Clint Durrett /

A federal judge is ordering former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin to pay the government more than a half-million dollars, stemming from his corruption conviction. The order comes ahead of his sentencing set for next month.

BP is asking the US Supreme Court for relief from a damage claim process enacted after the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The oil company has lost several court battles to modify the deal.

In the next installment of an NPR investigation, Joseph Shapiro goes to New Orleans to look at the ways poor people are charged for their public defender in court.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit



They’re called “legacy lawsuits”—when property owners sue oil and gas companies for environmental damage done in decades past. Thursday, Louisiana’s House spent hours hearing—and ultimately approving—two bills dealing with legacy lawsuits.

“When we get to court, we know there’s an issue,” explained Chalmette Representative Ray Garofalo, while introducing his bill, which would let parties on either side ask the Department of Natural Resources to come up with a remediation plan for the polluted or otherwise damaged property.

Bart Everson / Flickr

Lawyers for the city of New Orleans and Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman have reached an agreement, for now, on how to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to reform the city’s violent jail.

The sheriff’s office is under federal court order to improve conditions at the jail.

Today’s agreement covers about one-quarter of nearly $1.9 million provided last year for extra security, medical workers and pay raises for staff at the current jail.

The remaining money will be used to look at numerous other issues, like plans for a new jail set to open later this year.

Eric E Castro / Flickr

This story has been updated.

A group of lawyers, students and parents have filed a civil rights complaint against three local charter schools. They're asking state and federal officials to investigate the discipline policies at Carver Preparatory, Carver Collegiate Academy and Sci Academy, all operated by Collegiate Academies. These schools have the highest suspension rates in the city.

Dickelbers / Wikimedia Commons

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the new system of police off-duty paid details, siding with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration.

The new policy is a major piece of a wide-ranging consent decree between the city and the U.S. Department of Justice, aimed at overhauling the police department.

A bill that would change how civil lawsuits are handled in state courts is headed to the House floor. The tort reform bill removes the threshold for having a civil case heard by a jury, instead of only by a judge. Current state law allows a jury trial only if the amount involved exceeds $50,000.

Jason Saul / WWNO

Oil continues to wash up on Gulf of Mexico shorelines from BP’s underwater well explosion almost four years ago. The find comes as a key trial date is set in federal court in New Orleans.

Scott Eustis / and

A lawsuit filed Tuesday morning by a coalition of environmental groups says the United Bulk Terminal, a coal export plant in Plaquemines Parish, is polluting the Mississippi River and threatening communities, and wetlands, nearby.

With a number of new coal plants scheduled to come online in the next few years, the lawsuit seeks to bring the plant into compliance with the law, and up to the standards of other states.