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Defender Picks


Ben Franklin High School Recognizes Teachers' Union

by Fritz Esker, The Lens

Teachers at Benjamin Franklin High School exchanged hugs, handshakes and smiles after the board overseeing the school voted 9-1 on Thursday evening to recognize a union.

Convicted Councilman Set to Seek 9th Ward Zoning Favor

by Karen Gadbois, The Lens

Disgraced former City Councilman Jon Johnson plans a return to the Council Chambers Thursday, though from the other side of the dais, out with the cheap seats, as he begs for special after-the-fact permission from his former colleagues to build a three-plex in the Lower 9th Ward.

RSD Charter Schools Shun OPSB

by Jessica Williams, The Lens 

For the third year in a row — every year they’ve had the choice — no Recovery School District charter schools decided to switch to Orleans Parish School Board oversight. The last board that could have moved, Kipp New Orleans Schools, voted against it Thursday night.

Fresh Food Grant Recipient Closes Central City Store

by Charles Maldonado, The Lens

A Central City grocery store that received a low-interest loan under a city-funded program to bring fresh foods to under-served neighborhoods has been closed and placed on the market.

Forum on the Future of New Orleans Journalism, Live Streamed

From 7-9 p.m. tonight at Loyola University's Nunemaker Auditorium, media mavens and the public are gathered at a forum to consider the future of New Orleans journalism in the wake of the cuts at the Times-Picayune. At the forum, the panel and public will consider what kind of news and information they want, and how they want it delivered. For those who can't make it, The Lens is live streaming the event.

Weigh in on NOLA Media Wednesday

We've heard a lot about what New Orleans' news outlets want to do over the past couple months. But now it's time for the readers, surfers and other press perusers to take to the mic to voice their hopes, dreams and aspirations for the future, whether they be digital or analog. On Wednesday night at Loyola's Nunemaker Auditorium, a panel made up of national media mavens will lead a forum that encourages the public to speak up about what they want to see out of their news organizations.

More details at The Lens, which is cosponsoring the forum

Orleans School Board No Longer 'High Risk'

At the roulette table that is education, the Orleans Parish School Board took a large step toward climbing out of the hole this week. The Board's financial status is no longer "high risk," according to the state. In addition to allowing the once-bankrupt system more freedom to join federal programs like the Race to the Top, getting that yolk off their shoulders should make rejoining the OPSB a more favorable proposition for 15 schools that are eligible to return from the Recovery School District this year.

Read more at the Lens

Peas and Love Found Among Charter School Hopefuls

The surge of new schools seems poised to continue in New Orleans, as four organizations applied to open charter schools with the Orleans Parish School Board today. Among the quartet that is looking to get into education are House of Love bishop and YouTube viral vet Lester Love, a former New York City schools administrator and an org called the Four PEAS Group.

Read more at the Lens

Doors Closed to Public at Charter School Meeting, But Not Drapes

On Saturday, New Orleans College Preparatory Academies' board members announced that they are planning to apply to the state to operate a new charter school. The details were unveiled during a private session that probably shouldn't have been closed to the public, but Joshua Johnston managed to get a peek at the presentation through some unobstructed windows.

Read more at the Lens

Judge a No-Show in Wake of Nepotism Accusations

A day after New Orleans Municipal Court was called on the carpet for employing 18 of a judge's relatives over the last dozen years, Judge Paul Sens was out of the office. Instead, Judge Mark Shea was sitting on the bench. The judge's nephew, who currently works as a clerk at the court, was also on vaction.

More on Sens at the Lens

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