Stephanie Grace, Laura Maggi join The Advocate



Longtime New Orleans political columnist Stephanie Grace and Times-Picayune reporter Laura Maggi are the latest names to join the New Orleans edition of The Advocate.

Grace, who declined a job offer from The TImes-Picayune last year following the paper's restructuring, will return to print three times weekly with a column that will appear Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. (Most recently, she has written a series of cover stories as a contributor to Gambit.) Last week, James Gill, another veteran T-P columnist, jumped to The Advocate, where his column appears twice weekly.

"I'm back to doing what I always did — writing about local and state politics — and really excited to be part of the conversation in Baton Rouge," Grace told Gambit this morning. "I'm picking up where I left off, and surrounded by some of my favorite people who happen to be great journalists."

Maggi, who worked for the Picayune since 2000, held a variety of positions at the paper, including state correspondent, criminal justice reporter and, most recently, a stint on the health care beat. She was among the team of T-P reporters that worked with ProPublica and PBS' Frontline to tell the stories of civilian shootings by the New Orleans Police Department after Hurricane Katrina. At The Advocate, Maggi will be an assistant editor who will also contribute reporting, though she will not have a specific beat, at least for now.

Sources within both The Times-Picayune and The Advocate have mentioned a third attempted hire of a familiar byline within the T-P, who was subsequently offered a raise as an incentive to stay with the Picayune. That person is said to be weighing a decision.

With the most recent hires, The Advocate's New Orleans office now employs 12 journalists plus a number of freelancers, according to Gordon Russell, the paper's managing editor for investigations. There are also four people on the business side, including Yvette DeLucky, longtime classified ad manager for The Times-Picayune, who left the paper yesterday to join The Advocate.

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