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Tuesday, August 21, 2018
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Louisiana Public Square
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Panelist Bio


State Rep. Hollis H. Downs
R-Ruston, House Education Committee

Representative Hollis H. Downs was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives in 2003 and currently serves on the Education, Retirement, and Transportation committees. He is Business Development Manager at Hunt Guillot and Associates LLC, headquartered in Ruston. After attending schools in Farmerville, his birthplace, he received his B.S. degree from Louisiana Tech University in 1968.

Mr. Downs has served on numerous board memberships for many years, including the Louisiana Tech Foundation Board, Habitat for Humanity, Boy Scouts of America, Dixie Center for the Arts, and the Louisiana Methodist Children's Home.

He is married to Cathy Honig Downs. They have two daughters, Chanon Downs Whitman and Holly Downs Carney, and five grandchildren.

Mr. Downs is a member of Trinity United Methodist Church in Ruston, where he is Chairman of the Administrative Council and is active in national and international mission work.

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?

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