Ann Marie Awad

Ann Marie came a long way to WRKF. Originally from Buffalo, NY, where she was a freelance print reporter, she moved to New York City to get a masters in journalism from the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. During her time at CUNY, she interned with Brooklyn's Heritage Radio Network and Philadelphia's WHYY FM. When she's not wielding a microphone, Ann Marie loves comic books, politics and a great cup of coffee.

Back in September, we told you about the Piano Lab at Winbourne Elementary. It was an experiment. O’Neill’s Music House arranged to get a bunch of cutting edge electronic keyboards to the high poverty school in North Baton Rouge. Tuesday, the pianos were rolled out of the lab and into the auditorium for the students’ first recital.


Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden made it official today. He is running for Lieutenant Governor.

On the same night that Republican Bill Cassidy beat out Sen. Mary Landrieu for senate, the GOP held on to congressional seats. In North Louisiana Ralph Abraham took home the 5th district seat, currently held by Rep. Vance McAllister. And Garret Graves won here in the 6th district.

On Nov. 4, Democratic incumbent Congressman Cedric Richmond won by a landslide. He got nearly 70 percent of the vote in District 2 -- Louisiana's only majority black district.

Dr. William Arp, a political scientist at Southern University, had predicted that when Ann Marie Awad spoke with him before the election.

Arp calls District 2, which encompasses most of New Orleans and north Baton Rouge, a "packed" district -- packed with minority voters. And when Awad visited Arp again he said, that's a bad thing.

Xavier university is looking to triple the number of their minority alumni who go on to receive PhDs in the life sciences in the next decade, with help from an NIH grant. The first obstacle is getting undergraduates to stick with those fields.

On election day, Louisiana voters said yes to protecting state funding for healthcare, and a firm no to measures that would expand the size and reach of state government.

Hurry Up and Vote!

Oct 30, 2014

Voters all over the state are facing unusually lengthy ballots on Election Day. Between the Senate race, all the congressional races, judicial races, school board and other contests, there are more than 4,400 candidates for more than 2,400 offices statewide. No matter where you are in Louisiana, you can expect to see at least 20 items on your ballot. And once you’re in the voting booth, you won’t have much time to decide.

Louisiana’s 2nd congressional district, which encompasses North Baton Rouge and a large part of New Orleans, is what’s called a majority minority district. In this case, it’s predominantly black. Districts like this are required by federal law to protect minority representation, but ironically, it may be doing the opposite.

Meet The Neighbors introduces you to some of the remarkable people who live and work in the Baton Rouge area. Do you know someone we should meet? E-mail us at and keep up with Meet The Neighbors, follow us on Tumblr.

Carlos Roldan came to Baton Rouge from Argentina more than ten years ago. He started playing tennis at the age of nine, and started competing by age 13. By the time he was 18 he was competing semi-pro and coaching on the side, which took away from his training time. He loved to coach so much that he decided to stop competing and coach full time. In 1998, after coaching for many years, it turns out he had something new to learn.

  "By accident I received a flier for something called wheelchair tennis that I’ve never seen before, even though I’ve played tennis all my life, never seen before. So I approached the person who gave me the flier and that’s how it started," Roldan says. "I went there one time to see their practice and I really was impressed with what they do and how they do it, and the coach told me 'Would you be interested in coaching some players?' and I said 'Well, absolutely, but I don’t know much about this, and he told me 'If you know how to coach tennis you can start' and that’s how it started."

Now, Roldan coaches wheelchair tennis every Saturday at BREC’s Highland Park. He’s also helped kickstart similar programs elsewhere in the state. He teaches beginners, intermediate and advanced, with students as young as six, and as old as 65.

A small group of students at Winbourne Elementary in North Baton Rouge, have been picked to be part of an experiment. The East Baton Rouge Parish School District is hoping that teaching the kids music will help them with reading and math.