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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.

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05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

Special Presentation


12/15 - Election 2015: An Analysis

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06/16 - Symbol or Statement? History in Public Spaces (encore)

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