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Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was sentenced on Wednesday to 10 years in federal prison. Nagin, 58, the two-term mayor who was the face of the city during Hurricane Katrina, joins a list of Louisiana elected officials convicted of misdeeds. He is New Orleans’ first mayor to be convicted and sent to prison for public corruption.

The New York Times reports:

Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana said Wednesday that he would seek to end his state’s enactment of the Common Core educational guidelines and plans to administer a test tied to them, but other officials immediately said that the governor had overstepped his authority and vowed to resist his moves.

The action by Mr. Jindal, a Republican who might mount a 2016 presidential bid, represented a high-profile victory for conservative critics of the math and reading guidelines, which dozens of states are planning to use. It followed months of debate in Louisiana about the standards, which were developed at the request of the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.

Yes, why would Republican politicians in Louisiana want kids there to be as well educated as kids in other states? Imagine that.

Democrats’ hopes of holding the Senate this fall rest significantly on the political equivalent of that “brand capital.” In four states that usually lean Republican, Democrats will be running candidates from families with multigenerational records of political success — the Pryors of Arkansas, the Landrieus of Louisiana, the Begiches of Alaska and the Nunns of Georgia. If at least two of the four legacy candidates can eke out victories, the Democrats’ chances of holding the Senate will be better than even.

The Washington Post reports:

The creation of the country’s first all-charter school system has improved education for many children in New Orleans, but it also has severed ties to a community institution, the neighborhood school, and amplified concerns about racial equality and loss of parental control.

An all-charter district signals the dismantling of the central school bureaucracy and a shift of power to dozens of independent school operators, who will assume all the corresponding functions: the authority to hire and fire teachers and administrators, maintain buildings, run buses and provide services to special-needs students.

The New York Times reports:

The Louisiana State Legislature on Wednesday passed a bill that could force three of the state’s five abortion clinics to close, echoing rules passed in Alabama, Mississippi and Texas and raising the possibility of drastically reduced access to abortion across a broad stretch of the South.

The new rules passed by Republican legislatures require that doctors performing abortions must have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, a provision likely to shut down many abortion clinics across the region. Legal experts say the legislation is raising a fundamental question: At what point is access to abortion so limited that it violates the right to the procedure granted by the United States Supreme Court in 1973 in Roe v. Wade?

azieraa:

Bywater, New Orleans, March 2014

Kodak Portra 160, Minolta Autocord TLR

The New York Times reports:

Four Senate races in the South that will most likely determine control of Congress appear very close, with Republicans benefiting from more partisan intensity but a Democratic incumbent, seen as highly vulnerable, holding a surprising edge, according to a New York Times Upshot/Kaiser Family Foundation poll.

The survey underscores a favorable political environment over all for Republicans in Kentucky, North Carolina, Louisiana and Arkansas — states President Obama lost in 2012 and where his disapproval rating runs as high as 60 percent. But it also shows how circumstances in each state are keeping them in play for the Democrats a little more than six months before the midterm elections.

The New York Times reports:

Despite strong dislike of President Obama’s handling of health care, a majority of people in three Southern states – Kentucky, Louisiana and North Carolina – would rather that Congress improve his signature health care law than repeal and replace it, according to a New York Times Upshot/Kaiser Family Foundation poll.

The poll also found that a majority of Kentucky residents – and a plurality in a fourth state, Arkansas — said they thought the health care marketplace in their state was working well, even as they expressed strong disapproval of the health care law. More than twice as many Kentuckians say their state exchange is working well than say it is not.

The findings in the four states — all with political races that could tip the balance of power in the Senate — underscore the complex and often contradictory views of Mr. Obama’s principal domestic legislation four years after it became law.

I must admit that I’m not a watcher of “Duck Dynasty,” but I’m very much aware of it. I, too, am from Louisiana, and the family on the show lives outside the town of Monroe, which is a little over 50 miles from my hometown. We’re all from the sticks.

So, when I became aware of the homophobic and racially insensitive comments that the patriarch on the show, Phil Robertson, made this week in an interview in GQ magazine, I thought: I know that mind-set.

Robertson’s interview reads as a commentary almost without malice, imbued with a matter-of-fact, this-is-just-the-way-I-see-it kind of Southern folksiness. To me, that is part of the problem. You don’t have to operate with a malicious spirit to do tremendous harm. Insensitivity and ignorance are sufficient. In fact, intolerance that is disarming is the most dangerous kind.

The Louisiana parish of Plaquemines is taking on a group of oil and gas giants including BP and Chevron for allegedly dumping toxic waste — some of it radioactive — from their drilling operations into its coastal waters, according to a lawsuit removed to federal court on Thursday.

Plaquemines Parish is claiming the companies violated the Louisiana State and Local Coastal Resources Management Act of 1978 by discharging oil field waste directly into the water “without limitation.” Worse, the companies allegedly failed to clear, revegetate, detoxify or restore any of the areas they polluted, as required by state law. The oil and gas companies’ pollution, along with their alleged failure to adequately maintain their oilfields, has caused significant coastal erosion and contaminated groundwater, the lawsuit said.