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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


05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

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!


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?

Recent Topics


04/16 - Opiates & the Bayou State

How is Louisiana tackling this serious addiction epidemic?


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

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


02/16 - Effects of Expansion: Medicaid in Louisiana

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


01/16 - Police POV: Body Cameras in Louisiana

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

»»» View all Topics!
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