city officials. The council received the investigative report months ago, but never released it publicly. The long-awaited results, obtained by Verite, leave some questions […]

Infographic of Hurricane Ida's expected trajectory as of Aug. 27, 2021.

How Hurricane Ida changed the way New Orleans plans for storms

By: - June 17, 2023

NEW ORLEANS — “Hurricane Ida was an eye-opener,” Colin Arnold, director of the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, told Verite in a recent interview. Twenty-one New Orleans residents died in the wake of the 2021 storm, mostly as a result of a citywide power outage that took 10 days to fix. […]

A New Orleans Police Department SUV is parked along a street where officers have gathered nearby

New Orleans ignores ‘clean fleet’ law during $50 million vehicle-buying spree

By: - June 3, 2023

NEW ORLEANS — The city of New Orleans, flush with federal pandemic aid dollars, is in the midst of a spending spree to replace its aging vehicle fleet. So far this year, the city has spent $50 million in federal pandemic relief aid to buy 791 vehicles. But it appears that almost all of those […]

Sewerage and Water Board plant

Scathing new report calls for overhaul of Sewerage & Water Board’s structure

By: - May 21, 2023

NEW ORLEANS — In a scathing new report,  the Bureau of Governmental Research watchdog group called for a complete overhaul of the governance structure of the  Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans. The report, released Wednesday, blames the Sewerage & Water Board’s unique governing structure for the agency’s myriad problems in recent years, including […]

An aerial view of downtown New Orleans.

Entergy threatens ‘expensive litigation’ over $1 million fine for frequent outages

By: - May 13, 2023

NEW ORLEANS — Entergy New Orleans is threatening the New Orleans City Council with “expensive litigation” if council members move forward with plans to collect a $1 million fine over frequent power outages, a company executive wrote in a letter last month. The council, which serves as the regulator of the power utility, originally imposed […]

Few changes made since Hurricane Ida to protect New Orleans’ most vulnerable

By: - April 29, 2023

NEW ORLEANS — Shirley Holmes said that above all, her husband of 42 years was two things: a joker and a dancer. “Oh god, he could out-dance everyone,” she said. “We’d go to parties and they were just sitting and waiting for Walter to get there. He just wanted to dance and joke. I told […]

A van from the NOLaToya recall effort is parked in front of New Orleans City Hall.

New Orleans government remains understaffed despite abundance of cash, dire needs

By: - April 2, 2023

NEW ORLEANS — The city of New Orleans is in the midst of an unusual budget dilemma. It has more money than it can spend, and officials say that’s a problem. City revenues were more stable than predicted during the COVID-19 pandemic. On top of that, the city has taken in hundreds of millions of […]

A screenshot from crime camera footage that shows Michael Celestine at the corner of Pauger and North Villere streets. The footage led to Celestine's stop and arrest on January 13th, 2020

Lawsuit shows growth in surveillance-based police stops, advocates say

By: and - March 18, 2023

NEW ORLEANS – Twenty-five year old Michael Celestine walked outside his friend’s 7th Ward home to take a phone call and smoke a cigarette. Wearing a Tommy Hillfiger puffer jacket on a brisk day in January 2020, he chatted with a friend, walked across the street and then went back inside. What Celestine didn’t know […]

A van from the NOLaToya recall effort is parked in front of New Orleans City Hall.

Court agreement lowers threshold for signatures needed to recall Cantrell

By: - March 1, 2023

NEW ORLEANS – The signature-count threshold needed to trigger a general election to recall Mayor LaToya Cantrell would be lowered from about 50,000 to about 45,000 in a surprising court settlement reached Wednesday between the recall drive organizers and the Secretary of State’s office. The details of the settlement were not immediately available, but a […]