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Thursday, August 25, 2016
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Panelist Bio


Sara Bongiorni
Author of A Year Without 'Made in China'

Sara Bongiorni, author of A Year Without 'Made in China': One Family's True Life Adventure in the Global Economy, was born and raised in San Diego County, where she attended Helix High School and the University of California, San Diego.

After graduating from UCSD, she spent several years working in book publishing before returning to school to pursue a master's degree in journalism from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Since subsequently worked as a business writer at regional newspapers and publications, first in California and later in Louisiana, where she moved in the late '90s.

As a reporter, one of Sara's areas of special interest was international trade and its impact on local economies. She won several local, state and national awards for her stories, including a 2002 "Best in Business" award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers for a series on the impact of out-migration on the Louisiana economy.

Sara has been a freelance writer since 2005, during which time she has published essays in The Christian Science Monitor, The Shanghai Daily News and other publications.

A Year Without 'Made in China' is Sara's first book. It is a vivid, personal account of a yearlong experiment that began on January 1, 2005, when Sara and her family resolved to forgo goods imported from China for one year.

Like most consumers, the Bongiornis knew China needed consumers like them to fuel its vast economy. The boycott of Chinese merchandise would help the family answer a different question: did they need China, too?

China's deep reach into this middle-class family's life is revealed through the difficulties the Bongiornis face in trying to live without Chinese imports. For the author, life without Chinese goods means a daily string of frustrations and the need for dogged creativity to overcome them. The book describes her struggle to keep her rebellious husband in line, a face-off with her young son over Chinese-made toys and her attempt to build her own mousetrap when she discovers the one she wants is made only in China.

Sara's insights as a former reporter also come into play in the book. When Wal-Mart downplays its reliance on Chinese products in a national magazine, Sara sets out for the nearest Super Wal-Mart to inspect its shelves to catch the retailer in a fib.

The book's epilogue tells readers what happened after the boycott officially ended on December 31, 2005.

Current Topic


08/16 - Louisiana Post-Katrina: A Decade of Difference (encore)

What difference has a decade made?

Due to severe flooding in Baton Rouge and the surrounding communities, the recording of “Black & The Blue,” which was to be the August episode of Louisiana Public Square, was cancelled. Instead we will be broadcasting an encore presentation of “Louisiana Post-Katrina: A Decade of Difference.” More information, including broadcast dates and times, is below.

“Louisiana Post-Katrina: A Decade of Difference”
Eleven years ago, Hurricane Katrina swept through Southeast Louisiana, triggering what would become the nation’s costliest disaster. Less than a month later, Hurricane Rita inundated Southwest Louisiana forever altering the landscape. The storms uprooted residents, while the rest of Louisiana and its neighboring states welcomed them with open arms.
What affect did the storms have on economic development along the I-10 corridor? Just over a decade later, how have public services changed? How prepared is Louisiana to handle hurricane evacuees? And how did the hurricanes change the demographics of the state?
This month Louisiana Public Square takes a look at where the state is now on an encore presentation of “Louisiana Post-Katrina: A Decade of Difference” airing Wednesday, August 17 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, August 21 at 11 a.m. on LPB HD.

The panelists are:
· Andy Kopplin, Office of New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu
· Paul Rainwater, Rainwater Consulting, LLC
· Stephanie Riegel, Greater Baton Rouge Business Report
· Nihal Shrinath, The Data Center

The program includes interviews with Jason El Koubi, One Acadiana; Chris Guilbeaux, Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP); Kathy Kliebert, Secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals; Allison Plyer, Executive Director of the Data Center; John White, State Superintendent of Education; and Christopher Bohnstengel and “Byrdie” Lane, owners of Byrdie’s Gallery and Café in New Orleans.

LPB CEO, Beth Courtney, and Kim Hunter Reed,Ph.D., who served in the Blanco administration during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, moderate the discussion.
“Louisiana Post-Katrina: A Decade of Difference” will also air in New Orleans, on WLAE. It 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.

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