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 […]

A photo illustration of Rapides Parish Assessor Rick Ducote superimposed

Rapides assessor adjusts some property values for elected officials; repercussions limited

BY: and - May 21, 2023

ALEXANDRIA — Rapides Parish Assessor Rick Ducote has updated some of his numbers after the Illuminator published an investigation that revealed he assigned super low property values for multiple elected officials, resulting in minimal tax obligations — and even tax bills totaling zero in some cases.  Sheriff Mark Wood, for example, has been billed $0 […]

The Louisiana State Capitol

Louisiana House leaders steer millions of dollars in pet projects to their home parishes

BY: - May 18, 2023

Courthouse repairs in Gonzales costing $1.8 million, $1 million for the Youngsville Sports Complex in Lafayette, and another $1 million for the Bayou Country Sports Complex in Houma.  Approximately 30% of state funding earmarked for legislators’ 197 personal pet projects in the budget plan the Louisiana House has approved goes to just three of the […]

Super low property valuations for some Rapides officials result in smaller tax bills

BY: - May 3, 2023

ALEXANDRIA — Public records available on the Rapides Parish assessor’s website show properties for some elected parish officials, including the former and current sheriff are valued so low that they pay no or what appears on first blush to be anomalously low taxes for sizable properties with many coveted amenities.   Former Sheriff William Earl Hilton’s […]

A roll of stickers sit on a table as people vote during the Georgia primary at the Metropolitan Library in Atlanta

U.S. elections official takes part in secretive GOP conference, sparking backlash

BY: - April 14, 2023

A commissioner of a federal elections agency recently spoke at a secretive conference of conservative voting activists and Republican secretaries of state and congressional staff — a step that election experts call highly improper for an official charged with helping states administer fair and unbiased elections.  U.S. Election Assistance Commissioner Donald Palmer, the former chief […]

A murder victim, three daughters and delayed justice

BY: - April 5, 2023

On the morning of June 27, 2022, Cassandra Jones was shot multiple times in broad daylight, and the murder was recorded on a cell phone video from a nearby apartment. The New Orleans Police Department identified the killer as Jones’ ex-boyfriend, BJ Brown, whom she had obtained a temporary restraining order against the prior month.  […]

A Facebook account page on a smartphone screen

Bogalusa’s mayor files complaint with police over Facebook ‘racial’ threat

BY: - April 1, 2023

Bogalusa’s Black mayor said he has filed a complaint with police over a comment from a Facebook group page, describing it as having “a racial undertone.” He linked the incident to a history of fatal attacks against Black people in the Washington Parish seat.    At a news conference Thursday morning outside City Hall, Mayor […]

The Memorial Tower on LSU's campus in Baton Rouge

Campus sexual violence report provides more questions than answers

BY: - March 23, 2023

A state senator who’s called for greater accountability from Louisiana colleges about sexual misconduct on campuses isn’t pleased with the amount of information administrators are providing.  Sen. Beth Mizell, R-Franklinton, authored a law last year that requires public two- and four-year schools to report twice annually how they handle power-based violence complaints. She and other […]

An Air Force fighter jet is secured to the surface

Pentagon to halt use of firefighting foam that contains PFAS as cleanup costs mount

BY: and - March 16, 2023

WASHINGTON — Battered by years of criticism from U.S. lawmakers and environmental advocates, the Department of Defense will stop purchasing PFAS-containing firefighting foam later this year and phase it out entirely in 2024.  The replacement for Aqueous Film Forming Foam has yet to be determined, and advocates are frustrated it’s taken so long to halt […]

The Saints football team comes onto the field in London.

Louisiana officials spent $12,300 on tickets for Saints game in London

BY: - March 1, 2023

Editor’s note: This is the first of two stories that looks into what state officials spent on two European trips last year. Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration spent $12,305 of state money on premium seating at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the Saints-Vikings football game in London last year.  Nineteen people attended the game using public […]

A Lockheed C-130 military transport aircraft taxis at the Alexandria International Airport.

Deportations out of Louisiana part of racist immigration policies, advocates say

BY: - February 23, 2023

ALEXANDRIA – After a brief lull, deportation flights have resumed to Haiti from the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) staging facility at Alexandria International Airport, a nexus for detention centers in the federal agency’s New Orleans region. In the past six months, more than 120 ICE Air Operations flights have departed from Central Louisiana. Four […]

the taillight of a sheriff's patrol car with lights atop the roof flashin

Almost half of Louisiana sheriffs are violating public record laws

BY: - January 26, 2023

Nearly half of Louisiana sheriffs are in violation of a state law regulating the preservation and destruction of public records, according to documents provided by state officials. Of the 64 sheriffs statewide, 23 have never secured state approval for a records retention policy, three allowed their policies to expire, one as far back as 1980, […]