Issues

Will other states replicate Alabama’s nitrogen execution?

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said Friday that the execution of Kenneth Eugene Smith, a 58-year-old convicted of a 1988 murder-for-hire, went off as planned and his office is ready to help other states if they want to begin nitrogen executions.

Opioid overdoses are on the rise. A Louisiana medical student believes Narcan training can help

Losing his brother to an overdose inspired Jacob Bassin to arm his fellow medical students with free doses of Narcan and train them on how to use it.

Alabama executes a man with nitrogen gas, the first time the new method has been used

Officials said Kenneth Eugene Smith, 58, was pronounced dead at 8:25 p.m. at an Alabama prison after breathing pure nitrogen gas through a face mask to cause oxygen deprivation.

New Alabama law aims to improve police interactions with people with disabilities

Some advocates said the law’s requirement of an hour-long training on working with people with “invisible” disabilities and sensory needs is a good start.

Ahead of Kenneth Smith’s execution, people impacted by Alabama’s death penalty speak out

Death penalty opponents gathered in Birmingham Wednesday to condemn Smith’s execution and hear personal stories about the impact of death row.

Federal court says Alabama can carry out first nitrogen gas execution

A divided panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Kenneth Eugene Smith’s request for an injunction to stop his execution by nitrogen hypoxia Thursday night. Smith’s lawyers, who have argued the state is trying to make him the test subject for an experimental execution method, are expected to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Alabama calls nitrogen execution method painless and humane, but critics are raising doubts

The Alabama attorney general's office told federal appeals court judges last week that nitrogen hypoxia is "the most painless and humane method of execution known to man." But what exactly Kenneth Eugene Smith will feel after the warden switches on the gas is unknown, some doctors and critics say.

Why Birmingham is overlooked when it comes to jazz

Jazz is associated with cities such as New Orleans, Chicago and New York. But Birmingham has had profound influence on the genre too. That’s the argument from a recent book.

Jackson estimated his water bill and overcharged him by thousands. He fought back and won

When James Henley suspected his water bill was inaccurate, he put his spreadsheet skills to use and got back $3,208. Now, he’s helping others do the same.

Alabama plans to carry out first nitrogen gas execution. How will it work and what are the risks?

Kenneth Eugene Smith, who survived the state’s previous attempt to put him to death by lethal injection in 2022, is scheduled to be put to death Thursday by nitrogen hypoxia. If carried out, it would the first new method of execution since lethal injection was introduced in 1982.

New opera delves into less familiar part of Helen Keller’s story

The opera TOUCH, commissioned by Opera Birmingham, depicts Keller's later life as an activist and feminist and conflict with her interpreter Anne Sullivan.

Hale Freezes Over

In Hale County, Alabama, many residents have gone without running water for days. Many more are still boiling water.

Spiritual adviser at first nitrogen gas execution asks Alabama for safeguards to protect witnesses

The Rev. Jeff Hood, who will stand near Kenneth Smith during his execution, sent a letter Monday to the Alabama prison system requesting safeguards in case of a nitrogen leak in the execution chamber.

How an Alabama utility wields influence by financing news

A Floodlight investigation found Alabama Power runs a news service and its foundation bought a Black newspaper. Neither publishes critical stories about the utility.

DeBoer embraces chance to replace Saban at Alabama

The former Washington coach, hired two days after Saban's retirement, said he's giving the 72-year-old ex-coach “100 percent access” to his program

Kalen DeBoer hired to replace Nick Saban at Alabama

The powerhouse program tapped DeBoer on Friday to replace Saban, just two days after the 72-year-old coach announced his retirement.

MLK Day is Monday. In Alabama and Mississippi, it’s also Robert E. Lee Day.

Here’s a quick history lesson on why the unlikely joint celebration of a civil rights icon and a Confederate general is still happening.

Deadline approaches for USDA loan discrimination funds for underserved farmers

Gulf South farmers are racing to meet the deadline for DFAP. Some say the aid is a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done.

Alabama can enforce a ban on gender-affirming care for transgender minors, appeals court rules

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had previously ruled that the injunction should be vacated, but the decision had been effectively on hold for more than 18 months while families with transgender children asked the full appellate court to reconsider the decision.

Prisoners’ bodies returned to families without heart, other organs, lawsuit alleges

The family of Brandon Clay Dotson, who died in a state prison in November, filed a federal lawsuit last month against the Alabama Department of Corrections and others saying his body was decomposing and his heart was missing when his remains were returned to his family.

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Nick Saban’s retirement is a blow to Alabama football’s fans — and a boon to its haters

Sports fans in Birmingham were more than happy to weigh in on the Alabama football icon’s storied career.

Alabama’s Nick Saban retiring after 7 national titles, most in major college football history

Nick Saban’s coaching reign has come to an end. His dominance over college football, however, will forever linger in the lore of the sport.

Federal judge says Alabama can carry out nation’s 1st execution using nitrogen gas

U.S. District Judge R. Austin Huffaker rejected Alabama inmate Kenneth Eugene Smith’s request for an injunction to stop his scheduled Jan. 25 execution by nitrogen hypoxia.

Mercedes-Benz autoworkers in Alabama want to join the UAW. Here’s what the past could teach them

Amid a new push in a region that’s historically unwelcoming to unionization, author Stephen Silvia details what the UAW could learn from its past efforts.

New Orleans residents are uneasy about the NOPD’s planned drone program, documents show

The Gulf States Newsroom obtained more than 350 pages of public comments concerning the NOPD’s planned drone program. Here’s what they said.

Alabama judge puts a temporary hold on medical marijuana companies

A Montgomery circuit judge issued a temporary restraining order late Wednesday to stop the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission from issuing licenses for “integrated” facilities that grow, transport and sell medical marijuana. The coveted licenses will be on hold while he hears a challenge to the selection process.

Inflation is slowing, unless you’re ‘makin’ groceries’ for New Orleans gumbo. Here’s why

With a variety of ingredients from across the region, making a pot of gumbo can illustrate a lot of the ways inflation impacts the average grocery shopper.

Michigan Wolverines to play for national title after stopping Alabama

Michigan advanced to its first College Football Playoff championship game with a 27-20 victory over fourth-seeded Alabama in the Rose Bow

A tantalizing Rose Bowl matchup pits Saban’s Alabama against Harbaugh’s Michigan in the CFP

Nick Saban has won six national championships at Alabama, establishing the most successful program of the 21st century. Jim Harbaugh has completely revitalized his alma mater, reaching three straight College Football Playoffs at Michigan with style and controversy.

The 2023 moments that will stick with us: Reflections from the Gulf States Newsroom

Our regional reporters reflect on delightful, discarded moments they had in the field as they covered stories across Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

A lawsuit challenging Alabama’s transgender care ban for minors will move forward, judge says

U.S. District Judge Liles Burke said no to a request from the U.S. Department of Justice to put the Alabama case on hold until appellate courts decide if they will hear related petitions on whether states can enact such bans.

This New Orleans restaurant made it through the pandemic. Can it survive water billing issues?

Plume Algiers is a mom-and-pop Indian restaurant that overcame every obstacle to open in New Orleans. Now, water billing issues could put them out of business.