Busting Jon Johnson shows early promise of a new kind of news

Councilman Jon Johnson’s indictment and abrupt resignation last week caught political observers off guard, but the gist of his wrongdoing was disclosed by my former colleagues at The Lens more than  a year ago. The Times-Picayune, which recently announced savage newsroom cuts as part of a transition away from daily print publication, only managed to cover the press conference.

City Council chamber finally gets Wi-Fi network

Back in November 2005, while most of us were still wringing out our houses and trying to figure out how to piece our lives back together, Mayor Ray Nagin announced a plan for free Wi-Fi – citywide! But even before Nagin’s tech guru, Greg Meffert, was convicted of corruption, reality had fallen well short of  the hype.

Looking past gaffes in 'czar' Blakely's memoir of Katrina recovery

By Jed Horne, The Lens news editor |

It’s too bad that Ed Blakely’s book about his two years as New Orleans “recovery czar” is so full of sloppy mistakes. (“Blacks didn’t have permission to march in Mardi Gras blackface parades until the 1970s.”) Howlers like that undermine his credibility.

Thousands in improperly documented Nagin-era charges foul city's 2010 audit

By Ariella Cohen, The Lens staff writer |

More than a year after Ray Nagin left City Hall, New Orleans taxpayers are still feeling the pain of thousands of dollars in undocumented credit card purchases made by his administration in its waning days. At least $12,000 in improperly documented purchases were made on city credit cards between January and May 2010, when Mayor Mitch Landrieu took office, the city’s independent financial auditor Joey Richard said this week.

City officials persist in routinely violating public records law

Ask Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration about its frequent failure to comply with public records law and it will tell you that it thinks it’s doing a good job – or, well, a better job than the previous administration under Ray Nagin. Maybe so, but the letter of the law – which requires release of public records within three days of their being requested – is frequently violated.