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Tuesday, August 21, 2018
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Louisiana Public Square
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Panelist Bio


Brenda Birkett
President, Baton Rouge Chapter, The Links

Brenda S. Birkett is president of the Baton Rouge Chapter of The Links, Inc. The Links, Inc. is a national women's service organization with over 12,000 members.

She is the retired Dean of the College of Business and Professor of Accounting at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Previously, she held academic and administrative positions at Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Dr. Birkett holds the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Accounting from Louisiana State University, the Master of Business Administration degree from Atlanta University and the bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Southern University and A&M College. She is also a Certified Public Accountant (inactive).

Dr. Birkett has received several awards including the Lifetime Achievement Award for Accounting Education from the Louisiana Society of Certified Public Accountants and the National Achievement Award in Accounting Education from the National Association of Black Accountants. In 1998, the Baton Rouge Chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants established the Brenda S. Birkett Endowed Scholarship Fund at Southern University.

Dr. Birkett has served on the boards of numerous civic organizations including the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, Volunteer Baton Rouge, Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, Baton Rouge Marine Institute (renamed AMIkids-Baton Rouge), Mary Bird Perkins, Credit Counseling of Louisiana and Rotary Club of Baton Rouge Foundation.

Dr. Birkett is married and has two sons.

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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