Louisiana State Senator Diana Bajoie (D-New Orleans) is definitely one for the history books. In 1976, when she began her public service in the Louisiana House of Representatives, she was the only woman serving in that body. In 1991, she was the first African-American woman ever elected to the Louisiana Senate. In 2004, when she took the oath as Senate President Pro Tempore, she was the first woman ever elected to the leadership post in the Louisiana Senate.
Bajoie is not just a public servant in title - she is a public servant in spirit, heart and deeds. Her colleagues describe her as one who fights for communities, families and Louisiana with tireless compassion.
The senator nurtured her early interest in community service by attending Southern University and A & M College in Baton Rouge, earning a bachelor's degree in political science.
As a state legislator, Bajoie has led the way to create school-based health clinics, form the Minority Health Care Commission and increase health care coverage for citizens with mental health disorders.
Bajoie has also insisted that the legislature and state properly recognize the contributions of African Americans to New Orleans, Louisiana and the nation. Her efforts resulted in the creation of the Louisiana State Museum on Civil Rights and the expansion and renaming of the New Orleans Convention Center in honor of the city's first African-American mayor, Ernest N. Morial.
Currently, she is helping to develop plans to rebuild and renew Louisiana after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita - two of the worst natural disasters to ever befall the United States.
The senator is a founder and former chair of the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus and the Louisiana Legislative Women's Caucus. She also serves as president of the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women, a national legislative women's organization which encourages and supports women in public and community service.
Bajoie, who is pursuing a master's degree in health administration and works as a political and marketing consultant, has words of wisdom for today's youth. "Be civic-minded and keep the community's needs at the center of everything you do."
What difference has a decade made?
Due to severe flooding in Baton Rouge and the surrounding communities, the recording of “Black & The Blue,” which was to be the August episode of Louisiana Public Square, was cancelled. Instead we will be broadcasting an encore presentation of “Louisiana Post-Katrina: A Decade of Difference.” More information, including broadcast dates and times, is below.
“Louisiana Post-Katrina: A Decade of Difference”
Eleven years ago, Hurricane Katrina swept through Southeast Louisiana, triggering what would become the nation’s costliest disaster. Less than a month later, Hurricane Rita inundated Southwest Louisiana forever altering the landscape. The storms uprooted residents, while the rest of Louisiana and its neighboring states welcomed them with open arms.
What affect did the storms have on economic development along the I-10 corridor? Just over a decade later, how have public services changed? How prepared is Louisiana to handle hurricane evacuees? And how did the hurricanes change the demographics of the state?
This month Louisiana Public Square takes a look at where the state is now on an encore presentation of “Louisiana Post-Katrina: A Decade of Difference” airing Wednesday, August 17 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, August 21 at 11 a.m. on LPB HD.
The panelists are:
· Andy Kopplin, Office of New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu
· Paul Rainwater, Rainwater Consulting, LLC
· Stephanie Riegel, Greater Baton Rouge Business Report
· Nihal Shrinath, The Data Center
The program includes interviews with Jason El Koubi, One Acadiana; Chris Guilbeaux, Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP); Kathy Kliebert, Secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals; Allison Plyer, Executive Director of the Data Center; John White, State Superintendent of Education; and Christopher Bohnstengel and “Byrdie” Lane, owners of Byrdie’s Gallery and Café in New Orleans.
LPB CEO, Beth Courtney, and Kim Hunter Reed,Ph.D., who served in the Blanco administration during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, moderate the discussion.
“Louisiana Post-Katrina: A Decade of Difference” will also air in New Orleans, on WLAE. It 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.
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