Has state found strategy to hold Corps of Engineers responsible for coastal erosion? | The Lens – Environmental lawyers are skeptical about the state’s new legal strategy on coastal erosion: suing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in spite of its well-established immunity.
BP legal actions in oil spill case ‘deeply disappointing,’ says judge | Businessweek – U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier excoriates BP’s fight against paying out settlement money, via Restore the Mississippi River Delta.
BP accused Barbier of defying the appellate court’s directive to stop hundreds of millions of dollars in settlement payments that BP alleges are flowing to undeserving claimants in the Gulf region. The next day, Barbier issued an 11-page order that condemns the company for knowingly spurning a settlement its own lawyers helped craft.
The implication of the judge’s statement was that BP has sought to undermine the pact—and his authority—simply because the settlement has turned out to be more expensive than the company anticipated.
Stephanie Grace: Complicated back story of lawsuit dispute | The New Orleans Advocate – Public opinion appears to support coastal land loss suits against the energy industry. And the Jindal Administration has failed to take action against two lawsuits by parish governments over violations of oil and gas permits. This leads columnist Stephanie Grace to wonder if the longstanding political bargain between the state of Louisiana and the industry may be coming to an end. “If the grand bargain finally comes up for renegotiation, it’s hard to imagine the industry could win such favorable terms,” she writes.
KIPP New Orleans Schools spent $120,000 on training in Las Vegas | The Lens – About 185 of KIPP’s 440 employees in New Orleans employees attended a national summit for KIPP teachers and employees. The trip cost substantially more than the $69,400 that Friends of King spent on a staff-wide retreat in Biloxi. But Kipp’s nine schools all have money in the bank, while one of Friends of King’s two schools posted a $1 million deficit.
State recommends charter extensions, renewals for 25 schools | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – The state renewed or extended contracts for 25 charter schools in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Thirteen of them were considered failing as recently last year but just made passing grades this year.
Morris Jeff board considering policy changes | The Lens – The Morris Jeff board takes suggestions on changes to policies on hiring, job duties and reporting child abuse from its teachers union.
Start-up incubator enters competing bid for failed ArtWorks building off Lee Circle | The Lens – Three entrepreneurs who own the Launch Pad business incubator in the Warehouse District are planning to bid on the ArtWorks building, a non-profit facility for artists that went bust in 2011 after taking in $25 million in government and private funds. The Launch Pad bidders will compete with at least one other bid, a proposal from a group of restaurateurs working with Delgado Community College to turn the building into a culinary school.
Mirroring national trends, poverty shifts to suburbs | The New Orleans Advocate – The New Orleans Advocate’s series on the region’s dramatically changing post-Katrina demographics continues today with a report on how poverty is moving into the suburbs.
A decade ago, a slim majority of the New Orleans area’s poor population — 55 percent — still lived in the city itself. Today, the ratio has flipped. A slightly greater majority of the area’s poor people — roughly 59 percent — call the suburbs home.
In LeBeau House’s ashes, a lesson in carpe diem | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – Tulane University geographer Richard Campanella on the loss of the LeBeau House in St. Bernard Parish.
If a lesson may be rescued from LeBeau’s ruins, perhaps it should be carpe diem. Nearly every historically aware person who knew of this building had a sense of its exceptional nature — and of its gross under-appreciation and utilization. We also recognized that it was vulnerable to any number of threats. Yet we did not seize the moment and save it.
What may be new for Carnival 2014 | Gambit – Robert Morris has a preview of District B City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell’s proposed changes to the city’s Mardi Gras safety ordinances, covering ladder heights, parking and throws.
Government & Politics
Louisiana tax amnesty plan reaches goal | The Advocate – Gov. Bobby Jindal’s plan to bring in hundreds of millions in back taxes by offering penalty waivers and reduced interest has reached its goal of $200 million in collections, meaning the state will not be forced to make mid-year cuts from the Medicaid budget.
Chopper in the car: Malachi Hull and marble floors | The People Say Project – In a post about alleged violence and aggressive code enforcement against tour guides by the city Taxicab Bureau employees, the People Say Project asks how “pepper-spray and fisticuffs” enhance Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s cultural economy.
Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman kicks off re-election campaign | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman — whose jail has been placed under a federal consent decree to remedy abusive conditions — knows he faces a tough campaign against his predecessor, Charles Foti, and Orleans Parish School Board President Ira Thomas. “It will probably be a very negative campaign with our opponents focusing on the problems of the jail,” Gusman said to a crowd of supporters at his first campaign event Monday night.
The Advocate files to intervene in lawsuit between NOPD officer and city | The New Orleans Advocate – The New Orleans Advocate intervenes in a lawsuit filed by NOPD Officer Catherine Beckett. The department fired Beckett for her testimony in the Henry Glover trial, but she filed suit and was reinstated without explanation as part of a sealed settlement last month. The newspaper argues that the settlement should be made public, but the city won’t agree to release the records. Read the court filing here.
Heroin fuels surge in deadly overdoses in Jefferson Parish | NOLA.com – Fatal heroin doses are on the rise in the New Orleans metropolitan area, with 61 in Jefferson Parish so far this year. That’s far above last year’s 23, then a four year high for Jefferson, which leads the state. Part of NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune’s Dying For a Fix story package.