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. 

Rumaan Alam

Rumaan Alam

Rumaan Alam is the author of three novels: Rich and Pretty, That Kind of Mother, and Leave the World Behind which was a Read With Jenna Book Club Pick and New York Times bestseller. Other writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, Bookforum, The New York Times, New York Magazine, and the New Republic. He studied writing at Oberlin College. He lives in New York City with his family.

Iñaki Alday

Iñaki Alday received a Master of Architecture degree from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia in 1992. Together with Margarita Jover, he founded aldayjover architecture and landscape in 1996 in Barcelona. The multidisciplinary, research-based practice focuses on innovation and is particularly renowned for its leadership in a new approach to the relation between cities and rivers, in which the natural dynamics of flooding become part of the public space, eliminating the idea of “catastrophe.”

He has taught at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, the University of Navarra and the University of Virginia. At the University of Virginia, he was the Elwood R. Quesada Professor of Architecture from 2011 to 2018, and Chair of the Department of Architecture from 2011 to 2016. Since 2016, he has been the co-director and founder (with Pankja Vir Gupta) of the Yamuna River Project, a long-term, interdisciplinary research program whose objective is to revitalize the ecology of the Yamuna River in the Delhi area. The project involves an interdisciplinary team with expertise in architecture, land planning, civil engineering, environmental science, public-private partnerships, anthropology, political science, history and cultural studies. The team’s objective is to engage the efforts of government agencies, experts and activists in an ongoing program to address the multidimensional challenges of Delhi and the relation with its river.

Both in academic research and in practice, Alday promotes a new attitude towards the transformation of our environment and how architecture can contribute to the inhabitation of the most challenged areas of the planet. He utilizes a multidisciplinary global vision and social and environmental ethics to examine the role of architecture and architects.

Raymond Arroyo

Raymond Arroyo is a New York Times Bestselling author, an internationally known, award-winning journalist, broadcaster and producer. He is creator of a string of New York Times Bestsellers including the Will Wilder series for middle grade readers (Random House) and his first picture book, The Spider Who Saved Christmas which spent weeks on the bestseller lists. He is a Fox News Analyst and co-host, a former CNN contributor, and founding news director at EWTN News where he is seen in more than 350 million households internationally. Arroyo is the founder of, a literacy initiative. He lives in New Orleans with his wife Rebecca and their three children.

Kent Babb

Amy Banks

Amy Banks MD is a Harvard trained psychiatrist and a Founding Scholar of the International Center for Growth in Connection (formally the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute) She is the author (with Leigh Ann Hirschman) of Wired to Connect: The Surprising Link Between Brain Science and Strong, Healthy Relationships. She is a member of the Clinical Advisory Board for the Renfrew Center for Eating Disorders. Dr. Banks has lectured nationally and internationally on Relational Neuroscience. She maintains a private psychiatric practice in Lexington, MA specializing in the long-term sequelae of chronic disconnections. Her latest book (due out in Nov. 2021), Fighting Time, co-authored with Mr. Isaac Knapper, explores systemic racism in the criminal legal system.

John Barry

John M. Barry is an award-winning and best-selling author whose books have also involved him in policy making. The National Academies of Science named his 2004 book The Great Influenza: The story of the deadliest pandemic in history, a study of the 1918 pandemic, the year’s outstanding book on science or medicine. The Society of American Historians named his earlier book Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America the year’s best book of American history, and in 2005 the New York Public Library named Rising Tide one of the 50 best books—whether poetry, fiction, or non-fiction-- in the preceding 50 years.  He is the only non-scientist ever to give the National Academies of Sciences Abel Wolman Distinguished Lecture, and he was the only non-scientist on a federal government Infectious Disease Board of Experts. His articles have appeared in such scientific journals as Nature and Journal of Infectious Disease, in such lay publications as The New York Times, Esquire, Time, and The Washington Post, and he has been a guest on every broadcast network in the United States, appearing on such shows as NBC’s Meet the Press and NPR’s All Things Considered. His most recent book is Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty.

An advisor to the Bush and Obama administrations on influenza preparedness and response, he served on the original team which recommended public health measures to mitigate a pandemic or bioterrorism attack.. After Hurricane Katrina, the Louisiana congressional delegation asked him to chair a bipartisan working group on flood protection, and he served on both the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and the levee board protecting metropolitan New Orleans, where he was the architect of the board's lawsuit against 97 energy companies for their role in coastal land loss. Barry has worked with the private sector and with state, federal, United Nations, and World Health Organization officials on influenza, water-related disasters, and risk communication. He serves on numerous advisory boards and is Distinguished Scholar at Tulane University’s Bywater Institute and adjunct faculty at the Tulane University School of Public health and Tropical Medicine.

Jason Berry

Jason Berry achieved renown for his pioneering investigation on clergy sex abuse in, Lead Us Not into Temptation (1992). Vows of Silence (2004) followed the story deep into the Vatican and became a prize-winning 2008 documentary he produced. Render unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church received the 2011 Best Book Award from Investigative Reporters and Editors. Jason has also done extensive cultural writing with Up from the Cradle of Jazz: New Orleans Music Since World War II (1986), the novel Last of the Red Hot Poppas (2006) and City of a Million Dreams: A History of
New Orleans at Year 300 (2018), which he researched with Guggenheim and NEH fellowships. His documentary based on the new book will premier in 2020.

Roy Blount, Jr.

Roy Blount Jr. is the author of twenty-four books, ranging from a novel about the first woman president (First Hubby) to two discourses on language (Alphabet Juice and Alphabetter Juice, or The Joy of Text) and most recently: Save Room For Pie. His first book, About Three Bricks Shy of a Load, has been called the best book ever about pro football by both the New Yorker and The New York Times. He edited the anthology Roy Blount's Book of Southern Humor and has contributed to many, many periodicals, including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Oxford American, and Garden and Gun, for which he writes a regular column. He has also written for television and the movies and appeared frequently on TV talk shows and public radio. The University of North Carolina awarded him its Thomas Wolfe Award for lifetime achievement, and he has been elected to the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame, the Vanderbilt Student Media Hall of Fame, and the League of Southern Writers.

Charles Blow

CHARLES M. BLOW is an acclaimed journalist and op-ed columnist for the New York Times who appears frequently on CNN. He is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Fire Shut Up in My Bones and the New York Times bestseller The Devil You Know. He lives in Atlanta.

Donna Brazile

Veteran political strategist Donna Brazile is the former interim Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the author of the New York Times bestseller Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-Ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House and the 2004 best-selling memoir Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics. She is a co-author of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics, which won the 2019 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work, Nonfiction.

Ms. Brazile has devoted her life to working for progressive change, responsible governance, and the advancement of all people in a society that is fair and equitable. Brazile first got involved in politics at the age of nine when she worked to elect a City Council candidate who had promised to build a playground in her neighborhood; the candidate won, the playground was built, and a lifelong passion for political progress was ignited. Brazile has worked on every major presidential campaign since 1976 and in 2000 Ms. Brazile became the first African American woman to serve as the manager of a major party presidential campaign, running the campaign of former Vice President Al Gore.

Ms. Brazile loves working with young people, encouraging them to vote, to run for office, and to work within the system to strengthen it. She has lectured at over 200 colleges and universities across the country on such topics as “Inspiring Civility in American Politics,” “Race Relations in the Age of Obama,” “Why Diversity Matters,” and “Women in American Politics.” In 2013, Ms. Brazile was appointed by President Obama to serve on the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. She is also the proud recipient of more than ten honorary doctorate degrees from major colleges and universities, including her alma mater Louisiana State University. In October 2017, Ms. Brazile was the recipient of the W.E.B Du Bois Medal, Harvard’s highest honor in African American studies. Brazile has served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University since 2002 and spent the fall of 2017 serving as a Joan Shorenstein fellow in Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Howard University has appointed Ms. Brazile as the Gwendolyn S. and Colbert I. King Endowed Chair in Public Policy for two consecutive academic years. In this capacity, she is responsible for developing and hosting a lecture series to engage the Howard community on several subjects, including politics, voting, criminal justice reform and civility.

O, The Oprah Magazine chose Ms. Brazile as one of its 20 “remarkable visionaries” for the magazine’s first-ever O Power List. In addition, she was named among the 100 Most Powerful Women by Washingtonian magazine, Top 50 Women in America by Essence magazine, and received the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s highest award for political achievement. In 2016, Ms. Brazile was awarded Wonk of the Year from the Kennedy Political Union at American University. In March 2018, Black Enterprise awarded Ms. Brazile with the Barbara Graves Legacy Award.

Ms. Brazile has worked passionately on behalf of her beloved hometown of New Orleans. In the aftermath of the two catastrophic hurricanes that devastated the Gulf region, Ms. Brazile was appointed by former Governor Kathleen Blanco to serve on the Louisiana Recovery Board to work for the rebuilding of the state and to advocate for the Gulf recovery on the national stage. Ms. Brazile was also appointed by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu to serve on the Tricentennial Commission.

Ms. Brazile is a contributor to Fox News and was formerly a contributor to ABC News and CNN. Ms. Brazile was the recipient of a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Daytime Program, Good Morning America (2016-2017) in connection with her work with ABC. She has also been a syndicated newspaper columnist for Universal U’Click and a prolific writer with articles appearing in nearly every major newspaper in the nation. She moonlights as an actress and is especially honored to have made three cameo appearances on CBS’s The Good Wife, and two cameo appearances on Netflix’s series House of Cards. She most recently appeared on BET's Being Mary Jane. Ask her and she’ll tell you that acting, after all, is the key to success in politics.

Ms. Brazile is the founder and director of Brazile & Associates LLC, a general consulting, grassroots advocacy, and training firm based in Washington, DC.

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.

David Brooks

David Brooks is a columnist for The New York Times and a contributor to The Atlantic, as well as Founder and Chair of Weave: The Social Fabric Project at the Aspen Institute. He is a commentator on “The PBS Newshour,” NPR’s “All Things Considered” and NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

His most recent book, “The Second Mountain,” shows what can happen when we put commitment-making and relationships at the center of our lives. He is also the author of “The Road to Character,” “Bobos In Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There” and “The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement.”

Mr. Brooks is on the faculty of Yale University and is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Follow him on Twitter @nytdavidbrooks and his Weave project @Weavetheppl

Barri Bronston

Barri Bronston is a native New Orleanian who spent over 30 years as a staff writer at The Times-Picayune before making the switch to public relations in 2012. Currently, she is assistant director of public relations at Tulane University, where she writes for the daily online news magazine Tulane Today as well as the Tulanian magazine. She wrote her first book, “The Lobster Kids’ Guide to Exploring New Orleans” in 2002.

Bronston has won awards from the Associated Press, the Louisiana Press Association and the New Orleans Press Club, and in 2006, she shared in the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. She lives in suburban New Orleans and has a grown daughter, Sally, who lives in Washington D.C.

Sarah Broom

Sarah M. Broom is a writer whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Oxford American, and O, The Oprah Magazine among others. A native New Orleanian, she received her Masters in Journalism from the University of California, Berkeley in 2004. She was awarded a Whiting Foundation Creative Nonfiction Grant in 2016 and was a finalist for the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Creative Nonfiction in 2011. She has also been awarded fellowships at Djerassi Resident Artists Program and The MacDowell Colony. She lives in New York State.

William Brumfield

Professor William Craft Brumfield, recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship (2000) and Fellow at the National Humanities Center in 1992-93, is Professor of Slavic studies and Sizeler Professor of Jewish Studies at Tulane University. In 2002, he was elected to the State Russian Academy of Architecture and Construction Sciences. In 2006, he was elected Honorary Fellow of the Russian Academy of the Fine Arts—the only American elected to two Russian state academies.

Further information about Professor William Craft Brumfield is available via the Tulane University Department of Germanic & Slavic Studies.

Richard Campanella

Prof. Richard Campanella, geographer and Associate Dean for Research with the Tulane School of Architecture, is the author of eleven books and over 220 articles on New Orleans, the Gulf Coast and lower Mississippi region, geography, history, architecture, and related topics. The only two-time winner of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities 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 awarded him the 20th annual Louisiana Writer Award.

James Carville

Edgar Chase, IV

Edgar “Dook” Chase, IV is a proud New Orleans native, and business owner. He is Owner/President of Chase Concessions, LLC, Executive Chef at Dooky Chase’s Restaurant, proprietor of Leah’s Kitchen and Dook’s Burgers and a partner in a number of other restaurants in the New Orleans International Airport. Chase holds a Masters of Business Administration, and a formal Culinary degree from Le Condon Bleu Paris, France. He received his undergraduate degree in Economics and Finance from Dillard University in 2004.

Edgar has been active in the hospitality industry for over 20 years; spending much of that time learning and then managing at his family’s flagship restaurant, Dooky Chase’s in Treme. In 2013, Chase Concessions became a joint venture partner for management and operations of all food and beverage concessions at the New Orleans Airport; concurrently, in January 2016, he opened Dook’s Place, a full service restaurant and bar, in the airport as well. Since that time, Chase and his partners have expanded into the current, New Orleans Airport as well as into the Boston and Nashville markets.

Edgar resides in New Orleans with his wife, Gretchen, daughter, Sidney and son, Edgar “Vito” Chase,V, along with their dog, Roch, and is committed to this community they will be raised in. Chase is active in his community and civically involved in a number for non-profit boards and commissions; is the newly elected Chairman of the Finance Authority of New Orleans; a board member of the CCCI; the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA); a board member of the New Orleans African American Museum, as well as the Audubon Nature Institute.

Lee Cole

Lee Cole

LEE COLE was born and grew up in rural Kentucky. A recent graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he now lives in New York.

Judy Cooper

Judy Cooper is a longtime New Orleanian and second line photographer. A former staff photographer for the New Orleans Museum of Art, she has spent more than twenty years documenting second line parades. More than a decade ago she made it her mission to honor the city’s social aid and pleasure clubs with a book combining history, photography, and commentary from scholars of New Orleans music, dance, and culture. Dancing in the Streets is the result.

Karen Cox

Karen L. Cox is Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and the founding director of the graduate public history program. She offers a variety of courses in southern history and culture and offers graduate electives in public history.

Dr. Cox received her BA and MA in history from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and her Ph.D. in 1997 from the University of Southern Mississippi. She is the author of three books, the editor or co-editor of two volumes of southern history, and she has written numerous essays and articles on the subject of southern history and culture. Her first book, Dixie’s Daughters: The United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Preservation of Confederate Culture, won the 2004 Julia Cherry Spruill Prize from the Southern Association for Women Historians for the Best Book in Southern Women’s History. Her second book, published by UNC Press in 2011, is Dreaming of Dixie: How the South Was Created in American Popular Culture. She is the editor of Destination Dixie: Tourism and Southern History (University Press of Florida, 2012), which won the 2013 Allen G. Noble Award for the best edited collection in North American material culture from the Pioneer America Society and the co-editor of Reassessing the 1930s South (LSU Press, 2018). Her latest book, entitled Goat Castle: A True Story of Murder, Race, and the Gothic South, was published by UNC Press in October 2017.

Dr. Cox has written op-eds for the New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, TIME magazine, Publishers Weekly, and the Huffington Post. Her expertise on the American South has led to interviews with the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, The Daily Beast, Mic, The Atlantic, the Wall Street Journal, Slate (France), the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, the Houston Chronicle, and the Charlotte Observer, as well as international newspapers in Germany, Denmark, Ireland, and Japan. She has also appeared on CNN with Brooke Baldwin, BBC Newshour, Black Politics Today, The Mike Smerconish Show (Sirius XM), C-SPAN, Canadian Public Broadcasting, Minnesota Public Radio, Georgia Public Radio, and Charlotte Talks.
She frequently gives public talks to both community and academic audiences, and is an OAH Distinguished Lecturer.

Cox is originally from Huntington, West Virginia.

Jarvis DeBerry

Jarvis DeBerry, editor of the Louisiana Illuminator, spent 22 years at The Times-Picayune (and later as a crime and courts reporter, an editorial writer, columnist and deputy opinions editor. He was on the team of Times-Picayune journalists awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service after that team’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the deadly flood that followed. In addition to the shared Pulitzer, DeBerry has won awards from the Louisiana Bar Association for best trial coverage and awards from the New Orleans Press Club, the Louisiana/ Mississippi Associated Press and the National Association of Black Journalists for his columns. A collection of his Times-Picayune columns, “I Feel to Believe” was published by the University of New Orleans Press in September 2020.

Brian DeMare

Professor Brian DeMare specializes in modern Chinese history.

Research Interests
A cultural historian studying the Communist Party's great enterprise, Professor DeMare researches how Chinese citizens have negotiated with the politicization of their everyday lives. Mass campaigns, revolutionary art, and rural cultural workers are the primary concerns driving his research agenda. His new book Mao's Cultural Army: Drama Troupes in China's Rural Revolution, explores the political uses of cultural performance in the rise of the Chinese Communist Party and the early years of the People's Republic of China. He is currently writing and editing books on the epic land reform campaigns that shook the Chinese countryside during the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Teaching Interests
Professor DeMare offers a wide selection of courses on East Asian history. Survey courses cover the entirety of Chinese history, from Peking Man to the post-revolutionary era. Seminars allow students to delve into a variety of topics, including imperialism, gender, and empire.

Selected Publications
Mao's Cultural Army: Drama Tropes in China's Rural Revolution
Charting their training, travels, and performances, this innovative study explores the role of the artists that roamed the Chinese countryside in support of Mao's communist revolution. DeMare traces the development of Mao's 'cultural army' from its genesis in Red Army propaganda teams to its full development as a largely civilian force composed of amateur and professional drama troupes in the early years of the PRC. Drawing from memoirs, artistic handbooks, and rare archival sources, Mao's Cultural Army uncovers the arduous and complex process of creating revolutionary dramas that would appeal to China's all-important rural audiences. The Communists strived for a disciplined cultural army to promote party policies, but audiences often shunned modern and didactic shows, and instead clamored for traditional works. DeMare illustrates how drama troupes, caught between the party and their audiences, did their best to resist the ever growing reach of the PRC state. This is the first book in the new Cambridge Studies in the History of the People's Republic of China series.

Justin Devillier

Chef Justin Devillier is the Chef/Owner of La Petite Grocery and Justine in New Orleans and the 2016 James Beard Award winner for Best Chef: South. Devillier was raised in Dana Point, California, a small beach town in South Orange County. He spent summers fishing for Yellowtail and Albacore tuna, and in the fall and winter he would dive for lobsters just steps from his front door. This bounty of local seafood inspired him to enter the culinary industry, and after working in local restaurants right out of high school he decided to focus all of his time on becoming a chef.In 2003, Devillier moved to New Orleans in search of a vibrant restaurant community. He cooked in the kitchens of Bacco, Stella and Peristyle, where he learned the intricacies of French cuisine from his mentor,Chef Anne Kearny-Sands.In 2004, Devillier joined the team at La Petite Grocery as a line cook and was promoted to sous chef after one year. Following Hurricane Katrina, he helped re-build the restaurant’s infrastructure, and in 2007 was promoted to executive chef. A short three years later, Devillier and his wife Mia took over ownership of the restaurant, housed in a century-old building with a storied history. At La Petite Grocery, Devillier puts his creative spin on traditional New Orleans cuisine with dishes like Turtle Bolognese, Panéed Rabbit, and Blue Crab Beignets.In 2014, he was awarded “Chef of the Year” by New OrleansMagazine.In early 2019, the Devilliers openedJustine in the New Orleans’ French Quarter. The bustling, food-hall style gathering place is the realization of Devillier’s long-time dream to open a restaurant in the South’s most lively district. Balancing sophistication and exuberance, his menu features the classic, crave-able dishes found in the brasseries lining the streets of Paris with bold presentation. In October 2019, Devillier published his first cookbook, The New Orleans Kitchen, which has received national acclaim. An IACP Award Finalist and named one of the best cookbooks of the year by The New York Times Book Review, Devillier provides a modern-day instructional approach to classic New Orleans cooking. In his free time, Devillier is an avid fisherman and hunter, and loves spending time at the beach with his wife and three young daughters.
Johnette Downing

Johnette Downing

Johnette Downing is a New Orleans multi-award winning musician, singer and author presenting Louisiana Roots concerts and author visits for children, as well as keynotes and workshops for educators globally. Dedicated to celebrating childhood, nurturing cultural exchanges and fostering literacy through her music and books, Johnette has performed in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe, Central America, North America and the Caribbean. Johnette’s presentations speak to a child’s interests in an engaging, interactive, thought-provoking, educational, entertaining and culturally respectful way; earning her a reputation for being the “Musical Ambassador to Children” and the “Pied Piper of Louisiana Music Traditions.”

Downing has garnered multiple awards including a 2017 Louisiana Writer Award, 59th Grammy Award Participant Certificate, eight Parents’ Choice Awards, four iParenting Media Awards, two Parent’s Guide To Children’s Media Awards, four National Parenting Publications Awards, a Family Choice Award, two Family Review Center Awards, Family Review Center Gold Award, Family Review Center Best of the Year Award, DAR Literacy Promotion Award, an Imagination Award, and a Haiku International Association Honorable Mention Award. Her work has received rave reviews on and in Nick Jr. Magazine, Family Fun Magazine, Parenting Magazine, Parent’s Magazine, Publisher’s Weekly, American Library Association’s Booklist, School Library Journal, Washington Post, Early Childhood News, Cookie Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, New Orleans Magazine, and Big Apple Parent to name a few. Further, she was selected as one of “The Women of the Year 2008” by New Orleans CityBusiness Magazine, “Thirty People to Watch in 2000” by New Orleans Magazine and “Forty Under Forty” by Gambit Weekly Magazine.

Marti Dumas

Marti Dumas

Marti Dumas is a mom, teacher, writer, and creative entrepreneur from New Orleans. An expert in childhood literacy, Marti has worked with children and teachers across the country for the last 15 years to promote an early love of reading both in and out of the classroom. Her best-selling Jaden Toussaint, the Greatest series combines literacy with STEM skills, and humor, and adds much-needed diversity to the children’s chapter book landscape. Her latest middle-grade book, Women in the Old West, which tells true stories of real women in what is now the United States, has received a coveted Kirkus star.

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.

Donna Edwards

Louisiana First Lady Donna Hutto Edwards was born in Mississippi and moved with her family to Amite, Louisiana, where she met her future husband, Governor John Bel Edwards. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Mrs. Edwards has long been active in her community, supporting various organizations and school and church groups. Early in her marriage during the governor’s eight-year service as an Army Infantry Airborne ranger, the first lady volunteered her time and assistance to families of deployed Army service members.

While raising three children, Mrs. Edwards became a certified teacher and taught music for more than eight years. As Louisiana’s First Lady, she continues to advocate for teachers, public education and music and arts education. She started Louisiana First Foundation with a mission of service and support for children. Louisiana First Foundation is the rainbow cover for Louisiana Fosters, Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention and TeachMAM (Teach Music, Art and Movement).

John Bel and Donna married in 1989. They are the proud parents of three children: Samantha, Sarah Ellen and John Miller, son-in-law, Jonathan and three fur babies, Mollie, Bandit and Lady.

Louis Edwards

Louis Edwards is the author of four novels, including his latest, Ramadan Ramsey (August 2021, Amistad/Harper Collins). He has won both the Guggenheim Fellowship and the Whiting Writers Award.

Born and raised in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Edwards attended Hunter College and LSU (B.A. in Journalism). He has had a decades-long career as a producer of many special events, most notably the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. He is the Chief Creative Officer and Chief Marketing Officer of Festival Productions, Inc.-New Orleans.

Freddi Evans

Freddi Williams Evans

Freddi Williams Evans is an author, independent scholar and arts education consultant. She is internationally recognized for her scholarship on Congo Square, a historical landmark of African and African American culture. 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 book Come Sunday, A Young Reader’s History of Congo Square received the Bronze Medal Independent Publisher Book Award and was a finalist for Next Generation Indie Book Award. Her research and advocacy for Congo Square 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.

Evans is also the award-winning author of books for children including Hush Harbor: Praying in Secret, The Battle of New Orleans: The Drummer’s Story, and A Bus of Our Own. She is co-author of the upcoming book, Passing It On: The Art of John T. Scott, which will debut in 2022.
Working in the community, Evans 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 currently serves on the New Orleans Legacy Project Committee.

Ada Ferrer

Ada Ferrer is one of the world’s leading historians of Cuba. Ferrer is Julius Silver Professor of History and Latin American and Caribbean Studies at New York University, where she has taught since 1995. She is the author of Insurgent Cuba: Race, Nation, and Revolution, 1868-1898, which won the 2000 Berkshire Book Prize for the best first book by a woman in any field of history, and Freedom’s Mirror: Cuba and Haiti in the Age of Revolution, which won the Frederick Douglass Prize from the Gilder Lehrman Center at Yale University, as well as multiple prizes from the American Historical Association. Born in Cuba and raised in the U.S., she has been traveling to and conducting research on the island regularly since 1990.

Cuba: An American History, published in 2021, is a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize in History, long-listed for the OCM Bocas Prize in Caribbean Literature, and winner of a Prose Award from the Association of American Publishers.

Pam Fessler

Pam Fessler is a former correspondent on NPR's National Desk, where she covers poverty, philanthropy, and voting issues.In her reporting at NPR, Fessler does stories on homelessness, hunger, affordable housing, and income inequality. She reports on what non-profit groups, the government, and others are doing to reduce poverty and how those efforts are working. Her poverty reporting was recognized with a 2011 First Place National Headliner Award. Fessler also covers elections and voting, including efforts to make voting more accessible, accurate, and secure. She has done countless stories on everything from the debate over state voter identification laws to Russian hacking attempts and long lines at the polls.After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Fessler became NPR's first Homeland Security correspondent. For seven years, she reported on efforts to tighten security at ports, airports, and borders, and the debate over the impact on privacy and civil rights. She also reported on the government's response to Hurricane Katrina, The 9/11 Commission Report, Social Security, and the Census. Fessler was one of NPR's White House reporters during the Clinton and Bush administrations.Before becoming a correspondent, Fessler was the acting senior editor on the Washington Desk and NPR's chief election editor. She coordinated all network coverage of the presidential, congressional, and state elections in 1996 and 1998. In her more than 25 years at NPR, Fessler has also been deputy Washington Desk editor and Midwest National Desk editor.Earlier in her career, she was a senior writer at Congressional Quarterly magazine. Fessler worked there for 13 years as both a reporter and editor, covering tax, budget, and other news. She also worked as a budget specialist at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, and was a reporter at The Record newspaper in Hackensack, New Jersey. Fessler has a master's of public administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and a bachelor's degree from Douglass College in New Jersey

Charles Figley

Charles R. Figley was named the Paul Henry Kurzweg Chair in Disaster Mental Health at Tulane University in 2008 when he joined the faculty as its Distinguished Professor. Dr. Figley had served as a senior Professor and Director of the Traumatology Institute at Florida State University (FSU). Prior to FSU, Dr. Figley attained full professor status in 1983 at Purdue University with a joint appointment as professor of psychological sciences. At Purdue Dr. Figley established the renowned Purdue University Family Research Institute and he established two Journals as Founding Editor, the Journal of Psychotherapy and the Journal of Traumatic Stress. At FSU Professor Figley served as the senior professor in the area of traumatology and served as Director of the PhD Program in Marriage and Family. Dr. Figley founded the first Traumatology Institute at Florida State University that published and presented on psychosocial stress, which was recognized in 2000 as the best program of its kind by the University Continuing Education Association. Dr. Figley move the Institute to Tulane University in 2008.

Charles Figley helped establish and served as the first editor of three journals: Journal of Family Psychotherapy, 1983-1990 (Haworth Press); Founding Editor of the Journal of Traumatic Stress by the Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and Plenum (initial publisher), 1987-1992, and; Founding Editor of Traumatology, the International Journal by the Green Cross Academy (currently published by the American Psychological Association) in 1995.

Professor Figley served as Editor of three book series. They include: Editor (Founder) of the Routledge Psychosocial Stress Book Series, 1978-present; Editor (Founder), Innovations in Psychology Book Series, 1995-2003 (CRC Press); Co-Editor (Founder) with Therese Rando, the Death and Trauma Book Series, 1996-2001 (Taylor & Francis Publishers).

Charles Figley is a highly published and popular speaker. He has published more than 315 scholarly works including 200 refereed journal articles, 28 books and 85 book chapters. Collectively, his work reports on more than 37 research projects focusing primarily on traumatic stress and resiliency of individuals, families, and communities. His 2012 book, Encyclopedia of Trauma (Sage Press) was honored as the top book of its kind by the American Library Association and his 2013, First Do No Self Harm: Understanding and Promoting Physician Stress Resilience (Oxford University Press) were highly praised by the American Psychological Association. His co-edited book, Combat Social Workers: Applying the Lessons of War to the Realities of Human Services of published last year and his long-awaited book written with Mark Russell, Psychiatric Casualties: How the Military Ignores the Full Costs of War was published this year. He is cited as among the most productive scholars by Google Scholar.

Dr. Figley is an elected fellow of the five of the leading national professional associations and received many other honors in recognition for his scholarship. He is the recipient of numerous lectureships and other honors throughout the world including Northern Ireland, South Africa, England, Australia, Canada, and universities through the United States. He was awarded a senior Fulbright Research Fellowship to conduct research in Kuwait in 2004 and follow-up on work that was started in 1992, shortly after the liberation from and end of the occupation by Iraq. In 2004, Dr. Figley was named lifetime Alumni Fellow by the Pennsylvania State University, the highest honor awarded to its graduates. More recently, Figley was honored by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York with an honorary degree in June 2014 in recognition of his career-long achievements in social justice for the traumatized.

Macon Fry

Macon Fry is an author and educator, born in Virginia. After graduating from University of Virginia Fry arrived in New Orleans in 1981 to write about the unique culture and folkways of South Louisiana. His first book, Cajun Country Guide, explores the vibrant artifacts of the region: prairie dancehalls, small town recording studios, meat markets, crawfish “boiling points” and shrimp docks.

For the past thirty years Fry has lived on the watery fringe of New Orleans, occupying a self-built stilt house over the Mississippi River, hidden by the huge levees that keep the city dry. In his new book, They Called Us River Rats, he traces the movement of people down the river and their accumulation in settlements along the shore in New Orleans. The book explores the miraculous survival of the vestigial outsider colony where the author lives today- a fascinating intersection of people and place. It is both a personal story of life on the river, and a history rich with accounts Fry collected from of a century of river rats.

Katherine Gehl

Katherine M. Gehl is a business leader, author, speaker and political innovator. Katherine was president and CEO of Gehl Foods, a $250 Million high-tech food manufacturing company in Wisconsin. In 2015, she sold her company to focus on the urgent need for non-partisan political innovation on both state and national levels. She is co-chair of the National Association of Non-Partisan Reformers, a board member of Unite America, co-founder of Democracy Found and founder of The Institute for Political Innovation. In 2020, she published The Politics Industry: How Political Innovation Can Break Partisan Gridlock and Save Our Democracy along with her co-author Michael Porter.

Cheryl Gerber

Cheryl Gerber is a documentary photographer working in her native New Orleans. She has been a regular contributor to The New York Times, the Associated Press, New Orleans Magazine, and Gambit for more than 25 years. Her book “New Orleans: Life and Death in the Big Easy” by UL Press is in its second edition. Her new book “Cherchez La Femme: New Orleans Women” by the UPM was released January 2020.

Merissa Nathan Gerson

Merissa Nathan Gerson is Visiting Assistant Professor of Communication at Tulane University and the author of Forget Prayers, Bring Cake: A Single Woman’s Guide to Grieving (Mandala Publishing / Simon & Schuster, August 2021). She was the intergenerational trauma consultant to Amazon's hit show Transparent and has writing featured in The New York Times,, Playboy Magazine, The Atlantic,, Tablet Magazine, Lilith Magazine, and beyond. After releasing a 2018 ELI Talk on consent and Talmud, she founded to address the need for consent education in Jewish spaces.

James Gill

James Gill immigrated in 1977 from England, whcre, after graduating from the University of Liverpool in 1963, he worked on newspapers and wrote two books on thoroughbred racing and breeding. He joined the Times-Picayune in 1979 and still contributes a regular column. He is the author of a book on New Orleans carnival, Lords of Misrule (1977), and co-author of Tearing Down the Lost Cause (2021).

Blake Gilpin

R. BLAKESLEE GILPIN is an Associate Professor of History at Tulane University. His first book, John Brown Still Lives!: America’s Long Reckoning with Violence, Equality, and Change, was a finalist for the Gilder Lehrman Center’s Frederick Douglass Book Prize. With Rose Styron, Gilpin compiled and edited The Selected Letters of William Styron. His next book will be about Nat Turner, William Styron, and the longevity of slavery’s hold on America’s racial imagination.

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.

Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell is the author of six New York Times bestsellers, including Talking to Strangers, David and Goliath, Outliers, Blink, and The Tipping Point. He is the co-founder and president of Pushkin Industries, an audiobook and podcast production company that produces the podcasts Revisionist History; Broken Record, a music interview show; and Solvable, in which Gladwell interviews innovative thinkers with solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems.

Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.

Eddie S. Glaude Jr. is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor and chair of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University. He is the former president of the American Academy of Religion, the largest professional organization of scholars of religion in the world. Glaude is the author of several important books including Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul, which has been described as “one of the most imaginative, daring books of the twenty-first century.” His most recent book, Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own, was released on June 30, 2020. Imani Perry describes the book as “precisely the witness we need for our treacherous times. He is a columnist for Time Magazine and an MSNBC contributor on programs like Morning Joe, and Deadline Whitehouse with Nicolle Wallace. He also regularly appears on Meet the Press on Sundays.

He hails from Moss Point, Mississippi, a small town on the Gulf Coast, and is a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.

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.

Roberta Brandes Gratz

An award-winning journalist and urbanist, Roberta Brandes Gratz has been observing and writing about cities – how they grow, fall apart, recover – for more than 40 years. NYC born and raised, Roberta started her journalism career as a reporter for the New York Post under Dolly Schiff. She left when Rupert Murdoch bought the paper and went on to write five books on urban change. The last one was: “We’re Still Here Ya Bastards: How the People of New Orleans Rebuilt Their City.”

Earlier books were: “The Battle For Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs,” “The Living City: Thinking Small in a Big Way,” “Cities Back From the Edge: New Life For Downtown,” and “A Frog, A Wooden House, A Stream and A Trail: Ten years of Community Revitalization in Central Europe.”

Her writing has also appeared in the Nation, New York Magazine, New York Times Magazine and The Wall Street Journal. She served on the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission and the Sustainability Advisory Board for NYC under Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

In 2004, Roberta, with author/urbanist Jane Jacobs, founded The Center For the Living City to build on Jacobs’ ground-breaking work.

She has been a recipient of fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, NYS Council on the Arts, Surdna Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Fannie Mae Foundation, and writing awards from the American Institute of Architects, American Planning Assn, Municipal Art Society, the New York Press Club, the City Club of New York and the Press Club of New Orleans.

Deandrea Green

Deandrea Green is an author, advocate and plus size model. Deandrea is a NewOrleans native. DeAndrea is the author of Skating On A Rainy Day,The Who Dat Movers-Jump Team and DeWayne and Mr. Shrimp Po Boy. Deandrea discovered her passion for writing at the tender age of 12; her love for children was her inspiration in becoming a children’s book author. Even Deandrea’s nieces and nephews are the characters in all her children's books. Deandrea is a known advocate for helping the youth, individuals with special needs and women through her charitable work and her non-profit organization; Crowns and Glory Foundation.

Jared R. Green

John Grisham

Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi, law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby—writing his first novel.

Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn’t have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. In 1983, he was elected to the state House of Representatives and served until 1990.

One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl’s father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.

That might have put an end to Grisham’s hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career—and spark one of publishing’s greatest success stories. The day after Grisham completed A Time to Kill, he began work on another novel, the story of a hotshot young attorney lured to an apparently perfect law firm that was not what it appeared. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991.

The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham’s reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham’s success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a bestseller.

Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, The Broker, Playing for Pizza, The Appeal, The Associate, The Confession, The Litigators, Calico Joe, The Racketeer, Sycamore Row, and Gray Mountain) and all of them have become international bestsellers. There are currently over 300 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 40 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man. The Innocent Man (October 2006) marked his first foray into non-fiction, and Ford County (November 2009) was his first short story collection.

Grisham took time off from writing for several months in 1996 to return, after a five-year hiatus, to the courtroom. He was honoring a commitment made before he had retired from the law to become a full-time writer: representing the family of a railroad brakeman killed when he was pinned between two cars. Preparing his case with the same passion and dedication as his books’ protagonists, Grisham successfully argued his clients’ case, earning them a jury award of $683,500—the biggest verdict of his career.

When he’s not writing, Grisham devotes time to charitable causes, including most recently his Rebuild The Coast Fund, which raised 8.8 million dollars for Gulf Coast relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He also keeps up with his greatest passion: baseball. The man who dreamed of being a professional baseball player now serves as the local Little League commissioner. The six ballfields he built on his property have played host to over 350 kids on 26 Little League teams.

Jenna Bush Hager

Jenna Bush Hager

Jenna Bush Hager is the co-host of NBC News’ TODAY with Hoda & Jenna. She joined TODAY as a correspondent and contributor in August 2009.

The founder of TODAY’s Read with Jenna book club, Bush Hager is also the best-selling author of the #1 New York Times best-seller “Sisters First,” written with her sister Barbara Bush, and the New York Times best-seller “Ana’s Story: A Journey of Hope,” which she wrote after interning with UNICEF in Latin America. She also co-authored the children’s books “Our Great Big Backyard” and “Read All About It!” with her mother. Most recently, she wrote “Everything Beautiful in Its Time,” a collection of poignant essays about her beloved grandparents and the wisdom they passed on to her.

As part of her work on TODAY, Bush Hager received a 2012 Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Morning Show. In 2011, she was honored as one of Glamour’s Women of the Year alongside her mother and sister.

Bush Hager has conducted a wide range of interviews with notable figures including first daughter Ashley Biden, former first lady Michelle Obama, Reese Witherspoon, Joanna Gaines, Katherine Schwarzenegger and fellow first daughter Susan Ford Bales.

Prior to TODAY, Bush Hager was a reading teacher at a public school in Baltimore. She began her career as an elementary school teacher in Washington D.C. in 2005. She is currently an editor-at-large for Southern Living.

In 2004, Bush Hager graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English. She lives in New York with her husband, Henry Hager, their two daughters Mila and Poppy, and their son Hal.

Follow Bush Hager on Twitter and Instagram @JennaBushHager.

Kelly Harris

Kelly Harris-DeBerry earned her B.A. from Kent State University and her M.F.A in Creative Writing from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. She has been awarded fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center and Cave Canem. Most recently her publishing credits include: 400yrs: The story of Black people in poems written from love 1619–2019; I Am New Orleans Anthology; Words Beats & Life: The Global Journal of Hip Hop; Angles in the Wilderness: Young and Black in New Orleans and Beyond; and several articles in 64 Parishes Magazine.

She has also produced several visuals including Black Love: A Sustaining Force Post-Katrina which was presented at the 80th Anniversary of Zora Neal Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Kelly is the New Orleans Literary Coordinator for Poets & Writers, Inc based in New York. Her debut poetry collection is: Freedom Knows My Name.

Russel L. Honoré

Lieutenant General Honoré is a native of Lakeland, Louisiana. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry and awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Vocational Agriculture upon graduation from Southern University and A&M College in 1971. He holds a Master of Arts in Human Resources from Troy State University as well as an Honorary Doctorate in Public Administration from Southern University and A&M College, an Honorary Doctorate in Laws from Stillman College, an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Virginia State University, Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Stillman College, an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Loyola University, an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Virginia State University & an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Meharry Medical College.

Prior to his command of Joint Task Force-Katrina – leading the Department of Defense response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana – General Honoré served in a variety of command and staff positions which focused on Defense Support to Civil Authorities and Homeland Defense. As Vice Director for Operations, J-3, The Joint Staff, Washington, D.C., and, as the Commander, Standing Joint Force Headquarters-Homeland Security, United States Northern Command, General Honoré’s focus was Defense Support to Civil Authorities and Homeland Defense. For four of the past six hurricane seasons, he supported the Department of Defense planning and response for Hurricanes Floyd in 1999; Lilli and Isidore in 2002 (both hit the Gulf Coast); Isabel in 2003; and Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne in 2004. General Honoré also planned and supported the United States military response to the devastating flooding which swept Venezuela 1999 and Mozambique in 2000. As Vice Director for Operations, he led the Defense Department’s planning and preparation for the anticipated Y2K Millennium anomaly. As Commander of SJFHQ-HLS under NORTHCOM direction, he planned and oversaw the military response to the Space Shuttle Columbia Tragedy and the DC Sniper Shootings. Additionally, General Honoré participated in three TOPOFF (Top Officials) exercises as well as the United Endeavor series of Homeland Defense exercises.

Among his assignments are Commanding General, First Army; Commanding General, SJFHQ-HLS, U.S. Northern Command; Commanding General, 2d Infantry Division, Korea; Deputy Commanding General/Assistant Commandant, United States Army Infantry Center and School, Fort Benning, Georgia; and the Assistant Division Commander, Maneuver/Support, 1st Calvary Division, Fort Hood, Texas. He has also served as the Brigade Commander, 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Georgia; Senior Mechanized Observer/Controller, “Scorpion 07,” National Training Center (25 rotations); and Commander, 4th Battalion, 16th Infantry Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Germany.

General Honoré’s awards and decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal (one Oak Leaf Cluster), the Distinguished Service Medal (one Oak Leaf Cluster), the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (four Oak Leaf Clusters), the Bronze Star Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (three Oak Leaf Clusters), the Army Commendation Medal (three Oak Leaf Clusters), the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal (two Bronze Service Stars), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal (one Bronze Service Star) the Global War on Terror Service Medal, the Korean Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon (4), Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi), the Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait) and the Joint Meritorious Unit Award. Qualification badges include the Expert Infantry Badge, the Parachutist Badge, and the Joint Staff Identification Badge.

General Honoré retired on February 29, 2008, following 37 years of active service with the United States Army. He continues to speak and consult nationally on Building a Culture of Preparedness.

Andy Horowitz

Andy Horowitz is Assistant Professor of History and the Paul and Debra Gibbons Professor in the School of Liberal Arts at Tulane University. His first book, Katrina: A History, 1915–2015 (Harvard University Press, 2020), won a Bancroft Prize in American History, and was named the Humanities Book of the Year by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and a Best Nonfiction Book of the Year by Publishers Weekly. He is the co-editor of Critical Disaster Studies (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021), and has published essays in The Atlantic, Time, the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, and the New York Times.

Ilana Horwitz

Dr. Ilana M. Horwitz is an Assistant Professor and the Fields-Rayant Chair of Contemporary Jewish Life in the Department of Jewish Studies at Tulane University. In her research, Dr. Horwitz takes a sociological approach to examine how people’s religious upbringing, race, ethnicity, social class, and gender shape their life course, especially their educational experiences. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Conversation, Inside Higher Education, and Contexts Magazine. Prior to academia, Dr. Horwitz spent several years as a management consultant, and is now working on her next book, The Entrepreneurial Scholar.

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.
Laura Zoe Humphreys

Laura-Zoë Humphreys

Laura-Zoë Humphreys is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at Tulane University. She is the author of Fidel between the Lines: Paranoia and Ambivalence in Late Socialist Cuban Cinema(Duke UP, 2019). Fidel between the Lines combines ethnography, archival research, and close reading to examine the changing dynamics of public debate, censorship, and allegory in Cuba in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Dr. Humphreys has also researched and written about digital media piracy, urban sociability, and K-Pop in Cuba. Her work has been funded by the Wenner Gren, the Social Science Research Council, the Social Science and Humanities Research Council, and the Fonds de recherche du Québec société et culture and has been published inSocial Text, the International Journal of Cultural Studies, and Mediapolis: A Journal of Cities and Culture.

Howard Hunter

Howard Hunter is a native of New Orleans and a history teacher 38 years. He has published articles on New Orleans and the Civil War for both academic and general audiences. He is past president of the Louisiana Historical Society. Tearing Down the Lost Cause is his first book.

Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson is the Leonard A. Lauder Professor of American History and Values in Tulane’s School of Liberal Arts and an advisory partner at Perella Weinberg, a financial services firm based in New York City. 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, The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing and the Future of the Human Race (2021), is a gripping account of how Nobel prize winner Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues launched a revolution that will allow us to cure diseases, fend off viruses, and improve the human species. He is also the author of Leonardo da Vinci (2017), 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 the Isidore Newman School, Harvard College and of Pembroke College of Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. 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 is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society of the Arts, and the American Philosophical Society. He serves on the board of United Airlines, the New Orleans City Planning Commission, the New Orleans Tricentennial Commission, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Society of American Historians, the U.S. Defense Department Innovation Board, the Carnegie Institution for Science, and My Brother’s Keeper Alliance.

Ben Jaffe

As son of co-founders Allan and Sandra Jaffe, Ben has lived his whole life with the rhythm of the French Quarter pulsing through his veins. Raised in the company of New Orleans’ greatest musicians, Ben returned from his collegiate education at Oberlin College in Ohio to play with the group and assume his father’s duties as Director of Preservation Hall. Today he serves as Creative Director for both PHJB and the Hall itself, where he has spearheaded such programs as the New Orleans Musicians Hurricane Relief Fund.

Elizabeth Johnson

A Brooklyn, New York native, Elizabeth Johnson is a break-out author with a very promising writing career ahead of her. Signed with PlaTy Multimedia & Publishing, Elizabeth is introducing her first work to the world of children’s books on May 16, 2021. Her debut title, Just Like my Dad, is co-authored with the already well-established author, Tyrell Plair. Elizabeth is currently the Director of Marketing with PlaTy Multimedia and Publishing. Elizabeth was named the 2021 Author’s Porch and PULSE magazine’s Author of the Year.

Elizabeth’s resume boasts an Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education, an Associate of Arts in General Education, and she is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management. Currently residing in Palm Bay, Florida with her husband and son, Elizabeth spends her spare time baking, watching football, traveling, honing her skills as a photographer, and volunteering in the church and her local community.

T.R. Johnson

T. R. Johnson is a Professor of English at Tulane University. He is the editor of New Orleans: A Literary History(2019, and the authorThe Other Side of Pedagogy: Lacan’s Four Discourses and the Development of the Student Writer(2014). For the last two decades, he has lived near the Mississippi River in the 9th Ward of New Orleans and hosted a contemporary jazz radio program at WWOZ 90.7 FM.

Margarita Jover

Margarita Jover received a Master of Architecture degree from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia in 1995. Together with Iñaki Alday, she founded the internationally awarded firm aldayjover architecture and landscape in 1996 in Barcelona, Spain. The multidisciplinary, research-based practice focuses on innovation, and is particularly renowned for its leadership in a new approach to the relation between cities and rivers, in which the natural dynamics of flooding become part of the public space.

She has taught at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, the University of Navarra, the University of Vic-Central University of Catalonia and the University of Virginia. At the University of Virginia, she was Research Faculty (2012-15), first Professor of Practice of the School of Architecture (2015-17) and tenured Associate Professor (2017-18).

Jover is co-author of the book Ecologies of Prosperity (ORO Editors, 2018) and The Water Park (ACTAR, 2008). She has been a juror for several honor awards, including the FAD Architecture Prize and Mies van der Rohe European Union Prize for Architecture (2015), and for international competitions including the Glories Square in Barcelona and the Hainan Eco-Island in China.

Both in academic research and in practice, Jover promotes a broader understanding of architecture that aims to mitigate and reverse socioecological crises. Her academic research line discusses the reform of the current model of progress by promoting a specific socioecological urbanism.

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.

Isaac Knapper

]Isaac Knapper is currently the head trainer of the Crescent City Boxing Gym in New Orleans, LA. Isaac has a deep passion to help young kids avoid the psychological beat down and suffering that he experienced in the Department of Corrections. To that end, he volunteers to mentor and coach young boxers helping to keep them off the streets and away from violence.

Boxing has been at the center of Isaac’s life. He was a Golden Gloves Champion in LA at the age of 15. He held the Louisiana Department of Corrections boxing title for eleven years while in the State Penitentiary, Angola. After leaving Angola in 1991, he restarted his amateur boxing career just missing by one bout a spot on the USA team that competed in the Barcelona Olympics. From 1992 until 1998 he boxed professionally traveling around the country and the world.

At the age of sixteen, Isaac was arrested, tried as an adult and wrongly convicted of the murder of Dr. Ronald Banks. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole at the deadliest prison in America, the Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola in October 1979. In 1992, his conviction was overturned after a police document was discovered that contained exculpatory evidence not shared with his defense team at the time of the original trial. Isaac received no financial compensation for the thirteen years of his life spent wrongly imprisoned.

In 1999, Isaac pled guilty to trafficking drugs and was sentenced to another twenty years in Federal Prison. He served seventeen years of this sentence and was released in the spring of 2015. Isaac estimates that roughly seven of the thirty years he spent incarcerated was served in solitary confinement.
Isaac is the father of four children and while in prison taught Parenting from Prison classes to other inmates helping them to maintain active parenting roles even while incarcerated. He currently lives with his wife, Denise, in New Orleans, LA.

Mitch Landrieu

Mitch Landrieu was 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 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 New York Times best-selling book, In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History, Landrieu recounts his personal journey confronting racism, and tackles
the broader history of slavery, race relations, and institutional inequalities that still plague America. He recently launched the E Pluribus Unum Fund, which will work to bring people together across the South around the issues of race, equity, economic opportunity and violence.

Prior to serving as Mayor, Landrieu served two terms as lieutenant governor and 16 years in the state legislature. He also served as President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Mitch and his wife Cheryl have five children.

Kris Lane

Kris Lane holds the France V. Scholes Chair in Colonial Latin American History at Tulane University.

Field Specialties
Global history, Colonial Latin America, Andes, political economy, mining, labor, environment, piracy

I am a historian specializing in the history of the Andes region of South America. Going back to my 1996 dissertation at the University of Minnesota, most of my scholarship has focused on extractive industries and their local, regional, and global effects.I have worked extensively in Colombia, Ecuador, and Bolivia, and more recently in Peru, Argentina, and Chile. The Andes Mountains have a long history of providing humans with metals and other minerals, and understanding the evolving and sometimes violent relationships built around mining -plus this activity's manifold environmental consequences - have not ceased to intrigue me.

In my 2002 book, Quito 1599: City and Colony in Transition(University of New Mexico Press), I attempted to tell the story of this equatorial Andean city and its vast hinterland in terms of Quito's early fame as a producer of gold. A former Inca capital, San Francisco de Quito became the seat of a royal Spanish appeals court and legislative body and ultimately the nucleus of the Republic of Ecuador. The early search for gold took Spanish conquistadors and thousands of native Andeans deep into the backcountry of the Pacific watershed and the upper Amazon, only to quickly exceed the limits of sustainability and to test the patience of native peoples and newly formed runaway slave communities.Quito 1599is an experiment in using a pivotal year to trace longer-term transformations in society and economy.

In my book Colour of Paradise: The Emerald in the Age of Gunpowder Empires(Yale University Press, 2010), I followed the path of Colombian emeralds from the remote north Andean mines of Muzo and Chivor to the courts of the Mughal, Safavid, and Ottoman Empires, linked by multi-ethnic trading clans and other globe-trotting go-betweens. I also traced emeralds as they flowed to the courts and gem bourses of Europe. My basic model was that of a commodity-chain history, but I attempted to expand on this production-circulation-consumption approach in order to explain the complex shifts in meaning that emeralds underwent in their long journey from source to consumer -what some have termed the social life of things. The emerald in this "gunpowder" age was in no way a simple, bulk commodity.

My most recent book, Potosí: The Silver City that Changed the World (University of California Press, 2019), treats the rise and fall of colonial Latin America's richest mining boomtown, an early modern marvel and an environmental nightmare. By 1600, the Imperial Villa of Potosí was one of the largest cities in the Western Hemisphere and one of the highest anywhere. My main aim in this book is to reorient early modern world history by placing this improbable, multi-ethnic city and its silver mines and refineries at the center of the world. Potosí was the globe's number-one silver producer for many years, lubricating trade from Moscow to Macau, but it was also a major consumer of global products and an important regional slave market and redistribution hub. In social terms, the book examines how a remote Andean mining camp became a cosmopolitan stage that made space for people of all nations and classes, upending norms of race, gender, and sexuality even as fortunes rose and fell overnight. It was also a site of intense indigenous exploitation and mass death. I end by bringing the story of Potosí up to the present day.

In moving from raw commodities to semi-manufactured products, my current project, tentatively titledRoyal Scam: The Great Potosí Mint Fraud of 1649, traces the global significance of a major debasement scheme that arose within the royal mint at Potosí in the mid-seventeenth century. It so happened that the fabled silver mines of Potosí's Cerro Rico were not inexhaustible, or rather that their ores became more expensive to extract and refine. A resulting debt crisis hobbled silver refiners and their creditors, sparking an illegal form of financial innovation: debasing the king's coinage to cover the deficit. The secret could not long be kept given the global flow of Potosí silver, yet it took the king ofSpain's ministers over a decade to break up the great mint fraud of the 1640s. I trace the local crime, its corrupt circles, and its eventual punishment along with the fraud's global implications, revealing once again the complex backward and forward linkages that tied a remote Andean mining town to nearly every major economic center in the world. It is, in a sense, a tale for our times.

Behind the mint fraud project is a documentary history of another major seventeenth-century Potosí disaster: the outbreak of gangland warfare between the city's most powerful factions. Sometimes called the "Basque-Vicuña War," this bloody conflict pitted migrants from the Basque Country in northern Spain against nearly everyone else, but with prominent migrants from Extremadura (SW Spain) singled out as leaders. Drawn into the conflict as body guards, henchmen, and assassins were numerous footloose "vicuñas," the multi-ethnic high-plains drifters of their day, and behind the scenes were several powerful women. The worst violence exploded between 1622 and 1625, when a viceroy issued a general amnesty. My colleague Timothy F. Johnson (U. Nebraska -Kearney) is translating a series of documents that I have collected from archives in Bolivia, Spain, the U.S., and the U.K. I am composing an introduction and adding annotations. Our intention is to provide readers with a full sense of the conflicting narratives and intense passions generated by this early inter-ethnic American "war." It was a series of backstreet showdowns involving rapiers and matchlock pistols in theThree Musketeers mode, but it was also a war of words.

My other interests include the world history of piracy, which inspired me to expand an earlier book intoPillaging the Empire: Global Piracy on the High Seas, 1500-1750 (Routledge, 2015).I have just publishedPiracy in the Early Modern Era: An Anthology of Sources(2019) with co-author Arne Bialuschewski of Trent University in Ontario, Canada.I am also planning to return to my earlier research on gold mining in colonial Colombia, from which my book on emeralds grew. The green Andes keep tugging at my heart.

As a teacher, I have always tinkered with textbooks, and with Matthew Restall (Penn State) I co-authoredLatin America in Colonial Times(Cambridge, 2018), now in its second edition. An abiding interest in world history led me to work with co-authors Bonnie Smith, Richard Von Glahn, and Marc Van de Mieroop on the textbookWorld in the Making: A Global History(Oxford, 2018). My feeling is that all historians should attempt to work and teach at various scales from micro to macro, and to accept the global challenge.

As service to my profession, I have been General Editor of the interdisciplinary journalColonial Latin American Reviewsince 2010. I also serve on the editorial boards of several U.S., European, and Latin American journals, including Fronteras de la Historia and Itinerario. With Matthew Restall I edit theCambridge Latin American Studies monograph series and on my own I edit the Diálogosseries of books with broader appeal for the University of New Mexico Press.

Kiese Laymon

Kiese Laymon is a black southern writer, born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. Laymon attended Millsaps College and Jackson State University before graduating from Oberlin College. He earned an MFA in Fiction from Indiana University. Laymon is currently the Ottilie Schillig Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi. He served as the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Nonfiction at the University of Iowa in Fall 2017. Laymon is the author of the novel, Long Division and a collection of essays, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, and Heavy: An American Memoir. Heavy, winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal, the LA Times Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose and Audible’s Audiobook of the Year, was named one of the Best Books of 2018 by the The Undefeated, New York Times, Publishers Weekly, NPR, Broadly, Library Journal , The Washington Post , Southern Living , Entertainment Weekly, San Francisco Chronicle and The New York Times Critics. Laymon has written essays, stories and reviews for numerous publications including Esquire, McSweeneys, New York Times, Virginia Quarterly Review, ESPN the Magazine, Granta, Colorlines, NPR, LitHub, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, PEN Journal, Fader, Oxford American, Vanity Fair, The Best American Series, Ebony, Travel and Leisure, Paris Review, Guernica and more.

Nancy Lemann

Nick Lemann

Nicholas Lemann is Joseph Pulitzer II and Edith Pulitzer Moore Professor and dean emeritus at Columbia Journalism School and a staff writer for The New Yorker. His previous books include The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Meritocracy and The Promised Land: The Great Migration and How It Changed America.

Don Lemon

Don Lemon anchors Don Lemon Tonight airing weeknights at 10pm. He also serves as a correspondent across CNN/U.S. programming. Based out of the network's New York bureau, Lemon joined CNN in September 2006. He is a #1 best selling New York Times author of This Is The Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism.

A news veteran of Chicago, Lemon reported from Chicago in the days leading up to the 2008 presidential election, including an interview with then-Rep. Rahm Emanuel on the day he accepted the position of Chief of Staff for President-elect Barack Obama. He also interviewed Anne Cooper, the 106-year old voter President-elect Obama highlighted in his election night acceptance speech after he had seen Lemon's interview with Cooper on CNN.

He has served as moderator for CNN's political town halls, co-moderated first 2020 Democratic Presidential Debate and co-hosted Color of Covid special that addressed the pandemic's impact on communities of color.

Lemon served as the network's leading voice guiding viewers through the death of George Floyd and summer of nationwide protests and riots.

He has reported and anchored on-the-scene for CNN from many breaking news stories, including the Orlando shooting at Pulse Nightclub (2016), Charleston church shooting (2015), death of Freddie Gray while in police custody, the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO (2014), the George Zimmerman trial (2013), the Boston marathon bombing (2013), the Philadelphia building collapse (2013),the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting (2012), the Colorado Theater Shooting (2012), the death of Whitney Houston, the Inaugural of the 44th President in Washington, D.C., the death of Michael Jackson (2009), Hurricane Gustav in Louisiana (2008) and the Minneapolis bridge collapse (2007).

Lemon has also anchored the network's breaking news coverage of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the Arab Spring, the death of Osama Bin Laden and Joplin tornado. He reported for CNN's documentary Race and Rage: The Beating of Rodney King, which aired 20 years to the day of the beating. He is also known for holding politicians and public officials accountable in his "No Talking Points" segment.

He joined CNN after serving as a co-anchor for the 5 p.m. newscast for NBC5 News in Chicago. He joined the station in August 2003 as an anchor and reporter after working in New York as a correspondent for NBC News, The Today Show and NBC Nightly News. In addition to his reporting in New York, Lemon worked as an anchor on Weekend Today and on MSNBC. While at NBC, he covered the explosion of Space Shuttle Columbia, SARS in Canada and numerous other stories of national and global importance.

In addition to NBC5 and NBC News, Lemon has served as a weekend anchor and general assignment reporter for WCAU-TV, an NBC affiliate in Philadelphia, an anchor and investigative reporter for KTVI-TV in St. Louis and an anchor for WBRC-TV in Birmingham. He began his career at WNYW in New York City as a news assistant while still in college.

In 2009, Ebony named him as one of the Ebony Power 150: the most influential Blacks in America. He has won an Edward R. Murrow award for his coverage of the capture of the Washington, D.C. snipers. He won an Emmy for a special report on real estate in Chicagoland and various other awards for his reporting on the AIDS epidemic in Africa and Hurricane Katrina. In 2006, he won three more local Emmys for his reporting in Africa and a business feature about Craigslist, an online community.

Lemon serves as an adjunct professor at Brooklyn College, teaching and participating in curriculum designed around new media. He earned a degree in broadcast journalism from Brooklyn College and also attended Louisiana State University.

Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis has published many New York Times bestselling books on various subjects. His most recent works are 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 three children: Quinn, Dixie and Walker. In 2009 he published Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood, about his attempts to raise them.

Robert Livingston

Dr. Robert Livingston is a social psychologist and one of the nation’s leading experts on the science underlying bias and racism in organizations. For two decades, he has served as a diversity consultant to myriad Fortune 500 companies, public-sector agencies, and non-profit organizations. Prior to joining the Harvard Kennedy School in 2015, he held professorships at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and the University of Sussex, where he was the chair of the organizational behavior area as well as the founder and faculty director of Centre for Leadership, Ethics, and Diversity (LEAD).

His research on race, implicit bias, leadership, and social justice has been published in top-tier academic journals such as the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Academy of Management Journal, Psychological Science, and Leadership Quarterly. Dr. Livingston’s work has also been featured in popular press outlets such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Harvard Business Review. His article “How to Promote Racial Equity in the Workplace” was the winner of the 2020 Warren Bennis Prize, awarded to the best article on leadership published in Harvard Business Review each year.
His groundbreaking and influential approach to combatting racism is detailed in his newly- released book The Conversation: How Seeking and Speaking the Truth about Racism Can Radically Transform Individuals and Organizations, which has received high praise from book critics, corporate executives, and ordinary citizens.

In his spare time, he enjoys jazz, wine and whiskey tasting, gastronomy, philosophy, interior design, real estate investing, hiking, and nature documentaries. He has resided in five countries and speaks four languages. He is a proud alumnus of Tulane University.

Robert Mann

Robert Mann holds the Manship Chair in Journalism at Louisiana State University's Manship School of Mass Communication. A former political writer for several Louisiana daily newspapers, he served as a senior aide to US Senators Russell Long and John Breaux as well as Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco. Mann is the author of critically acclaimed books about the American civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, the 1964 presidential election, American wartime dissent, and Ronald Reagan. His latest book is a memoir, Backrooms and Bayous: My Life in Louisiana Politics.

Jonathan Martin

Jonathan Martin is a national political correspondent for The New York Times and a political analyst for CNN. His new book “This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America’s Future,” written with co-author and New York Times colleague Alexander Burns, will be published by Simon & Schuster May 3, 2022.

Martin joined the New York Times in 2013 after working as a senior political writer for POLITICO for several years. In addition, his work has been featured in the National Journal, National Review, The New Republic, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. A native of Arlington, Virginia, Martin is a graduate of Hampden-Sydney College. He and his wife, Betsy Fischer Martin, live in New Orleans and Washington, DC.

Melissa Martin

Melissa M. Martin grew up on the Louisiana coast and has lived in New Orleans for 20 years. After graduating from Loyola University in New Orleans, she worked as an adult literacy teacher until she evacuated to Northern California during Hurricane Katrina. While living there, she worked at some of the top Napa Valley vineyards and restaurants, and this is where she honed her self-taught culinary skills to a professional level. Martin returned to New Orleans three years later and opened Satsuma Café, a casual farm-to-table restaurant, and worked at Café Hope, a nonprofit restaurant, teaching at-risk youth to cook seasonal food. In 2014, she opened Mosquito Supper Club, where she serves family-style meals to small groups of guests who reserve a place at her table months in advance. Her first book, Mosquito Supper Club: Cajun Recipes from a Disappearing Bayou, was named Book of the Year and Best American Cookbook in 2021 by IACP; it was also named a Best Cookbook of the Year by NPR, Saveur, Garden & Gun, the Washington Post, and more. Find Melissa on Instagram @mosquitosupperclub.

Mary Matalin

Mary Matalin is one of the most celebrated and popular conservative voices in America. As an author, television and radio host, and widely sought after political contributor, pundit and public speaker, she has become noted for her straightforward manner and insightful political repartee.Among her many roles and accomplishments, she has served under President Ronald Reagan, made her mark as George H.W. Bush's Campaign director and more recently as assistant to President George W. Bush, and as assistant and counselor to Vice President Dick Cheney, making her the first White House official to hold that double title.

Since that time, Matalin has made frequent television and radio appearances as a political commentator, securing a career in conservative media advocacy following decades of work in the GOP political trenches.

In addition to her successful careers in politics, television and radio, Matalin is also a widely read, respected and acclaimed author. Matalin co-authored the best-selling political campaign book All's Fair: Love, War, and Running for President with her husband, James Carville. The book was named one of the top 5 best books on public relations by The Wall Street Journal. Matalin and Carville recently returned to the New York Times best sellers list with their newest book Love and War: 20 Years, 3 Presidents, 2 Daughters, One Louisiana Home, available now. Matalin also penned Letters to My Daughters, a series of short missives for her own daughters, making both The New York Times and the Washington Post best-seller lists.

Matalin relocated to New Orleans in 2008, where she is active in the cities efforts in higher education reform, entrepreneurial development and the Catholic Church. Matalin has served on numerous boards including Tulane University's President's Council, The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Loyola University’s Board of Trustees and The Louisiana Nature Conservancy. Along with her husband, James, Matalin served as Co-Chair for Super Bowl XLVII, the Katrina-10 Commemoration and the 2018 New Orleans Tri-Centennial Celebration. Matalin shares her home with Carville and their two daughters of evolving political persuasion.

Cappy McGarr

Cappy is president of MCM Interests. He has been involved in investing for the last 40 years.

McGarr is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He serves on the board of trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He is only one of a few people that have been appointed to The Kennedy Center by two different Presidents. He also serves on MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors, the Foundation for the National Archives Trustee's Council, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation, and Ken Burns’ Better Angels Society.

He is a founder of the Kennedy Center’s Mark Twain Prize, the nation’s highest honor for humor, now in its 22nd year. He also is a creator of The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. He has been nominated for a Primetime Emmy and a NAACP Image Award.

McGarr is a past chair of the Development Board of the University of Texas at Austin. He is the founder of the Texas Program in Sports and Media and the annual McGarr Symposium on Sports and Society at the College of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin.

He has published op-eds in The New York Times (October 6, 2009, “A Texas-Size Health Care Failure”), Politico (October 23, 2011, “Why Washington Needs A Laugh”) and USA Today (May 28, 2020,“Coronavirus is no joke, but it's why comedy must go on”).

His (quasi) memoir coming out on September 28, 2021: The Man Who Made Mark Twain Famous, stories from the Kennedy Center, the White House and other comedy venues.

McGarr has been married to Janie Strauss McGarr for 43 years and has two daughters, Elizabeth McGarr McCue and Kathryn McGarr, and a granddaughter, Annette Cap McCue, and a grandson, Hudson McCue.

Liz McMahon

Elisabeth (Liz) McMahon is an associate professor of African history at Tulane University. Her first book, Slavery and Emancipation in Islamic East Africa: From Honor to Respectability (2013), uses Qadi and probate court records on Pemba Island to explore the gendered social dynamics of emancipation. She co-authored, with Corrie Decker, The Idea of Development in Africa: A History (2020). Founder of the African Letters Project, McMahon centers the use of digital technologies to bring a more capacious vision of African and American connections during post-World War II decolonization. The African Letters Project is an expanding database of 5000 letters (currently) with images of the letters publicly available on its website. She has published numerous articles and book chapters, including a co-authored op-ed for the Washington Post in January 2021. McMahon is currently writing a book about girls and women’s aspirations to subvert social expectations in nineteenth century coastal East Africa.

Jon Meacham

Jon Meacham is a Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer. A contributing writer for The New York Times Book Review and a contributing editor of Time magazine, he is the author of the New York Times bestsellers His Truth is Marching On, The Hope of Glory, 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. Meacham, who holds the Rogers Chair in the American Presidency at Vanderbilt University, lives in Nashville.

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.

Peter S. Onuf

Peter S. Onuf, Thomas Jefferson Foundation Professor Emeritus in the Corcoran Department of History at the University of Virginia and Senior Research Fellow at the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies (Monticello). A specialist in the history of the early American republic, Onuf was educated at Johns Hopkins University, where he received his A.B. in 1967 and Ph.D. in 1973, and has taught at Columbia University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Southern Methodist University before arriving in Virginia in 1990. In 2008-2009 Onuf was Harmsworth Professor of American History at the University of Oxford; in 2014 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His work on Thomas Jefferson’s political thought, culminating in Jefferson’s Empire: The Language of American Nationhood (2000) and The Mind of Thomas Jefferson (2007) grows out of earlier studies on the history of American federalism, foreign policy, and political economy. Onuf is coauthor with Annette Gordon-Reed of “Most Blessed of the Patriarchs”: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination (2016) and author of Jefferson and the Virginians: Democracy, Constitutions and Empire (2018). He now lives with his wife Kristin in Portland and Winter Harbor, Maine.

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 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. In 2015 he received the prestigious Louisiana Writer Award, given by the State Library of Louisiana and the Louisiana Center for the Book. 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.

Tyrell Plair

Born in the windy city of Chicago, Illinois, Tyrell Plair knew the wind would blow his way, even if he had to create the breeze. He took an interest in reading and writing at a young age, which led him to begin writing poetry for his classmates.

Over the years, Tyrell honed his skills as a writer by ghostwriting novels, penning screenplays, and adding film directing to his repertoire. In 2019 he released his debut novel “Stolen Innocence” as an independent author. In 2021 Tyrell and his co-author Elizabeth Johnson released their first youth novel “Just Like My Dad”. Realizing the struggles as an independent author, Tyrell decided to write and produce books as a business, thus forming “PlaTy Multimedia & Publishing.” Tyrell has written and produced commercials for “Outrageous Love Foundation,” “L&J Multicultural Barbershop,” and other film projects. Tyrell also has several new novels on the way, including the highly anticipated Urban thriller “Illusions.”

With a roster full of talent and drive to match, Tyrell envisions PlaTy Multimedia as being the number one media and publishing company in the world. With a roster that boasts experienced and talented authors, such as Alonzo Strange of “Tit4Tat” and Alan Little, creator of the “Country Boy” series, Tyrell Plair feels like there literally is no limit to what they can achieve.

Tyrell developed unheralded leadership skills as a soldier in the United States Army with a tour in Kuwait. He also holds a Bachelor of Science in Applied Psychology with a Media and Technology concentration from the University of Phoenix. When not fulfilling his role as Chief Operating Officer of Platy Multimedia, you can find Tyrell locked in on a game of chess, fishing, or enjoying his family and friends.

Mark Plotkin

Dr. Mark Plotkin is a renowned ethnobotanist who has studied traditional indigenous plant use with elder shamans (traditional healers) of Central and South America for much of the past 30 years.

As an ethnobotanist—a scientist who studies how, and why, societies have come to use plants for different purposes—Dr. Plotkin carried out the majority of his research with the Trio Indians of southern Suriname, a small rainforest country in northeastern South America, but has also worked with elder shamans from Mexico to Brazil.

Dr. Plotkin has a long history of work with other organizations to promote conservation and awareness of our natural world, having served as Research Associate in Ethnobotanical Conservation at the Botanical Museum of Harvard University; Director of Plant Conservation at the World Wildlife Fund; Vice President of Conservation International; and Research Associate at the Department of Botany of the Smithsonian Institution. Dr. Plotkin currently serves as President of the Amazon Conservation Team (ACT), a non-profit organization he co-founded with his fellow conservationist and wife, Liliana Madrigal in 1996, now enjoying over 25 years of successes dedicated to protecting the biological and cultural diversity of tropical South America.

Dr. Plotkin has authored or co-authored many books and scientific publications, most notably his popular work Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice, which is currently in its fortieth printing and has also been published in Dutch, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish. Acclaimed filmmaker Miranda Smith produced a related documentary titled The Shaman's Apprentice featuring Dr. Plotkin’s work, which has since garnered awards at eighteen different film festivals. His children’s book The Shaman’s Apprentice – A Tale of the Amazon Rainforest (1998), co-authored with Lynne Cherry, was called “the outstanding environmental and natural history title of the year” by Smithsonian magazine.

Dr. Plotkin’s critically acclaimed book, Medicine Quest: In Search of Nature’s Healing Secrets, was published in early 2000. A subsequent book on epidemiology, (coauthored with Michael Shnayerson), The Killers Within: The Deadly Rise of Drug-Resistant Bacteria, was published by Little, Brown in September of 2002. It was hailed as “One of the Top Ten Science Books of the Year” by Discover magazine. He recently completed “The Amazon – What Everyone Needs To Know,” which was published by Oxford University Press.

In 1998, he played a leading role in the Academy Award-nominated IMAX film Amazon. Time Magazine hailed him as an environmental “Hero for the Planet” in 1999. He more recently (2018) appeared in the award-winning documentary, “Living in the Future’s Past,” which featured Jeff Bridges, who also serves on ACT’s Advisory Board.

Dr. Plotkin’s work has been featured in a PBS Nova documentary, in an Emmy-winning Fox TV documentary, on the NBC Nightly News and Today Show, CBS’ 48 Hours and in Life, Newsweek, Smithsonian, Elle, People, The New York Times, along with appearances on National Public Radio. Smithsonian magazine’s 35th anniversary issue profiled Dr. Plotkin as one of "35 who made a difference" in November 2005. In March 2007, he was honored with the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens Conservation Award. And in March 2008, Dr. Plotkin and Liliana Madrigal were awarded the Skoll Foundation’s prestigious Award for Social Entrepreneurship, making ACT the first environmental organization to garner this recognition.

In May 2010, Mark Plotkin received the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. The degree citation read in part: "For teaching us that the loss of knowledge and species anywhere impoverishes us all; for combining humanitarian vision with academic rigor and moral sensibility; and for reminding us always, with clarity and passion and humor, that when we study people and plants, we are simultaneously exploring paths to philosophy, music, art, dance reverence, and healing." In October of the same year, the great Jane Goodall presented Mark with an award for "International Conservation Leadership."

Dr. Plotkin's TED Talk on the protection of the Amazon's uncontacted tribes has attracted well over a million views. You can see the talk at:

Dr. Plotkin was educated at Harvard, Yale and Tufts University. In 2011, he was the recipient of the Yale School of Forestry Distinguished Alumni Award. In 2019, the Harvard University gave him the Shinagel Award for Public Service “in recognition of his lifelong commitment to the protection of the Amazon rainforest and the tribal communities within.”

Sister Helen Prejean

Sister Helen Prejean is known around the world for her tireless work against the death penalty. She has been instrumental in sparking national dialogue on capital punishment and in shaping the Catholic Church’s vigorous opposition to all executions.

Born on April 21, 1939, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, she joined the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1957. After studies in the USA and Canada, she spent the following years teaching high school, and serving as the Religious Education Director at St. Frances Cabrini Parish in New Orleans and the Formation Director for her religious community.

In 1982, she moved into the St. Thomas Housing Project in New Orleans in order to live and work with the poor. While there, Sister Helen began corresponding with Patrick Sonnier, who had been sentenced to death for the murder of two teenagers. Two years later, when Patrick Sonnier was put to death in the electric chair, Sister Helen was there to witness his execution. In the following months, she became spiritual advisor to another death row inmate, Robert Lee Willie, who was to meet the same fate as Sonnier.

After witnessing these executions, Sister Helen realized that this lethal ritual would remain unchallenged unless its secrecy was stripped away, and so she sat down and wrote a book, Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States. Dead Man Walking hit the shelves when national support for the death penalty was over 80% and, in Sister Helen’s native Louisiana, closer to 90%. The book ignited a national debate on capital punishment and it inspired an Academy Award winning movie, a play and an opera. Sister Helen also embarked on a speaking tour that continues to this day.

Sister Helen works with people of all faiths and those who follow no established faith, but her voice has had a special resonance with her fellow Catholics. Over the decades, Sister Helen has made personal approaches to two popes, John Paul II and Pope Francis, urging them to establish the Catholic Church’s position as unequivocally opposed to capital punishment under any circumstances. After Sister Helen’s urging, under John Paul II the catechism was revised to strengthen the church’s opposition to executions, although it allowed for a very few exceptions. Not long after meeting with Sister Helen in August of 2018, Pope Francis announced new language of the Catholic Catechism which declares that the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person, with no exceptions.

Today, although capital punishment is still on the books in 30 states in the USA, it has fallen into disuse in most of those states. Prosecutors and juries alike are turning away from death sentences, with the death penalty becoming increasingly a geographical freak. Sister Helen continues her work, dividing her time between educating the public, campaigning against the death penalty, counseling individual death row prisoners, and working with murder victims’ family members. Sister Helen’s second book, The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions, was published in 2004; and her third book, River of Fire: My Spiritual Journey,in 2019.

Lawrence Powell

The emeritus holder of the James H. Clark Endowed Chair in American Civilization, Lawrence N. Powell taught history at Tulane University from 1978 until his retirement in June 2012. His most recent book is The Accidental City: Improvising New Orleans (Harvard, 2012). Other publications include Troubled Memory: Anne Levy, the Holocaust, and David Duke’s Louisiana (UNC, 2000), which has just been reissued in a second edition from UNC Press. A former Guggenheim Fellow, in 2008 he was elected as a Fellow in the Society of American Historians in recognition of literary distinction in the writing of history. In 1999 he was named Louisiana Humanist of the Year. In 2014-15 he chaired the history jury for the Pulitzer Prize.

Carol McMichael Reese

Carol McMichael Reese is the Favot IV Professor in the Tulane University School of Architecture, where she offers courses on architectural and urban history and theory. In Tulane’s School of Liberal Arts, she co-directs the Urban Studies Minor program and teaches urban studies courses. Her books and articles focus on modern architecture and urban planning in the Americas. She has written on the relationship of visual imagery and the production of urban identities in early twentieth-century Buenos Aires and Mexico City. Her book on the history of the urban development of the Panama Canal Zone between 1905 and 1920, written with Thomas Ford Reese, appeared in 2013, and they are at work on a sequel. New Orleans Under Reconstruction, The Crisis of Planning (Verso, 2014), which she co-edited with Michael Sorkin and Anthony Fontenot, published critical essays about and projects for the rebuilding of post-Katrina New Orleans. Her additional contributions to the architectural and urban history of New Orleans and Louisiana include Longue Vue House and Gardens (Rizzoli, 2015) and A. Hays Town and the Architectural Image of Louisiana (University of Louisiana at Lafayette, forthcoming Fall 2021). In 2009, she was one of six finalists for the national Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award, and the Louisiana Legislative Women’s Caucus honored her with their statewide award for Volunteerism and Civic Engagement.

Peter Ricchiuti

Peter Ricchiuti is the business professor you wish you had back in college. His humor and insight have twice made him the top professor at Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business. In a worldwide competition, Peter’s teaching delivery skills placed him atop a field of professors from 500 universities representing 43 countries.

Peter is a graduate of Babson College, started his career at the investment firm of Kidder Peabody & Co and later served as the assistant state treasurer for Louisiana. There he successfully managed the State’s $3 billion investment portfolio. He went on to earn his MBA from the Univeristy of New Orleans.
In 1993 he founded Tulane’s nationally acclaimed Burkenroad Reports student stock research program ( Here he leads 200 business students in search of overlooked and underpriced stocks in six southern states. He and his program have been featured widely in the financial press including; The Wall Street Journal, BARRON'S and The New York Times.

From Vancouver to Jupiter, Peter has addressed over 1000 groups in 47 states. These include groups of nuns, tin can manufacturers, money managers, waterpark owners, insurance professionals and NFL players. He has even done a couple of TED TALKS.

He is also an author, husband and a dad who has attended baseball games at all 30 current major league ballparks.

Nathaniel Rich

Nathaniel Rich is a writer-at-large for The New York Times Magazine and the author of two works of nonfiction: Second Nature: Scenes From A World Remade (2021) and Losing Earth: A Recent History (2019), a finalist for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Award, and winner of awards from the Society of Environmental Journalists and the American Institute of Physics. He is also the author of the novels Odds Against Tomorrow, The Mayor’s Tongue, and King Zeno, set in New Orleans in 1918. Rich lives a few blocks from Tulane.

Amanda Ripley

Amanda Ripley is the New York Times bestselling author of The Smartest Kids in the World, High Conflict, and The Unthinkable. She writes for The Atlantic, Politico, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal, among other publications.

Adonis Rose

Adonis Rose is a Grammy-award winning artist, composer, educator, and producer from the city of New Orleans, LA. He has played and recorded with the biggest names in Jazz, including Terence Blanchard, Betty Carter, Dianne Reeves, Marcus Roberts, Harry Connick, Jr., and Wynton Marsalis, and has performed on the most renowned stages in the world such as Carnegie Hall, Olympia in Paris, North Sea Jazz Festival, Umbria, Birdland, Apollo Theater, Newport Jazz Festival, and Jazz at Lincoln Center, to name a few. Rose has over fifty recordings to his credit (five as a leader), including six with longtime friend, trumpeter Nicholas Payton. In 2010, he won a Grammy Award with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra for Best Large Ensemble.

In January 2017, Rose was named the Artistic Director of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO) and led the eighteen-piece orchestra to its first concert season in October of that year that featured world-renowned artists Sheila E, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ledisi, Slick Rick, and Eric Benet. He has been instrumental in the organization's success by developing educational and community programs, leading performances, and developing partnerships associated with The Jazz Market, a 350-seat performance venue in the New Orleans’ Central City neighborhood which is home to the orchestra. Prior to his role at NOJO, Rose served as the Artist in Residence at the University of Texas Arlington and Cadillac’s Jazz by the Boulevard Festival , produced the Keller Jazz in June series, and founded the Fort Worth Jazz Orchestra, a 501c(3) non-profit organization.

In 2019, Rose produced NOJO's most recent recording Songs: the music of Allen Toussaint o n the legendary Storyville Records imprint, which received rave reviews. He is currently working on several new recordings with the orchestra and his own ensembles and continues to tour, perform, and produce a range of projects. This past January 2021, Rose was named the New Orleans Music and Culture Curator for Jazz Ascona in Switzerland.

Sandy Rosenthal

After the near-destruction of New Orleans in 2005 while most were satisfied with the official narrative of "natural disaster", Sandy Rosenthal believed there was more to the story. It turned out there was.

Rosenthal led an investigative team via the New Orleans-based group she founded––––and discovered the real cause of the devastation: Faulty engineering which resulted in the deaths of at least 1,500 and over $100 billion in property damage and business losses, not "Mother Nature."

In a classic tale of "first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win", the team succeeded not only in exposing the details of the failure, but also uncovering a multi-million dollar smear campaign––against the people of New Orleans, and Sandy herself––funded with U.S. taxpayer dollars.

By 2015, the news media, which had upheld the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' version of events, finally capitulated, and major news outlets like the New York Times and the BBC, officially changed their version of events to reflect the reality.

Rosenthal's 4-time award-winning book "Words Whispered in Water" which documents this story is her first book. exists to make sure the U.S Army Corps of Engineers is held accountable in New Orleans and throughout the U.S. where the lives and property of 201 million Americans depend on the integrity of their levees.

Rosenthal is currently host of the Beat the Big Guys podcast where she coaches listeners on how to fix problems in their own communities.

Mother of three and grandmother of two, the Massachusetts-born Rosenthal has lived in New Orleans with her New Orleans native husband Steve since 1980.

Joshua D. Rothman

Joshua D. Rothman is professor of history and chair of the department of History at the University of Alabama. He is the author of three books on the history of American slavery, and has published essays and articles in The Atlantic, the Washington Post, the New York Times, Smithsonian, and other popular venues.

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).

Maurice Carlos Ruffin

Maurice Carlos Ruffin is the author of The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You, which will be published by One World Random House in August 2021. His first book, We Cast a Shadow, was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the PEN America Open Book Prize. It was longlisted for the 2021 DUBLIN Literary Award, the Center for Fiction Prize and the Aspen Words Literary Prize. The novel was also a New York Times Editor’s Choice. Ruffin is the winner of several literary prizes, including the Iowa Review Award in fiction and the William Faulkner–William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition Award for Novel-in-Progress. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the LA Times, the Oxford American, Garden & Gun, Kenyon Review, and Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America. A New Orleans native, Ruffin is a professor of Creative Writing at Louisiana State University, and the 2020-2021 John and Renee Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi.

Matt Sakakeeny

Matt Sakakeeny is Associate Professor of Music at Tulane University. He is the author of Roll With It: Brass Bands in the Streets of New Orleans (Duke Press, 2013), and co-author of Keywords in Sound (Duke Press, 2015) and Remaking New Orleans: Beyond Exceptionalism and Authenticity (Duke Press, 2019). He is a board member of two nonprofit organizations, the Roots of Music afterschool program and the Dinerral Shavers Educational Fund. Matt has received a grant from the Spencer Foundation for his next book on marching band education in the New Orleans school system. He is also the guitarist and bandleader of Los Po-Boy-Citos, and he released a solo album in 2018 as The Lonely Birds.

Kalamu Salaam

Mona Lisa Saloy

Mona Lisa Saloy, Ph.D., the new Louisiana Poet Laureate is an award-winning author & folklorist, educator, and scholar of Creole culture in articles, documentaries, and poems about Black New Orleans before and after Katrina. Currently, Conrad N. Hilton Endowed Professor and of English at Dillard University, Dr. Saloy documents Creole culture in sidewalk songs, jump-rope rhymes, and clap-hand games to discuss the importance of play. She writes on the significance of the Black Beat poets--especially Bob Kaufman, on the African American Toasting Tradition, Black talk, and on keeping Creole to today. Her first book, Red Beans & Ricely Yours, won the T.S. Eliot Prize and the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award. Her collection of poems, Second Line Home, captures New Orleans speech, family dynamics, celebrates New Orleans, the unique culture the world loves. Saloy’s screenplay for the documentary Easter Rock premiered in Paris, the Ethnograph Film Festival & at the national Black museum. She's lectured on Black Creole Culture at Poets House-NYC; the Smithsonian; Purdue University; the University of Washington; and Woodland Patterns Book Center. Her documentary, Bleu Orleans, is on Black Creole Culture. She is an editorial reviewer for Meridians: Feminism, race, transnationalism. Her recent publications of verse: “New Orleans, a Neighborhood Nation.” I am New Orleans, anthology. Kalamu ya Salaam, editor. University of New Orleans Press, 2021; in the Chicago Quarterly Review, Vol. 33, Anthology of Black American Literature, and Obsidian journal. Mona Lisa Saloy writes for those who don’t or can’t tell Black Creole cultural stories. Tweet to @redbeansista & @MonaLisaSaloy

Julian Sancton

JULIAN SANCTON is a Senior Features Editor at the Hollywood Reporter. His writing has appeared in Vanity Fair, Esquire, GQ, The New Yorker, Departures, and Playboy, among other publications. He has reported from every continent, including Antarctica, which he first visited while researching this book. He lives in Larchmont, New York, with his partner, Jessica, and their two daughters.

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.

Rupert Scofield

Rupert Scofield co-founded global microfinance pioneer FINCA International in 1984 and has served as its President & CEO since 1994. He now leads the organization in supporting the rise of social enterprises delivering basic services including healthcare, renewable energy, education, water & sanitation, agriculture and financial innovation. An agricultural economist and microfinance, social enterprise and impact investing expert, Rupert is an author, podcast presenter and speaker, offering insights on market-based solutions to global poverty.

Bakari Sellers

Bakari Sellers is a CNN political analyst and was the youngest-ever member of the South Carolina state legislature. Recently named to TIME’s “40 Under 40” List, he is also a practicing attorney fighting to give a voice for the voiceless.

Fatima Shaik

Fatima Shaik was born in the historic Seventh Ward of New Orleans and bred on the oral histories told her by her Creole family and neighbors. A former assistant professor at Saint Peter’s University (NJ), she worked for more than a decade as a reporter and editor for daily news outlets. Her articles have appeared in the New York Times,The Root, andIn These Times. Shaik is a trustee of PEN America and former board member of The Writers Room in New York City. She is the twenty-second recipient of the Louisiana Writer Award from the state library’s Center for the Book.Recently, The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities chose Economy Hall: The Hidden History of a Free Black Brotherhood as the 2022 Humanities Book of the Year and Kirkus Reviews named Economy Hall one of Kirkus Best Books of 2021 list (nonfiction). She is the author of six books of fiction. Economy Hall is her first nonfiction work. More information can be found at

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.

Maleeha Siddiqui

MALEEHA SIDDIQUI is an American writer of Pakistani descent who loves to tell unapologetically Muslim stories for all ages. By day, Maleeha works as a regulatory affairs professional in the biotech industry. She grew up and continues to reside with her family in Virginia. Barakah Beats is her debut novel and an Indies Introduce pick. Her forthcoming middle-grade book, Bhai For Now takes a fresh and fun new spin on the Parent-Trap story.

Annette Sisco

Annette Sisco is co-author with Tulane professor Peter Ricchiuti of “Being Your Own Boss Is Terrific: Unless You’re Calling in Sick...Because Then You Know You Are Lying!” well as the 2013 “Stocks Under Rocks.” She has worked for more than 25 years as a reporter, columnist and editor at New Orleans newspapers and currently serves as features editor of The Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate and Annette is a native of Louisville, Kentucky, and a graduate of the Indiana University School of Journalism in Bloomington.

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 selected by the New York Times as one of the 10 best books of 2021. He is also the author of 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. His writing has been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Poetry Magazine, The Paris Review. and elsewhere. Clint received his B.A. in English from Davidson College and a Ph.D. in Education from Harvard University.

Katy Simpson Smith

Katy Simpson Smith was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. She received a PhD in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. She is the author of We Have Raised All of You: Motherhood in the South, 1750-1835, and the novels The Story of Land and Sea, Free Men, and The Everlasting. Her writing has also appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the Oxford American, Granta, Literary Hub, Garden & Gun, Catapult, and Lenny. She lives in New Orleans, and currently serves as the Eudora Welty Chair for Southern Literature at Millsaps College.

Anne Snyder

Anne Snyder is the Editor-in-Chief of Comment Magazine and the author of The Fabric of Character: A Wise Giver’s Guide to Renewing our Social and Moral Landscape. From 2016-2019 she directed The Philanthropy Roundtable‘s Character Initiative, a program that sought to help American foundations and business leaders strengthen “the middle ring” of morally formative institutions. She is currently also a Fellow at the Center for Opportunity Urbanism, a Houston-based think tank that explores how cities can drive opportunity for the bulk of their citizens, and a Senior Fellow at The Trinity Forum. Previously, Anne has worked for Laity Lodge and the H.E. Butt Family Foundation in Texas, as well as the Ethics and Public Policy Center, World Affairs Journal and The New York Times. She has published widely, including The Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Post, City Journal, Philanthropy Magazine, The Orange County Register, Houston Business Journal and elsewhere.

David Spielman

David G. Spielman presents “New Orleans Portrayed”

David Spielman is approaching his 50th anniversary of his photographic career, which began when he moved to New Orleans. His portfolio features works from six continents. “New Orleans Portrayed” is his fifth book, and follows his acclaimed “Southern Writers,” “Katrinaville Chronicles,” “When Not Performing,” and “Katrina Decade.”

Recently Spielman was recognized as Chevalier (Knight) of the Ordre des Artes et des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture for his photographic work both in New Orleans and France.

Emma Straub

Emma Straub is the New York Times-bestselling author of four novels—All Adults Here, The Vacationers, Modern Lovers, Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures—and the short story collection Other People We Married. Her books have been published in more than 20 languages, and All Adults Here is currently in development as a television series. She and her husband own Books Are Magic, an independent bookstore in Brooklyn, New York.

Michael Strecker

Michael Strecker is the author of The Young Comic’s Guide to Telling Jokes Books. 1 and 2 (Sterling) and Jokes for Crescent City Kids, (Pelican). His fourth joke book for kids is scheduled to published by Scholastic. He also writes fiction for adults. His short story A Lake Catherine Lesson 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 by the 2021 Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival. In addition to his writing, Strecker is a stand-up comedian, who has performed at some of the top comedy clubs in the country. He lives in the New Orleans area with his wife Jillian and their sons, Stephen and Joseph.

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

Quincy Troupe

Award-winning poet and biographerQuincy Troupe wrote the definitive biography of Miles Davis, Miles: The Autobiography; and a memoir, miles & me, soon to be a major motion picture. Author of 20 books, he also conducted the last interview with James Baldwin republished most recently in English as James Baldwin:The Last Interview & Other Conversations (Melville House, 2014). He co-authored the best-selling biography, Pursuit Happyness, the story of Chris Gardner that was made into a major motion picture starring Will Smith, and Earl the Pearl, the story of legendary NBA basketball player, Earl Monroe. Troupe’s work has been translated into 30 languages. His most recent book of poetry is Duende, Poems 1966 – Now (Seven Stories Press, January 2022)

Mark VanLandingham

Mark J. VanLandingham, Ph.D., is the Thomas C. Keller Professor at Tulane University. He currently teaches Population Mobility and Health and Health Problems of Developing Societies (with Katherine Andrinopoulos). Professor VanLandingham directs Tulane’s Center for Studies of Displaced Populations (CSDP) and leads research teams focusing on rural-to-urban migration within Southeast Asia; long-term post-disaster recovery; and acculturation, health, and well-being among Vietnamese immigrants living in New Orleans. His recent book, Weathering Katrina, focuses on these two latter topics.

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.

Qian Julie Wang

Qian Julie was born in Shijiazhuang, China. At age 7, she moved to Brooklyn, New York, with her parents. For five years thereafter, the three lived in the shadows of undocumented life in New York City. Qian Julie's first book is a poignant literary memoir that follows the family through those years, as they held onto hope and joy while confronting poverty, manual labor, and the perpetual threat of deportation.

A graduate of Yale Law School and Swarthmore College—where she juggled classes and extracurriculars with four part-time jobs—Qian Julie is now a litigator. She wrote Beautiful Country on her iPhone, during her subway commute to and from work at a national law firm, where she was elected to partnership within two years of joining the firm. She is now managing partner of Gottlieb & Wang LLP, a firm dedicated to advocating for education and civil rights. Qian Julie believes that the first step to eradicating systemic barriers is affording underprivileged communities the quality of legal representation typically reserved for wealthy corporate interests.

Qian Julie’s writing has appeared in major publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, and The Cut. She regularly speaks on issues such as immigration, education, discrimination, and the power of literacy in the media and at conferences, universities, corporations, community centers, and houses of worship.

Qian Julie lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their two rescue dogs, Salty and Peppers.

Jeanette R. Weiland

Ms. Weiland currently works for the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA) as the Senior Vice President of Bio, Innovation, & Special Projects. In this role, she reports to the CEO and is responsible for facilitating collaboration with local institutions and companies, attracting new businesses and investment to the City, assisting existing businesses and startups with retention and expansion efforts, and working with area partners to help ensure that the state’s legislative environment is friendly to all of these efforts. All of the organization’s work is conducted with an intentional focus on equity and inclusion, and in 2021 the International Economic Development Council awarded the team with six awards recognizing its work.

Prior to joining NOLABA, Jeanette served as the Financial Operations Manager for Ochsner Health’s Retail Division, where she created strategic plans and managed budgets, projections, productivity dashboards, and built pro formas for numerous business divisions. In addition to leading cross-functional teams for Retail M&A activity, Jeanette translated complex financial data into relatable platforms such as infographics, reports, and presentations that provided easily-understood information to diverse audiences.

Before joining Ochsner Health, Jeanette served as the Executive Vice President of CIC Wealth – a privately-owned, independent wealth management firm with several offices located in the greater Washington, D.C. area. As a team, the firm was responsible for managing over $300M of client assets. Her areas of expertise included working with high-net worth individuals and business owners to create and manage defined benefit and contribution plans, actively manage investment portfolios, and implement tax-advantaged retirement income strategies for individuals and families. Jeanette was a Registered Representative (Series 7 & Series 66) and was awarded a Chartered Retirement Plan Specialist (CRPS®) designation from the College for Financial Planning. Prior to CIC Wealth, Jeanette worked with the wealth management teams at Capital One Bank and UBS Financial Services in New Orleans, LA.

Ms. Weiland currently serves as a board member for KIDsmART, the New Orleans Garden District Association, Louisiana BIO, and had her second children’s book published in Fall of 2020. She graduated from Louisiana State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in International Trade and Finance, and received both her Master of Arts in Arts Administration degree and Master of Business Administration degree from the University of New Orleans.

While enrolled in graduate school in the evenings, Jeanette worked within the Development Department of the LSU Health Sciences Center’s School of Dentistry, where she and two other staff members were responsible for the fundraising practices and alumni affairs of the school. Before she began her graduate education, she interned on Capitol Hill for former U.S. Senator John Breaux of Louisiana and lived in Beijing, China where she studied the Mandarin dialect.

David Weill, MD

Dr. Weill is the former Director of the Center for Advanced Lung Disease and Lung and Heart-Lung Transplant Program at Stanford University Medical Center. He is currently the Principal of the Weill Consulting Group which focuses on improving the delivery of pulmonary, ICU, and transplant care.
Dr. Weill has served in a variety of international and national roles, both in the private and public sectors, and has authored numerous medical articles, book chapters, and editorials.

He has twice testified before the United States Senate about how various inhaled occupational exposures affect lung heath. He has also appeared before various state legislatures and has lectured extensively nationally and internationally at major medical conferences and academic medical centers.
Dr. Weill’s writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Salon, Newsweek, the Chicago Tribune, STAT, USA Today, the Washington Post, The Hill, and the Los Angeles Times. He also has been interviewed on CNN and by the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Wall Street Journal. His memoir Exhale: Hope, Healing, and A Life in Transplant will be published in May 2021 by Post Hill Press.

Dr. Weill serves on the TransMedics Board of Directors and the GlycosBio, Kallaco, and the National Stone, Sand, and Gravel Association Scientific Advisory Boards, as well as various non-profit boards including the Tulane Medical School, Xavier University of Louisiana, the Isidore Newman School, Elevate, KatyCares, and NextGen Personal Finance. He is also on the Advisory Council of the Wake Forest Center for Entrepreneurship.

He lives in New Orleans with his wife Jackie and their two daughters, Hannah and Ava.

Curtis Wilkie

CURTIS WILKIE covered civil rights activity in Mississippi in the 1960s and afterward served as a national and international correspondent for a quarter century at the Boston Globe. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi.
Thomas Chatterton

Thomas Chatterton Williams

Thomas Chatterton Williams is the author of Losing My Cool and Self-Portrait in Black and White. He is a contributing writer at the Atlantic, a 2019 New America Fellow, a visiting fellow at AEI, and a visiting professor of humanities at Bard College, where he is a Senior Fellow at the Hannah Arendt Center. He was previously a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine and a columnist at Harper’s. His writing has appeared in the New Yorker, the London Review of Books, Le Monde and many other places, and has been collected in The Best American Essays and The Best American Travel Writing. He has received support from Yaddo, MacDowell and The American Academy in Berlin, where he is a member of the Board of Trustees. His next book, Nothing Was the Same: The Pandemic Summer of George Floyd and the Shift in Western Consciousness, will be published by Knopf.

Jane Wolfe

Jane Wolfe, a graduate of Tulane and Harvard Divinity School, is an adjunct professor at Tulane and the University of Holy Cross. Her focus is on World Religions and responsible social entrepreneurship. She is also an accomplished veteran entrepreneur, as the former co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Wagners Meat Markets, ranked in the Inc. Inner City 100, and as co-founder and former marketing executive for Wolfman Construction, a Top 25 private contractor in New Orleans. Janes is also a founder of Melba’s Famous Po’Boys, a unique gem in the crossroads of the 7th, 8th and Upper 9th Wards of New Orleans. In 2018, Melba’s joined the Inc. 500’s Fastest Growing Companies list and was given the title of Fastest Growing Business in Louisiana.

Chris Yandle

A native of Houma, Louisiana, Dr. Chris Yandle is a former college athletics administrator and an award-winning public relations professional at both the K-12 and higher ed levels. After spending more than a decade with five different NCAA Division I college athletics programs, he transitioned to K-12 communications in St. Tammany Parish in 2017. He returned to higher education at the state level in March 2021. Considered among the leading communications professionals in college athletics, Chris served as the Assistant Athletic Director for Communications at the University of Miami (2012-2014) and Georgia Tech (2014-2016). Prior to moving to Miami, he spent four years at Baylor University (2008-2012) where he was one of the leaders behind the successful Heisman Trophy campaign of quarterback Robert Griffin III in 2011.

He is a 2004 graduate of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (B.A., Public Relations) and a 2007 graduate of Marshall University (M.S., Athletic Administration). He earned his Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership from Mercer University in December 2019.

Since publishing his first book, Lucky Enough: A Year of a Dad’s Daily Notes of Encouragement and Life Lessons to His Daughter, in September 2018, Chris has appeared nationally on NBC’s TODAY and The Kelly Clarkson Show as well as numerous media outlets throughout the New Orleans Metro.