City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell had only been in elected office nine months when [one-year old Londyn] Samuels was killed in her district. Within days, she convened a summit of other City Council members, state lawmakers, judges and law-enforcement officials to discuss what more can be done on the violence issue. A common theme emerged, that more oversight is needed everywhere — of the New Orleans Police Department and its leadership, of the anti-crime programs in place, of the budgets for those entities and of the state law-enforcement agencies that also play crucial roles.

Sen. David Vitter, the top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said he understands that the current limitations on the Highway Trust Fund are just “an accident of history” and need to be revisited — presumably by raising the gas tax.

“Somehow it’s a core conservative principle that whatever is there now as the current federal gas tax, that’s it and that’s written in stone that Moses brought down from the mountain,” Vitter said. He added that he’s “open to updating that financing system” but here’s the catch — it can’t be a “net tax increase for middle-class taxpayers.”

Vitter’s remarks about safeguarding “middle-class taxpayers” are notable because they seem to leave room for (as yet unspecified) measures to increase revenues to fund roads and other infrastructure projects. 

Charles Brimmer with Brimmer Enterprises, the elevation subcontractor, explained that five men were working on the house at the time of the collapse and that they were removing steel and cribbing when they felt something shift, and the back and side of the house collapsed.

“To be very clear, the governor has said that the lawsuit is a litmus test. Period,” said Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Chairman Garret Graves, who has been the administration’s chief spokesman in criticizing the lawsuit.

“Louisiana is the heart of the petrochemical beast,” said Anne Rofles, founding director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, an environmental health and justice organization. She added that state regulators are too close to industry, that industry lobbyists have too much power and that state politicians are afraid to question the status quo.

Mark Moseley

Mark Moseley blogs at Your Right Hand Thief. Until mid 2014, Mark Moseley was The Lens' opinion writer, engagement specialist and coordinator for the Charter Schools Reporting Corps. After Katrina and...