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Tavis Smiley Hosts National Broadcast Panel with the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation

Loyola press release - August 10, 2006

New Orleans, LA – The Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation, Louisiana's Fund for Louisiana's People, today sponsored a special town hall conversation with popular television and radio personality Tavis Smiley and a panel of prominent community leaders. The event, taped before a live audience, discussed Katrina, One Year Later: Remembrance. Recognition. Recovery.

"It is important that we as a nation not forget those of us who are still suffering," said Ambassador James Joseph, chairman of the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation. "Louisiana's recovery will take many years and we are thankful to Tavis Smiley and others who are helping the nation remember what this region has gone through, recognize the challenges ahead, honor the people working in the trenches, and communicate that our recovery is a work in progress."

The town hall conversation included a panel of seven guests, all of whom play a vital role in Louisiana's recovery. The panel included:

• Angela Glover Blackwell – Founder and CEO of PolicyLink, a national non-profit advocacy organization that has been active in the rebuilding efforts of the Gulf Coast; and author of “Searching for the Uncommon Common Ground: New Dimensions on Race in America;
• Dr. Norman C. Francis – President of Xavier University in New Orleans; and Chairman of the Louisiana Recovery Authority Board of Directors;
• Jed Horne – Pulitzer Prize winning Journalist for the Times Picayune and author of “Breach of Faith: Hurricane Katrina and the Near Death of a Great American City”;
• Ambassador James Joseph - Chairman of the Board of the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation, founder of the United States - Southern Africa Center for Leadership and Public Values at Duke University; and the former U.S. Ambassador to South Africa;
• Representative Charmaine Marchand - Louisiana State Representative for the 99th district which encompasses the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans;
• Royce Osborn – New Orleans-based film producer who is working on a documentary about post-Katrina New Orleans. Mr. Osborn has produced a documentary on Mardi Gras that has been aired on PBS;
• Warren Riley – Police Superintendent for the City of New Orleans.

Today’s two-hour town hall meeting tapings will air on radio, television, and podcasted on the week of Katrina’s anniversary: two half-hour television programs will air on Tavis Smiley’s PBS regularly scheduled programs on two consecutive days. There will also be a two-hour radio special on Public Radio International, the 700-station network that carries his radio program. Tavis Smiley served as host and moderator and audience members posed additional questions to the panelists.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation, Sherece West, said she hopes the nation will tune in great numbers for all these special broadcasts. “As the anniversaries of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita near, it is important to reflect on the progress we’ve made in Louisiana and acknowledge the resiliency of the people of this great state. The panelists and participants clearly demonstrated today that we are becoming increasingly united in the necessary next steps – to build a better Louisiana, where all voices are heard, and in a way that’s equitable for all.”

To date, the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation has awarded more than $8.7 million in grants aimed at providing support to individuals in need in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The foundation supports long-term family restoration and recovery and provides resources to residents in need through a network of Louisiana charities and non-profit agencies.

To donate to the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation (LDRF), Louisiana's fund for Louisiana's people, please visit www.louisianahelp.org or call 225.383.1672.