Jess Clark

Intro to Jess Clark

There are a lot of Louisianians with criminal records. The state has the second-highest incarceration rate in the country, behind Oklahoma. In New Orleans, 1 in 7 African American men have been incarcerated at some point in their lives. Louisianians with felonies also face the most restrictions in the nation when it comes to getting jobs.

In New Orleans, many families are living paycheck to paycheck. So when the start of the school year comes around, the added cost of returning to the classroom can be a major burden. 

It’s been almost exactly one year since record-breaking rains flooded much of the city, and the city’s pumping and drainage system couldn’t keep up. Later it was revealed that many of the Sewerage and Water Board pumps and turbines weren’t working. Sewerage and Water Board officials say since then they've made $82 million in repairs, and today, the pumping and drainage system is in much better shape.

Parents at New Orleans charter school Lafayette Academy have lots of questions after an investigation by WWNO revealed issues with asbestos removal at the school in 2017. School officials maintain no children were endangered.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated to include a statement from the Orleans Parish School Board that they were not aware of the March 2017 report from LDEQ, and were not in control of the school or its building at that time.

New Orleans charter school Lafayette Academy has been forced to close its campus after contamination from an asbestos removal job. School district officials have said children weren’t on campus during the work. But state records show this isn’t the first time asbestos removal has been mishandled at Lafayette Academy.

The Orleans Parish School Board held its first meeting as head of the new unified school district Thursday night. Nearly all public schools in the parish are under its control for the first time since Hurricane Katrina. But while the district is unified, public opinion is not. 

School is out for most New Orleans kids, but many of them are still learning at summer camps. Some of them are taking on big topics, like the history of civil rights. At the Leona Tate Foundation For Change camp, students get to interview real leaders in the battle for racial equality. 

It’s been nearly 13 years since Hurricane Katrina decimated the city and its school system. And a lot has changed since then. Now the city is the first, large school district in the nation where nearly all students attend charter schools. But the reforms are controversial, and have left many wondering, did they work?

The state's high school graduation rate is the highest it’s ever been, according to new data released by the Louisiana Department of Education. The class of 2017 - seniors who graduated last year - had a 78.1 percent graduation rate, up from 77 percent for the class of 2016. But schools in the New Orleans area still lag behind.

Students packed the courtyard at Benjamin Franklin High School Wednesday morning — just two days after the school had to cancel classes due to its own gun threat. They were among hundreds of students in New Orleans and thousands nationwide who left their classrooms Wednesday to take part in a national school walkout to protest gun violence after the latest school shooting that killed 17 people in Parkland, Fla.

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