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Tuesday, October 25, 2016
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Panelist Bio

Boo Thomas
President and CEO, Center for Planning Excellence

Elizabeth "Boo" Thomas is the President and CEO of the Center for Planning Excellence. The Center's premiere program is Plan Baton Rouge, a plan to redevelop downtown into a viable center for all citizens to experience: to work, to play, and to live. Another Program is the Neighborhood and Economic Revitalization Strategy for Old South Baton Rouge.

Ms. Thomas was the first Executive Director of Mid City Redevelopment Alliance, a non profit agency that acts as the catalyst for the revitalization and redevelopment of neighborhoods surrounding the Baton Rouge General Medical Center. She held that position for 7 years.

After obtaining her Master's degree in Landscape Architecture from LSU in 1989, Elizabeth was employed by Chenevert Soderberg Architects to participate in the development of the Horizon Plan, the Comprehensive Land Use and Transportation Plan for East Baton Rouge Parish.

Boo is a member of the Urban Land Institute, American Society of Landscape Architects, and the American Planning Association.

In addition to her professional responsibilities, Boo gives her time serving as a volunteer on many local boards and committees which provide for the betterment of the community:

Ms. Thomas was named the first recipient of the Jensen Holliday Volunteer of the Year by the Chamber of Greater Baton Rouge in 2004. She was also named Volunteer of the Year for 2003 by the YMCA, and was named Volunteer Activist for 2002. She was also named to the first Top 25 Women in Greater Baton Rouge by the Business Report in 1997.

In 2000, Ms. Thomas was recognized as an LSU Woman of Distinction. She received the 2001 Patron of Architecture Award by the Louisiana Architecture Foundation for a non-architect that has significantly exemplified leadership in design issues which enhance the quality of life and educate the public about the importance and influence of architecture.

Ms. Thomas is married to John A. Thomas, M. D. Their daughter, Julie, is a graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Design in Architecture. She and her husband, Simon Hess, live and work in Chicago, IL with their two daughters, Caroline Elizabeth and Isabella Buckner. Both of their sons graduated from Stanford University and both live in New York City. John is a financial analyst with Bank of America and Andrew is employed by Credit Suisse First Boston as a financial analyst.

Current Topic

10/16 - Election 2016

What concerns are on citizens’ minds as they go to the polls this fall?

The presidential election may be getting all of the attention, but Louisiana residents will be making several important decisions at the ballot box in November. The U.S. Senate seat left up for grabs by retiring Sen. David Vitter has drawn a field of 24 candidates. Louisianians in the south- and northwest parts of the state will also be voting on congressmen. So, what national concerns are on citizens’ minds as they go to the polls this fall? What statewide issues should be on the mind of Louisiana’s next Congressional leaders? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers on “Election 2016” Wednesday, October 26 at 7p.m. (Taping Tuesday, October 25)

Our Panelists:

• Elizabeth Crisp / The Advocate
• Greg Hilburn / Gannett Newspapers
• Martin Johnson, Ph.D. / LSU Manship School of Mass Communication
• Albert Samuels, Ph.D. / Mandela School of Public Policy, Southern University

• Patricia Smith / Guest Moderator / College of Government and Social Sciences, Southern University

Learn More!

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What lessons did residents and state officials learn from this historic event and what challenges remain?

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Is the display of Civil War statues in public justified or do they belong only in museums?

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