Lise Olsen

Lise Olsen is a Houston-based senior writer and editor, working mom, and yogini. Reach her at [email protected] or by phone or Signal at 281-454-1933.


‘Being A Prisoner During COVID Is A Death Sentence’

Death row exoneree Anthony Graves reflects a decade after his release.

Anthony Graves is perhaps Texas’ most famous death row exoneree. After spending 18 years on death row for a crime he did not commit, he won release in 2010. Under a 2005 Texas law, Graves also had to fight to … Read More

John S. Chase with sons Anthony and John Jr.

A New Book Celebrates the Work of Architect John S. Chase

Chase was the state’s first licensed Black architect and the first Black person to receive a master’s degree from the University of Texas.

John S. Chase is the Texas architect you wish you knew about—or perhaps should have already heard of. Inspired by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright with his own postmodern twists, Chase’s work has left a mark in East Austin, … Read More

An American and Texas flag fly from the tops of cranes near an oil rig by the site where President Donald Trump delivered remarks about American energy production during a visit to the Double Eagle Energy Oil Rig, Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Midland, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Texas Politics

Rural Voters Stepped on the Gas for Trump Across the Texas Oil Patch

Even in Democratic strongholds, some voters in the state’s vast shale plays were afraid of Joe Biden’s energy platform.

Once again, rural Texans voted en masse for President Donald Trump in 2020. Joe Biden spent no time campaigning in Texas and thus failed to reach the large swath of counties populated by some of the most conservative voters in … Read More

The Texas Capitol
Texas Legislature

As Democrats Divebomb, the Texas Legislature Remains as White and Male as Ever

The legislative body’s makeup stands in stark contrast to the diverse state’s demographics.

Senfronia Thompson, a long-time Democratic legislator from Houston, was one of the first to throw her hat in the ring for House Speaker when it appeared in November that her party might finally take control of the Texas House of … Read More

Illustration of Trump and other figures outside a refinery

Claiming Major Superfund ‘Success,’ Trump EPA Focused on Completing Cleanups, Not Climate Planning

As work stalled on hardening Superfund sites against climate-related weather extremes, budget cuts continued and a backlog of sites awaiting cleanup ballooned.

This article was published in partnership with InsideClimate News, a nonprofit, independent news outlet that covers climate, energy and the environment, and NBC News. For the last two years of the Obama administration, Jacob Carter built data models at the … Read More

The abandoned ruins of a rust-colored complex where Alcoa formerly processed aluminum.

The Wasteland Underwater

On the central Texas coast, Lavaca Bay is already poisoned by mercury. Climate change will only make matters worse there—and at 944 other hazardous-waste sites across the country.

On the central Texas coast, Lavaca Bay is already poisoned by mercury. Climate change will only make matters worse there—and at 944 other hazardous-waste sites across the country. By Lise Olsen and David Hasemyer September 24, 2020  This article … Read More

Health Care

Conception Deception

An East Texas doctor who allegedly used his own sperm to impregnate patients remains in practice. Why has the Texas Medical Board let him keep his license?

In 1984, Pauline Chambless went to Dr. Kim McMorries in Nacogdoches for help after she struggled for more than a decade to have a child. After multiple attempts using donors from a California sperm bank, McMorries located a local sperm … Read More

Lab work at Houston Methodist Hospital.
Health Care

Promising Results Reported for COVID-19 Patients Treated with Plasma Therapy in Texas

The speed with which physicians and patients across the United States have signed up to participate in the ongoing plasma therapy project is unprecedented.

The 61-year-old postal worker arrived at Austin’s Ascension Seton hospital in April in respiratory distress—he had a high fever, struggled to breath, and needed large doses of supplemental oxygen. When Raul Chagoya’s COVID-19 test came back positive, his treating physicians … Read More


Raise a Glass to the Class of COVID-19

Maybe they will help build a post-pandemic world (or so I hope).

My senior year of high school was all about parties, prom, one last wild class camping trip, and midnight diner runs with friends before we all sped away to our far-flung future lives. We stayed up all night after graduation, … Read More