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Tuesday, August 21, 2018
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Louisiana Public Square
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Panelist Bio


Raymond A. Jetson
former representative and community advocate

Raymond A. Jetson is President and CEO of MetroMorphosis, a nonprofit formed to accelerate and expand on the efforts he started after completing a year-long fellowship on advanced leadership towards social impact at Harvard University. The mission of MetroMorphosis is to develop and mobilize a critical mass of engaged citizens in inner city neighborhoods to design and implement sustainable solutions to persistent community challenges. The vision of MetroMorphosis is to re-invent the inner city by strategically convening and catalyzing both community leaders and residents - who have never seen themselves as leaders before – and lead to the design of new approaches, strengthen social networks and move communities forward to implement lasting change.

Raymond is also the pastor of the Star Hill church in Baton Rouge, La. This progressive congregation of more than 1,500 members is continually recognized for its impact on the local community. As pastor, Jetson has challenged the group to become “spiritual entrepreneurs” in order to develop innovative approaches to community needs. One of the hallmarks of the church is its intentional strategy of mobilizing and deploying the human and other resources of the congregation to address critical issues impacting the community.

He has a breadth of experience in the public sector and human services arena. From April 2006 through December 2009, Raymond served as CEO for the Louisiana Family Recovery Corps in the coordination of local, state and national efforts to connect people and families with the resources needed to return, recover and resume their lives after surviving disastrous situations. Prior to joining the Recovery Corps, Jetson was the deputy secretary for the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH). In this capacity, he provided leadership for the state’s largest agency. Raymond served as the state Representative for District 61 in the Louisiana House of representatives for more than 15 years.

His many years of public service and experience have made Raymond a resource for major media outlets across the country. Jetson has served as a source for USA TODAY, The New York Times, NBC Nightly News, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Jetson earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the New Orleans Theological Seminary. He and his wife Tammy are the proud parents of J'Erica Nicole and Jeremy Louis.

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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How is Louisiana addressing its suicide problem?

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