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Panelist Bio


Sen. Karen Carter Peterson
(D)- New Orleans

Senator Karen Carter Peterson represents New Orleans and parts of Jefferson Parish in the Louisiana State Senate. She is currently Chair of the Louisiana Women’s Caucus and Senate Select Committee on Women and Children. She also serves on the Senate Judiciary B, Insurance and Local and Municipal Committees. In 2012, she assumed the Chair position of the Louisiana Democratic Party, the first woman in Louisiana history to do so.

Over the 11 year of service, Sen. Peterson has been also recognized by many organizations and publications for her work, including being awarded the Legislator of the Year Award by the Alliance for Good Government in 2000 and 2004. Sen. Peterson has also been honored with the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and the Institute of Politics at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government's New Frontier Award and the Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellowship in Public Service. In recent years, she is been recognized as one of New Orleans City Business Women of the Year. In 2011, the NewDEAL recognized Senator Peterson as an emerging pro-growth progressive leader. She was also presented with the Louisiana Association of Justice Public Service Award in 2011. She also serves as a commissioner on the Louisiana Bicentennial Commission.

During her time in the Louisiana House of Representatives, Sen. Peterson established herself as a powerful, worthy asset to the legislature, serving on the House Appropriations Committee, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, the House Governmental Affairs Committee, and most recently, she served as House Speaker Pro Tempore. During her service in the House, she was also the first woman to chair the House Insurance Committee.

Sen. Peterson is a 1991 graduate of Howard University School of Business, where she received a degree in International Business and Marketing, and of Tulane University Law School, where she was afforded the opportunity to attend both Boston College Law School and the University of Virginia's Law School as a visiting student.

Sen. Peterson has many present and past professional and civic activities on her resume. She has been a board member and volunteer for a wide variety of organizations. Beginning at the age of 18 through the year 2008, she served as a delegate to Democratic National Conventions. She and her husband Dana are members of Blessed Trinity Catholic Church and live in downtown New Orleans.

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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