Gas line explodes in Washington Parish — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | A gas line explodes just days after deadly explosions at chemical and fertilizer plants in Ascension Parish.
I would point out that the investigation into last month’s fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, is still — technically — a criminal investigation. Add in these three other events, and I’m surprised I’ve not heard much speculation about foul play or even terrorism. It’s overwhelmingly likely that this is simply a clustering of unrelated events. But how many more will it take before widespread puzzlement gives way to bona fide alarm?
Everglades help at risk over state, federal cost dispute — Sun-Sentinel | The South Florida Water Management District is “hesitant” to sign on to a $1 billion Everglades restoration plan, because of budgetary concerns about the state’s cost share.
How to Save a Sinking City — Lost Lands Tours | This reprint of an article in The Nation (subscription only), describes a boat ride with Lens environmental reporter Bob Marshall, deep into the rapidly eroding wetlands of South Louisiana.
Terrebonne tribe struggles to preserve its way of life — The Louisiana Weekly | Members of the Pointe-au-Chien tribe in Terrebonne Parish have avoided eating shrimp caught since the 2010 BP oil spill. They claim the shrimp catch is degraded and declining, and that marshlines that were oiled in the disaster are receding.
Uptown parades drowning out neighborhoods — The Louisiana Weekly | Carnival, by nature, is a time of excess. But are there too many Uptown parades?
Dixie Brewery lawsuit to stop demolition dismissed by federal court — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune
A federal court has dismissed a lawsuit brought by the former owners of the Dixie Brewery that sought to stop the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs from demolishing a large chunk of the historic building on Tulane Avenue.
NOPD consent-decree selection process hits another snag — The Louisiana Weekly | In this article about the continuing tussle between the city and the feds over NOPD reforms, a key quote from pastor Tom Watson:
“It’s not just Black folks impacted by the consent decree; it’s also white business owners. It’s the white community too — they get harassed, tourists get harassed as well. It’s not just us — we’re disproportionately impacted by it. … On one hand, you want all the tourists to come here but you don’t care about how our everyday people are being treated by a dysfunctional police department and a dysfunctional prison. … “
Nothing to hide — Gambit | Gambit editors propose a revealing thought experiment: If local officials had the same surveillance and spying powers as the federal government, would we feel safer — or be up in arms? “Street crime has killed many more New Orleanians than has terrorism in the last 10 years, and yet few here would dream of giving city officials unfettered access to their daily communications.”
Government & Politics
State construction vicious cycle — forgotston.com | On his blog, C.B. Forgotston points out: “During the 2013 Lege Session, the leges’ answer to the maintenance problem in Higher Ed – borrow $250 Million to build brand-new facilities for the community and technical colleges around the state. Of course, there will be no maintenance money for these new buildings so before the bonds are paid off, the buildings will be abandoned.”
Another View: Sad but necessary: a debt collection office for Louisiana — The Town Talk | The editors make an exception to their small government principles: “We don’t agree with any expansion of state government. But we may have to make an exception. A new agency, the Office of Debt Recovery, being set up to beef up Louisiana’s debt collection efforts, may pay for itself and add significant funding to the state’s coffers.”
Teacher Training’s Low Grade – The Wall Street Journal | An advocacy group’s ratings shows that “U.S. colleges of education are an ‘industry of mediocrity’ that churns out teachers ill-prepared to work in elementary and high-school classrooms.” Of the teacher-training programs rated in Louisiana, the only positive standout was Southeastern Louisiana University’s education program, which received three-and-a-half out of four stars.
White criticizes moving students in East Baton Rouge school system — The Advocate | “State Superintendent of Education John White on Monday renewed his criticism of East Baton Rouge Parish School District officials for moving students to bolster scores at troubled public schools.”
Is the worm turning? — The Washington Post – Reform proposals have cooled a bit in Indiana, which is regarded as a school reform bellwether.