Commentary: Out of tragedy, common purpose

Scalise and the need for empathy in tragedy
There were many thoughtful statements of sympathy following the shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, and four others during a baseball practice in a Virginia park last week. Perhaps none was more thoughtful than that of former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who was shot and nearly killed at a constituent event in 2011 (six people died in that attack).

Commentary: No way to treat a friend

Is that the way America treats an ally and friend who has experienced a misfortune?
On June 3, when seven people in England were killed in a terrorist attack on and around London Bridge, New Orleans saw a mass shooting on Tulane Avenue that killed three people and injured two others. The shooting total for that day around our city: 13 people.

Commentary: Start preparing for hurricane season

Now is the time to review hurricane preparations and make sure friends, relatives and neighbors have a plan as well
The Atlantic hurricane season officially began June 1, even though the first named storm of the season (Tropical Storm Arlene) formed April 19, one of only two named storms to form in April since at least the 1960s. Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center have forecast a second consecutive above-normal hurricane season for the Atlantic, with 11 to 17 named storms, five to nine of which could become hurricanes and two to four Category 3, 4 or 5 hurricanes.

Commentary: Anybody here seen our old friend John (Kennedy)?

Sen. Kennedy has yet to hold a face-to-face town hall anywhere in Louisiana
Shortly after taking office in January, U.S. Sen. John Kennedy told The New York Times, "There's this feeling among many in America that it's harder than ever to get ahead in our country, that it's easier than ever to do nothing. There's a feeling that the people in Washington don't listen and they don't care.

Commentary: Pass criminal justice reform

End Louisiana's dubious status as the world's leading jailer
Of all the "bad" rankings for Louisiana, one stands out on a global scale: Our state has the highest rate of incarceration (816 per 100,000 residents, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics) in the world's most jail-happy nation. That makes Louisiana the world's incarceration leader.

Commentary: It didn't have to come to this

We need a clear path forward and we need it now
The ongoing tensions surrounding the fate of four Confederate-era monuments in New Orleans recently reached the national stage — and the local boiling point. On May 7, the last day of tourist-heavy Jazz Fest, a rowdy group of out-of-town white supremacists hijacked a demonstration by local monument supporters at Lee Circle.

Commentary: Remembering Deborah 'Big Red' Cotton

Fearless, fierce, compassionate, and taken far too soon
  "With each second line that rolled down Ursulines Avenue, New Orleans lured me from my dark brooding funk and tossed me into the fire of dancing Black folks and brass instruments bobbing down the street, burning, sweating, marching from one end of town to the other. This went on for months until one day, between the parades and sessions with my shrink and onset of Spring, I began to feel alive again.

Commentary: Abolish the death penalty

Death penalty opponents raise moral and fiscal arguments, and convincingly so
Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have abolished the death penalty. If some state lawmakers have their way, Louisiana will become the 20th state — but they face strong opposition.

Commentary: Bipartisan agreement on criminal justice reform

Locking up non-violent offenders is not tough on crime. It's tough on taxpayers
There are few truly bipartisan issues in Louisiana, but the need for criminal justice reform is one of them. By any metric of any study, America is the most lock-'em-up nation in the world, and Louisiana is the most lock-'em-up state.

Commentary: Putting "sanctuary cities" on ICE

The latest attempt to turn "sanctuary" cities into a political cudgel backfires
Last week, President Donald Trump's Department of Homeland Security put the brakes on its three-week-old policy of issuing weekly reports calling out so-called "sanctuary cities" — after municipalities on the lists and immigration advocates criticized the data involved. It was the latest attempt to turn "sanctuary cities" into a political cudgel.

Commentary: Legislative forecast? More gridlock

State lawmakers return to Baton Rouge this week for an annual session that by law must focus mostly but not exclusively on fiscal matters. This year's session, like most in recent memory, seems destined to be marked by partisan squabbles over the state's taxing and spending policies.

Commentary: Selling out our privacy

Your internet provider can track, compile and sell your browsing history
While the chatter in Washington D.C. last week focused on the failed GOP health care plan to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act, a much quieter — but equally egregious — repeal-and-replace bill moved through the U.S. Senate along party lines. By a 50-48 vote, Senate Republicans overturned internet privacy laws adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the last days of President Barack Obama's administration.

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