Betsy Shepherd

Coastal Reporter

Betsy Shepherd covers environmental news and is producing a podcast on the Civil Rights Movement in small-town Louisiana. She won a regional Edward R. Murrow award for a feature she reported on Louisiana’s 2016 floods.

Before joining New Orleans Public Radio, Betsy served as the managing producer of American Routes and online content coordinator at Indiana Public Media. She received her undergraduate degree from Louisiana State University and earned two master’s degrees in journalism and ethnomusicology from Indiana University.

In addition to her work at WWNO, Betsy is a freelance radio producer and reporter for the BBC and The Southern Foodways Alliance.

Ways to Connect

Paul Braun / WRKF

Louisiana can begin Phase One of reopening on Friday, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced at a Monday press conference. 

Ben Depp / For WWNO

From March 14 to May 2, more than 560,000 Louisiana residents applied for unemployment benefits.

That's about 12 percent of the total population of 4,645,184 people. But some estimates suggest nearly a quarter of the state is now jobless.


Steven is an addict. He has been off of drugs for six years now, and says he maintains his sobriety by regularly attending a Narcotics Anonymous support group.

Ben Depp / For WWNO

Dozens of people line up outside the Broadmoor Church in New Orleans for the Broadmoor Improvement Association’s monthly food pantry. Standing six feet apart, participants wait their turn to show their ID in exchange for a box of groceries.

Photo by Fernando Lopez

For decades, Melissa Weber, better known as DJ Soul Sister, has been spinning rare soul, funk and disco records around town and on WWOZ. Her gigs were canceled because of the coronavirus, but Soul Sister is still keeping the dance party going. During quarantine, the analog deejay has made over 50 digital mix tapes to connect with her fans.