public health

Calvin Manny Hills and his oldest sister, Johnnie Mae Hills Sylve, get together for a Father's Day party.
Cheryl Gerber / Unprisoned

In nearly every state, prison populations have exploded -- in large part, because of drug laws and the people, like Manny Hills, who are arrested and incarcerated for those laws. Over the last 25 years, Manny, an addict, has been convicted several times for drug possession and other petty crimes. His story is pretty typical of the people who fill up our nation's prisons.

When it comes to child well-being in the U.S., Louisiana ranks near the bottom: 48th. That's according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The results of the annual report are, sadly, not shocking. "We have historically always ranked at least in the bottom five states in overall child well-being, so unfortunately that wasn't a big surprise," says Teresa Falgoust. She's with Agenda for Children, which contributed local data to the national report. It looks at trends in data between 2008 and 2014.

Bob Marshall / The Lens

The recent outbreak of the Zika virus has New Orleans on edge. The Gulf Coast is considered the most vulnerable part of the U.S. Mayor Mitch Landrieu has asked Congress for money to fight Zika, as the city continues local efforts to understand the mosquito-borne disease.

As health officials around the world study how the Zika virus is spreading, a Tulane researcher says New Orleans has some extra time to prepare.

Fighting For Health Care Reform, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, 2009.
Health Care For America Now / flickr.com

The mayor’s office is working to get more New Orleanians enrolled in health coverage, and is asking barbershops and beauty salons around the city to help.

Louisiana Sea Grant College Program at Louisiana State University

The state is bringing back its program to test fish for mercury, a heavy metal that is dangerous for human consumption. The program will be back up and running in January.

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality scaled back the program in 2008, when it ran out of funding.

Mercury comes from burning coal and other industrial activities. It gets into the air and then settles in streams and other waters, where fish absorb it.

Tulane University researchers are leading a study examining the long-term effects of Hurricane Katrina. The national project will examine the health effects of the storm, who came back, and where they are now.

America's Watershed Initiative

A new report card for the Mississippi River basin is not good. The lower Mississippi gets a D+ from a water coalition due to poor infrastructure maintenance, run-down levees and unhealthy fish.

America’s Watershed Initiative is a coalition of industry, academic and environmental groups. Its report card graded watersheds along the river, and the river as a whole, by looking at ecosystems, transportation, water supply, flood control and the economy.

State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry says customers served by North Monroe Water System should use precaution in light of the prescence of Naegleria fowleri, referred to as the brain-eating amoeba.

Testing results announced Tuesday showed the amoeba was found in a water sample from the Guthrie Street site in Sterlington.  About 8,400 residents are served by the North Monroe Water System in the area.  North Monroe Water is owned by Greater Ouachita Water System.

Elizabeth Mahoney, St. Bernard resident and peer counselor.
Brett Anderson

The devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the floods that followed is most visible in pictures of ruined houses and people’s destroyed possessions lying out on city streets. But there’s unseen damage that runs even deeper: the collective emotional trauma experienced by the thousands of people who lived through it.

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