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Panelist Bio


Diana E. Bajoie
Senator (D), District 5 Louisiana

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."

Current Topic


     02/17 - Black & the Blue

What can be done to improve trust among the police and the public they serve?
Last year’s shooting of an African-American male in Baton Rouge by two white police officers re-ignited a national debate on how law enforcement interacts with minority communities. Nationwide demonstrations were ultimately marred by the targeted ambush of 12 white officers in Dallas and the killing of three members of law enforcement in Baton Rouge. What can be done to improve trust among the police and the public they serve? How can Louisiana’s Capital City productively move beyond these events? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers on a special town hall edition, “Black & the Blue” Wednesday, February 22 at 7pm; Sunday, February 26 at 1pm and Tuesday, February 28 at 10pm after the State of the Union address on LPB HD. In New Orleans on WLAE, Wednesday, February 22 at 7 PM. (Recorded Monday, February 20)

Our panelists will be:
• Fr. Rick Andrus, St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, Together BR
• Darrell Basco, state president of Fraternal Order of Police
• Sharon Weston Broome, Mayor-President of Baton Rouge
• Rep. Ted James, D-Baton Rouge; Public Safety Task Force
• Stephanie Riegel; Greater Baton Rouge Business Report

LPB CEO Beth Courtney and Reverend Raymond Jetson, pastor of Star Hill Church host the program. Robyn Merrick with the Southern University System and Bob Mann with LSU’s Manship School will moderate the discussion.
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Special Presentation


     05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

Coming Soon!


     03/17 - Fiscal Reform 2017

Is it time to reform Louisiana’s tax code?

Recent Topics


     01/17 - Healthy New Year!

What is the best approach to shedding pounds in a state where cuisine is part of its culture?

     12/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home (Encore Presentation)

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

     11/16- Beyond the Flood

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

     10/16 - Election 2016

What concerns are on citizens’ minds as they go to the polls this fall?
»»» View all Topics!
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Saturday, February 25, 2017
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