Veteran T-P reporter will spearhead Advocate’s push into St. John, St. Charles parishes

The New Orleans Advocate is expanding its coverage area to include St. Charles and St. John the Baptist parishes, and the paper has hired veteran reporter Richard Thompson, who has spent the past three years reporting on the impacts of the BP oil leak for The Times-Picayune, to bolster its newsgathering operation.

Thompson is a veteran of the River Parishes, having joined The Times-Picayune’s former bureau in LaPlace in March 2010. In St. John Parish, he reported on crime and courts, public education and subsidized housing. He joined the Times-Picayune’s business section in August 2010, where he wrote primarily about energy production in the Gulf of Mexico, including the oil and gas industry and Entergy Corp., the only Fortune 500 company in New Orleans.

Thompson has reported extensively on the economic impacts of the 2010 Gulf oil leak, and the sprawling litigation against the British oil giant and other companies involved in the ill-fated Macondo well disaster. He covered the first phase of the federal civil trial for The Times-Picayune.

Thompson also has reported on Louisiana’s looming pension crisis, including a story that last year won first place in business writing in the Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press Managing Editors annual competition. He won both first and second place in the business writing category in 2011.

“We are excited about the opportunity to provide coverage of these two important parishes and to chronicle the economic boom that is coming to the entire corridor between New Orleans and Baton Rouge,” said Peter Kovacs, editor of The Advocate. Thompson’s range of experience makes him “the ideal journalist for this new mission.”