Meet Our Authors

The three-day event will showcase nearly 100 national, regional and local authors, feature children and family resources, and include exciting literary programming. 

Elliot Ackerman

Elliot Ackerman is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels 2034, Red Dress In Black and White, Waiting for Eden, Dark at the Crossing, and Green on Blue, as well as the memoirs The Fifth Act: America’s End in Afghanistan and Places and Names: On War, Revolution and Returning. His books have been nominated for the National Book Award, the Andrew Carnegie Medal in both fiction and nonfiction, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize among others. He is both a former White House Fellow and Marine, and served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for Valor, and the Purple Heart. He divides his time between New York City and Washington, D.C.

Elizabeth Alexander

Elizabeth Alexander is a prize-winning and New York Times bestselling author, renowned poet, educator, scholar, and cultural advocate. Among the fifteen books she has authored or co-authored, her memoir, The Light of the World, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Biography and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2015 and her poetry collection American Sublime was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry in 2006. Her most recent book, The Trayvon Generation, was released in April 2022. Notably, Dr. Alexander composed and recited “Praise Song for the Day” for President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration. Over the course of an esteemed career in education, she has held distinguished professorships at Smith College, Columbia University, and Yale University, where she taught for fifteen years and chaired the African American Studies Department. Dr. Alexander is currently president of the Mellon Foundation, the nation’s largest funder in the arts, culture, and humanities.

Jonathan Alter

Jonathan Alter is an award-winning author, political analyst, documentary filmmaker, columnist, television producer and radio host.

Alter’s most recent book is “His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, a Life.” (2020), which received uniformly favorable reviews. His earlier books include three New York Times bestsellers: “The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies” (2013), “The Promise: President Obama, Year One” (2010) and “The Defining Moment: FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope” (2006), also one of the Times’ “Notable Books” of the year.

A former senior editor and columnist at Newsweek, Alter is a longtime political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. He co-produced and co-directed the HBO documentary “Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists,” which won the 2020 Emmy for Outstanding Historical Documentary. In 2013-2014, he was an executive producer of “Alpha House,“ a comedy on Amazon.

Over the years, Alter has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Washington Monthly, the New Yorker, Bloomberg, the Daily Beast and other publications. In 2021, he launched a weekly Substack newsletter called “OLD GOATS, Ruminating with Friends,” which includes frequent columns and his conversations with accomplished people of wisdom and experience. Since 2016, he has hosted “Alter Family Politics“ each week on Sirius XM, 102 with his three adult children.

Shawn Amos

For Shawn Amos, it’s about the story. As a producer, songwriter, musician, author, and keeper of the American blues music flame, he’s made a name as both a teller of tales and an astute shaper of others’ stories.

He comes by the storytelling chops naturally. The only child of William Morris agent-turned-cookie entrepreneur, Wally “Famous” Amos, and singer Shirley “Shirl-ee May” Ellis, young Shawn spent hours in shadowy nightclubs, on the funky streets of 70s Hollywood, and in his own broken home, listening intently to people’s stories. He helped make his father’s cookie hustle real. In young adulthood, he jumped from screenwriting for A & M Films to the stage, crafting acclaimed Americana music that wrestled with race and identity. On the other side of the microphone, Shawn oversaw soul icon Solomon Burke’s last three albums, and produced seminal CD collections Q: The Musical Biography of Quincy Jones, and Grammy-nominated box set Rhapsodies in Black: Music and Words from the Harlem Renaissance, among others.

Since 2014, as the Reverend Shawn Amos, with harmonica in hand, Shawn has brought blues to audiences from LA to Amsterdam, delivering unbridled joy – both live, and through recordings. Blue Sky, the 2020 release by his band, The Reverend Shawn Amos & the Brotherhood, hit Number 6 on the Billboard Blues Album Chart, and scored four out of five stars from American Songwriter magazine.

For his 2022 debut novel, Cookies & Milk, Shawn delves into his past to concoct a wildly entertaining story about the strength of family, and the power of forgiveness – plus just the right amount of semisweet chocolate – to mend hearts. Shawn’s doppelganger, Ellis, embarks on hilarious and sometimes harrowing misadventures as he helps his dad open the world’s first chocolate chip cookie store in the multihued 70s landscape of music, ambition, and often-challenging elders.

Ken Auletta

Ken Auletta launched the Annals of Communications columns and profiles for The New Yorker magazine in 1992. He is the author of twelve books, including five national bestsellers: Three Blind Mice: How the TV Networks Lost Their Way; Greed And Glory On Wall Street: The Fall of The House of Lehman; The Highwaymen: Warriors of the Information Super Highway; World War 3.0: Microsoft and Its Enemies; and Googled, The End of the World As We Know It, which was published in November of 2009. His other books include:Backstory: Inside the Business of News; Media Man: Ted Turner’s Improbable Empire; The Streets Were Paved with Gold; and The Underclass. His twelfth book, Frenemies: The Epic Disruption of the Ad Business (And Everything Else), was published in June 2018.

Auletta was among the first to popularize the so-called information superhighway with his February, 1993, profile of Barry Diller's search for something new. He has profiled the leading figures and companies of the Information Age, including Google, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch, AOL Time Warner, John Malone, Harvey Weinstein, the New York Times, Sheryl Sandberg and Facebook; he has dissected media meteors that fell to earth like "push" technology and inter-active TV, probed media violence, the PAC giving of communication giants, the fat lecture fees earned by journalist/pundits, and explored what "synergy" may mean to journalism. His 2001 profile of Ted Turner won a National Magazine Award as the best profile of the year. He covered the Microsoft antitrust trial for the magazine. In ranking him as America's premier media critic, the Columbia Journalism Review concluded, "no other reporter has covered the new communications revolution as thoroughly as has Auletta." New York Magazine described him as the "media Boswell."

In another life, Auletta taught and trained Peace Corps volunteers; served as Special Assistant to the U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce; worked in Senator Robert F. Kennedy's 1968 campaign for the Presidency; was Executive Editor of the weekly Manhattan Tribune; was state Campaign Manager for Howard J. Samuels, helping him lose two races for Governor of New York; and was the first Executive Director of the New York City Off Track Betting Corporation.

Starting in 1974, he was the chief political correspondent for the New York Post, then staff writer and weekly columnist for the Village Voice and Contributing Editor of New York Magazine. He started writing for The New Yorker in 1977. Between 1977 and 1993, he wrote a weekly political column for the New York Daily News. He has hosted numerous public television programs and served as a political commentator for both WNBC-TV and WCBS-TV. He has written for numerous publications, written and narrated a 90-minute biography of Rupert Murdoch for PBS's Frontline, and has appeared regularly on Nightline, the News Hour with Jim Lerher, and the Charlie Rose Show. He was the guest editor of The Best Business Stories of The Year 2002, an annual volume published by Random House.

Of his bestselling Three Blind Mice: How The TV Networks Lost Their Way, Frank Stanton, who was President of CBS from 1946 to 1973, hailed it as "the best book ever written on network television." Before insider trading scandals burst into our consciousness, Auletta captured the ethos of Wall Street in the mid eighties with Greed And Glory On Wall Street, which drew a chorus of praise and was a national bestseller. The New York Times wrote, "A riveting chronicle of the lust for money, power and reputation. Invaluable." The Wall Street Journal called it: "A towering reportorial achievement." And long before the notion was in the air, Auletta's third book, The Underclass, inserted this phrase into our national language, triggering praise from the left and right. "Personal, vivid and irrefutable," wrote Michael Harrington in The New Republic. James Q. Wilson in New York Magazine wrote, "Sympathetic and yet dispassionate... splendid... a call for intellectual honesty and political courage." His World War 3.0, not only prompted a media storm because of the more than ten hours of interviews Auletta conducted with the Microsoft trial judge, but in a review it was also hailed by noted attorney Floyd Abrams this way: "I cannot recall a book written about a complex civil trial that describes it as completely and compellingly... a journalistic tour de force."

His eleventh book, Googled: The End of The World As We Know It, was published in November 2009 and quickly became a bestseller. In narrative fashion, it provides the fullest portrait yet of Google as a company, how it began and has grown into a behemoth. It seeks to probe the "secret sauce" for Googles success. And it shows how traditional media was late to awaken to Google and the multiple ways the digital revolution would disrupt their world, crowning a new King: the consumer.

His twelfth book, Frenemies: The Epic Disruption of the Ad Business (And Everything Else), was published in 2018. It described how advertising and marketing, with worldwide spending of up to $2 trillion, and without its subsidies most media, including Google and Facebook, would perish, was today a victim of disruption.

His thirteenth book, Hollywood Ending: Harvey Weinstein And The Culture of Silence, to be published in July 2022, is a biography of a Hollywood luminary who behaved like a monster while also birthing brilliant movies. Hollywood Ending seeks to uncover what made him a monster, how a culture of silence shielded his foul behavior, and the nature of his talent. Readers will be exposed to a surprising array of voices—including those of Harvey Weinstein, his brother Bob, and childhood friends who describe the atmosphere in the brothers’ Flushing, Queens home—and documents that demonstrate how Harvey Weinstein’s inability to control his raging impulses crippled his business.

Auletta has won numerous journalism honors. He has been chosen a Literary Lion by the New York Public Library, and one of the 20th Century's top 100 business journalists by a distinguished national panel of peers. Appearing before the Financial Writers Association of America in 1997, Wall Street Journal Managing Editor Paul Steiger turned to him and declared, "I really think that the kind of stuff you do for The New Yorker is terrific. I'd love to see more of that kind of stuff on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.... I think you set a standard."

For four decades Auletta has been a national judge of the Livingston Awards for journalists under thirty-five. He has been a Trustee and member of the Executive Committee of the Public Theatre/New York Shakespeare Festival. He was a member of the Columbia Journalism School Task Force assembled by incoming college President Lee Bollinger to help reshape the curriculum. He has served as a Pulitzer Prize juror and a Trustee of the Nightingale-Bamford School. He was twice a Trustee of PEN, the international writers organization. He is a member of the New York Public Library's Emergency Committee for the Research Libraries, of the Author's Guild, PEN, the Council on Foreign Relations, and of the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Auletta grew up on Coney Island in Brooklyn, where he attended public schools. He graduated with a B.S. from the State University College at Oswego, N.Y., and received an M.A. in political science from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. The State University of New York awarded him a Doctor of Letters in 1990, and in 1998, he gave an address at the inauguration of Deborah F. Stanley as President of Oswego State University. (You may read the text of that speech here.)
Ken and his wife, Amanda Urban, an agent, live in Manhattan. Their daughter, Kate, is an editor.

Dean Baquet

Dean Baquet leads a local investigative Times fellowship that will launch in the coming months. He served as executive editor of The New York Times from May 2014 until June 2022. Mr. Baquet served in the highest ranked position in The Times’s newsroom and oversaw The New York Times news report in all its various forms.

Before being named executive editor, Mr. Baquet was managing editor of The Times. He previously served as Washington bureau chief for the paper from March 2007 to September 2011. Mr. Baquet rejoined The Times after several years at the Los Angeles Times, where he was editor of the newspaper since 2005, after serving as managing editor since 2000.

Previously, Mr. Baquet had been National editor of The New York Times since July 1995, after having served as deputy Metro editor since May 1995.

Mr. Baquet joined The Times in April 1990 as a Metro reporter. In May 1992, he became special projects editor for the business desk, and in January 1994, he held the same title, but operated out of the executive editor’s office.

Before joining The Times, he reported for the Chicago Tribune from December 1984 to March 1990, and before that, for The Times-Picayune in New Orleans for nearly seven years.

While at the Chicago Tribune, Mr. Baquet served as associate Metro editor for investigations and was chief investigative reporter, covering corruption in politics and the garbage-hauling industry.

He was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting in March 1988 when he led a team of three in documenting corruption in the Chicago City Council, and was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in 1994 in the investigative reporting category. Mr. Baquet has also received numerous local and regional awards.

Mr. Baquet majored in English at Columbia University from 1974 to 1978.

Terry Baquet

Terry Baquet is a 28-year veteran of NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune and a lifelong New Orleanian. He served as Sunday Editor and was the Page 1 Editor during the paper’s Katrina coverage, which won two Pulitzer Prizes in breaking news and public service.

In 2012, Terry was named Managing editor/Director of Print, essentially overseeing all editorial decisions for the newspaper’s print edition and also supervising the layout and production for four other newspapers in the Advance Publications chain. He served as a two-time Pulitzer Prize judge and also ran The Times-Picayune’s community engagement efforts.

He has served on the boards of Lede New Orleans and Spaceship Media.

Terry is from an old New Orleans family that is deeply rooted in the city’s jazz and restaurant history. He graduated from Hampton Institute in Virginia, grew up in the 7th Ward and continues to live there today.

Alex Beard

American painter and author Alex Beard is best known for his elaborate wildlife compositions created in his signature style of gestural painting, which he has coined “Abstract Naturalism.”

Raised in a family that fostered philanthropy, creativity and exploration, Alex has traveled extensively around the world. The diverse cultures, colors, and climates of Africa, India, China, Australia and the Americas have profoundly influenced both his professional and artistic practice.

While earning his BA from Tufts University, he studied painting and drawing at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. In his early twenties Alex moved to New Orleans to continue his formal training at the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts.

Fueled by curiosity about the cultures and wildlife he had been exposed to in his early years, Alex has spent much of his life traveling to the some of the world’s most remote wildlife outposts - paintbrush in hand. His time in nature enables him to continually hone his style – creating complex compositions in which abstraction and figuration collide, while exploring themes of cultural and environmental interconnectivity.

Alex’s work figures prominently in several private and public collections and he has exhibited extensively throughout the United States, including solo exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Hong Kong.

An impassioned conservationist and philanthropist, in 2012 Alex established The Watering Hole Foundation – a public charity engaged in saving endangered wildlife and preserving their environments. His documentary, Drawing the Line, fused his artistic talent with his dedication to preservation, chronicling the plight of the endangered Wild African Elephant, as seen through the eyes of a conservationist artist.
Alex has authored and illustrated a critically acclaimed series of storybooks published by Abrams and Greenleaf. The series, Tales from the Watering Hole, includes The Jungle Grapevine (2008), Monkey See Monkey Draw (2009), Crocodile Tears (2010), and The Lying King (2018). In 2016 Glitterati Editions published Alex's monograph A Brush With Nature: Abstract Naturalism and the Painting of Life.
Alex’s studio in the heart of the New Orleans’ Magazine Street Shopping District. It is both the creative hub of his artistic practice and a successful enterprise. The studio is open to the public in a way that encourages and fosters interaction between the artist and his audience.

Alex lives in New Orleans with his wife, two children, two cats, a dog, many birds, and a mess of other critters at "The Pink Elephant" in the Garden District.

Thomas Beller

Thomas Beller's most recent book is Lost in the Game: A Book About Basketball. He is author of Seduction Theory: Stories, The Sleep-Over Artist: A Novel, How To Be a Man: Scenes from a Protracted Boyhood, and J.D. Salinger: The Escape Artist, which won the New York City Book Award for biography/memoir. His work has been reprinted in Best American Short Stories, The Art of the Essay, and numerous other anthologies; he has also edited four anthologies of essays. He was co-founder and editor of Open City Magazine and Books (1990-2010), and is founder and publisher of MrBellersNeighborhood.com. A longtime contributor to The New Yorker, he is an associate professor and director of creative writing at Tulane University.

Kevin Belton

The self-trained chef began cooking under the watchful eye of his mother and grandmother in the uptown New Orleans home where he grew up. From these talented home cooks Belton learned to prepare the venerable dishes of the city and in his new series he’ll share family recipes and personal tips for making seafood gumbo, pralines, shrimp remoulade, chicken Clemenceau and many other New Orleans specialties.

Teacher and Featured Louisiana Chef

Cooking instruction is second nature for Belton, who has spent almost 30 years teaching the foundation of Louisiana cooking to appreciative audiences. In addition to the almost 7,000 lessons he has led, Belton has also offered classes and cooking demonstrations throughout the U.S. and Canada. He has been a featured chef and guest on numerous food programs including Emeril Live; Ready Set Cook; Life, Love, and Lunch; Food Fighters; and Taste of America.

In 1999, he was co-host and chef on the BBC series Big Kevin, Little Kevin, which also featured British celebrity chef Kevin Woodford. The series, taped in the United Kingdom and the U.S., aired in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Asia. A companion cookbook co-authored by Belton, “Big Kevin, Little Kevin-Over 120 Recipes from around Britain and America by TV’s Odd Couple,” was published by Ebury Press.

Author and TV Personality

In 2014, he became the resident chef for the CBS affiliate WWL’s morning show. He is also doing a series of segments for WWL titled “Naturally N’awlins”.Belton has long been associated with WYES-TV as the host of several popular cooking marathons. He is also a past recipient of the WYES President’s Award, which is given annually to individuals, organizations or businesses that have demonstrated exemplary support of public television in the metropolitan area

In 2014, he was recognized as one of the top twenty Louisiana chefs by the American Culinary Federation.In his public television debut Belton wants to pull back the curtain and show viewers what really makes the legendary cuisine of New Orleans so delicious. “Everybody says you make it look so easy,” he says. “I tell them, no, it is easy.” Taped in the studios of WYES-TV, NEW ORLEANS COOKING WITH KEVIN BELTON is a chance for viewers to meet a new APT host whose big personality is a perfect match for his 6’ 9” frame. Kevin is also in the process of filming his second series with WYES, KEVIN BELTON'S NEW ORLEANS KITCHEN as well as writing the companion book.

Carl Bernstein

The author of five best-selling books, Bernstein is currently at work on several multi-media projects, including a memoir about growing up at a Washington newspaper, The Evening Star, during the Kennedy era; and a dramatic TV series about the United States Congress for HBO. He is also an on-air political analyst for CNN and a contributing editor of Vanity Fair magazine.

His most recent book was the national bestseller A Woman In Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton, acclaimed as the definitive biography of its subject, published by Knopf.

With Woodward, Bernstein wrote two classic best-sellers: All the President’s Men (also a movie starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman), about their coverage of the Watergate story; and The Final Days, about the denouement of the Nixon presidency.

He is also the author of a memoir of his family’s experience in the McCarthy era, entitled Loyalties: A Son’s Memoir; and the co-author of the definitive papal biography, His Holiness: John Paul II and the History of Our Time, which detailed the Pope’s pivotal and often clandestine role in the fall of communism.

Bernstein was born and raised in Washington, DC and began his journalism career at age 16 as a copyboy, becoming a reporter at 19. He lives in New York with his wife and is the father of two sons, one a journalist and the other a rock musician.

Jason Berry

Jason Berry is an author and documentary producer. "City of a Million Dreams: New Orleans History at Year 300" [2018] is the subject of his new film which treats jazz funerals as a prism on the city's evolution. "Up From the Cradle of Jazz: New Orleans Music Since World War II," with Jonthan Foose and Tad Jones, has an updated edition with extensive coverage of the Hurricane Katrina recovery [2009] He has done landmark works on the crisis in the Catholic Church, including "Lead Us Not into Temptation" (1992) for which he received the ChildUSA Sean McIlMail Hero Award;"Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II" with Gerald Renner [2004], the subject of a 2008 documentary; and "Render unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church" [2011]," which received Investigative Reporters and Editors Best Book Award. He has received Guggenheim, NEH and Alicia Patterson fellowships. He writes frequently for The Daily Beast.

Roy Blount Jr.

Roy Blount Jr. is the author of Alphabet Juice, Alphabetter Juice (or The Joy of Text), Save Room for Pie, Be Sweet, and twenty other books whose subjects include the movie Duck Soup ("delightfully erudite"-- Times), the 70s Pittsburgh Steelers ("Deserves a place on the short shelf of the cracked masterpieces of New Journalism" -- Dwight Garner in the Times), and Robert E. Lee ("A miniature masterpiece" -- Bookpage). He is from Georgia, and yet James Walcott, in New Criterion, maintained that Blount, with others, "pioneered The New Yorker as a clubhouse of postmodernism." Robert Pinsky compared him to "the old borscht belt masters." Norman Mailer called his book Crackers "as funny as anything I've read in a long time." Michael Dirda, in the Washington Post, said Blount "possesses what was called in the Italian Renaissance 'sprezzatura.' He has also been on the radio a lot. His current focus is on his Substack.com newsletter, Take Another Little Piece of My Heart Now.

Neal Bodenheimer

Managing Partner - CureCo.: Cure, Cane & Table, Peychaud’s, and VALS | New Orleans, LA
Partner - Dauphine’s | Washington, D.C.
Co-Chair of the Board of Directors | Tales of the Cocktail Foundation
Author of Cure: New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix 'Em

Neal Bodenheimer is the Managing Partner of CureCo, the acclaimed group behind Cure, Cane & Table, and VALS in New Orleans; Partner of Dauphine’s in Washington, DC; and Operator of newly opened Peychaud’s at the hotel Maison de Ville.

A New Orleans native, Bodenheimer discovered his passion for the beverage industry during his very first bar job at just 18 years of age. After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin, he embarked on a year-long trip around the world to explore global food and beverage traditions. Eager to put his experience to work, Bodenheimer then moved to New York City, where he worked for six years at respected restaurant groups including Steve Hanson’s B.R. Guest Corporation and Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group.

When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, Bodenheimer felt called back home to New Orleans. In 2009, he opened Cure, which quickly gained national recognition as a pioneer of the New Orleans craft cocktail movement. Cure was named one of “America’s Best Bars” by Esquire in 2011 and received the award for “Outstanding Bar Program” from the James Beard Foundation in 2018.

In 2012, Bodenheimer and his partners opened Cane & Table in the historic French Quarter. The concept garnered significant critical acclaim, including being named one of the “Five Best New Cocktail Bars in America” by Bon Appétit, cited as one of the Best Bars in America by Food & Wine, and described as one of the best new bars in the South by Garden & Gun and Southern Living.

In 2018, Bodenheimer took the helm of the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation, the non-profit which hosts the premier, global Tales of the Cocktail conference. He continues to serve as Co-Chair of the Board of Directors for the organization, working to further the foundation’s efforts to educate, support and advance the global hospitality industry.

In 2020, Bodenheimer joined partners Matthew Kohnke, Turk Dietrick, and Fredo Nogueria for CureCo.’s newest concept, VALS. A true neighborhood spot located just up the road from Cure, VALS features traditional and regional Mexican-inspired cuisine with an emphasis on agave spirits.

In 2021, Bodenheimer joined the team behind Long Shot Hospitality to open Dauphine’s in Washington, D.C. For Dauphine’s, Bodenheimer developed an inspired menu built around the playful spirits and iconic cuisine of New Orleans, fulfilling his dream of opening an establishment that pays homage to his hometown. Later the same year, Bodenheimer introduced Peychaud’s to the French Quarter with a focus on perfecting classic drinks such as the Sazerac, French 75, and Vieux Carre, treating guests to a true New Orleans experience in the heart of the French Quarter.

In October 2022, Bodenheimer will debut his first cocktail book, Cure: New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix 'Em, co-authored by Emily Timberlake and published by Abrams Books.

Froswa’ Booker-Drew

Froswa’ Booker-Drew, Ph.D. is a Network Weaver who believes relationships are the key to our personal, professional, and organizational growth. She has been quoted/featured in Forbes, Ozy, Bustle, Huffington Post, Modern Luxury, and other media outlets, due to an extensive background in leadership, nonprofit management, philanthropy, partnership development, training, and education. She is the CEO of Soulstice Consultancy, LLC providing DEI, leadership training, community engagement strategies and philanthropic/partnership guidance for institutions and the CEO of R2 Foundation (Restoration and Reconciliation Foundation) providing support for Black led nonprofits. Formerly the Vice President of Community Affairs for the State Fair of Texas, Froswa’ was responsible for grantmaking, educational programming and community initiatives. More than 70% of organizations funded were led by people of color. As the previous National Community Engagement Director for World Vision, she served as a catalyst, partnership broker, and builder of the capacity of local partners in multiple locations across the US to improve and sustain the well-being of children and their families. She is also co-founder of HERitage Giving Circle, one of the first Black women Giving Circles in the state of Texas and co-founder of both Power in Action-Dallas and the South Dallas Employment Project.

Dr. Booker-Drew was a part of the documentary, Friendly Captivity, a film that follows a cast of 7 women from Dallas to India. She is the recipient of several honors including 2020 Each Moment Matters Awardee, 2020 Dallas Leadership Foundation's Leadership Award, WFAA's While I Have Your Attention (2020), 2020 TEDxSMU speaker, 2019 Dallas Business Journal's Women in Business honoree, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc. Global Big Heart 2014, , 2012 Outstanding African American Alumni Award from the University of Texas at Arlington, 2009 Woman of the Year Award by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and was awarded Diversity Ambassador for the American Red Cross (2012).

Froswa’ graduated with a PhD from Antioch University in Leadership and Change with a focus on social capital, diverse women, change management, and relational leadership. She attended the Jean Baker Miller Institute at Wellesley for training in Relational Cultural Theory and has completed facilitator training on Immunity to Change based on the work of Kegan and Lahey of Harvard. She has also completed training through UNICEF on Equity Based Evaluations. Booker-Drew is currently an adjunct professor at Tulane University in the Master of Public Administration Program teaching the course, Governance, Leadership and Sustainability and is an affiliate faculty member at the Graduate School of Leadership and Change, Antioch University. She has also been an adjunct professor at the University of North Texas at Dallas, the University of Texas at Arlington, and Capital Seminary and Graduate School. She is the host of the podcast, The Tapestry and author of 3 books for women, Fly Away, Ready for a Revolution: 30 Days to Jolt Your Life and Rules of Engagement: Making Connections Last. Her latest book, Empowering Charity, published by Baylor University Press, will be available Spring 2022. Froswa’ serves on multiple boards including Buckner International, For Oak Cliff, Mayor's Star Council, and Soul Rep Theater Company. She was a workshop presenter at the United Nations in 2013 on the Access to Power and in 2021, trained the Humphrey Fellows, a program of the US State Department. She has been a contributor for several publications globally, including as an advice columnist for professional women in The Business Woman Media, a global platform based in Australia and as an inspirational columnist for Texas Metro News.

Andy Borowitz

Andy Borowitz is an award-winning comedian and New York Times bestselling author. He grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and graduated from Harvard College, where he became President of the Harvard Lampoon. In 1998, he began contributing humor to The New Yorker’s “Shouts & Murmurs” and “Talk of the Town” departments, and in 2001, he created “The Borowitz Report,” a satirical news column, which has millions of readers around the world. In 2012, The New Yorker began publishing “The Borowitz Report.” As a storyteller, he hosted “Stories at the Moth” from 1999 to 2009. As a comedian, he has played to sold-out venues around the world, including during his national tour, “Make America Not Embarrassing Again,” from 2018 to 2020. His latest book, Profiles In Ignorance: How America’s Politicians Got Dumb and Dumber, was an instant New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and Indiebound bestseller, and was named one of the seven best nonfiction books of fall 2022 by Kirkus Reviews. He is the first-ever winner of the National Press Club’s humor award. He lives with his family in New Hampshire.

Tyler Bridges

Tyler Bridges, twice a member of Pulitzer Prize-winning teams, is a journalist based in New Orleans who reports on Louisiana politics for the Baton Rouge/New Orleans Advocate, and has also written for the Washington Post, Politico Magazine and other publications. He is the author of five books, was a 2011-12 Nieman Fellow at Harvard, was awarded Columbia University’s Maria Moors Cabot Award in 2010 for his 10 years of foreign reporting in South America, was a Shorenstein Center Fellow at Harvard in the fall of 2017, and was a distinguished fellow in residence at the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania for the fall semester of 2021. He is a graduate of Stanford University.

Douglas Brinkley

Douglas Brinkley is the Katherine Tsanoff Brown Chair in Humanities and Professor of History at Rice University, a CNN Presidential Historian, and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. He has received seven honorary doctorates in American Studies. He works in many capacities in the world of public history, including for boards, museums, colleges and historical societies. Six of his books were named New York Times “Notable Books of the Year” and seven became New York Times bestsellers.

His The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, 2007, received the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Book Award. He was personally selected by Nancy Reagan to edit President Ronald Reagan’s presidential diaries (2011). His 2012 book Cronkite won Fordham University’s Ann M. Sperber Prize for outstanding biographies. His two-volume annotated The Nixon Tapes, 2016, won the Arthur S. Link – Warren F. Kuehl Prize. He received a Grammy Award in 2017 as co-producer of Presidential Suite: Eight Variations on Freedom (Best Jazz Ensemble). The New-York Historical Society selected Brinkley in 2017 as their official U.S. Presidential Historian. He is on the Board of Trustees at Brevard College and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library. He is a member of the Century Association, Council of Foreign Relations and James Madison Council of the Library of Congress.

He lives in Austin, Texas with his wife and three children.

Geraldine Brooks

Geraldine Brooks is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel March and the international bestsellers The Secret Chord, Caleb’s Crossing, People of the Book, and Year of Wonders (recently optioned by Olivia Colman). She has also written the acclaimed nonfiction works Nine Parts of Desire and Foreign Correspondence. Brooks started out as a reporter in her hometown, Sydney, and went on to cover conflicts as a Wall Street Journal correspondent in Bosnia, Somalia, and the Middle East. Brooks lives in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts with her sons; her horses, Valentine and Screaming Hot Wings; and a dog named Bear.

Jill Conner Browne

“Boss Queen” Jill Conner Browne conceived of and founded the Sweet Potato Queens® in the early 1980s. After passing through a patch of the doldrums, she found herself in need of some excitement, and a new direction. Jill discovered that she lived near Vardaman, Mississippi, self- proclaimed Sweet Potato Capital of the World, and inspiration struck—she volunteered to be the queen for the farmers’ annual festival. Although the crowning never materialized, the prospect of being the queen of anything was too good to pass up; so, in 1982 Jill entered herself and a few similarly inspired friends in Jackson, Mississippi’s first St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The four original Queens all wore green, hand-me-down, ball gowns and tiaras, and waved to the crowd from the bed of an old pickup truck. It was modest, but it was a start. The Queenly costume has undergone several upgrades since then, and now consists of a green-sequined dress (stuffed to its voluptuous forty-pound carrying weight), flowing red wigs, Revlon® “Love That Pink” lipstick, and real-live majorette boots. By 2011 the Sweet Potato Queens®entourage had outgrown the St. Paddy’s parade; so, Jill partnered with Fondren Renaissance Foundation and created the Zippity Doo Dah® Weekend, benefiting Children’s of Mississippi, the only hospital in the state where any child can be treated, regardless of ability to pay.

In the 2014 Zippity Doo Dah® event in Fondren, the Queens presented the first and only statewide Welcome Home Parade for Viet Nam Veterans, with local VVA members serving as the Grand Marshals. The first seven Zippity Doo Dah® events raised over $500,000 for sick and injured children of Mississippi.
In 2018, a renewed collaboration with the organizers of Hal’s St. Paddy’s Parade was achieved. Beginning in 2019, that event is moving to the Queens’ traditional date of the 4th weekend in March and the Queens will be rejoining the downtown event, with the expectation of even bigger crowds in attendance and more money raised for Children’s of Mississippi.

Jill has written nine books: Fat Is The New 30: The Sweet Potato Queens’ Guide to Coping with (the crappy parts of) Life, (Amazon Publishing, 2012); American Thighs: The Sweet Potato Queen’s Guide to Preserving your Assets, (Simon & Schuster, 2009); The Sweet Potato Queens’ Guide to Raising Children for Fun and Profit (Simon & Schuster, 2008); her sixth book is her first work of fiction: The Sweet Potato Queens’ 1st Big-Ass Novel: Stuff we didn’t actually do, but could have and may yet (Simon & Schuster, 2007); her fifth book—a New York Times® bestseller—is The Sweet Potato Queens’ Wedding Planner and Divorce Guide, (Crown Publishers, 2005), an ingenious flip-book; her second #1 New York Times® bestseller is The Sweet Potato Queens’ Field Guide to Men: Every Man I Love is Either Married, Gay, or Dead (Three Rivers Press, 2004); her first #1 New York Times®bestseller is The Sweet Potato Queens’ Big-Ass Cookbook (and Financial Planner) (Three Rivers Press, 2003); the national bestseller God Save the Sweet Potato Queens (Three Rivers Press, 2001); and The Sweet Potato Queens’ Book of Love (Three Rivers Press, 1999)—also a New York Times® bestseller and the work that started it all—has been translated into German and Japanese. Jill has won awards for her readings of the audio versions of her books and she also narrates, Building Blocks, a documentary about cultural recovery on the Mississippi Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina.

SWEET POTATO QUEENS—the Musical—premiered March 2016 in Houston, Texas at Theater Under the Stars, Underground—is based on the Sweet Potato Queens®. Grammy® award-winning singer/songwriter Melissa Manchester wrote the music; the lyrics are by Oscar® nominee, international multiple #1 songwriter and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee, Sharon Vaughn; and, the stage play is by Rupert Holmes, the first person in theatrical history to solely win Tony® Awards for Best Book, Best Music and Lyrics, and Best Musical for The Mystery of Edwin Drood. SWEET POTATO QUEENS—the Musical is currently available for licensing through TRW. www.theatricalrights.com for more information.

Jill has been featured in USA Today, Newsweek, People, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Dallas Morning News, The Denver Post, The St. Petersburg Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Forbes, SOUTH, The London Observer Magazine (UK), and Bella Magazine (UK), and Today in English(France) just to name a few; she has appeared on numerous TV shows, including three times on The CBS Early Show and three times on Good Morning America; she been on the Today Show, CBS News Sunday Morning, The Other Half, The Wayne Brady Show, The Caroline Rhea Show, Southern Living Presents(nominated for a 2005 Regional EMMY®), The Rick & Bubba® Show twice, CMT’s 100 Greatest Love Songs, Tucker Carlson, Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s TV productions of Writers, (The “Southern Humorists” episode featuring Jill won a 2005 Regional EMMY®) and Mississippi Roads; Jill represents Mississippi in the History Channel’s mini-series, The States (2007), and a photograph of her attending a luncheon in President George W. Bush’s private dining room is prominently shown in the History Channel’s The White House: Behind Closed Doors (2008); Jill has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered. Through Jill’s books, personal appearances, and social media she has inspired 6,400 registered Sweet Potato Queen Wannabe™ Chapter Groups, in 37 countries around the world.

Jill is a founding member of the Women’s Fund of The Community Foundation of Greater Jackson. She assisted Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, raising over $100,000 in cash through her website; she cooked with Chefs for Humanity™ for law enforcement and victims on the Gulf Coast; she did clean-up detail with Camp Coast Care and she participated in the nationally televised Mississippi Rising Gala Concert, raising in excess of $15 Million. Jill serves on the Volunteer Board of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy and on the Executive Board of Trustees for Extra Table—a not-for-profit that provides healthy food in bulk to food pantries and soup kitchens in Mississippi. Jill received the Mississippi National Guard Patriot Award for her support of our military and was chosen by Mississippi Business Journal for their 50 Leading Business Women in Mississippi. The Mississippi Commission on the Status of Women awarded Jill Woman of the Year 2013 for her outstanding contributions in the Performing Arts & Entertainment Field. Jill received the Governor’s Initiative for Volunteer Excellence 2017 GIVE Award for Outstanding Achievement in Community Building Initiatives.

The International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society registered the cultivar: Nymphaea “Queen Jill,” a waterlily specifically created to honor Jill’s charitable works—with a portion of global sales benefitting Batson Children’s Hospital.
When Jill is not writing or speaking at fundraising events around the country, she lives and reigns in Raymond, MS, with the leetle keety that came with their 189-year old house, a rescued 3-legged Australian Shepard, a rescued Lab-Weimaraner mix, a rescued Lab- Coonhound mix, a rescued Lab-“party mix” and her husband…also adopted. And no, he’s not the Sweet Potato King.

Richard Campanella

Prof. Richard Campanella, geographer and Associate Dean for Research with the Tulane School of Architecture, is the author of fourteen books and over 220 articles on New Orleans and Louisiana geography, history, architecture, and culture. The only two-time winner of the LEH Book of the Year Award, Campanella has also received the Louisiana Literary Award, the Williams Prize, the Malcolm Heard Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Hannah Arendt Prize for Scholarship in the Public Interest, and the Tulane Honors Professor of the Year Award. In 2016, the Government of France named Campanella as Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques, and in 2019, the State of Louisiana selected him for the 20th annual Louisiana Writer Award.

Erwin Chemerinsky

Erwin Chemerinsky became the 13th Dean of Berkeley Law on July 1, 2017, when he joined the faculty as the Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law.

Prior to assuming this position, from 2008-2017, he was the founding Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law, and Raymond Pryke Professor of First Amendment Law, at University of California, Irvine School of Law. Before that he was the Alston and Bird Professor of Law and Political Science at Duke University from 2004-2008, and from 1983-2004 was a professor at the University of Southern California Law School, including as the Sydney M. Irmas Professor of Public Interest Law, Legal Ethics, and Political Science. From 1980-1983, he was an assistant professor at DePaul College of Law.

He is the author of sixteen books, including leading casebooks and treatises about constitutional law, criminal procedure, and federal jurisdiction. His most recent books are Worse than Nothing: The Dangerous Fallacy of Originalism (2022) and Presumed Guilty: How the Supreme Court Empowered the Police and Subverted Civil Rights (2021).

He also is the author of more than 200 law review articles. He is a contributing writer for the Opinion section of the Los Angeles Times, and writes regular columns for the Sacramento Bee, the ABA Journal and the Daily Journal, and frequent op-eds in newspapers across the country. He frequently argues appellate cases, including in the United States Supreme Court.

In 2016, he was named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2017, National Jurist magazine again named Dean Chemerinsky as the most influential person in legal education in the United States. In 2022, he is the President of the Association of American Law Schools.

Catherine Ceniza Choy

Catherine Ceniza Choy is the author of Asian American Histories of the United States (2022) published by Beacon Press in their ReVisioning History book series. The book features the themes of anti-Asian hate and violence, erasure of Asian American history, and Asian American resistance to what has been omitted in a nearly 200 year history of Asian migration, labor, and community formation in the US. Choy argues that Asian American experiences are essential to any understanding of US history and its existential crises of the early twenty-first century.

An engaged public scholar, Choy has been interviewed and had her research cited in many media outlets, including ABC 20/20, TheAtlantic, CNN, Los Angeles Times, NBC News, New York Times, ProPublica, San Francisco Chronicle, and Vox, on anti-Asian, coronavirus-related hate and violence, the disproportionate toll of COVID-19 on Filipino nurses in the United States, and racism and misogyny in the March 16, 2021 Atlanta spa shootings.

Choy’s first book, Empire of Care: Nursing and Migration in Filipino American History (2003), explored how and why the Philippines became the leading exporter of professional nurses to the United States. Empire of Care received the 2003 American Journal of Nursing History and Public Policy Book Award and the 2005 Association for Asian American Studies History Book Award. Her second book, Global Families: A History of Asian International Adoption in America (2013), unearthed the little-known historical origins of Asian international adoption in the United States beginning with the post-World War II presence of the U.S. military in Asia. Choy also co-edited the anthology, Gendering the Trans-Pacific World (2017), with Judy Tzu-Chun Wu. She is the editor of the Brill book series Gendering the Trans-Pacific World, an editorial board member of the journal Social History of Medicine, and an advisory board member of the NHPRC (National Historical Publications and Records Commission)-Mellon Planning Grants for Collaborative Digital Editions in African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, and Native American History and Ethnic Studies Program.

Choy is Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging, and Justice in UC Berkeley’s Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society (CDSS). She is a former Department Chair of Ethnic Studies (2012-2015, 2018-2019) and a former Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies Division (2019-2021). Choy received her Ph.D. in History from UCLA and her B.A. in History from Pomona College. The daughter of Filipino immigrants, she was born and raised in New York City. She lives in Berkeley with her husband Greg Choy. Connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Jarvis DeBerry

Veteran journalist Jarvis DeBerry is an opinion editor at MSNBC.com. His previous roles include founding editor of the Louisiana Illuminator, columnist and editorial board member for cleveland.com and deputy opinions editor, columnist and editorial writer at The Times-Picayune | NOLA.com. He was on the team of journalists awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for its coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the deadly flood that followed. His columns have won awards from the New Orleans Press Club, the Louisiana/ Mississippi Associated Press and the National Association of Black Journalists. “I Feel to Believe,” a collection of DeBerry’s Times-Picayune columns, was published in 2020 by the University of New Orleans Press and has been selected as One Book One New Orleans’ 2022 book of the year.

Jonathan Dee

JONATHAN DEE is the author of seven previous novels, most recently The Locals. His novel The Privileges was a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize and winner of the 2011 Prix Fitzgerald and the St. Francis College Literary Prize. A former contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine, a senior editor of the Paris Review, and a National Magazine Award-nominated literary critic for Harper’s magazine and the New Yorker, he has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. He teaches in the graduate creative writing program at Syracuse University.

Alison Mariella Désir

Alison Mariella Désir is an endurance athlete, activist, and mental health advocate. Running saved Alison Mariella Désir’s life. At rock bottom and searching for meaning and structure, Désir started marathon training, finding that it vastly improved both her physical and mental health. Yet as she became involved in the community and learned its history, she realized that the sport was largely built with white people in mind. To help make running more inclusive and welcoming to people of color, Désir founded Harlem Run, an NYC-based running movement, and Run 4 All Women, which has raised over $150,000 for Planned Parenthood and $270,000 for Black Voters Matter. Désir is currently co-chair of the Running Industry Diversity Coalition, a Run Happy Advocate for Brooks Running, and an Athlete Advisor for Oiselle. A graduate of Columbia University for her bachelor’s and two master’s degrees, including a Master's of Education in counseling psychology, Alison has been published in Outside Magazine, contributed the foreword for Running is My Therapy by Scott Douglas, and founded the Meaning Thru Movement Tour, a speaking series featuring mental health experts and fitness professionals. Running While Black is her first book. Alison Mariella Désir currently lives with her son, Kouri Henri, and partner, Amir Muhammad Figueroa, outside of Seattle.

Tony Dokoupil

Tony Dokoupil is a co-host of "CBS Mornings." Dokoupil also anchors "The Uplift" on the CBS News Streaming Network, a weekly show that spotlights good news stories that uplift and inspire.
Dokoupil was named co-host of CBS' morning news program in 2019. Previously, he was a CBS News correspondent and a "CBS Sunday Morning" contributor. His reporting has appeared across all CBS News broadcasts and platforms.

At "CBS Mornings," Dokoupil has handled numerous high-profile, on-the-ground and anchoring assignments. He has co-anchored CBS' morning news broadcast from the site of critical news events around the world: from Capitol Hill after the January 6, 2021 assault on the Capitol; in Uvalde, Texas, after the mass shooting at Robb Elementary; at the Poland-Ukraine border reporting on the refugee crisis; amid Hurricanes Laura and Dorian; from several battleground states during the 2020 presidential election as a part of his "At America's Crossroads" series; at the Kennedy Space Center for coverage of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission; and inside The Empire State Building, previewing the revamped observation deck on the 102nd floor.

Dokoupil has also been on the forefront in covering key issues that impact Americans. He has led original coverage on vaping, including a broadcast exclusive interview with Juul CEO Kevin Burns and the first television interview with the co-CEOs of Puff Bar. He also led an investigation into the trading and investing app Robinhood and the death of teenager Austin Kearns, including an exclusive interview with Kearns' parents. He also anchored the original series "The Price You Pay," which looks at why costs are surging for many common products or services. Additionally, Dokoupil has reported on how past housing discrimination is still affecting American families today, an update to a story CBS News first reported on more than 50 years ago.

Since joining CBS News in 2016, Dokoupil has interviewed a variety of major artists, entertainers and newsmakers, among them first lady Hillary Clinton, comedy legend Steve Martin, and music superstars Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt.

His cover stories for "CBS Sunday Morning" include features on the scourge of suicide, the struggles of public school teachers, and a successful rehab program for drug and alcohol-addicted airline pilots. His longform work for "CBS Sunday Morning" includes profiles of Chuck Lorre, Michael Che, Pete Davidson and Ben Stiller, and cultural pieces on the joys of quitting your job, the benefits of working with your hands, and the fight over plastic straws.

As a correspondent for CBS News, he has written about marijuana legalization, digital privacy and the second amendment. In addition, Dokoupil had served as substitute anchor on the CBS News Streaming Network and the "CBS Weekend News."

Dokoupil joined CBS News after three years at NBC News, where he was a correspondent for MSNBC. He was the network's lead reporter on a run of big national stories, including the Paris climate agreement and the Flint water crisis. He also covered the 2016 presidential primaries.

From 2007 to 2013, Dokoupil was a senior writer at Newsweek and the Daily Beast, where his reporting landed him on NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and NPR's "Fresh Air with Terry Gross."

Dokoupil is also the author of the critically acclaimed book, "The Last Pirate: A Father, His Son and the Golden Age of Marijuana" (Doubleday, 2014), a memoir in which he documented his father's exploits smuggling marijuana during the 1970s and '80s.

Dokoupil earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from George Washington University and a master's degree in American Studies from Columbia University.

He has four children and lives in New York with his family.

Todd Doughty

Todd Doughty is currently SVP, head of Publicity and Communications for the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group and has worked at Penguin Random House for more than two decades. A graduate of Southern Illinois University (Carbondale) and former bookseller, he lives with his partner in Westchester County, New York.

Maureen Dowd

Maureen Dowd, winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary and author of three New York Times best sellers, became an Op-Ed columnist in 1995. In August 2014, she also became a writer for The Times Magazine.

Born in Washington, Ms. Dowd began her journalism career in 1974 as an editorial assistant for The Washington Star, where she later became a sports columnist, metropolitan reporter and feature writer. In 1983, she joined The New York Times as a metropolitan correspondent and then moved to The Times’s Washington bureau in 1986 to cover politics. Ms. Dowd has covered nine presidential campaigns, served as The Times’s White House correspondent, and written “On Washington,” a column for The Times Magazine. In the run-up to the 2004 presidential election, G. P. Putnam published her first book, “Bushworld,” which covered the presidency and personality of George W. Bush. After “Bushworld” quickly climbed the best-seller list, Ms. Dowd switched from presidential politics to sexual politics in another best seller, “Are Men Necessary? When Sexes Collide,” released in 2005.

In addition to The New York Times, Ms. Dowd has written for GQ, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, The New Republic, Mademoiselle, Sports Illustrated and others. Her column appears every Sunday.

Jeff Duncan

Jeff Duncan is the most decorated and widely read sports journalist in the state of Louisiana. As a columnist for The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, he is recognized as the leading authority on the New Orleans Saints and is the author of three books on the team: “Payton and Brees;” “From Bags to Riches;” and “Tales from the Saints Sideline.” Duncan was a member of the Times-Picayune team that won two Pulitzer Prizes for the paper’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina. He has won four Columnist of the Year awards and four Story of the Year awards from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. Before his stint in New Orleans, he worked as a sports journalist at various newspapers, including USA Today, The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal and The St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times. His work has also been featured in the New York Times and The Best American Sports Writing anthologies. He is also one of 49 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee and a Saints analyst on WVUE-TV in New Orleans.

Elizabeth Ellis

Elizabeth Ellis is an assistant professor of history at Princeton University where she teaches early American and Native American history. She is a Tulane alumna, and a longtime lover of New Orleans. Her forthcoming book with the University of Pennsylvania Press, “The Great Power of Small Nations: Indigenous Diplomacy in the Gulf South,” (October 2022) examines the formation of Native nations in the early southeast and the ways that Indigenous migration and immigration practices shaped and limited the extent of European colonization. Liz also writes about contemporary Indigenous issues and political movements and is committed to organizing and fighting for Indigenous self-determination. She is an enrolled citizen of the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma.

Nicole Ellis

Nicole Ellis is a journalist and digital anchor for PBS NewsHour. Nicole previously worked at The Washington Post, covering social issues and hosting and directing documentaries and breaking news videos for The Post’s website and social media channels, for which she received an Emmy nomination in 2017. Her documentary series Should I Freeze My Eggs? won the 2019 Digiday Publishers Award. She also created and hosted the Webby Award–winning news literacy series The New Normal, the most viewed video series in the history of The Washington Post’s women’s vertical, The Lily. She is the author of We Go High, and host of Critical Conversations on BookClub, an author-led book club platform.
Freddi Evans

Freddi Williams Evans

Freddi Williams Evans is an author, independent scholar and founder of www.congosquareconnection.org
an online collection that promotes the study of historic Congo Square. Her book Congo Square: African Roots in New Orleans, the first comprehensive study of the historic location, received the Louisiana Humanities Book of the Year Award and is published in French. Her research and advocacy influenced the New Orleans City Council Ordinance that changed the official name of the location from Beauregard Square, named after Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard in 1893, to the popular name Congo Square in 2011. Along with published essays, her presentations include those in France and Senegal sponsored by American Embassies in those locations. Other international engagements include the Bordeaux Congo Square Festival in Bordeaux, France and the 100 Years of Beat Festival in Berlin, Germany.

Evans is also the award-winning author of books for children including Come Sunday, A Young Reader’s History of Congo Square, for middle graders, which received the Bronze Medal Independent Publisher Book Award and was a finalist for Next Generation Indie Book Award. Working in the community, she co-chaired the New Orleans Committee to Erect Historic Markers on the Slave Trade to Louisiana, helped to erect the UNESCO Site of Memory Middle Passage Marker, and serves on the New Orleans Legacy Project Committee. Ashé Cultural Arts Center honored her as the Grand Griot of the Maafa Commemoration in 2019, and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities recognized her as “Humanities Hero” in 2017. Other honors include the New Orleans Arts Council Community Arts Award, the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame Award, and the Julia Purnell Humanitarian Award (Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.®, South Central Region.

Rien Fertel

Rien Fertel is the author of Brown Pelican and three previous books: Drive-By Truckers’ Southern Rock Opera, The One True Barbecue, and Imagining the Creole City. He is currently a Visiting Professor of History at Tulane University, where he teaches class on Mardi Gras, Taylor Swift, and the January 6th Insurrection.

Clare Fieseler

I’m a science journalist. My bylines appear in outlets like Vox, Slate, National Geographic, and The Washington Post.

But I wear many hats. I’m both a journalist and a scientist.

This 2022 profile of me does a much better job than I’ve ever done at explaining how to make a career like mine work.

The genesis of my many-hat career as a journalist, photographer, and scientist was my first job out of college. I worked in wildlife film production for National Geographic Television. I worked on the Great Migrations series, Kingdom of the Blue Whale, and others. After co-producing a video honoring oceanographer Sylvia Earle, I was inspired to go into science. I completed a Masters degree from Duke University in 2010. After graduation, I worked as Duke’s Ocean Policy Fellow, helping professors work with the U.S. government and stakeholders to design novel ocean solutions.

I eventually began designing interdisciplinary research of my own. I completed a PhD in Ecology from UNC-Chapel Hill studying climate-threatened protected areas in the Caribbean. I also learned a great deal about global conservation by serving as an elected board member for the Society for Conservation Biology. During graduate school, I leveraged my media background by training graduate students in science communication and working for the UNC Hussman School of Journalism. My science journalism and photo career blossomed from there and, later on, expanded through a AAAS Mass Media Fellowship at The Washington Post.

Today, I’m actively engaged in both journalism and scientific research. I study marine mammal populations in climate-threatened regions by looking at both the past and present. I’m honored to currently be the Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution. I work with Dr. Nick Pyenson and others at the National Museum of Natural History. Knowledge exchange and science diplomacy are growing social science research interests of mine. As part of my Smithsonian fellowship, I’m leading a working group of Arabian Gulf scientists identifying cross-boundary diplomacy needs for the conservation of the region’s biodiversity, including marine mammals.

You’ll also see me reporting on climate, wildlife, and biodiversity topics for various publications.
My email: clare.fieseler [at] gmail [dot] com

Betsy Fischer Martin

Betsy Fischer Martin is an Emmy-winning journalist and TV news executive. Currently she is Executive Director of AU School of Public Affairs' Women & Politics Institute and an SPA Executive in Residence. She is also a former co-host of Bloomberg Politics' Masters in Politics Podcast. She also founded her own consulting business, Fischer Martin Media, where she specializes in providing media training to corporate executives.

During her earlier career in television news, she was the Managing Editor of NBC News Political Programming, where she was responsible for the development and execution of network political coverage.

Before being promoted to the executive role at NBC News in 2013, Fischer Martin was the executive producer of the top-rated Sunday morning public affairs program, Meet the Press, for 11 years. Overall, her tenure with the program extended over 22 years, beginning as an internship during her senior year of college.

She serves on the Board of Directors of Washington’s International Women’s Forum and the National Press Club’s Journalism Institute. She is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum.

Richard Ford

Richard Ford was born in Jackson, Mississippi, and (as of December) resumed with his wife Kristina Ford their long-standing residence in New Orleans. He is the author of 13 novels and story collections, plus a memoir about his parents. He has for years written on culture and politics for many European newspapers, including Le Monde, El Pais Corrierre della Sera, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Die Welt, The Irish Times and The Guardian of London, His fiction has been recognized with The Pulitzer Prize, the Prix Femina in France, The Princess of Asturias Prize in Spain, The Carnegie Gold Medal, and The Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction. He has taught literature in many universities, including Trinity College, Dublin, Princeton, Harvard. Until last spring he was The Emmanuel Roman and Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University in New York City.

Melissa Fuster

Melissa Fuster is Associate Professor of Public Health Nutrition at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Her research examines the contextual and cultural factors influencing food practices using a multidisciplinary approach with a focus on Latin America and its diaspora communities. Her community-based research experience has sought to address diet-related disparities, aiming to shift emphasis to upstream approaches that engage the structural factors that underlie access to healthy food and high-quality healthcare, which is the subject of her first book, Caribeños at the Table: How Migration, Health, and Race Intersect in New York City. Building on this work, Dr. Fuster’s is currently tackling food access issues via the Latin American Restaurants in Action (LARiA) Project, an initiative to engage restaurants to facilitate healthier eating. She completed her Ph.D. in Food Policy and Applied Nutrition at the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and a post-doctoral fellowship in food studies at New York University. Before joining the faculty at Tulane, she was an Assistant Professor at the City University of New York.

Amy Gajda

Amy Gajda, Tulane Law School’s Class of 1937 Professor of Law, is a journalist turned lawyer recognized internationally for her expertise in privacy and media law.

Viking published Gajda’s Seek and Hide: The Tangled History of the Right to Privacy in 2022 to significant critical acclaim. The New York Times called it “wry and fascinating” and named it a top non-fiction book of the season; the courts of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit chose it as the Circuit’s inaugural “One Court. One Book.” summer reading.

In addition to scholarly article and book chapters in national and international publications, on the journalism side, Gajda’s opinion pieces have appeared in The New York Times, Wired, Slate, Time, the Daily Beast, and the New York Daily News, among others. Her weekly radio commentaries on legal issues when she was a professor at the University of Illinois won seven Associated Press awards. Before attending law school, Gajda worked as a television news anchor and reporter in cities mainly in the Northeast.

Gajda is a proud winner of both Tulane Law School’s and Tulane University’s highest teaching honors.

Gary Ginsberg

Gary Ginsberg grew up in Buffalo New York, home to two US presidents. A lawyer by training, he has spent his professional career at the intersection of media, politics, and law. He worked for the Clinton administration, was a senior editor and counsel at the political magazine George, and then spent the next two decades in executive positions in media and technology at News Corporation, Time Warner and SoftBank. He has published pieces in The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and was an on-air political contributor in the early days of MSNBC. He lives in New York City with his wife and two sons. This is his first book.

Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.

One of the nation's most prominent scholars, Dr. Eddie S. Glaude Jr., is a passionate educator, author, political commentator, and public intellectual who examines the complex dynamics of the American experience. His writings, including "Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul", "In a Shade of Blue: Pragmatism and the Politics of Black America", and his most recent, the New York Times bestseller, "Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for our Own", takes an exhaustive look at Black communities, the difficulties of race in the United States and the challenges we face as a democracy. Of Baldwin, Glaude writes, "Baldwin's writing does not bear witness to the glory of America. It reveals the country's sins and the illusion of innocence that blinds us to the reality of others. Baldwin's vision requires a confrontation with our history (with slavery, Jim Crow segregation, with whiteness) to overcome its hold on us. Not to posit the greatness of America, but to establish the ground upon which to imagine the country anew."

A highly accomplished and respected scholar of religion, Glaude is a former president of the American Academy of Religion. His books on religion and philosophy include "An Uncommon Faith: A Pragmatic Approach to the Study of African American Religion", "African American Religion: A Very Short Introduction", and "Exodus! Religion, Race and Nation in Early 19th Century Black America", which was awarded the Modern Language Association's William Sanders Scarborough Book Prize.

Glaude is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor and Chair of the Department of African American Studies, a program he first became involved with shaping as a doctoral candidate in Religion at Princeton. He is also on the Morehouse College Board of Trustees. He frequently appears in the media, as a columnist for TIME Magazine and as an MSNBC contributor on programs like Morning Joe and Deadline Whitehouse with Nicolle Wallace. He also regularly appears on Meet the Press on Sundays. Combining a scholar's knowledge of history, a political commentator's take on the latest events, and an activist's passion for social justice, Glaude challenges all of us to examine our collective American conscience.

Jeff Goldberg

Annette Gordon-Reed

Annette Gordon-Reed is the Carl M. Loeb University Professor at Harvard. Gordon-Reed won sixteen book prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize in History in 2009 and the National Book Award in 2008, for The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (W.W. Norton, 2008). In addition to articles and reviews, her other works include Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy (UVA Press, 1997), Vernon Can Read! A Memoir, a collaboration with Vernon Jordan (PublicAffairs, 2001), Race on Trial: Law and Justice in American History (Oxford University Press, 2002), a volume of essays that she edited, Andrew Johnson (Times Books/Henry Holt, 2010) and, with Peter S. Onuf, “Most Blessed of the Patriarchs”: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination (Liveright Publishing, 2016). Her most recent book is On Juneteenth (Liveright Publishing, 2021). Gordon-Reed was the Vyvyan Harmsworth Visiting Professor of American History at the University of Oxford (Queens College) 2014-2015. Between 2010 and 2015, she was the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. She was the 2018-2019 President of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic. She is the current President of the Ames Foundation. A selected list of her honors includes a fellowship from the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, a Guggenheim Fellowship in the humanities, a MacArthur Fellowship, the National Humanities Medal, the National Book Award, the Frederick Douglass Book Prize, the George Washington Book Prize, and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. Gordon-Reed served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Dartmouth College from 2010 to 2018. She was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011 and was a member of the Academy’s Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences. In 2019, she was elected as a member of the American Philosophical Society.

Brian Greene

Brian Greene, professor of physics at Columbia University and director of
Columbia’s Center for Theoretical Physics, is recognized for a number of groundbreaking discoveries in his field of superstring theory including the discoveries of mirror symmetry and topology change. Greene has written four New York Times bestsellers, exploring physics for general audiences, which have sold more than 2 million copies worldwide. The orchestral adaptation of Greene's novella, Icarus at the Edge of Time, premiered at Lincoln Center and has been performed over 65 times worldwide and his work for the stage, Light Falls, which traces Einstein's discovery of General Relativity, was broadcast as a primetime national special on PBS.

Richard Haas

Dr. Richard Haass is a veteran diplomat, a prominent voice on American foreign policy, and a proven leader and manager. He is in his twentieth year as president of the Council on Foreign Relations, an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, publisher, and educational institution dedicated to being a resource to help people better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries.

In 2013, he served as the chair of the multiparty negotiations in Northern Ireland that provided the foundation for the 2014 Stormont House Agreement. For his efforts to promote peace and conflict resolution, he received the 2013 Tipperary International Peace Award.

From January 2001 to June 2003, Dr. Haass was director of policy planning for the Department of State, where he directed the policy planning staff and was a principal advisor to Secretary of State Colin Powell. Confirmed by the U.S. Senate to hold the rank of ambassador, Dr. Haass also served as U.S. coordinator for policy toward the future of Afghanistan and U.S. envoy to the Northern Ireland peace process.

Dr. Haass has extensive additional government experience. From 1989 to 1993, he was special assistant to President George H.W. Bush and senior director for Near East and South Asian affairs on the staff of the National Security Council. In 1991, Dr. Haass was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal for his contributions to the development and articulation of U.S. policy during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Previously, he served in the Departments of State (1981–1985) and Defense (1979–1980), and was a legislative aide in the U.S. Senate.

A Rhodes Scholar, Dr. Haass holds a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and master’s and doctorate of philosophy degrees from Oxford University. He has also received numerous honorary degrees and was a member of the faculty of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and Hamilton College.
Dr. Haass is the author or editor of fourteen books on American foreign policy and one book on management. His next book, The Bill of Obligations: The Ten Habits of Good Citizens, will be published by Penguin Press in January 2023.

Dr. Haass was born in Brooklyn and lives in New York City.

Maggie Haberman

Maggie Haberman is a White House correspondent who joined The New York Times in 2015 and was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for reporting on Donald Trump’s advisers and their connections to Russia. She previously covered the Trump administration and continues to cover Donald Trump and politics in Washington.

Before joining The Times as a campaign correspondent, Ms. Haberman worked as a political reporter at Politico, from 2010 to 2015. She previously worked at other publications, including The New York Post and The New York Daily News.

She was a finalist for the Mirror Awards, with Glenn Thrush, for the 2014 profile "What Is Hillary Clinton Afraid Of?"

Her hobbies include singing, and she is married with three children.

Nikole Hannah-Jones

Nikole Hannah-Jones is the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of the 1619 Project and a staff writer at The New York Times Magazine. She has spent her career investigating racial inequality and injustice, and her reporting has earned her the MacArthur Fellowship, known as the Genius grant, a Peabody Award, two George Polk Awards and the National Magazine Award three times. Hannah-Jones also earned the John Chancellor Award for Distinguished Journalism and was named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists and the Newswomen's Club of New York. In 2020 she was inducted into the Society of American Historians and in 2021, into the North Carolina Media Hall of Fame. Nikole was named as one of the Most Influential People in 2021 by Time Magazine.

In 2016, Hannah-Jones co-founded the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, which seeks to increase the number of reporters and editors of color. She holds a Master of Arts in Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina and earned her Bachelor of Arts in History and African-American studies from the University of Notre Dame.
Hannah-Jones is the Knight Chair in Race and Journalism at Howard University, where she has

Eric Holder

Eric Holder is a civil rights leader who is chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee. He served as the eighty-second attorney general of the United States, the first African American to hold that office. Now a senior counsel at Covington & Burling, he lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Dr. Sharon Malone. The couple have three children.

Ladee Hubbard

Ladee Hubbard is the author of the novel The Talented Ribkins which received the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence and the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award for Debut Fiction. She received a BA from Princeton University, a MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her short fiction has appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, Callaloo and Guernica, among other venues. Her film and book reviews appear in The Times Literary Supplement. She is a recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and has received additional fellowships and grants from the Sustainable Arts Foundation, MacDowell Colony and Sewanee Writers Conference among others. Her second novel, The Rib King is forthcoming from the Amistad imprint of HarperCollins in 2020. A collection of short stories is forthcoming in 2021. She lives in New Orleans.

Sean Illing

Sean Illing is a senior correspondent at Vox and the host of "The Gray Area" podcast. He’s a veteran of the United States Air Force and holds a PhD in Political Theory from LSU. He now lives in Gulfport, Mississippi.

Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson is the Leonard Lauder Professor of American History and Values at Tulane. He is the past CEO of the Aspen Institute, where he is now a Distinguished Fellow, and has been the chairman of CNN and the editor of TIME magazine.

Isaacson’s most recent biography, Leonardo da Vinci (2017), offers new discoveries about Leonardo’s life and work, weaving a narrative that connects his art to his science. He is also the author of The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution (2014), Steve Jobs (2011), Einstein: His Life and Universe (2007), Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (2003), and Kissinger: A Biography (1992), and coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made (1986).
He is a host of the show “Amanpour and Company” on PBS and CNN, a contributor to CNBC, and host of the podcast “Trailblazers, from Dell Technologies.”

Isaacson was born on May 20, 1952, in New Orleans. He is a graduate of Harvard College and of Pembroke College of Oxford University. He began his career at The Sunday Times of London and then the New Orleans Times-Picayune. He joined TIME in 1978 and served as a political correspondent, national editor, and editor of digital media before becoming the magazine’s 14th editor in 1996. He became chairman and CEO of CNN in 2001, and then president and CEO of the Aspen Institute in 2003.
He is chair emeritus of Teach for America. From 2005-2007 he was the vice-chair of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, which oversaw the rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. He was appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate to serve as the chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which runs Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and other international broadcasts of the United States, a position he held from 2009 to 2012. He had been a member of the New Orleans City Planning Commission.

He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society of the Arts, and the American Philosophical Society. He is a fellow of Lowell House at Harvard and of Pembroke College at Oxford. He serves on the board of United Airlines, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Society of American Historians, New Schools for New Orleans, the U.S. Defense Department Innovation Board, and My Brother’s Keeper Alliance. He is an advisory partner at Perella Weinberg, a financial services firm based in New York City.

Leslie Iwerks

Leslie Iwerks is an Academy Award® and Emmy®-nominated director and producer. She has been a leader in creating award-winning films that celebrate the genius, risks, and rewards of creative visionaries. Her political, environmental, and social issue driven films have garnered critical acclaim while generating meaningful philanthropic change. She is an environmentalist and human rights advocate who has raised millions of dollars through the screening of her projects. Leslie has traveled to all seven continents documenting untold stories - from the depths of the Guatemala City garbage dumps to the toxic tar sands of Alberta, Canada, to the outer reaches of Antarctica.

For two decades, Leslie has produced, directed, and edited award-winning feature and short documentaries, television specials, and digital content. Her body of work encompasses enterprise documentary films and series (Superpowered: The DC Story, The Imagineering Story, Ella Brennan: Commanding the Table, The Pixar Story, Citizen Hearst, Industrial Light & Magic: Creating the Impossible, The Hand Behind the Mouse-The Ub Iwerks Story) as well as acclaimed environmental and social issue short documentaries (Selling Lies, Recycled Life, Pipe Dreams, Downstream). Leslie’s work can be seen on Netflix, Disney+, Amazon, HBO Max, and National Geographic, among others.

Leslie is an active member of the Academy of Motion Picture Documentary Branch, the Directors Guild of America, the Producers Guild of America, the Television Academy, the International Documentary Association, and serves on the board of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences Scientific and Technical Committee as well as the USC School of Cinema-Television Alumni Council. Leslie currently serves as the CEO & Creative Director for Iwerks & Co., a film production company with offices in Santa Monica and New Orleans.

Ben Jealous

Sadeqa Johnson

Sadeqa Johnson is the award-winning author of And Then There Was Me, Second House From the Corner, Love in a Carry-on Bag and Yellow Wife.

Yellow Wife is a 2022 Hurston/Wright Foundation Legacy nominee, a BCLA Literary Honoree and a Barnes & Noble book club pick in paperback. Her other accolades include winning the National Book Club Conference Award, the Phillis Wheatley Book Award, and the USA Best Book Award for Best Fiction. She is a Kimbilio Fellow and teaches in the MFA program at Drexel University. Originally from Philadelphia, she currently lives near Richmond, Virginia, with her husband and three children.

T.R. Johnson

T. R. Johnson is a Professor of English and Weiss Presidential Fellow at Tulane University. He is the author of New Orleans: A Writer’s City (2023) and the editor of New Orleans: A Literary History (2019). He has also written books about psychoanalysis, teaching, and prose-style. For over twenty years, he has lived in the 9th Ward of New Orleans and hosted a contemporary jazz radio program at WWOZ 90.7 FM.

Michelle K. Johnston

Dr. Michelle K. Johnston is a management professor, executive coach, and leadership expert who serves as the Gaston Chair of Business at Loyola University New Orleans.

Michelle’s first book, The Seismic Shift in Leadership, is an Amazon bestseller and details the need for leaders to shift from a command and control leadership style to one that focuses on connection. Why? Because Connection Drives Results.

She was recently named one of the most influential New Orleanians, a top 500 business leader, and a Woman of the Year by CityBusiness.

Michelle is a celebrated keynote speaker presenting at conferences and events nationwide. She received her Ph.D. in Communication from Louisiana State University and was named to the prestigious 100 Coaches group, which consists of the top executive coaches worldwide.

She lives in her beloved city of New Orleans, Louisiana, with her daughter, Elizabeth.

Rodger Kamenetz

Rodger Kamenetz is Professor Emeritus of English and Religious Studies at Louisiana State University where he retired as LSU Professor and Sternberg Honors Chair. He helped found the LSU MFA program and was founding Director of LSU's Jewish Studies minor. He's lived in New Orleans since 1995. His prose includes the international bestseller The Jew in the Lotus, its sequel Stalking Elijah, which won the National Jewish Book Award, and The History of Last Night's Dream, which was featured on Oprah Winfrey's "Soul Series." His recent books of poetry include The Lowercase Jew, Yonder and Dream Logic. His latest book, The Missing Jew: Poems 1976-2022 represents a life work in poetry over 46 years and has been called "the Jewish-American Leaves of Grass.

Jesse Keenan

Jesse M. Keenan is the Favrot II Associate Professor of Sustainable Real Estate within the faculty of the School of Architecture at Tulane University. Keenan’s research focuses on the intersection of climate change adaptation and the built environment, including aspects of design, engineering, regulation, planning and financing. Keenan’s research has partnered with a variety of global actors, including the AIA, Audi, Carnegie Corporation, City of Miami, City of New York, EPA, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Goldman Sachs, Google, International Code Council, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Knight Foundation, MoMA, Mori Foundation, Lennar Foundation, National Academies of Sciences, NASA, National Security Council, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Open Society Foundation, Regional Plan Association, RAND Corporation, States of California and Massachusetts, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, U.S. Global Change Research Program, the White House and the U.N. Prior to joining Tulane, Keenan served in various leadership positions while on the faculty of the schools of design at Columbia University and Harvard University. Keenan holds degrees in the law (J.D., LL.M.) and science of the built environment (M.Sc.), including a Ph.D. from the Delft University of Technology.

Molly Kimball

Molly is a registered dietitian with a passion to make it easy for people to live their strongest, healthiest lives.

Board Certified as a Specialist in Sports Dietetics by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Molly manages the nutrition program at Ochsner Fitness Center, including a team of lifestyle dietitians who guide clients in achieving personal fitness goals as well as disordered eating and general health and wellness.

In 2013 she founded Eat Fit, a nonprofit initiative of Ochsner Health that works with local restaurants, markets, schools and corner stores to develop & identify nutritious items on the menu. The Eat Fit team of dietitians works with more than 500 restaurant partners in six regions across Louisiana with the mission of providing easy-to-access real-world education, inspiration and resources on wellness and nutrition.
As a regular contributor to national publications, Molly is a nutrition journalist who covers all things related to nutrition and wellness. She has been the nutrition expert for New Orleans’ ABC affiliate WGNO since 2009, with weekly TV segments on WGNO’s Good Morning New Orleans. And you can catch her podcast, FUELED wellness + nutrition with Molly Kimball, where she dives deeper into the science and the stories to educate and inspire.

Molly is the recent recipient of the Louisiana Champion award by LWCC, and - perhaps her favorite accolade - she received the Risk Taker award by Ochsner Health leadership. Molly prefers a good walk-and-talk with colleagues versus desk or Zoom meetings, and when she’s not immersed in the world of nutrition science, you can find her creating functional pottery, a perfect antidote to technology and deadlines.

Mitch Landrieu

Mitch Landrieu served as the 61st Mayor of New Orleans (2010–2018) When he took office, the city was still recovering from Hurricane Katrina and in the midst of the BP Oil Spill.

Under Landrieu’s leadership, New Orleans is widely recognized as one of the nation’s great comeback stories. In 2015, Landrieu was named “Public Official of the Year” by Governing, and in 2016 was voted “America’s top turnaround mayor” in a Politico survey of mayors. He also served as President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Landrieu gained national prominence for his powerful decision to take down four Confederate monuments in New Orleans, which also earned him the prestigious John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. In his book, In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History, Landrieu recounts his personal journey confronting the issue of race and institutional racism that still plagues America.
In 2018, he launched E Pluribus Unum, an initiative in the South created to fulfill America’s promise of justice and opportunity for all by breaking down the barriers that divide us by race and class. Prior to serving as Mayor, Landrieu served two terms as lieutenant governor and 16 years in the state legislature. He and his wife Cheryl live in New Orleans, where they raised their five children.

J. Celeste Lay

J. Celeste Lay is a professor of political science and the Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs in Newcomb-Tulane College at Tulane University. She earned a PhD in Government and Politics at the University of Maryland. She is the author of two monographs and several articles in peer-reviewed journals, including the American Political Science Review, Journal of Politics, American Politics Research, Urban Affairs Review, Public Opinion Quarterly, Politics & Gender, and more. Her second book, Public Schools, Private Governance, examines the civic and democratic effects of post-Katrina education reforms in New Orleans. Her other research focuses on urban political behavior and political socialization. In her administrative position, she oversees a large, diverse portfolio of academic enrichment programs, including Newcomb-Tulane College’s core curriculum, Center for Academic Equity, Center for Global Education, Office of Academic Integrity, Office of Academic Enrichment, Summer School, and Fellowship Advising.

Kiese Laymon

Kiese Laymon is a Black southern writer from Jackson, Mississippi. Laymon is the Libby Shearn Moody Professor of English and Creative Writing at Rice University. Laymon is the author of Long Division, which won the 2022 NAACP Image Award for fiction, and the essay collection, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, named a notable book of 2021 by the New York Times critics. Laymon’s bestselling memoir, Heavy: An American Memoir, won the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, the Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose, the Barnes and Noble Discovery Award, the Austen Riggs Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media, and was named one of the 50 Best Memoirs of the Past 50 Years by The New York Times. The audiobook, read by the author, was named the Audible 2018 Audiobook of the Year. Laymon is the recipient of 2020-2021 Radcliffe Fellowship at Harvard. Laymon is at work on the books, Good God, and City Summer, Country Summer, and a number of other film and television projects. He is the founder of “The Catherine Coleman Literary Arts and Justice Initiative,” a program based out of the Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University, aimed at aiding young people in Jackson get more comfortable reading, writing, revising and sharing on their on their own terms, in their own communities. Kiese Laymon was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2022.

Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis has published many New York Times bestselling books on various subjects. His most recent works are The Premonition, The Fifth Risk, The Undoing Project, Flash Boys, and The Big Short. The Blind Side, published in 2006, tells the story of Michael Oher, a poor, illiterate African-American kid living on the streets of Memphis whose life is transformed after he is adopted by white Evangelical Christians. Before that he wrote Moneyball, a book ostensibly about baseball but also about the way markets value people. Both of his books about sports became movies, nominated for Academy Awards, as did his book about the 2008 financial crisis, The Big Short. His other works include Boomerang;The New New Thing, about Silicon Valley during the Internet boom; Coach, about the transformative powers of his own high school baseball coach;Losers, about the 1996 Presidential campaign; and Liar’s Poker, a Wall Street story based in part on his own experience working as a bond salesman for Salomon Brothers.

Mr. Lewis is a columnist for Bloomberg View and a contributing writer to Audible. His articles have also appeared in Vanity Fair, The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Gourmet, Slate, Sports Illustrated, Foreign Affairs, and Poetry Magazine. He has served as editor and columnist for the British weekly The Spectator and as senior editor and campaign correspondent for The New Republic. He has filmed and narrated short pieces for ABC-TV’s “Nightline;” created and presented a four part documentary on the social consequences of the internet for the British Broadcasting Corporation; and recorded stories for the American public radio show, This American Life.

Mr. Lewis grew up in New Orleans and remains deeply interested and involved in the city. He holds a bachelor’s degree in art history from Princeton and a master’s degree in economics from the London School of Economics. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife, Tabitha Soren, and their children. In 2009 he published Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood, about his attempts to raise them.

Sarah Lewis

Sarah Elizabeth Lewis is an associate professor of history of art and architecture and African and African American studies at Harvard University and the founder of The Vision & Justice Project.

Her research focuses on the intersection of visual representation, racial justice, and democracy in the United States from the nineteenth century through the present. Her books and edited volumes include The Rise, translated into seven languages, Carrie Mae Weems, which won the 2021 Photography Network Book Prize, and “Vision & Justice” by Aperture magazine which received the 2017 Infinity Award for Critical Writing and Research from the International Center of Photography. In 2019, Lewis received the Freedom Scholar Award, presented by The Association for the Study of African American Life and History for her body of work and its “direct positive impact on the life of African-Americans.” She was named an Andrew Carnegie Fellow in 2022.

Her forthcoming publications include Caucasian War: How Race Changed Sight in America (Harvard University Press, 2023), Vision & Justice (One World/Random House, 2024), and Groundwork: Race and Aesthetics in the Era of Stand Your Ground Law (Spring 2023). The article on which Groundwork is based, published in Art Journal (Winter 2020), won the 2022 Arthur Danto/ASA Prize from the American Philosophical Association for “the best paper in the field of aesthetics, broadly understood.” A frequent speaker at universities and conferences, including TED and SXSWedu, she has had op-eds, commentary, and profiles of her work published in outlets including The New York Times, Aperture, The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and The Boston Globe.

Lewis’s research has received fellowship and grant support from the Ford Foundation, the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University, the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition, the Whiting Foundation, the Lambent Foundation, and the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library.
Before joining the faculty at Harvard, she held curatorial positions at The Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Tate Modern, London. She also served as a Critic at Yale University School of

Art. Lewis currently serves on the boards of Thames & Hudson Inc., Creative Time, Harvard Design Press, and Civil War History journal, and is a member of the Yale University Honorary Degrees Committee. Her past board service includes the Andy Warhol Foundation of the Visual Arts, The Brearley School, and The CUNY Graduate Center. She received her bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, an M. Phil from Oxford University, an M.A. from Courtauld Institute of Art, and her Ph.D. from Yale University. She lives in New York City and Cambridge, MA.

Treva B. Lindsey

Treva B. Lindsey is a Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at The Ohio State University and the co-founder of Black Feminist Night School at Zora’s House. Her research and teaching interests include African American women’s history, black popular and expressive culture, black feminism(s), hip hop studies, critical race and gender theory, and sexual politics. Her most recent book, America Goddam: Violence, Black Women, and The Struggle for Justice (University of California Press) was described as “required reading for all Americans” a starred Kirkus review. Her first book, Colored No More: Reinventing Black Womanhood in Washington D.C was a Choice 2017 “Outstanding Academic Title.” She has published in The Journal of Pan-African Studies, Souls, African and Black Diaspora, the Journal of African American Studies, African American Review, The Journal of African American History, Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism, Urban Education, The Black Scholar, Feminist Studies, and Signs. She was a 2020-2021 ACLS/Mellon Scholars and Society Fellow. She was the inaugural Equity for Women and Girls of Color Fellow at Harvard University (2016-2017). She also writes for and contributes to outlets such as Time, CNN, Al Jazeera, NBC, BET, Complex, Vox, The Root, Huffington Post, PopSugar, Billboard, Bustle, Teen Vogue, Grazia UK, The Grio, The Washington Post, Women’s Media Center, Zora, and Cosmopolitan.

Jonathan Martin

General Stanley McChrystal

A one-of-a-kind commander with a new perspective on organizational dynamics, General Stan McChrystal is known for helping elite teams tap into the potential of their people to better compete in a complex and interconnected world. Called “one of America’s greatest warriors” by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, few can speak about leadership, teamwork, technology, and international affairs with as much insight as he can.

After retiring from the U.S. Army as a four-star general, General McChrystal turned his expertise to the business world. He is the Founder and CEO of the McChrystal Group, which helps Fortune 500 Companies strike the right balance between hierarchical and decentralized team mindsets and structures. The mission of the McChrystal Group is to deliver innovative leadership solutions to organizations from General McChrystal’s unique perspective—the intersection of business, academia, and the military. In particular, he and his firm focus on the power of network analysis and machine learning to strengthen how companies connect, internally and externally. As the author of the best-selling management books, My Share of the Task: A Memoir, Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World, Leaders: Myth and Reality, and Risk: A User’s Guide, General McChrystal offers a battle-tested system for detecting and responding to risk.

In a tech-driven world where things are moving at a speed we’ve never experienced, we need leaders more than ever. After thirty-four years of service in the U.S. Army—including as commander of US and International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) Afghanistan and commander of the nation’s premier counter-terrorism force— General McChrystal can deliver innovative advice on leadership, in addition to solutions for businesses across the world to help them transform and succeed in challenging, dynamic environments. More than that, though, he hopes to act as an advocate for using technology to advance foreign policy, human rights, and the way that we all connect on a human level.

Heather McGhee

Heather designs and promotes solutions to inequality in America. Over her career in public policy, Heather has crafted legislation, testified before Congress and helped shape presidential campaign platforms. Her book The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together spent 10 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and was longlisted for the National Book Award and Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction. The New York Times called it, “The book that should change how progressives talk about race.” and the Chicago Tribune said, “Required reading to move the country forward...”. It is a Washington Post and TIME Magazine Must-Read Book of 2021. The paperback version will be out in February 2022. The Sum of Us will be adapted into a Spotify podcast by Higher Ground, the production company of Barack and Michelle Obama in June 2022, and into a young adult readers’ version by Random House Children’s in 2023.

Heather is an educator, serving currently as a Visiting Lecturer in Urban Studies at the City University of New York’s School of Labor and Urban Studies. She has also held visiting positions at Yale University’s Brady-Johnson Grand Strategy Program and the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics. She is the recipient of honorary degrees from Muhlenberg College, Niagara University, and CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy.

For nearly two decades, Heather helped build the non-partisan "think and do" tank Demos, serving four years as president. Under McGhee’s leadership, Demos moved their original idea for “debt-free college” into the center of the 2016 presidential debate, argued before the Supreme Court to protect voting rights in January 2018, helped win pro-voter reforms in five states over two years, provided expert testimony to Congressional committees, including a Supreme Court confirmation hearing in 2017, and led the research campaigns behind successful wage increases for low-paid workers on federal contracts, as well as at McDonalds, Walmart and other chain retailers.

As an executive, McGhee transformed Demos on multiple levels. She led a successful strategic planning and rebranding process. She designed a Racial Equity Organizational Transformation which led to an increase in staff racial diversity (from 27 percent people of color to 60 percent in four years), an original racial equity curriculum for staff professional development and a complete overhaul of the organization’s research, litigation and campaign strategies using a racial equity lens. McGhee also nearly doubled the organizational budget in four years. A strong coalition-builder and trusted cross-movement leader, McGhee deepened Demos’ influence through new networks and collaborations inside and outside the Beltway.

An influential voice in the media and a former NBC contributor, McGhee regularly appears on NBC’s Meet the Press and MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Deadline White House and All In. Her 2020 TED talk is entitled “Racism Has a Cost for Everyone”. She has shared her opinions, writing and research in numerous outlets, including the Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Politico and National Public Radio. McGhee’s conversation on a C-SPAN program in 2016 with a white man who asked for her help to overcome his racial prejudice went viral, receiving more than 10 million views and sparking wide media coverage that included a New York Times op-ed, a New Yorker piece and a CNN town hall. In spring 2018, Starbucks founder Howard Schultz asked McGhee to advise the company as it designed an anti-bias training for 250,000 employees in the wake of the unjust arrest of two black men in a Philadelphia store. McGhee wrote a report with recommendations for how Starbucks can apply a racial equity lens to their businesses, and how other companies both large and small can benefit from doing the same.

McGhee also played a leadership role in steering the historic Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and was one of the key advocates credited for the adoption of the Volcker Rule.
She holds a B.A. in American Studies from Yale University and a J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law,. McGhee is the chair of the board of Color Of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization, and also serves on the boards of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Open Society Foundations’ US Programs and Demos.

Jon Meacham

Jon Meacham is a Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer. The Rogers Chair in the American Presidency at Vanderbilt University, he is the author of the New York Times bestsellers His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope, Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House, American Gospel, and Franklin and Winston. A fellow of the Society of American Historians, Meacham lives in Nashville.

Michelle Miller

Michelle Miller is a co-host of "CBS Saturday Morning." Her work regularly appears on "CBS Mornings," "CBS Sunday Morning," the "CBS Evening News," and "48 Hours."

From presidential elections to the climate crisis, her area of coverage is wide-ranging, but her reporting on social justice has been particularly groundbreaking. From her coverage of the killings of George Floyd, Trayvon Martin, and Michael Brown, the Emanuel 9 Massacre in Charleston, to sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby, Russell Simmons, and Harvey Weinstein, Miller has been at the forefront of these issues.

She was the first CBS News correspondent on the ground at the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and followed the movement to change the nation's gun laws, including the March for Our Lives protests. Her coverage has extended overseas to the refugee crisis in the Middle East, the life of Nelson Mandela, and the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Miller's reporting has earned her several prestigious journalism awards including an Emmy for her series of reports on the National Guard's Youth Challenge Academy, a Gracie award for "48 Hours: Live to Tell: Trafficked" and a Murrow Award for her coverage of a daycare center stand-off in New Orleans.

Marc Morial

Marc Morial, who has been described as one of the few national leaders to possess “street smarts”, and “boardroom savvy”, is the current President and CEO of the National Urban League, the nation’s largest historic civil rights and urban advocacy organization.

He served as the highly successful and popular Mayor of New Orleans as well as the President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. He previously was a Louisiana State Senator, and was a lawyer in New Orleans with an active, high profile practice.

He is a leading voice on the national stage in the battle for jobs, education, housing and voting rights equity.

A graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, and the University of Pennsylvania, he has been recognized as one of the 100 most influential Black Americans by Ebony Magazine, one of the top 50 Non Profit Leaders by the Non Profit Times, one of the 100 Most Influential Black Lawyers in America and he has also been inducted into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame in Atlanta, GA.

Katy Morlas

David Rae Morris

David Rae Morris was born in Oxford, England and grew up in New York City. He holds a B.A. from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, in 1982, and an M.A. In Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Minnesota in 1991. His photographs have been published in National Geographic, Time Magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, New York Times, Utne Reader, The Nation, as well as the Angolite, the official Magazine of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, and Love And Rage, a national anarchist weekly. He had also served as a contributing photographer for the Associated Press, Reuters, and Agency France Presse, and the European Pressphoto Agency.

In 1999, Morris collaborated with his late father, the noted author Willie Morris, on My Mississippi, a collection of essays and photographs about the state of Mississippi and her people published by the University Press of Mississippi. His photographs are in many private and public collections including in the permanent collections of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans, and Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson. His exhibit, “Do You Know What it Means? The Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina,” opened at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art ten weeks after Katrina made landfall. His post Katrina work was also featured in the book, Missing New Orleans, published by the Ogden in November 2005 and have appeared in the HBO series “Treme.” His 2012 film “Integrating Ole Miss: James Meredith and Beyond” (mpbonline.org/integratingolemiss/) was broadcast on Mississippi Public Broadcasting and received a Special Recognition Award from the Mississippi Humanities Council and a Telly Award. His third film, “Yazoo Revisited” (http://www.davidraemorris.com/YazooRevisited.html) examines the integration of the public schools in his father’s hometown of Yazoo City, Mississippi. It won the “Most Transformative Film” award at the 2015 Crossroads Film Festival in Jackson, and shown at festivals in Clarksdale, Oxford, Hattiesburg, Gulfport and at the 26th Annual New Orleans Film Festival. It was also shown at festivals in Orlando, Lafayette, Kansas, Columbia, SC, Macon, GA. He has taught at the University of Minnesota and Ohio University. His latest book Love, Daddy: Letters From My Father, was published by the University Press of Mississippi in 2022. He and his long time partner, Susanne Dietzel, have an 21 year-old daughter, Uma Rae Morris Dietzel. They live in New Orleans with two cats.

Walter Mosley

Admiral Mike Mullen

Admiral Mike Mullen is President of MGM Consulting which provides counsel to global clients on issues related to geo-political developments, national security interests and strategic leadership.
He served as the 28th Chief of Naval Operations from 2005-2007 and as the 17th Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff for Presidents Bush and Obama from 2007 to 2011. He led the military during a critical time of change and transition.

Admiral Mullen advanced the rapid fielding of innovative technologies, championed emerging and enduring global partnerships, and promoted new methods for countering terrorism. He spearheaded the elimination of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, ushering for the first time in US military history the open service of gay and lesbian men and women.

Admiral Mullen is a Distinguished Graduate of the US Naval Academy and a Distinguished Graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School, a Distinguished Alumni of Harvard Business School, a Member of the National Academy of Engineering and serves as a Trustee at Caltech. Since his retirement from the United States Navy in November 2011 after 43 years of honorable service, Admiral Mullen joined the corporate boards of General Motors from 2013-2018 and Sprint from 2013-2019. He continues to serve on numerous boards to includeBloomberg Philanthropies, CALTECH, Naval Academy Foundation, Naval Postgraduate School Foundation, Harvard Business School and a wide array of non-profit organizations dedicated to improving the growth, development, recovery, and transition of military veterans and their families.

Additionally, he taught National Security Decision-Making and Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of International and Public Affairs at Princeton University from 2012- 2018 and continues to teach advanced ethics and leadership at the US Naval Academy.

Richard Ovenden

Richard Ovenden has been Bodley’s Librarian since 2014, and is the 25th person to hold the title, which is the senior executive position of the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford. In February 2022 he was also made Head of Gardens, Libraries and Museums at the University.

He sits on the Board of the Consortium of European Research Libraries, and the Council on Library and Information Resources and is currently President of the Digital Preservation Coalition. He holds Fellowships of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Royal Historical Society and the Society of Antiquaries, and was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 2015. He was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2019 and holds a Professorial Fellowship at Balliol College.

Casey Parks

Casey Parks is a Washington Post reporter who covers gender and family issues. She was previously a staff reporter at the Jackson (Miss.) Free Press and spent a decade at The Oregonian, where she wrote about race and LGBTQ+ issues and was a finalist for the Livingston Award. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Oxford American, ESPN, USA Today, and The Nation. A former Spencer Fellow at Columbia University, Parks was most recently awarded the 2021 J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award for her work on Diary of a Misfit. Parks lives in Portland.

Imani Perry

Imani Perry is the Hughes Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, and a scholar of law, literature, and cultural history. South to America: A Journey Below the Mason Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation was published in January of this year, and is her 7th book. Previous books include the award-winning titles: Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry and May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem. Perry is a native of Birmingham, Alabama and currently lives in the Philadelphia area with her two sons.

Tom Piazza

Tom Piazza is celebrated both as a novelist and as a writer on American music. His twelve books include the novels A Free State and City Of Refuge, the short-story collection Blues and Trouble, the post-Katrina manifesto Why New Orleans Matters, and Devil Sent The Rain: Music and Writing in Desperate America, a collection of his essays and journalism. He was a principal writer for the innovative HBO drama series Treme, and the winner of a Grammy Award for his album notes to Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues: A Musical Journey. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Bookforum, The Oxford American, Columbia Journalism Review, and many other periodicals. He lives in New Orleans.

Karisma Price

Karisma Price is the author of I'm Always so Serious (Sarabande Books, Feb 2023). Her work has appeared in Poetry, Four Way Review, Wildness, The Adroit Journal, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships from Cave Canem and New York University, was a finalist for the 2019 Manchester Poetry Prize, and was awarded The 2020 J. Howard and Barbara M.J. Wood Prize from The Poetry Foundation. She is from New Orleans, LA, and holds an MFA in poetry from New York University. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Poetry at Tulane University.

Jason Reid

Jason Reid was named senior NFL writer for Andscape, ESPN’s platform exploring the intersections of sports, race, and culture, in January 2016, after serving as an NFL columnist, forESPN.com for a year. He joined ESPN in February 2015 as an NFL columnist and his work appeared on the NFL pages of ESPN.com. Prior to joining ESPN, Reid covered the Los Angeles Dodgers for the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Commanders for the Washington Post and was a general sports columnist for the Post. At Andscape, some of Reid’s NFL work includes enterprise reporting around the NFL’s support of social justice organization in the wake of players’ protests, and the ensuing discord among the players. In April 2017, Reid co-authored ‘The NFL’s Racial Divide’, which won the 2018 NABJ Salute to Excellence Award in the sports digital media category.

Nathaniel Rich

Nathaniel Rich is the author of Losing Earth, a finalist for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Award and the winner of awards from the Society of Environmental Journalists and the American Institute of Physics. His most recent book, Second Nature, longlisted for the PEN/E.O Wilson, features the story “Dark Waters,” which was adapted into a film starring Mark Ruffalo. Rich is also the author of the novels King Zeno and Odds Against Tomorrow, a writer-at-large for The New York Times Magazine, and a frequent contributor to the Atlantic and the New York Review of Books. He lives in New Orleans and teaches writing at Tulane.

David Rubenstein

David M. Rubenstein is a Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of The Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest and most successful private investment firms. Mr. Rubenstein co-founded the firm in 1987. Since then, Carlyle has grown into a firm managing $260 billion from 29 offices around the world.

Mr. Rubenstein is Chairman of the Boards of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Economic Club of Washington; a Fellow of the Harvard Corporation; a Trustee of the National Gallery of Art, the University of Chicago, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins Medicine, the Institute for Advanced Study, the National Constitution Center, the Brookings Institution, and the World Economic Forum; and a Director of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Mr. Rubenstein is a member of the American Philosophical Society, Business Council, Harvard Global Advisory Council (Chairman), Madison Council of the Library of Congress (Chairman), Board of Dean’s Advisors of the Business School at Harvard, Advisory Board of the School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University (former Chairman), and Board of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers Community.

Mr. Rubenstein has served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Duke University and the Smithsonian Institution, and Co-Chairman of the Board of the Brookings Institution.

Mr. Rubenstein is an original signer of The Giving Pledge, a significant donor to all of the above-mentioned non-profit organizations, and a recipient of the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy, and the MoMA’s David Rockefeller Award, among other philanthropic awards.

Mr. Rubenstein has been a leader in the area of Patriotic Philanthropy, having made transformative gifts for the restoration or repair of the Washington Monument, Monticello, Montpelier, Mount Vernon, Arlington House, Iwo Jima Memorial, the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian, the National Archives, the National Zoo, the Library of Congress, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Mr. Rubenstein has also provided to the U.S. government long-term loans of his rare copies of the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Emancipation Proclamation, the 13th Amendment, the first map of the U.S. (Abel Buell map), and the first book printed in the U.S. (Bay Psalm Book).

Mr. Rubenstein is the host of The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations on Bloomberg TV and PBS; and the author of The American Story: Conversations with Master Historians, a book published by Simon & Schuster in October 2019, and How to Lead: Wisdom from the World's Greatest CEOs, Founders, and Game Changers, a book published by Simon & Schuster in September 2020.

Mr. Rubenstein, a native of Baltimore, is a 1970 magna cum laude graduate of Duke University, where he was elected Phi Beta Kappa. Following Duke, Mr. Rubenstein graduated in 1973 from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was an editor of the Law Review.

From 1973-1975, Mr. Rubenstein practiced law in New York with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. From 1975-1976, he served as Chief Counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments. From 1977-1981, during the Carter Administration, Mr. Rubenstein was Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy. After his White House service and before co-founding Carlyle, Mr. Rubenstein practiced law in Washington with Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge (now Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman).

April Ryan

White House Correspondent April Ryan has a unique vantage point as the only black female reporter covering urban issues from the White House – a position she has held for 25 years, since the Clinton era. Her position as a White House Correspondent has afforded her unusual insight into the racial sensitivities, issues, and attendant political struggles of our nation’s past presidents.

April can be seen on CNN. She is also the Washington D.C Bureau Chief on TheGrio. She has been featured in Essence, Vogue, Cosmopolitan and Elle magazines – to name a few. April Ryan has served on the board of the prestigious White House Correspondents Association. She is one of only three African Americans in the Association’s over 100-year history to serve on its board. She is also an esteemed member of the National Press Club. In 2015, Ms. Ryan was nominated for an NAACP Image Award (Outstanding Literary Work - Debut Author) for her first book. 2016 National Council of Negro Women, Mary McCloud Bethune Trailblazer.

In 2019 April Ryan became an honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and was recognized as the 2019 Freedom of the Press Award Winner by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. April was nominated in 2021 with the NAACP Image Award for Social Justice Impact. April is a Baltimore native and Morgan State University graduate, and she gives back to this community by serving as a mentor to aspiring journalists and assisting with developing “up and coming” broadcasters. April considers her greatest life’s work raising her two daughters, Ryan and Grace – who are phenomenal young women.

April Ryan is the author of the award-winning book, The Presidency in Black and White, and At Mama's Knee: Mothers and Race in Black and White (December 2016), where she looks at race relations through the lessons and wisdom that mothers have given their children. Her latest book is Under Fire: Reporting from the Front Lines of the Trump White House.

Tom Sancton

New Orleanian Tom Sancton took his B.A. at Harvard and his D. Phil at Oxford, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar. He spent more than two decades as a writer, editor, and foreign correspondent for TIME magazine, including nine years as Paris Bureau Chief. He has taught at the American University of Paris and Tulane University, which named him the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities in 2007-2008. His previous books deal with varied subjects including Franco-American relations, the death of Princess Diana, New Orleans jazz, and a French scandal involving L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt. He currently holds the title of Research Professor at Tulane and divides his time between Paris and New Orleans. The French government has decorated him as a Chevalier (Knight) in the Order of Arts and Letters.

Alon Shaya

Chef-Partner, Pomegranate Hospitality (New Orleans: Saba; Miss River and Chandelier Bar at Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans; Denver: Safta)
Author, Shaya: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel

Alon Shaya is Chef-Partner of Pomegranate Hospitality, which includes Saba in New Orleans, Safta in Denver, and both Miss River and Chandelier Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans. Born in Israel, raised in Philadelphia, and a proud New Orleanian, Alon has always had a deep love and appreciation for food and the singular way restaurants anchor their communities.

In 2017, Alon and his wife Emily founded Pomegranate Hospitality with a mission to create a space where meaningful, lasting relationships are created, community engagement prospers, cultural differences are celebrated, and personal and professional growth of the team are weighed with equal measure.

He is the author of Shaya: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel. Part memoir and part cookbook, Shaya shares Alon’s deeply personal journey of survival and discovery, exploring the evolution of a cuisine and the transformative power and magic of food and cooking.

Alon, a multiple James Beard Foundation award-winner, was named "Best Chef, South" in 2015, and his restaurant won "Best New Restaurant" the following year. He was named one of the "50 People Who Are Changing the South" by Southern Living and one of the "50 Most Influential Jews in America" by The Forward.

When not working, Alon loves to spend time with his wife Emily, daughter Ruth, and their two dogs Henry and Ceci. He enjoys traveling for new food experiences around the world, playing tennis, and fly fishing.

Katy Simpson Smith

Katy Simpson Smith was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. She is the author of the novels The Story of Land and Sea, a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice and one of Vogue’s Best Books of 2014; Free Men; and The Everlasting, a New York Times Best Historical Fiction Book of 2020. Her writing has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Paris Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Oxford American, Granta, and elsewhere. She received a PhD in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars, and is also the author of We Have Raised All of You: Motherhood in the South, 1750-1835. She lives in New Orleans.

Clint Smith

Clint Smith is a staff writer at The Atlantic. He is the author of the narrative nonfiction book, How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America, which was a #1 New York Times Bestseller and a 2021 National Book Critics Circle Award Winner for Nonfiction, and the poetry collection Counting Descent, which won the 2017 Literary Award for Best Poetry Book from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. He has received fellowships from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, New America, the Emerson Collective, the Art For Justice Fund, Cave Canem, and the National Science Foundation. His essays, poems, and scholarly writing have been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, Poetry Magazine, The Paris Review, the Harvard Educational Review and elsewhere.

Jacob Soboroff

Jacob Soboroff is a correspondent for NBC News and MSNBC and the author of the New York Times bestseller Separated: Inside an American Tragedy. For his reporting on the Trump administration’s child separation policy, he received the 2019 Walter Cronkite Award for Individual Achievement by a National Journalist and the 2019 Hillman Prize for Broadcast Journalism. He is also the recipient of a 2020 Ruben Salazar Journalism Award from California Chicano News Media Association: Latino Journalists of California. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Nicole Cari and their two children.

Susan Spicer

Susan Spicer began her cooking career in New Orleans as an apprentice to Chef Daniel Bonnot at the Louis XVI Restaurant in 1979. Her resume includes staging with Chef Roland Durand in Paris, extensive travel in Europe and California, as well as stints at chef at Savoire Faire and the Bistro at Maison de Ville in New Orleans.
She and Regina Keever partnered together to open Bayona in the spring of 1990. With solid support from local diners and critics, Bayona soon earned national attention, countless awards and has been featured in numerous publications. Susan received the 1993 James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef Southeast.
Susan’s first book, entitled Crescent City Cooking: Unforgettable Recipes from Susan Spicer’s New Orleans, was released in 2007. New Orleans Magazine awarded it Best New Cookbook, and it was also included in Food & Wine’s Best of the Best recipe collection
In May of 2010, Susan was inducted into the James Beard Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America. The same year she launched Mondo, a casual, family-style restaurant which opened in Chef Spicer’s neighborhood of Lakeview. In October 2016 she opened her third restaurant, Rosedale, a neighborhood joint in a unique and historic building that serves her own style of Louisiana home cooking. In the Spring of 2019, Mondo will join other great New Orleans restaurants in the new terminals at Louis Armstrong International Airport.

Dana Spiotta

Dana Spiotta is the author of five novels, most recently Wayward, which was a New York Times Critics' Top Book of the Year. Spiotta has been a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. She was a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Rome Prize, the St. Francis College Literary Prize, and the John Updike Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She teaches in the Syracuse University Creative Writing Program.

Richard Stengel

Richard Stengel served as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs during the final three years of the Obama administration. At the State Department, he oversaw the bureaus of Educational and Cultural Affairs, International Information Programs, Public Affairs, and helped create the Global Engagement Center, the State Department’s lone entity tasked with combatting violent extremist messaging and disinformation around the world.

Before joining the State Department, Stengel was the Editor of TIME from 2006 to 2013, where he oversaw all print and digital platforms. Under his leadership, TIME won the National Magazine Award for Magazine of the Year in 2012, the first and only time it has won that award. In that same year, Stengel received an Emmy award for his work as executive producer of TIME’s documentary, “Beyond 9/11: Portraits of Resilience.”

From 2004 to 2006, Stengel was President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

He was the Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University in 1999.

From 1992 to 1994, Stengel collaborated with Nelson Mandela on the South African’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. Stengel later wrote a book about his experience working with Mandela, the New York Times bestseller Mandela’s Way, and was an associate producer on the 1996 Oscar-nominated documentary, “Mandela.”

Stengel is the author of several books in addition to Mandela’s Way, including January Sun: One Day, Three Lives, A South African Town and You’re Too Kind: A Brief History of Flattery. He also edited and wrote the introduction to the TIME book, The Constitution: The Essential User’s Guide. His latest book is Information Wars: How We Lost the Global Battle Against Disinformation and What We Can Do About It. The Washington Post said it “should be required reading for new State Department employees.”

Stengel is an NBC/MSNBC analyst, a Distinguished Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Research Lab in Washington, and a board member of CARE.

He led President Biden’s transition team on the U.S. Agency for Global Media.

Stengel was an undergraduate at Princeton where he played on the 1975 NIT championship basketball team. He studied English and History at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar.

Sue Strachan

Sue Strachan has written about New Orleans culture, food, history and current events for the New Orleans Times-Picayune, New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles, New Orleans Magazine, St. Charles Avenue, Preservation in Print, the Camellia Bean blog as well as other topics for Time (Asia) and HG magazine. She also served as public relations director for the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

Sue’s first book — “The Café Brûlot” — is part of LSU Press’ Iconic New Orleans Cocktail series. She is currently writing her second book while working as an editor at financial media company, Benzinga. You can also watch her on WWL-TV’s Great Day Louisiana talking about movies for “Hollywood Highlights.”

Sue is a graduate of Tulane University.

Website: Suestrachan.com

Michael Strecker

Michael Strecker is a writer from Louisiana. His short fiction has appeared in “The Critic,” a literary journal that has published some of the country’s most highly regarded writers, including Walker Percy, Flannery O’Connor and Graham Greene. His short story “The Woman at the Well” was selected as a finalist in the Tennessee Williams Festival’s 2021 Fiction Writing Contest. He was also named a Tennessee Williams finalist in 2022. In addition, he is the author of several books for children published by Sterling Publishing and Pelican Publishing Company. His fourth children’s is pending publication by Scholastic. He is also an award-winning standup comedian who has performed with some of the country’s top acts including Ken Jeong, Jack Johannsen and Rhett Butler. He lives with his wife Jillian and their sons, Stephen and Joseph, in Mandeville, La.

Kara Swisher

Kara Swisher is the host of “Sway,” the twice-weekly interview podcast about power by New York Times Opinion. She has been a contributing Opinion writer since 2018 and writes a weekly newsletter.
Over her career, Ms. Swisher has hosted hundreds of newsmaking interviews, going head-to-head with prominent figures including Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Rupert Murdoch, Stacey Abrams, Kim Kardashian and President Barack Obama. Her early and no-holds-barred coverage of the technology industry earned her a reputation as "Silicon Valley’s most feared and well-liked journalist."

Ms. Swisher studied at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where she wrote her first technology story for the school paper (it was in 1980 — and the technology was pay phones). She subsequently received a graduate degree from Columbia University’s School of Journalism, became an editor at The City Paper in Washington, D.C., and interned at The Washington Post, where she worked her way up to reporter and covered nascent digital companies like America Online (a.k.a. AOL).
Ms. Swisher moved to the San Francisco bureau of The Wall Street Journal in the 1990s as one of the first reporters on the internet beat and eventually began her popular "Boom Town" column. With her longtime collaborator Walt Mossberg, she was a co-producer of the technology conference "D: All Things Digital," where they interviewed major tech figures including Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. The duo later founded Recode, which was sold to Vox in 2015.

In addition to her contributions to The Times, Ms. Swisher is an editor-at-large at New York Media, host of the "Pivot" podcast and executive producer of the Code Conference. She is the author of "aol.com: How Steve Case Beat Bill Gates, Nailed the Netheads and Made Millions in the War for the Web," co-author of the sequel, "There Must Be a Pony in Here Somewhere," and currently penning a memoir that will be released by Simon and Schuster in 2022. She has previously appeared and consulted on "Silicon Valley," a show by HBO, which is now a part of WarnerMedia, and also hosts a companion podcast for season three of HBO’s "Succession."

She currently lives in Washington with her wife, various cats and dogs, and her three children.

Evan Thomas

Evan Thomas is the author of ten books, including The Wise Men (with Walter Isaacson), The Man to See, The Very Best Men, Robert Kennedy, John Paul Jones, Sea of Thunder, The War Lovers, Ike’s Bluff, Being Nixon, and First: Sandra Day O’Connor. John Paul Jones, Sea of Thunder, Being Nixon, and First were all New York Times bestsellers. Thomas was a writer, correspondent, and editor for thirty-three years at Time and Newsweek, including ten years (1986–96) as Newsweek’s Washington bureau chief. He has appeared on many TV and radio talk shows, including Meet the Press, CBS Morning News, Morning Joe, and The Colbert Report. Thomas taught writing and journalism at Harvard and Princeton, where, from 2007 to 2014, he was Ferris Professor of Journalism.

His next book, Road to Surrender, about the last two weeks of the Pacific War,will be published by Random House in June 2023.

Michael Tisserand

Michael Tisserand is a New Orleans-based author whose 2017 book, KRAZY: GEORGE HERRIMAN, A LIFE AND BLACK AND WHITE explored the art and life of cartoonist George Herriman, New Orleans-born creator of the comic strip “Krazy Kat.” THE NEW YORK TIMES included KRAZY in its one hundred notable books for 2017. KRAZY also received the Eisner Award for best comics-related book, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle and PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld awards for biography.

In 2021, Tisserand launched his quarantine project MY FATHER WHEN YOUNG — a self-published collection of 1950s-era Kodachome slides he discovered during the shutdown in his late father’s things. Subjects include street scenes in European cities, parties in Indiana and Kentucky, and 1959 Mardi Gras. “Jerry Tisserand’s photos from the late ‘50s hit us with a startling power, like a Kodachrome time capsule dropping on our front step,” said Ben Yagoda, author of THE NEW YORKER AND THE WORLD IT MADE. Said Roy Blount Jr.: “Imagine finding all this from your dad. Or even someone else’s.”

In the years preceding Hurricane Katrina, Tisserand served as editor of GAMBIT, New Orleans’ alternative weekly, and much of Tisserand’s published work focuses on Louisiana history and culture. He explored Louisiana music in his first book, THE KINGDOM OF ZYDECO, which received the ASCAP-Deems Taylor award for music writing. “This is an important book for anyone with an interest in life, American music, southern culture, dancing, accordions, the recording industry, folklore, old dance clubs in the weeds, fortune tellers, hoodoos, or shotguns,” said Annie Proulx. In 2006, Tisserand told his own Katrina story in his second book, SUGARCANE ACADEMY.

When not writing, Tisserand is an occasional chess coach and promoter, as well as founding member of the Mardi Gras parading organization The Laissez Boys. More information about Tisserand and his work can be found at www.MIchaelTisserand.com

Poppy Tooker

Poppy Tooker is a native New Orleanian who has spent her life immersed in the vibrant colors and flavors of her state.

Poppy’s NPR-affiliated radio show and podcast, Louisiana Eats!, carries her message state-wide and beyond.

In April 2018 Louisiana Eats was named Best National AND Best Regional Radio Program in the Food and Beverage category by the Taste Awards in Los Angeles.

Louisiana Eats! was awarded first, second and third place in the Best Radio Show category by the New Orleans Press Club in 2015 and 2016. In 2017, the national Taste Awards recognized Louisiana Eats! in the category of best beverage and drinks programming.

In 2013, her radio show inspired the Louisiana Eats! book, which received the Literary Award of the Year from the Louisiana Library Association.

Poppy will also be serving as the judge for 2018's Ora King Salmon Awards out of New Zealand. In that capacity, she will be traveling across the U.S. in the late summer, judging the salmon dishes of the 6 American semi-finalists. New Zealand, Australian and Japanese chefs will be competing also. The award will be given out in Nelson, New Zealand, October 16, 2018.

After being tapped to update one of the earliest Louisiana cookbooks, Madame Begue’s Creole Recipes of Old New Orleans Creole Cookery, which was first published in 1900, Poppy went on to continue the story of Begue’s with Tujague's Cookbook, Creole Recipes and Lore in the Grand New Orleans Tradition.
The Pascal’s Manale Cookbook will chronicle the food and the story of New Orleans second oldest, continuously operating family-owned restaurant. The book will be published in the fall of 2018. To purchase personalized copies of Poppy’s books, click here.

As a culinary activist, Poppy has been instrumental in reviving endangered local foods, such as Creole cream cheese and rice calas (click for recipes). As a leader and a friend, she was a key element in the success of the Crescent City Farmers Market. In 2007, Poppy authored the Crescent City Farmers Market Cookbook which was given the Eula Mae Dore Tabasco Award for its historical and cultural content. Her on-camera flair has been on national television alongside celebrities that include Bobby Flay, Andrew Zimmern, Jeff Corwin, Mo Rocca, and even Wynton Marsalis.

Poppy also appears weekly on the WYES public television show, Steppin’ Out, with spicy food commentary.

Visitors and locals alike savor the opportunity to enjoy Poppy’s speaking engagements and culinary demonstrations, which tie together delicious history with original recipes.

She’s a cultural ambassador on a mission. In fact, you can call it destiny. “It has been my lifelong dream to bring my great-grandmother’s favorite saying to life. When I was a little girl, she would never tell me to clean my plate. Instead, she’d say 'Poppy, eat it to save it!'” This became her life’s mantra and fueled her desire to work as a culinary activist promoting and preserving food culture and history, while safe guarding the planet’s biodiversity. Poppy brought her motto to life through a television pilot, Eat It To Save It!
Poppy founded the Slow Food New Orleans Chapter in 1999 creating one of the first 10 chapters in the United States. She was selected to serve as an International Governor with the movement. Following Hurricane Katrina, Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini awarded Poppy with its first ever leadership award.
Following Hurricane Katrina, Poppy was recognized by the Times Picayune as a "Hero of the Storm”, a story which was nationally told on the Weather Channel. In 2012, Southern Living magazine named Poppy a “Hero of the New South” for her work in foodways. The International Association of Cooking Professionals recognized Poppy’s efforts in April 2008, with their first ever Community Service Award.

Natasha Trethewey

Natasha Trethewey served two terms as the 19th Poet Laureate of the United States (2012-2014). She is the author of five collections of poetry, Monument (2018), which was longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award; Thrall (2012); Native Guard (2006), for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, Bellocq’s Ophelia (2002); and Domestic Work (2000), which was selected by Rita Dove as the winner of the inaugural Cave Canem Poetry Prize for the best first book by an African American poet and won both the 2001 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize and the 2001 Lillian Smith Award for Poetry. She is also the author of the memoir Memorial Drive (2020). Her book of nonfiction, Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, appeared in 2010. She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Beinecke Library at Yale, and the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. At Northwestern University she is a Board of Trustees Professor of English in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. In 2012 she was named Poet Laureate of the State of Mississippi and in 2013 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Leigh Anne Tuohy

The chronicle of the Tuohy family’s life, Michael Lewis’ New York Times number one best-seller The Blind Side, went on to become a record-breaking Hollywood blockbuster that earned more than $300 million at the box office and became the number one opening weekend sports film in history. The film boldly depicts both the struggles and triumphs of building a blended family; Sandra Bullock won her first Academy Award for her portrayal of Leigh Anne in the film.

A Memphis, Tennessee native, Leigh Anne attended Briarcrest Christian School and went on to graduate from the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor’s of Science in Interior Design. Leigh Anne owns “Flair I,” an interior design firm. Her work has been featured on HGTV and in numerous publications. She has designed for such clients as Peyton Manning, Scottie Pippen, Isaac Bruce, and OJ Mayo and was a member of the design team for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Season 8 during the 2010-11 season.
The Tuohy family is actively involved in many civic and faith-based organizations, including Grace Evangelical Church, of which they are founding members. In 2010, Leigh Anne was awarded an honorary doctorate from Christian Brothers University for her outstanding commitment to Christian service and cheerful giving; she delights in her new moniker, Dr. Tuohy.

Years after The Blind Side burst onto the scene, breaking box office records and inspiring individuals nationwide, Leigh Anne continues to make an impact. In July 2010, she and her husband, Sean, released the New York Times best-seller, In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving, and established their charity, The Making it Happen Foundation, which promotes awareness, provides hope, and improves standards of living for all the children fighting to survive in the invisible cracks in society. Leigh Anne’s newest book, Turn Around, a five-day-per-week devotional that uses scripture as a springboard to reconsider what it means to give sacrificially, generously, and immediately―many times, without having to leave your own community.

The Tuohy family’s inspirational story has been covered all over the national media, including Katie, Fox and Friends, Good Morning America, 20/20, The Today Show, Dr. Drew, Sean Hannity, Huffington Post Live , and Huckabee, to name a few. Leigh Anne has also been a contributing writer to the AARP weekly blog and More.com, offering advice through personal stories of determination and charitable giving.
Leigh Anne was seen on Family Addition with Leigh Anne Tuohy on UP, the network dedicated to uplifting entertainment. The television show featured families as they go through the practical, physical, and emotional process of adding a new family member and also facilitated a makeover of part of their homes to accommodate the new addition.

Through all of their projects, the Tuohy family continues their mission to inspire hope, ignite generosity, and make it happen for the deserving, but underserved youth.

Sean Tuohy

A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Tuohy knew what it meant to be the poor kid in a private school… he had been one himself. With sports as his meal ticket through high school and college, Tuohy left home after graduating from The Isidore Newman School and headed for The University of Mississippi, better known as Ole Miss, on a basketball scholarship. When Tuohy graduated from Ole Miss, he shattered every major SEC assist record. Tuohy had become a legend in the SEC! He led Ole Miss to their first ever SEC championship and holds honors from Hall of Fames to retired jerseys.

Drafted by the NBA’s New Jersey Nets in 1982, Tuohy opted to continue his career overseas before returning to the US to be with his father during his final days. He became a successful entrepreneur building a company that now owns and operates fast food restaurants including Taco Bell, KFC and Freddy’s.

Tuohy has been married to his college cheerleader sweetheart, the former Leigh Anne Roberts, since 1982. They are the proud parents of daughter Collins and sons Michael Oher and Sean Junior.
Prior to Tuohy’s NBA Broadcasting career, he was an analyst for the radio broadcast at Ole Miss as well as a broadcaster for Westwood One and CBS radio. In addition to his demanding business, broadcasting, school and church schedules (he along with several others helped to create one of the fastest growing evangelical churches in Memphis, the Grace Evangelical Church) Tuohy is heavily involved in numerous organizations that support kids. Tuohy says, “It’s easy to beat up a kid. The hard thing is to build him up.”
That philosophy is what propelled the Tuohy family to bring Michael into their home, give him love and support, and eventually adopt him as their son.

The Tuohy’s life was chronicled in Michael Lewis’ New York Times bestseller, The Blind Side. The book then went on to become a record breaking Hollywood Blockbuster movie that has earned more than $400 million at the box office. The Blind Side has become the number one sports themed movie in history surpassing Rocky! The Tuohy family’s inspirational story has been covered over national media, including Katie, Fox and Friends, Good Morning America, 20/20, The Today Show, Dr. Drew, Sean Hannity, and Huckabee.

Years after The Blind Side has burst onto the scene, breaking box office records and inspiring individuals nationwide, Tuohy continues to make an impact. In July 2010, he and his wife Leigh Anne released the New York Times bestseller, In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving. They also established their charity, The Making it Happen Foundation which promotes awareness, provides help, and seeks to improve the standard of living for all the children fighting to survive in the invisible cracks in society. Tuohy serves on numerous boards and never misses an opportunity to mentor and coach others up.
Through all of their projects Sean, and the entire Tuohy family, continue their mission to inspire hope, ignite generosity, and make it happen for the deserving but underserved youth in our society.

Marian Tupy

Marian L. Tupy is the editor of HumanProgress.org, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, and coauthor of The Simon Abundance Index. He specializes in globalization and global well‐being and politics and economics of Europe and Southern Africa.

Tupy is the coauthor of Superabundance: The Story of Population Growth, Innovation, and Human Flourishing on an Infinitely Bountiful Planet (2022) and Ten Global Trends Every Smart Person Should Know: And Many Others You Will Find Interesting (2020).

His articles have been published in the Financial Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Newsweek, the U.K. Spectator, Foreign Policy, and various other outlets both in the United States and overseas. He has appeared on BBC, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, Fox News, Fox Business, and other channels.

Tupy received his BA in international relations and classics from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, and his PhD in international relations from the University of St. Andrews in Great Britain.

Katy Tur

Katy Tur is an NBC News Correspondent and anchor of the 2 p.m. ET hour of “MSNBC Live.” A dogged journalist, Tur emerged as a breakout broadcaster in 2016 while covering the entirety of the Trump campaign across all platforms for NBC News and MSNBC.

Tur released “Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History” in September 2017, which debuted on the New York Times best seller list.

Tur is known for her resolute reporting style and for her determination to chase the facts. She has also earned a reputation for holding government officials accountable for their statements, accusations, and actions. During her hour of “MSNBC Live,” Tur aims to give viewers immediate analysis and reaction to the daily White House press briefing in addition to diving deep into the day’s news stories.

In her 18 months covering the 2016 presidential election, Tur conducted multiple in-depth interviews with then-candidate Donald Trump from his campaign headquarters. While on the road, she set foot in over 40 states and logged nearly 4,000 live television appearances. In 2017, Tur received the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism for her reporting on the election. Prior to joining the 2016 political team, Tur was a foreign correspondent based in London for NBC News. She joined the network in 2012 and was initially based in New York. Before that Tur reported for WNBC, The Weather Channel, WPIX and News12 Brooklyn. A native of Los Angeles and graduate of the University of California Santa Barbara, Tur now lives in NYC with her husband and son.

Kim Vaz-Deville

The Baby Doll tradition had been a fairly underground tradition in New Orleans for decades but recently become much more visible due to the research of women's studies scholar, Kim Vaz-Deville, a professor at Xavier University of Louisiana. Vaz-Deville authored the groundbreaking book The “Baby Dolls”: Breaking the Race and Gender Barriers of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Tradition (2013) and edited the anthology Walking Raddy: The Baby Dolls of New Orleans (2018). She also curated the Louisiana State Museum’s 2013 exhibition at the Presbytere called “They Call me Baby Doll: A Mardi Gras Tradition”, "Contemporary Artists Respond to the Baby Dolls of New Orleans" at the Leah and George McKenna Museum of African American Art, 2015, "Mystery in Motion: African American Masking And Spirituality in Mardi Gras at Louisiana State Museum’s Presbytere in 2021 and "Black Indians from New Orleans" at the Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac in Paris, France, Fall 2022.

Robert Verchick

Rob Verchick is a leading climate law scholar who designed and implemented climate-resilience policies in the Obama administration. He holds the Gauthier-St. Martin Chair in Environmental Law at Loyola University New Orleans, is a senior fellow in Disaster Resilience at Tulane University, and serves as president of the Center for Progressive Reform. Verchick is the author of four books and host of the podcast Connect the Dots.

Ali Vitali

ALI VITALI is a Capitol Hill Correspondent for NBC News. She covered the 2016 and 2020 presidential contests from primary to inauguration—on the ground and with the candidates—as well as the 2018 and 2022 midterms, from across the country and in the nation’s capital. Her first book, Electable: Why America Hasn’t Put A Woman In The White House...Yet, was released on August 23, 2022.

Follow Ali Vitali on Twitter and Instagram @alivitali.

Cleo Wade

Cleo Wade is a writer, poet, and the New York Times Best-selling author of What The Road Said, Heart Talk: Poetic Wisdom for a Better Life, and Where To Begin: A Small Book about Your Power to Create Big Change.Her work is dedicated to exploring love, freedom, self-care and the power of community.

She has been called the poet of her generation by Time Magazine, one of the 100 most creative people in business by Fast Company and sits on the board of The Lower East Side Girls Club, the National Black Theatre in Harlem, and the Women’s Prison Association.

Cleo is from New Orleans, Louisiana and currently lives in California with her family.

Darren Walker

Darren Walker is president of the Ford Foundation, a $13 billion international social justice philanthropy. He is a member of the Reimagining New York Commission and co-chair of NYC Census 2020. He chaired the philanthropy committee that brought a resolution to the city of Detroit’s historic bankruptcy. Under his leadership, the Ford Foundation became the first non-profit in US history to issue a $1 billion designated social bond in US capital markets for proceeds to strengthen and stabilize non-profit organizations in the wake of COVID-19.

Before joining Ford, Darren was vice president at Rockefeller Foundation, overseeing global and domestic programs. In the 1990s, he was COO of the Abyssinian Development Corporation, Harlem’s largest community development organization.

Darren co-chairs New York City’s Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers, and has served on the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform and the UN International Labour Organization Global Commission on the Future of Work. He co-founded both the US Impact Investing Alliance and the Presidents’ Council on Disability Inclusion in Philanthropy. He serves on many boards, including Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the National Gallery of Art, Carnegie Hall, the High Line, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture. In the summer of 2020, he was appointed to the boards of Square and Ralph Lauren. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and is the recipient of 16 honorary degrees and university awards, including Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Medal.

Educated exclusively in public schools, Darren was a member of the first Head Start class in 1965 and received BA, BS, and JD degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. He has been included on numerous leadership lists: Time’s annual 100 Most Influential People, Rolling Stone’s 25 People Shaping the Future, Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business, Ebony's Power 100, and Out magazine’s Power 50. Most recently, Darren was named Wall Street Journal’s 2020 Philanthropy Innovator.

Jacob Weisberg

Jacob Weisberg is the co-founder and CEO of Pushkin Industries. He was CEO of the Slate Group, co-founder of Megaphone, and editor-in-chief of Slate Magazine. He has written for publications including The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Financial Times. He is the author of several books and a lecturer at Yale University. Weisberg is vice-chair of the Committee to Protect Journalists and a member of the PEN Board.

Dr. Jay Wellons

Jay Wellons MD, MSPH holds the Cal Turner Chair of Pediatric Neurosurgery and is Chief of the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. He is a Professor in the Departments of Neurological Surgery, Pediatrics, Plastic Surgery, and Radiology and Radiological Sciences. He also is the Vice Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery, Vice Chair for Clinical Research in the Section of Surgical Sciences, and serves as the Medical Director of the Surgical Outcomes Center for Kids, which he co-founded in 2015. He also served as Program Director of the Neurosurgery Residency Training Program at Vanderbilt from 2014-2018.

He received a B.A in English from the University of Mississippi in 1991, his medical degree from the University of Mississippi Medical School in 1995, and completed his residency in neurologic surgery at Duke University Medical Center in 2001. This was followed by a one-year fellowship in pediatric neurosurgery at the University of Alabama – Birmingham and the Children’s Hospital of Alabama. After his fellowship was complete in 2002, he remained on faculty at UAB for a total of 10 years, obtaining an MSPH during that time. He came to Vanderbilt in September of 2012.

Dr. Wellons has participated as a site investigator in two multi-institutional research networks centered on pediatric hydrocephalus and Chiari malformation surgical and patient-centered outcomes. His expertise in the surgical management of Chiari Malformation, congenital neurosurgery, intrauterine neurosurgery, and lesions of the brachial plexus has informed additional research endeavors evaluating health disparities, quality of life and in utero vs. post-natal surgery outcomes.

He has served on the editorial board of Journal of Neurosurgery – Pediatrics, Co-hosted the AANS/CNS Section on Pediatric Neurosurgery Annual Meeting in Nashville in 2018, and currently serves on the Executive Committee of the American Society of Pediatric Neurosurgeons in the capacity of Treasurer.

In addition to his scientific writing, he has been a contributor to the New York Times Sunday Review, TIME, Garden and Gun Magazine, Fresh Air: NPR, and OprahDaily.com. His book All That Moves Us: A Pediatric Neurosurgeon, His Young Patients, and their Stories of Grace and Resilience with publisher Penguin Random House debuted in June of 2022. His non-scientific writing focuses specifically on his specialty of pediatric neurosurgery, but also the broader field of medicine and the profound lessons learned from the children and parents that he has cared for over the last 25 years.

Peter M. Wolf

Peter M. Wolf is an award winning author. His recent memoir, My New Orleans Gone Away, reached the New York Times e-book Best Seller list. Previous books such as Land in America, Hot Towns and The Future of the City have been honored by The National Endowment for the Arts, The Ford Foundation and The Graham Foundation.

Wolf was educated at Metairie Park Country Day School, Phillips Exeter Academy, Yale, Tulane, and New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts. His research has taken him to Paris as a Fulbright scholar and to Rome as a visiting artist/scholar at the American Academy in Rome.

In New Orleans Wolf serves on the advisory board of the Tulane University School of Architecture, and as a trustee of the Louisiana Landmarks Society. In East Hampton he is a trustee of Guild Hall and the Village Preservation Society.

Wolf, a fifth generation New Orleans native, is Leon Godchaux’s great-great grandson.

For additional information:
www.petermwolf.com