Jim Engster, our new state politics columnist, has been a fixture in Louisiana political journalism for more than two decades. New Orleans native Engster graduated from LSU with a bachelor's degree in journalism and has worked extensively in both radio and print. He worked for the Louisiana Radio Network for 20 years, serving as its news director from 1997-1998, and hosted the radio show Louisiana Live for five years. During Engster's tenure, Louisiana Live was named the best public affairs program three times by the Associated Press.
Engster also wrote the column "Political Perspectives" for Baton Rouge Business Report, and has been a longtime contributor to Tiger Rag, covering everything from politics and LSU sports to university issues. Engster is currently the general manager of radio station WRKF in Baton Rouge and hosts the Jim Engster Show, which airs weekdays at 9 a.m.
On the arts and entertainment beat, we're proud to formally announce Shala Carlson as The Independent's primary film critic. Carlson is an Opelousas native and former assistant editor of The Times of Acadiana. Since 1998, she's served as a film critic and managing editor for New Orleans' Gambit Weekly newspaper. Her work has also appeared in Baton Rouge Business Report, and in 2001 she was honored with the Ashton Phelps Memorial Award for Excellence in Editorial Writing from the New Orleans Press Club. Carlson's film reviews will appear bi-weekly beginning with this week's issue.
Also in our Living Ind section, we've made some additions to "The Week" calendar section. Each issue we'll now be including "Road Shows," noteworthy events that weekend in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Houston and other surrounding areas. Another addition is "Coming Attractions," where we'll spotlight high-profile upcoming performances both in Lafayette and out of town. And to keep you in the loop on the latest and best DVDs, CDs and books (in addition to our regular features and reviews), we'll be spotlighting five recommendations every week.
So far the Democratic agenda includes proposals to expand Medicaid; increase the minimum wage; offer equal pay to women; heighten regulations on predatory lending practices, like payday loans; and add more transparency in the governor’s office.
Hot-button education issues ranging from Common Core to charter schools have some lawmakers pushing to scrap the appointing process and go back to electing the state's super.
Police say the handcuffed man fatally shot himself in the back, but his family isn't buying the story.
Gov. Bobby Jindal offered a budget proposal that suggests new education and health care spending, pay raises for state workers and an incentive fund to encourage colleges to enhance their science, engineering and technology training.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday, March 11, 2014:
Hopefully he’ll be better prepared today than he was in that Feb. 20 deposition.
They came by the hundreds, arriving from all regions of the state to gather on the steps of our Capitol in protest of the Legislature’s long tradition of giving industry the go-ahead to abuse our air, our water and our coastline, all in the name of good economics.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent rhetoric against President Barack Obama has failed to boost his standing among the conservative base.
Louisiana's annual legislative session begins.
The state has hired marksmen to shoot feral hogs from helicopters at two wildlife management areas in south Louisiana.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.