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Saturday, August 18, 2018
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Louisiana Public Square
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Panelist Bio


Barry Erwin
Guest Moderator, President and Chief Executive Officer of Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL)

Barry Erwin is a Louisiana native who serves as President of the Council for A Better Louisiana (CABL). CABL is a statewide, nonprofit membership organization that works on issues that impact the quality of life in Louisiana. CABL is involved in numerous policy issues at the state level, including education, state fiscal policies and governmental ethics. The organization also operates the nationally recognized Leadership Louisiana program, which now boasts an alumni base of more than 600 state and community leaders from across Louisiana. Erwin began doing work for CABL in 1995 as a partner in IMPACT Strategies, a Baton Rouge-based public affairs and issues management firm. He joined CABL as Senior Vice President in January 2000.

Prior to working in public and governmental affairs, Erwin spent 15 years as a television journalist. As a reporter he specialized in covering both local and state government. For seven years Erwin was capitol correspondent for WBRZ-TV, the ABC affiliate in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is a past president and former board member of the Capitol Correspondents Association, an organization representing the journalists who cover state government in Louisiana. His work as a journalist has garnered state, regional, and national awards.

Erwin worked on numerous public affairs projects prior to joining CABL. Issue areas included education, health care and the judiciary as well as advising clients in the political arena.

Erwin graduated from Louisiana Tech University in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He has served as guest lecturer in political science and public relations at Louisiana State University, and taught professional journalists in Zambia, Africa as part of a U.S. State Department program to aid emerging democracies.

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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