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Panelist Bio


Karen Gautreaux
The Nature Conservancy, Louisiana Chapter

Karen Gautreaux is the Director of Government Relations for The Nature Conservancy’s Louisiana Office, where she works with local, state, federal, and other NGO partners on issues important to conservation in the state and Gulf region, with restoration of Louisiana’s coast being one of the biggest of those issues.

Karen Gautreaux began her public service career in 1989 in the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality's (DEQ) Office of Policy and Planning. She joined former Governor Buddy Roemer's Office of Environmental Affairs later that year and continued to work on natural resource and environmental policy issues through February 2004.

Her responsibilities included heading the Governor's Office of Coastal Activities where she played an active role in developing the state's current groundwater management policy while serving as chair of the Governor's Water Policy Advisory Task Force, the Ground Water Management Commission and the Groundwater Management Task Force.

She returned to DEQ in February 2004 after Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco appointed her as Deputy Secretary of that agency. As Deputy Secretary, she continued to work on issues including coastal restoration, air quality, water resources, environmental justice and environmental education. She was also appointed President of the Association of State and Interstate Water Pollution Control Administrators (ASIWPCA).

She also serves on the board of America’s WETLAND Foundation.

Current Topic


02/16 - Effects of Expansion: Medicaid in Louisiana

How will the lives of those who now have access to health care change?

Special Presentation


12/15 - Election 2015: An Analysis

What strategies did each of the major candidates use during the Governor's race?

Special Presentation


Breaking Away:  A Louisiana Public Square Special Presentation

Would the breakaway City of St. George quash Baton Rouge’s school desegregation progress?

Coming Soon!


03/16 - Justice on Hold: Louisiana’s Public Defender Shortage

How serious of a problem is the shortage of public defenders in Louisiana?

Recent Topics


01/16 - Police POV: Body Cameras in Louisiana

What happens when police and the people they arrest have different versions of their encounters?


11/15 - Living Below the Line

What is living in poverty like?


10/15 - Funding the Future: Early Childhood Opportunities

How can improving early childhood programs improve the state’s educational outcomes, workforce, and economics?


09/15 - Agenda Louisiana

What issues will candidates face and where do they stand?

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