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Panelist Bio


Boo Thomas
President and CEO, Center for Planning Excellence

Elizabeth "Boo" Thomas is the President and CEO of the Center for Planning Excellence. The Center's premiere program is Plan Baton Rouge, a plan to redevelop downtown into a viable center for all citizens to experience: to work, to play, and to live. Another Program is the Neighborhood and Economic Revitalization Strategy for Old South Baton Rouge.

Ms. Thomas was the first Executive Director of Mid City Redevelopment Alliance, a non profit agency that acts as the catalyst for the revitalization and redevelopment of neighborhoods surrounding the Baton Rouge General Medical Center. She held that position for 7 years.

After obtaining her Master's degree in Landscape Architecture from LSU in 1989, Elizabeth was employed by Chenevert Soderberg Architects to participate in the development of the Horizon Plan, the Comprehensive Land Use and Transportation Plan for East Baton Rouge Parish.

Boo is a member of the Urban Land Institute, American Society of Landscape Architects, and the American Planning Association.

In addition to her professional responsibilities, Boo gives her time serving as a volunteer on many local boards and committees which provide for the betterment of the community:

  • Rotary Club of Baton Rouge (2nd woman to be President of this 89-year-old club)
  • BREADA (Main Street Market & Red Stick Farmers Market) Board of Directors (Treasurer)


Ms. Thomas was named the first recipient of the Jensen Holliday Volunteer of the Year by the Chamber of Greater Baton Rouge in 2004. She was also named Volunteer of the Year for 2003 by the YMCA, and was named Volunteer Activist for 2002. She was also named to the first Top 25 Women in Greater Baton Rouge by the Business Report in 1997.

In 2000, Ms. Thomas was recognized as an LSU Woman of Distinction. She received the 2001 Patron of Architecture Award by the Louisiana Architecture Foundation for a non-architect that has significantly exemplified leadership in design issues which enhance the quality of life and educate the public about the importance and influence of architecture.

Ms. Thomas is married to John A. Thomas, M. D. Their daughter, Julie, is a graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Design in Architecture. She and her husband, Simon Hess, live and work in Chicago, IL with their two daughters, Caroline Elizabeth and Isabella Buckner. Both of their sons graduated from Stanford University and both live in New York City. John is a financial analyst with Bank of America and Andrew is employed by Credit Suisse First Boston as a financial analyst.

Current Topic


     05/18 - News About the News

How can viewers distinguish between fact and fake news and is social media blurring the difference?
According to the 2018 Louisiana Survey, when it comes to trusting news organizations, more Louisiana residents put their faith in local media than national media outlets. Despite that trust, only 36 percent of the state’s news consumers say local news deals fairly with both sides.

So, why is there so much mistrust of the news media? What role has the downsizing of traditional media played in creating a gap in coverage and possibly, community trust? Where are consumers primarily getting their news? And, how can viewers distinguish between fact and fake news and is social media blurring the difference? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers to these questions and more on “News about the News” airing Wednesday, May 23 at 7pm on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE. (Recording Tuesday, May 22)

Our panelists are:
• Len Apcar, Wendell Gray Switzer Jr. Endowed Chair in Media Literacy, LSU Manship School
• Jarvis DeBerry, Deputy Opinion Editor, New Orleans Times-Picayune
• Peter Kovacs, Editor, The Advocate
• Lance Porter, Director, LSU Social Media Analysis & Creation Lab

LPB CEO, Beth Courtney and journalist and political historian, Bob Mann moderate the discussion. The program features interviews with Michael Henderson, director of the LSU Public Policy Research Lab; Ray Pingree, Associate Professor wth the LSU Manship School of Communication; John DeSantis, Senior Staff Writer for The Houma Times and Judi Terzotis, president of The Advocate.

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.
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Special Presentation


     05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?
 

Recent Topics


     04/18 - Balancing Eldercare

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

     03/18 - Making Schools Safe

Where does Louisiana stand in this national discussion?

     02/18 - Drawing the Line: Sexual Harassment in Louisiana

How widespread is the problem in our state? Take the survey!

     01/18 - Early Education Matters

Should early childhood education be a priority?
»»» View all Topics!
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