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Sunday, August 19, 2018
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Panelist Bio


Rep. Walt Leger, III
D-New Orleans, House Speaker Pro Tempore

Walter “Walt” J. Leger III was elected by acclimation in 2012 to serve as the Speaker Pro Tempore of the Louisiana House of Representatives, the youngest member to ever serve in this second highest post. He was first elected to the Legislature representing District 91 in the Louisiana House in the fall of 2007, and re-elected without opposition in 2011 and in 2015 to represent parts of Uptown, Central City, the Lower Garden District, the Irish Channel, Broadmoor, Marleyville and Hollygrove in New Orleans. Leger is an attorney at the law firm of Leger & Shaw in New Orleans where he practices in Admiralty & Maritime law and commercial, insurance, and complex civil litigation. After graduating from Louisiana State University with numerous honors, Leger attended Tulane Law School, earning a certificate of specialization in Admiralty & Maritime Law. At Tulane, Leger served as the Business Editor of the Tulane Maritime Law Journal, and the Editor-in-Chief of the Tulane Environmental Law Newsletter. After law school, Leger served as an Assistant District Attorney in New Orleans, specializing in the felony prosecution of violent offenders and narcotics traffickers.

In the Legislature, Leger serves on the Louisiana Bond Commission, the powerful Appropriations Committee, and the Joint Legislative Committee on the budget, as well as the Education Committee. He also serves ex-officio on all standing committees, and has previously served as a member of the Criminal Justice Committee, the Judiciary Committee, the House Executive Committee, the Juvenile Justice Implementation Commission, the House Committee on Homeland Security, and the Technology Sub-Committee of the House Executive Committee. Leger also chairs the Juvenile Justice Implementation Commission, as well as the Louisiana State Witness Protection Services Board. In October 2012, Leger was elected to the Chairmanship of the Southern Rail Commission formerly known as the Southern High Speed Rail Commission, which is made up of representatives of the States of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Leger continues to focus on strategic infrastructure investments particularly for our Ports and rail facilities, making our State a safer, smarter and more sustainable place to live, and ensuring economic and educational opportunities for people of all ages. Leger currently resides in New Orleans with his wife Danielle Doiron Leger.

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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