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Tuesday, August 21, 2018
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Louisiana Public Square
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Panelist Bio


Katherine Martin
Executive Director, O'Brien House

Katherine Martin has been the Executive Director of O’Brien House since 1995. O'Brien House was established in 1971 to serve adult recovering alcoholics and drug addicts. This halfway house is named after Paul S. "Pat" O'Brien, who spent 53 years of his life working with alcoholics and educating the public about the disease of alcoholism. Her expertise includes such positions as Development Director, CEO and Consultant for non-profit organizations in Louisiana, parts of Mississippi and Tennessee. Ms. Martin’s experience includes the administration of substance abuse facilities, public relations and professional fund-raising with a broad background in development management for non-profit organizations, communication, program management, leadership and community support. She is the former Chair of the Capital Area Alliance for the Homeless and Regional Director of the Association of Halfway House Alcoholism Programs of North America, Inc. In 2006 she received the John W. Barton Sr. Excellence in Non-profit Management Award through the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. During her tenure at O’Brien House, the agency has achieved the LANO Standards of Excellence and has expanded its physical facilities to serve 110 individuals. Recently Ms. Martin was named one of Baton Rouge Business Report's 2010 Influential Women in Business.

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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