Debbie Elliott After a stint on Capitol Hill, NPR National Correspondent Debbie Elliott is back covering the news in her native South.
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Debbie Elliot 2010
Christy Haynes/NPR

Debbie Elliott

Correspondent, National Desk

After a stint on Capitol Hill, NPR National Correspondent Debbie Elliott is back covering her native South.

From a giant sinkhole swallowing up a bayou community in Louisiana to new state restrictions on abortion providers, Elliott keeps track of the region's news. She also reports on cultural treasures such as an historic church in need of preservation in Helena, Arkansas; the magical House of Dance and Feathers in New Orleans' lower 9th ward; and the hidden-away Coon Dog Cemetery in north Alabama.

She's looking back at the legacy of landmark civil rights events, and following the legal battles between states and the federal government over immigration enforcement, healthcare, and voting rights.

Her coverage of the BP oil spill has focused on the human impact of the spill, the complex litigation to determine responsibility for the disaster, and how the region is recovering. She launched the series, "The Disappearing Coast," which examines the history and culture of south Louisiana, the state's complicated relationship with the oil and gas industry, and the oil spill's lasting impact on a fragile coastline.

Debbie has reported on the new entrepreneurial boom in post-Katrina New Orleans, as well as that city's decades-long struggle with violent crime, and a broken criminal justice system. She's examined the obesity epidemic in Mississippi, and a ground-breaking prisoner meditation program at Alabama's toughest lockup. She's taken NPR listeners on a musical tour of Memphis in a pink Cadillac, and profiled writers and musicians including Aaron Neville, Sandra Boynton, and Trombone Shorty.

Look for Debbie's signature political coverage as well. She's watching vulnerable Congressional seats and tracking southern politicians who have higher political aspirations. She was part of NPR's election team in 2008 and 2112 — reporting live from the floor of the political conventions, following the Presidential campaigns around the country, and giving voice to voters making their choice.

During her tenure in Washington, DC, Debbie covered Congress and hosted NPR's All Things Considered on the weekends. In that role she interviewed a variety of luminaries and world leaders, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. She celebrated the 40th Anniversary of "Alice's Restaurant" with Arlo Guthrie, and mixed it up on the rink with the Baltimore's Charm City Roller Girls. She profiled the late historian John Hope Franklin and the children's book author Eric Carle.

Since joining NPR in 1995, Debbie has covered the re-opening of civil-rights-era murder cases, the legal battle over displaying the Ten Commandments in courthouses, the Elian Gonzales custody dispute from Miami, and a number of major hurricanes, from Andrew to Katrina. Debbie was stationed in Tallahassee, Florida, for election night in 2000, and was one of the first national reporters on the scene for the contentious presidential election contest that followed. She has covered landmark smoker lawsuits, the tobacco settlement with states, the latest trends in youth smoking and electronic cigarettes, and tobacco-control policy and regulation. NPR has sent her to cover a Super Bowl, the Summer Olympics, Bama football fans, and baseball spring training.

Debbie Elliott was born in Atlanta, grew up in the Memphis area, and is a graduate of the University of Alabama College of Communication. She's the former news director of member station WUAL (now Alabama Public Radio).

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Story Archive

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AP

After MLK's Death, Coretta Scott King Went To Memphis To Finish His Work

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50 years After MLK Assassination, What Comes Next?

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News Brief: New Tariffs On Chinese Goods, YouTube Shooting, MLK

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Martin Luther King Jr.'s Final Cause: Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike

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Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking to a mass meeting at the Mason Temple in support of striking sanitation workers. Memphis Press-Scimitar/University of Memphis Libraries Special Collections hide caption

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Memphis Press-Scimitar/University of Memphis Libraries Special Collections

When MLK Was Killed, He Was In Memphis Fighting For Economic Justice

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Olanda Smith (left) and Dinah McCaryer were the first to marry in Jefferson County on Monday, Feb. 9, 2015, after a federal judge overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage. Several other counties refused to issue marriage licenses that day. Hal Yeager/AP hide caption

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Hal Yeager/AP

Same-Sex-Marriage Flashpoint: Alabama Considers Quitting The Marriage Business

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During the 2017 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival last April, Mr. Okra drove his iconic produce truck and called out to customers. Erika Goldring/Getty Images hide caption

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Listen to Mr. Okra’s Call

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Ben Raines, an environmental reporter for AL.com, holds pieces of wood he collected from a cypress forest discovered in the depths of the Gulf of Mexico. A scientist says having an intact forest from the ice age is rare. Debbie Elliott/NPR hide caption

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Scientists: Long-Buried Ice Age Forest Offers Climate Change Clues

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Sanitation Workers Took Trucks Off The Road To Honor 2 Killed 50 Years Ago In Memphis

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Convicted killer Edgar Ray Killen points to a family member during a recess in an appeal hearing for his bond in Philadelphia, Mississippi, September 9, 2005. Kyle Carter/Reuters hide caption

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Kyle Carter/Reuters

The New Orleans Saints kneel before the playing of the national anthem before the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Oct. 22. Dylan Buell/Getty Images hide caption

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Louisiana Lawmaker Threatens Saints' Tax Breaks After Anthem Protests

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In Louisiana, NFL Anthem Protests Threaten Saints' Tax Breaks

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After Special Election, Alabama Will Send Democrat To Senate For First Time In 25 Years

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