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OneApp blues

Fully a third of those who applied for spots in New Orleans public schools couldn't get in to any of their top three choices for next year, according to newly released stats. 

That's the lowest match rate since school officials first introduced the city's common enrollment system, known as the OneApp, in 2011. 

As Jessica Williams explains here, that may be in part because two new schools that are highly sought after joined the OneApp for the first time this year: Edward Hynes Charter School in Lakeview and Audubon Charter School, which has one Uptown campus and just opened another in Gentilly. Both typically draw far more applications than they have seats. 

At Hynes, for instance, more than 1,400 families applied for only 100 spots.


Charity Hospital

Officials in charge of the 79-year-old Art Deco landmark in the Central Business District have put out a request for proposals to redevelop the building. 

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Charity Hospital in New Orleans

It won't be clear what developers have in mind until the responses come back. They're due May 16, after which the top respondents will be asked to pitch more detailed plans. 

Efforts to repurpose the historic building have been held up since Katrina mainly by political infighting. 

Five years ago, Mayor Mitch Landrieu proposed turning Charity into a municipal building that would have housed both City Hall and Civil District Court. That plan collapsed in the face of opposition from the judges and estimates that it would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to renovate the building.

Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration put out a request for proposals for the building in 2015. A few developers expressed interest, but the process was scrapped after Gov. John Bel Edwards took office.


Banking rules

Bryn Stole and Sam Karlin here run down the potential impact for local banks of a regulatory rollback now making its way through Congress. 

On the one hand, local lenders say the rules imposed as a part of the Dodd-Frank Act after the financial crisis of 2008 have saddled them with extra costs that constrain community lending, even though they played no real role in causing the crisis. 

Here's Ken Hale, for instance, CEO of the Natchitoches-based Bank of Montgomery, who says new rules have cost his company about $400,000 a year in compliance: “When a new regulation comes in, we either have to hire new staff, hire an outside firm, or we have to have other staff members take up the slack." 

On the other hand, critics of the rollback, mainly Democrats, worry the pending bill goes beyond trimming red tape for small banks. 

“This really is a rollback of essential Dodd-Frank protections,” said Scott Astrada, director of federal advocacy at the Center for Responsible Lending, a nonprofit advocacy group.


Pump it to the river

Here's an important observation for the people living in southeast Louisiana. 

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Army Corps of Engineers and Jefferson Parish officials smile after cutting the ribbon to celebrate the completion of funded finalization of the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control (SELA) Projects at the Harahan Pump Station in Elmwood, La., Monday, April 16, 2018.

"The levees create a bowl," said Col. Michael Clancy, commander of the New Orleans District for the Army Corps of Engineers. 

So when it rains hard enough to start filling up that bowl, it helps to have pumps capable of getting water up over those levees and into the surrounding waterways. 

New Orleans learned this the hard way last summer, when swaths of Mid-City flooded for lack of operational pumps, but Jefferson got a good scare too. It shares with New Orleans one of the pumping stations that had been operating at somewhat less than full capacity when the deluge hit. 

On Monday, officials gathered to cut the ribbon on a new set of pumps capable of sucking 400 cubic feet of rainwater per second out of the Soniat Canal in Harahan and pushing it through two miles of pipes to the Mississippi River.

It's part of $615 million worth of upgrades in Jefferson Parish that fall under the federal Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project.

The SELA program was authorized by Congress in 1996 to help Orleans, Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes combat rain-related flooding. In Jefferson alone, 59 contracts have been issued under the program for drainage improvements on both sides of the river.


From around the web 

Trump changes course on Russia sanctions, overruling a prior announcement by United Nations Ambassador Nikki R. Haley. It looks like a federal judge won't let the president decide whether material seized from his personal lawyer by the FBI is subject to attorney-client privilege, but she is weighing whether to have it reviewed by an outside attorney. Facebook is losing luster among stock pickers, at least relative to the other hot tech stocks.  


Also...

An American woman won the Boston Marathon for the first time in 33 years. 

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The Morning Briefing is compiled by Andrew Vanacore, deputy editor for the New Orleans Advocate. Get in touch with feedback, tips, complaints at avanacore@theadvocate.com.

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