New Orleans’ Katrina recovery slows as most of Louisiana loses population to rest of country | The Lens – An analysis of Census Bureau and IRS data challenge some narratives about the city’s recovery. Each year since the storm, the city has regained fewer people. Meanwhile, the state’s population would be dropping if it weren’t for international immigrants.
Uptown residents say city is dragging its feet on Newcomb Boulevard fence removal | The Lens – The city now says the street must be converted to one-way before the blockade that makes it a cul-de-sac is removed.
Whole Foods Market opens in Mid-City with hopes of Broad Street revitalization | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – The store’s parking lot was packed with cars when I drove by at 5 p.m. yesterday. But can residents in the surrounding neighborhoods afford to regularly make groceries there?
Whole Foods is a name often known for organic and pricier times that appeal to wealthier shoppers, a reputation that earned it the nickname “Whole Paycheck.” [Jeffrey Schwartz, who directs the Broad Community Connections nonprofit] said the grocer is intent on proving they can be affordable, including offering their lower priced 365 Everyday Value line of products.”
Jindal coastal adviser Garret Graves resigns, effective Feb. 17 | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – A fabulous review of the career highlights of outgoing Coastal Restoration and Protection Authority chairman Garret Graves. One could argue that in terms of bottom-line accomplishments, no one has done more than Graves to restore the Louisiana coast.
Opening of Mississippi River bike path delayed as corps fixes problem | The Lens – A sharp drop-off from the path to the grass poses a danger to cyclists and runners.
Broad coalition backs Keystone XL oil pipeline | Associated Press
[Sen. Mary] Landrieu, who is expected to become chairwoman of the Senate Energy Committee later this month, said she is “open to whatever needs to be done” to approve the pipeline, including use of the project as a bargaining chip with Republicans in upcoming talks over raising the federal debt limit.
Government & Politics
Moret: La. could add as many as 40,000 jobs annually | Greater Baton Rouge Business Report – Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Stephen Moret says the state weathered the national recession and will maintain economic momentum during the national recovery.
[A two percent annual growth rate for Louisiana] translates to more than 40,000 new jobs a year. It’s not out of the question, Moret said, reminding attendees that Louisiana averaged 58,000 new jobs per year during the 1970s oil boom. But another oil boom is not what we should hope for, Moret cautioned. “What we want to pray for now is sustained, diversified growth,” Moret said, adding that means growth of new sectors such as digital media, software development and aerospace.
Table 1. Civilian labor force and unemployment by state and metropolitan area | Bureau of Labor Statistics – Today’s release of metro and state unemployment numbers shows the Louisiana jobless numbers dropping like a stone. New Orleans area unemployment rate dove from 5.7% in November to 4.7% in December! There was a similar drop statewide. Note: These strong monthly numbers are not seasonally adjusted — meaning they could reflect a pre-Christmas hiring binge.
Louisiana Secretary of State To Evaluate Policy of Contractors Participating In Election Night Media Coverage | CenLamar – Blogger Lamar White says he was wrong to suggest in a previous post that the Secretary of State’s web site failed on election night. It didn’t. Initial tabulations were delayed because the state had to wait for Orleans Parish to transfer the early vote totals. White explains why it’s more convoluted in New Orleans (natch) than in other municipalities. However, questions remain about why the transfer of information took so long.
Why New Orleans doesn’t have Uber | Gambit – The director of the city’s Taxicab Bureau staunchly opposes a new ride service, supported by easy-to-use apps, that has become a popular alternative to traditional taxis in other cities.
Ray Nagin corruption trial on Tuesday: A study in politics clashing with development at Home Depot | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – This article catalogues a big chunk of apparently damning revelations from the ongoing trial of the former mayor. This one stuck out to me (my emphasis):
A 2007 message from Sarah Price, who worked in development for Home Depot at the time and who testified Tuesday, said Nagin had called Frank Blake, chief executive officer of the international retailer that reported employing more than 300,000 people and earning $1.4 billion in the third quarter of last year, offering to help the company avoid a special neighborhood arrangement that would have guaranteed higher caliber jobs for residents.
Attorneys for Juan Smith question former prosecutors about evidence turned over in 1995 triple murder | The Advocate – Defense lawyers claim prosecutors didn’t share evidence in the triple-murder case against former New Orleans Saints player Bennie Thompson.
Department of Education shrugs off Friends of King’s open-meetings violation | The Lens – The school didn’t notify the public before a retreat that included seven of its nine board members.
The Student-Led Backlash Against New Orleans’s Charter Schools – Meredith Simons | The Atlantic – New Orleans teacher (and former political reporter) Meredith Simmons believes disciplinary policies at some charters have led students and families to “feel that they are at odds with teachers and administrators.”