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Panelist Bio

Martha J. Kegel
Executive Director of UNITY of Greater New Orleans

Martha J. Kegel is an attorney and Executive Director of UNITY of Greater New Orleans, an award-winning collaborative of 60 agencies providing housing and services to end and prevent homelessness in New Orleans and Jefferson Parish, Louisiana.

Since Katrina, UNITY has worked to rebuild its member organizations and homeless housing, launched a landmark initiative to create 3000 new units of Permanent Supportive Housing as part of the state hurricane recovery programs, partnered with Common Ground Community to develop supportive housing for the chronically homeless, and developed http://www.unityhousinglink.org to assist New Orleanians in finding affordable housing despite widespread destruction of rental units.

Ms. Kegel is an adjunct professor at Loyola University School of Law and has taught disability law at Tulane University’s School of Social Work. She was the 2002 recipient of the Louisiana State Bar Association’s Career Public Interest Award.

Ms. Kegel holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Drake University and a juris doctorate degree from Stanford Law School, where she was an editor of the Stanford Law Review. She clerked for the Hon. Henry A. Politz, the late Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Ms. Kegel is a past recipient of a Skadden Fellowship from the law firm of Skadden, Arps, for legal assistance to the poor.

She formerly directed the Homeless Legal Advocacy Project at Southeast Louisiana Legal Services/New Orleans Legal Assistance, where she focused on disability, employment, and civil rights law.

She was Executive Director and Staff Counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, and served as Associate Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. Ms. Kegel formerly was a reporter and editorial writer.

Current Topic

10/16 - Election 2016

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

The presidential election may be getting all of the attention, but Louisiana residents will be making several important decisions at the ballot box in November. The U.S. Senate seat left up for grabs by retiring Sen. David Vitter has drawn a field of 24 candidates. Louisianians in the south- and northwest parts of the state will also be voting on congressmen. So, what national concerns are on citizens’ minds as they go to the polls this fall? What statewide issues should be on the mind of Louisiana’s next Congressional leaders? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers on “Election 2016” Wednesday, October 26 at 7p.m. (Taping Tuesday, October 25)

Our Panelists:

• Elizabeth Crisp / The Advocate
• Greg Hilburn / Gannett Newspapers
• Martin Johnson, Ph.D. / LSU Manship School of Mass Communication
• Albert Samuels, Ph.D. / Mandela School of Public Policy, Southern University

• Guest Host: Patricia Smith / Assistant to Dean of Political Science Dept., Southern University

Learn More!

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Special Presentation

05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

Coming Soon!

11/16- Beyond the Flood

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

Recent Topics

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

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

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?

»»» View all Topics!
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