Baton Rouge

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. 

The closure of Earl K. Long hospital last year with the privatization of Louisiana’s charity hospital system sent a wave of uninsured patients to Baton Rouge General.

Under the strain of their care, the hospital had decided to close its emergency room. But Baton Rouge General’s ER was rescued at the last-minute Wednesday.

Don Gregory, health policy advisor for the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, explains whether that deserves a sigh of relief. 

The state Department of Health and Hospitals has found funds to allow Baton Rouge General Hospital to keep its emergency room open after an imminent threat of closure.

Several local media outlets reported Wednesday morning that the hospital administration had notified staff that the ER would close Nov. 1.

DHH preempted any official closure announcement with a last-minute deal, providing the hospital $18 million in state and federal money to care for the uninsured. Hospital President Mark Slyter called the deal a “hail Mary pass”.

The Baton Rouge Metro Council picked up where they left off at the last meeting in July and took a vote Wednesday on the so-called “fairness ordinance”. The anti-discrimination measure failed on an 8-4 vote. 

Tuesday afternoon, North Boulevard in downtown Baton Rouge was draped in red. Patches of a giant quilt were spread out all over the grass, each one of them telling a story of a survivor of sexual assault and abuse. 

ajari / Wikimedia Commons


Residents interested in running for the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board will have just nine seats to pursue when qualifying begins in two weeks.

The school board approved a new nine-member plan by a narrow 6-5 vote on July 24.

The Louisiana NAACP has promised to challenge in federal court to this last-minute redistricting, arguing that the new maps dilute minority voting strength.

The civil rights organization wants a court to revert the school board back to the 11-member plan it approved in November 2012.

The sixth annual CityStats report is out.

It shines some light on where people are on some of the biggest debates in East Baton Rouge Parish at the moment— including the rights of gays and lesbians, and the state of the public schools.

Mukul Verma of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, which produced the report, reads between the lines a little bit.

The Baton Rouge Metro Council heard hours of public comment Wednesday on an anti-discrimination ordinance. But the meeting time expired before the council could vote. 

Heroin-related deaths in East Baton Rouge Parish spiked last year - the Coroner's office recorded 35 fatalities. Only Jefferson and Orleans Parish had as many.

To try to stop the deaths, a new law will allow not just paramedics, but all first responders to carry the drug Narcan - which can reverse the effects of an opiate overdose within seconds.

But some activists say the law doesn't go far enough. They say they'll keep distributing Narcan themselves directly to drug users illegally.

New Orleans passed a so-called "fairness ordinance" in 1999, banning discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodation. Shreveport followed suit last year. Later this month, the Baton Rouge Metro Council is slated to consider an ordinance to prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, sex, veteran status, and, yes, gender identity and sexual orientation. But here it looks to be a tougher sell.

Rebekah Allen, city hall reporter for The Advocate, discusses the dynamics at play.