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Grace Notes 

The Times-Picayune taps political reporter Stephanie Grace for its opinion pages.

Ever since veteran political reporter and local news icon Iris Kelso filed her last politics column for The Times-Picayune on Dec. 15, 1996, there's been a void in the opinion pages of Louisiana's largest daily, according to politicos, campaign consultants and other journalists. Beginning this April, T-P political reporter Stephanie Grace will begin writing a politics column three times a week for the paper.

"I think the reporting of City Hall lately has been excellent, and I think she will be a terrific addition to the opinion pages," says Larry Lorenz, a professor of journalism at Loyola University and moderator of Informed Sources, the reporters' roundtable broadcast weekly on WYES-TV Channel 12.

Grace distinguished herself in the New Orleans mayor's race early last year. Assigned to the front-running mayoral campaign of state Sen. Paulette Irons, Grace first uncovered the senator's longstanding misrepresentations about the death of her brother that led to wider media scrutiny of her candidacy. Grace also has teamed with veteran City Hall reporter Frank Donze on numerous stories about New Orleans politics and government since she left the paper's Metairie East Bank bureau in 1999. A native of Needham, Mass., Grace covered the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office and the parish Council after joining the paper in 1994; she previously worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer for two years, covering the courts in New Jersey.

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