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PAR Holds 2007 Annual Conference and Luncheon on April 27

The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana (PAR) will hold its 2007 Annual Conference and Luncheon on Friday, April 27, at the Holiday Inn-Select in Baton Rouge.

John M. Barry , a prize-winning and New York Times best-selling author, will be the luncheon keynote speaker. The title of his presentation is “The Past as Prologue? Floods, Politics, and the Future.” His books, including The Great Influenza and Rising Tide: the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America, have won more than twenty awards. Governor Kathleen Blanco has been invited to offer welcoming remarks at the luncheon.

The morning panel session will focus on proposals to solve the state’s insurance affordability crisis. The session will be moderated by Robyn Ekings, Capitol correspondent for LPB. The panelists will be: Miles Bruder, director of health care and insurance policy for the Louisiana Recovery Authority; RepresentativeKaren Carter, of Louisiana House District 93; Kevin Cunningham, local counsel for American Insurance Association; Jim Donelon, Commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Insurance; and Senator Julie Quinn, of Louisiana Senate District 6.

The half-day conference is open to the public, and the cost is $85 per person ($75 for PAR members).  Lunch is included in the price.  Reserved sponsorship tables for 10 are also available at a cost of $1,000 or $750.  PAR’s membership and Board of Directors will meet at 9:30 a.m., and the conference will begin at 10 a.m.

The presenting sponsors for the 2007 Annual Conference are: All Star Automotive Group, Cox Communications, Dore’ Energy, C.J. Brown/Latter & Blum Realtors, W&T Offshore and Whitney National Bank.

For more information or to register, write to PAR at P.O. Box 14776, Baton Rouge, LA  70898-4776; call (225) 926-8414; FAX (225) 926-8417; or visit PAR’s Web site at

About the Keynote Speaker

John M. Barry is a prize-winning and New York Times best-selling author whose books have won more than twenty awards. In 2005 the National Academy of Sciences named The Great Influenza, a study of the 1918 pandemic, the year’s outstanding book on science or medicine, and the Center for Biodefense and Emerging Pathogens gave Barry its 2005 “September Eleventh Award.” Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America, won the 1998 Francis Parkman Prize of the Society of American Historians for the year’s best book of American history.

Barry serves on advisory boards at M.I.T’s Center for Engineering Systems Fundamentals, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and on a federal government Infectious Disease Board of Experts. He has advised federal, state, and World Health Organization officials on influenza, crisis management, and risk communication. After Hurricane Katrina, the Louisiana Congressional delegation asked him to chair a bipartisan working group on flood control, and in 2007 he was appointed to the Southeast Louisiana Flood Control Authority, the newly consolidated levee board that oversees seven levee districts. The National Academy of Sciences has recognized his expertise in entirely different areas, inviting him to give the 2006 Abel Wolman Distinguished Lecture on water resources, as well as the keynote speech at an international scientific meeting on influenza. He has also been keynote speaker at a White House Conference on the Mississippi Delta and is co-originator of Riversphere, a $125 million center being developed by Tulane University, which will be the first facility in the world dedicated to comprehensive river research.

He is a frequent guest on such shows as NBC’s Meet the Press, as well as on ABC, CBS, Fox, PBS, MSNBC, CNBC, NPR, and the BBC, has contributed to award-winning television documentaries, and has written for such publications as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Fortune, Time, Newsweek, and Esquire.

In addition to formal awards, his books have received less formal recognition as well. In 2004 GQ namedRising Tide one of nine pieces of writing essential to understanding America; that list also included Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address and Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” His first book, The Ambition and the Power: A true story of Washington, was cited by The New York Times as one of the eleven best books ever written about Washington and the Congress. His second book The Transformed Cell: Unlocking the Mysteries of Cancer, coauthored with Dr. Steven Rosenberg, was published in twelve languages. And a story about football he wrote was selected for inclusion in an anthology of the best football writing of all time published in 2006 by Sports Illustrated.

Before becoming a writer, Barry coached football at the high school, small college, and major college levels. Currently Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Center for Bioenvironmental Research of Tulane and Xavier Universities, he divides his time between New Orleans and Washington.


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