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Tuesday, August 21, 2018
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Louisiana Public Square
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Panelist Bio


Dave Dixon
Father of the Louisiana Superdome

Known as the “Father of the Superdome,” Dave Dixon, Tulane University alumnus and civic activist, first envisioned an enclosed multipurpose mega-arena in New Orleans. A local businessman, philanthropist and visionary, Dixon persevered against seemingly insurmountable odds, overcoming political and legal obstacles to see the fulfillment of his dream.

Dixon traveled the state in the early 60’s, seeking any forum and speaking to all who would listen, drumming up public support for the Superdome. Among his converts: Gov. John McKeithen and key members of the Louisiana legilature.

To prove the city was ready for an NFL expansion team, Dixon promoted two NFL exhibition games at Tulane Stadium.  On Nov. 1, 1966 (All Saints Day), the NFL announced an expansion franchise for New Orleans, contingent on a new stadium.

Construction began in 1971 and was completed in 1975. The Superdome has hosted many major events -not all of them sports-related: six Super Bowls, four Final Fours, a presidential nomination (George Bush, 1988 Republican National Convention), a Papal visit (Pope John Paul II in 1987), and a world-record concert crowd (87,500 for the Rolling Stones in 1981).

Dixon was the founder of the United States Football League and World Team Tennis. Now one of the nation’s largest antique and art dealers, he has received numerous awards for his contributions to the community, including the Times-Picayune Loving Cup in 1990 and the national Freedom Foundation Award in 1991. He was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 1999.

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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