The count: what a single parent of two needs to make for a 'modest but adequate' standard of living in Orleans Parish

$64, 170
According to a calculator released last week by think tank Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a single parent with two kids needs $64,170 annually to achieve a "modest but adequate" standard of living in Orleans Parish. EPI estimates housing costs at $12,016 annually, child care costs at $10,093 and transportation at $9,808.

The count: Louisiana's ranking on the list of 'Best States'

All the king cake, crawfish, tailgating and music in the world weren't enough to sway the editors of U.S. News & World Report, who for the second year in a row rated Louisiana at the bottom of the "Best States" list. The ranking was determined by 77 factors in eight categories.

The count: bonds dedicated to Sewerage & Water Board imrpovements

$114 million
On Feb. 21, the Sewerage & Water Board's Board of Directors approved $114 million in bonds to begin working on a list of more than 100 "critical improvements," a first stab at the agency's backlog of deferred maintenance projects to the city's infrastructure. Those bonds include more than $27 million earmarked for repairs to the drainage system and $87 million to improve sewerage systems.

The count: vehicles towed during Mardi Gras parade days in 2018

Source: CITY OF NEW ORLEANS Along with beads and king cakes, Carnival also brings about 3,000 temporary "No Parking" signs along parade routes, banning parked vehicles two hours before and after a parade is scheduled to roll.

The count: 'gutter buddies' blocking Mardi Gras beads from storm drains

After the New Orleans Department of Public Works pulled more than 7 million pounds of debris from storm drains over the last several months, the city installed 200 orange "gutter buddies" along parade routes to prevent discarded Mardi Gras throws from blocking the drains. More than 90,000 pounds of Mardi Gras beads along the St. Charles Avenue parade route alone were hauled from that 7 million pounds of garbage.

The count: public toilets along Mardi Gras parade routes

"Ain't No Place to Pee on Mardi Gras Day" goes the song, but on Jan. 31, the city of New Orleans began placing portable toilets along and around parade routes and the French Quarter. There's even a handy map on the city website; visit to plan your "evacuation route."

The count: how much would be cut from state health care under Gov. Edwards' proposed budget

$660 million
The "doomsday" state budget proposed last week by Gov. John Bel Edwards would cut half a billion dollars in care (mostly for the poor and elderly) and mean Louisiana would lose almost $1.6 billion in federal matching funds. The Louisiana Hospital Association and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) were among those speaking out against the cuts, which would eliminate or slash pediatric day care, at-home care for the elderly and/or disabled as well as cutting the state's already-taxed mental health services.

The count: African-Americans in Louisiana who would vote for Trump over Oprah

36 percent
In a hypothetical presidential matchup between President Donald Trump and media mogul Oprah Winfrey, 60 percent of Louisiana voters would choose Trump, according to a phone poll conducted by the UNO Survey Research Center Jan. 11. While African-American women overwhelmingly favored Winfrey, black males were split between the two.

The count: Weather and climate disasters in the U.S. in 2017 with losses exceeding $1 billion

MOVE OVER, 2005: You are no longer the costliest year in history for weather-related disasters in the U.S. The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimates the cost of last year's severe weather to be approximately $306 billion, topping 2005's $215 billion (largely due to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma). Also driving the cost last year were Midwest tornados and floods, a drought in the Dakotas and Montana and widespread wildfires on the West Coast.

The count: number of deaths due to the flu in Louisiana during a 'severe season'

If YOU'VE AVOIDED GETTING SICK OVER THE HOLIDAYS, consider yourself lucky — and if it seems like everyone you know is getting sick with the flu, you may be right. "According to the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], Louisiana is among the states with the highest confirmed illness through symptoms and laboratory surveillance," the Louisiana Department of Health confirmed last week.

3-course interview: Ti Adelaide Martin

The New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute gets ready to break ground
The New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute (NOCHI) breaks ground Jan. 16 on its $32 million training center at 725 Howard Ave. The institution acquired the former Louisiana ArtWorks building, and in January 2019 will open a five-story school that will offer professional culinary and workforce training, classes for amateur cooks and more. Ti Martin of the Commander's Family of Restaurants, restaurateur Dickie Brennan and developer George Brower launched NOCHI in 2013.

The count: Louisiana's population loss from 2016-2017

LOUISIANA'S POPULATION LARGELY HELD STEADY in the U.S. Census' latest report, going from 4,686,157 residents to 4,684,333. Still, it was only one of eight states that lost population (Alaska, Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi, North Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming were the others).


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