Thursday, May 30, 2024

A Letter from Lamar White, Jr. | Publisher

The Social Return on Investment of the Bayou Brief

During the past two years, the Bayou Brief has published hundreds of original reports from dozens of writers, stories about the people, the land, the scandals, the culture, and the history of Louisiana and the Deep South.

We’ve reported on the controversial I-49 connector in Shreveport, about a congressman from Richland Parish whose family has quietly received millions in farm subsidies, including some not to farm, about the unsolved murders of a group of women in and around Jennings- a murder mystery known as the Jeff Davis Eight, about the significant evidence that suggests Gov. Huey P. Long was not assassinated by Carl Weiss but was likely killed accidentally by his one bodyguards, about the Colfax Massacre in Central Louisiana, and the funeral of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge.

Before we launched the Bayou Brief, I personally vowed this would be a publication that attempted to cover stories of importance on all corners of the state and that this would not merely be “a political blog,” but instead a thriving and diverse platform that covered a wide range of stories: Saints games and book reviews, the environment and education, healthcare and history.

Member-supported, free, fearless, and good ol’ fashioned muckraking

We are accomplishing what we set out to do. We’ve attracted millions of readers from all across the state, the country, and the world. Ny report about a U.S. Senator from Mississippi making strange and problematic comments about a “public hanging” and voter suppression landed on the pages of every major newspaper in the country and nearly upended an election.

Sue Lincoln’s coverage of environmental issues across Louisiana has directly resulted in more responsible and more transparent regulatory oversight.

Along with insurance expert Doug Heller, our series “Wrecked: How Auto Insurance Takes Louisiana for a Ride” led to the defeat of a bill that sought to dramatically weaken consumer rights and a person’s access to the judicial system.

Peter Athas has treated readers to a Top 40 list of movies set in Louisiana and a Top 50 list of Louisiana tunes.

Lydia Y. Nichols wrote a moving and lyrical essay about why those in New Orleans should listen to the River, instead of attempting to dominate it.

We’ve published exclusive investigative reports that have exposed questionable spending by the Louisiana attorney general and a multi-part series on the life of Clementine Hunter.

Shortly before Hurricane Barry, I published commentary castigating the national media for failing to get the story even remotely correct and for unnecessarily scaring people with disinformation and hype. Within 48 hours, 500,000 people had read it, and as a consequence, LSU’s Manship School is now planning a summit on how the national news should cover big weather events.