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Panelist Bio


Mark Smith
Legislative / Congressional Liaison

Mark Smith brings over 10 years of public sector expertise to the Department of Economic Development. Mark previously held the positions of General Counsel, Deputy Secretary and Assistant Secretary of the former Office of Film and Video for the department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. In addition to his extensive work within the Department of Economic Development, Mark has also served as General Counsel for Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu.

As Director of the state film office and later as the Entertainment Industry Director, Mark's vision was to treat the emerging entertainment industry as just that -a business with tremendous growth potential. In practice, Mark considers himself more like an entrepreneur than a public employee.

Since 1997, Mark has changed the direction of the film office in order to pay greater attention to the *business* side of the film industry. Mark based this strategic change on the following:



Louisiana has experienced an unprecedented increase in production activity since the inception of the Motion Picture Incentive Act of 2002. Some of the films that have been enticed by the incentive program include: Ray (formerly titled Unchain My Heart: The Ray Charles Story), Disney's Mr. 3000 starring Bernie Mac, Fox's Because of Winn Dixie, Skeleton Key featuring Kate Hudson, A Love Song for Bobby Long with John Travolta, and Disney's Glory Road.

Not only has there been an increase in feature productions, but several movies of the week have chosen Louisiana because of its incentive program. These tele-films include Infidelity (Lifetime), Stuck in the Suburbs and Pop Rocks (Disney TV), and a Growing Pains Reunion, as well as two television pilots, Nikki & Nora (UPN) and Dean Koontzs Frankenstein (USA Networks). Other television projects filming in Louisiana in 2004 include Brooke Ellison, Dead Will Tell and Miracle Run and Thief.

The following activities have occurred or are in the process of occurring during Mark's tenure in Louisiana Economic Development :


As Entertainment Director, Mark spearheaded the drive to incentivize other areas of the entertainment industry, specifically sound recording and digital media. Through his tireless efforts, there are now programs in effect in Louisiana to further enhance the state's position in the entertainment industry.

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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