Council members to offer resolution to repeal Entergy power plant approval

Three New Orleans City Council members will introduce a resolution next week to “rescind and repeal” the council’s March 2018 approval of Entergy New Orleans’ proposed $211 million power plant in eastern New Orleans, Councilwoman Helena Moreno’s Chief of Staff Andrew Tuozzolo confirmed Thursday night.

Tuozzolo said the proposed revote on the New Orleans Power Station was prompted by the revelation that actors were paid to appear at City Council meetings and express support for the plant, which was opposed by neighborhood groups and environmental activists.

“NOPS was approved in March 2018 before it was disclosed that one or more public meetings held to collect public opinion had been impacted by ENO’s paid ‘astroturfing scheme,’ ” Tuozzolo wrote, “which interfered with the Council’s deliberative process.”

The resolution will be introduced at a specially called meeting of the full council set for Wednesday. It is sponsored by Moreno — who chairs the council committee that regulates Entergy — Councilman Jason Williams and Councilman Jared Brossett.

Behind The Lens episode 15: ‘Some tough decisions coming’

This week on Behind The Lens, host and producer Tom Wright talks to State Health Officer Jimmy Guidry about Louisiana’s aging water infrastructure.

Eighty-eight percent of Louisiana residents get their water from public systems. And more and more of those public water utilities are on the edge of failure.

Also, the New Orleans City Council is poised to revisit its 2018 vote approving Entergy New Orleans’ proposed $211 million gas power plant in eastern New Orleans. And education reporter Marta Jewson discusses this week’s contentious Orleans Parish School Board meeting.

School board meeting: Harney staff will be paid; Ellison retains vice president seat following controversy over views on LGBT protections

Edgar Harney elementary school employees will get paid next Friday, following board approval of a budget amendment that allows the district to recognize the students’ per-pupil funding.

Payroll at the recently taken-over school was in question prior to the board’s vote Thursday night. A board committee meeting Tuesday didn’t provide any assurance as the members declined to endorse the district’s budget amendment request.

The board room was packed Thursday night, but not for Harney employees. A contentious board leadership election simmering all week was decided in a 4-3 vote. Leslie Ellison, who has openly opposed adding specific protections into state education policies and charter contracts for LGBT students, was re-elected vice president.

Harney students return to many familiar faces, new management

Edgar Harney elementary school students returned to school last week, after an extra-long winter break so the Orleans Parish district could take direct control of the former charter school.

The school’s new leader, Ismail El-Shaakir, stood outside to greet students with handshakes, fist bumps and hugs. El-Shaakir is the district’s school support and operations administrator. The district appointed him to lead Harney this month. He’s the sixth school leader there in two years.

“Hello! How are you? It’s good to see you,” El-Shaakir said as a steady stream of Harney students entered the Central City school’s cafeteria for breakfast and a morning meeting.

How to ‘undesign’ the legacy of racism and redlining that still shapes New Orleans

Opinion writer John Sullivan talks us through a “golden opportunity” for affordable housing coming before the City Council.

“The New Orleans City Council is poised to take action on two housing policies that have major implications for New Orleans’ neighborhoods.

One of them, the so-called smart housing mix, would require new residential developments over a certain size to set aside units priced within reach of average earners. The city would offset the costs of the affordable set-asides through land-use and property-tax incentives. A similar set-aside mechanism would require managers of short-term rental units in commercial areas to include units for longer-term tenants of average means.”

Marta Jewson

Marta Jewson covers education in New Orleans for The Lens. She began her reporting career covering charter schools for The Lens and helped found the hyperlocal news site Mid-City Messenger. Jewson returned...