This week on Behind The Lens, accusations, and lawsuits, are flying in St. John The Baptist Parish, as the Banner sisters, and their organization, the Descendants Project, work to stop the council from skirting the law and rezoning land in favor of Greenfield Louisiana, which is hoping to build a large grain elevator on a site it owns in the parish. 

And we will look back at our favorite stories of 2024 year in review, including the Marathon Refinery fire, a swamp fire that caused deadly “superfog,” the School Board’s decision to close the Living School, a pause in criminal court trials while the state ensured a new law allowing people with certain criminal backgrounds to serve on juries was properly in place, and breaking reporting on the city’s violence interrupters program’s sudden sidelining and eventual relaunch.

And we reflect on loss.

“There’s been a lot of loss in the cultural community, particularly in the back row, the tubas and drummers, Sam Jackson, Jeffrey Hills and, from my own household, Revell Andrews,” Lens Managing Editor Katy Reckdahl said, also noting Calvin Cains who was killed by Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office officers.

“We lose too many people far too soon, to poor health and to violence and I think we have to pay attention to that and we have been at The Lens.”

Our guests this week are Lens reporters Delaney Dryfoos, La’Shance Perry and managing editor Katy Reckdahl. 

Theme music by Podington Bear. Additional music Thimble of Sun by Podington Bear 

You can also listen to Behind The Lens on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other services.

Editorial note: Lens Reporter Marta Jewson’s partner is David Lanser, an attorney at Most & Associates, which represents the Descendants Project.

Carolyne Heldman

Carolyne Heldman has been in media for 35 years, most recently as Executive Director at an NPR member station in Colorado where she was responsible for new multi-platform content initiatives, strategic...