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Friday, August 17, 2018
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Louisiana Public Square
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Panelist Bio


Robert Barham
Secretary of the Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries

Robert Barham, of Oak Ridge, LA was appointed as Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary in January 2008. Prior to his current appointment he served as State Senator for Louisiana’s 33rd District, representing Morehouse, Union, East Carroll, West Carroll, and parts of Claiborne and Ouachita parishes, from 1994 - 2007. In the Senate, he served as chairman of the Homeland Security Committee and was a member of the Senate Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture, and Rural Development Committee, Senate Natural Resources Committee, Senate Retirement Committee, and the Legislative Rural Task Force. He also served for eight years as Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee chairman.

In 1999, Barham received the Outstanding Legislator of the Year Award from the Louisiana Wildlife Federation and the National Award for Conservation of Natural Resources from the Daughters of the American Revolution. Barham was awarded the Outstanding Individual in Agriculture Award from the Louisiana Ag Council in 2000 and the Legislator of the Year Award from the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce in 2002. He is a 2007 Inductee into the LSUAA Hall of Distinction, and his family sponsored a scholarship in Wildlife Management and an exhibit in the LSU Museum of Natural History. Barham has a bachelor’s of science from LSU, a master’s degree from Northeast Louisiana University and is a graduate of LSU’s Ag Leadership School.

Current Topic


     08/18 - The Power of Reading

How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?
The ability to read sets the foundation of who we are and what we can be. Through reading we expand our world, learn new things and increase our base of knowledge. In fact, a parent’s reading level is the greatest factor in a child’s academic success. Children who can’t read proficiently by the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

In Louisiana, 20 percent of adults are illiterate – five points higher than the national rate. How is Louisiana combatting its illiteracy problem across generational lines? How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?

Louisiana Public Square: The Power of Reading looks for answers and explores the value of lifelong reading through the lens of the PBS series The Great American Read Wednesday, August 22 at 7pm on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE. (Recorded Tuesday, August 14 in the Magnolia Performing Arts Pavilion at Baton Rouge Community College.)

Our panelists are:
- Linda-Marie Barrett, Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA)
- Rebecca Hamilton, MLIS; Louisiana State Librarian
- Danny Heitman; Journalist and Louisiana author
- Miranda Restovic, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH).
- Gary Robertson; Adult Literacy Advocates

The program features interviews with John Cavalier, owner of Cavalier House Books; Gary Robertson, Executive Director of Adult Literacy Advocates; representatives from the LEH PRIME TIME intergenerational reading program, and Superintendent John White with the Louisiana Department of Education.

LPB CEO Beth Courtney and Robyn Merrick, Southern University VP of External Affairs, host the show.

Louisiana Public Square can also be heard on public radio stations WRKF in Baton Rouge; Red River Radio in Shreveport and Monroe; and WWNO in New Orleans. Check their station websites for schedule.

This episode of Louisiana Public Square is underwritten by Community Coffee’s Cash for Schools Program, the Louisiana Forestry Association, LSU Press and the Southern Independent Booksellers’ Authors Round the South.

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Special Presentation


     05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

Coming Soon!


     09/18 - Revisiting Reform

Are the criminal justice reforms working as intended?

Recent Topics


     07/18 - Preventing Suicide

How is Louisiana addressing its suicide problem?

     06/18 - Louisiana: Sportsman’s Paradise or Problem?  (ENCORE)

Is Louisiana a Sportsman’s Paradise or Problem?

     05/18 - News About the News

How can viewers distinguish between fact and fake news and is social media blurring the difference?

     04/18 - Balancing Eldercare

How much does Louisiana spend on nursing homes versus home and community-based care?
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