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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


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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Friday, September 30, 2016
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