Michael Isaac Stein wins in investigative and government reporting categories. Marta Jewson wins for education reporting.
Orleans Parish Civil District Court Judge Piper D. Griffin on Friday ruled that the New Orleans City Council violated the state’s Open Meetings Law in 2018, when dozens of residents were barred from entering two public hearings on Entergy New Orleans’ proposed $210 million power plant in eastern New Orleans. Griffin also issued a ruling on a second lawsuit related to Entergy’s power plant, this time in favor of the city.
Bywater affordable housing development takes a big step forward
On Thursday, the New Orleans City Council approved a zoning change that would allow the Housing Authority of New Orleans to move forward with a housing development in Bywater that would provide 82 affordable housing units. The proposed four-story building would take up an entire city block bordered by Chartres Street, France Avenue, Mazant Street, and Royal Street.
Entergy New Orleans could face $2 million fine over frequent outages
The New Orleans City Council’s utility advisers are recommending a $1.5 million to $2 million fine against Entergy New Orleans for failing to adequately maintain the city’s aging electrical distribution system — the poles and wires that run down New Orleans streets to connect buildings to the grid. In a report handed over to the council last month, and included as part of Thursday’s council meeting agenda, the council’s contracted legal and technical advisers concluded that the penalty was appropriate because the company’s “actions, inactions and delayed reactions caused adverse impacts on tens of thousands of ratepayers, both commercial and residential.”
According to the advisers’ analysis of data provided by Entergy New Orleans, there were 2,599 outages between June 1, 2016 and May 31, 2017 alone, most of them on fair-weather days.
Cantrell unrepentant over unannounced traffic camera changes
New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell and her top deputy, Chief Administrative Officer Gilbert Montaño, went before the City Council’s budget committee on Monday morning to defend the administration’s decision not to inform the public that it was lowering speed thresholds for traffic camera tickets. Cantrell said she made the decision with safety in mind, not to increase ticket revenues.
Class Dismissed: OneApp
Parents anxiously await New Orleans’ enrollment lottery results from the time they submit applications in late February to mid-April, when the mysterious algorithm that controls every child’s school placement spits out answers. “It doesn’t allow for hopes to be brought about in a timely way,” parent Alex Lafargue said.