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Saturday, September 24, 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


09/16 - Pass or Fail? Louisiana’s Education System

How well is the state’s public school system really performing?

One national survey ranks Louisiana as 49th for academic achievement of public school students. Another national report ranks the state dead last. So, how well is the state’s public school system really performing? Where is there room for improvement? What will the new federal “Every Student Succeeds Act” mean for education in Louisiana? And how have the historic summer floods changed things? Louisiana Public Square explores these issues and more on “Pass or Fail? Louisiana’s Education System” Wednesday, September 28 at 7 p.m. on LPB HD and in New Orleans on WLAE.

The panelists are
• Superintendent Michael Faulk, Central Community School System
• James D. Garvey, Jr. , BESE Board President
• Scott Richard, Executive Director, Louisiana School Boards Association
• Rep. Patricia Haynes Smith, D- Baton Rouge; House Education Committee

LPB CEO Beth Courtney and LSU Manship School of Mass Communication professor Robert Mann host the show. The program features interviews with Louisiana Education State Superintendent John White; Debbie Meaux, President of the Louisiana Association of Educators; Brigitte Nieland with the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and Caddo Parish School Superintendent Dr. Theodis Lamar Goree.

“Pass or Fail? Louisiana’s Education System” 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.

Learn More!

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Special Presentation


05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

Coming Soon!


10/16 - Election 2016

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

Recent Topics


08/16 - Louisiana Post-Katrina: A Decade of Difference (encore)

What difference has a decade made?


07/16 - Regular and Extraordinary: Legislative Review

Who are the winners and losers in Louisiana’s budget battle?


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

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


05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

»»» View all Topics!
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Saturday, September 24, 2016
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