Sessions & Speakers

Conference Program

Below is the conference session information as of January 13, 2015.
A PDF file of the hardcopy conference program is available via the link at right.
The [CMs] listed below are those applied for.

DAY 1 - Wednesday, January 21

10:00 AM - On-Site Registration Opens

10:30 - Chapter Business Meeting

Riverview Ballroom "A"

Member attendance is strongly encouraged for this annual meeting of the full membership of APA LA. Chapter President Lydia Z. Jemison will introduce the new Executive Director of the APA, Mr. Jim Drinan, review critical events of 2014 and present possible changes in 2015 for discussion with the membership. Don’t miss this opportunity to have your voice heard!

11:30 - Opening Luncheon - Welcome Addresses

Riverview Ballroom "A"

This official start of the 2015 APA Louisiana Conference will include welcome to Baton Rouge and to the conference. Welcome addresses will be received from APA Louisiana Chapter President Lydia Z. Jemison, AICP, from City of Baton Rouge Council President Pro-Tempore and District 3 Councilmember Chandler Loupe, and from APA Executive Director Jim Drinan.

1:00 PM, Wednesday

Session 1: Place-Based Zoning in New Orleans - Evolving Regulatory Approaches

Governors Room, [1.5 CM]

When the city considered regulatory approaches to implement its adopted Master plan, it recognized varied development patterns in conflict with particular zoning methodologies. New Orleans decided to apply the right approach for each situation, whether conventional (Euclidian), performance based or form based. The community decided to create a hybrid ordinance based on development characteristics of various and unique places – utilizing a “place-based” approach, with districts designated/grouped related to specific community needs. This hybrid code provides regulatory controls responding to established community values, the form and design of each “place,” and unique neighborhood conditions through use and performance standards.

  • Moderator: Leslie T. Alley – Deputy Director, New Orleans City Planning Commission
  • Panelist 1: Robert D. Rivers – Executive Director, New Orleans City Planning Commission
  • Panelist 2: Stephen D. Villavaso, FAICP, JD – Principal, Villavaso & Associates, Lead Local Consultant on the New Orleans Master Plan and Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance project.
  • Panelist 3: Paul Cramer – Planning Administration, New Orleans City Planning Commission

Session 2: Fat City Redevelopment & Revitalization

Capitol Room, [1.5 CM]

A booming entertainment district in the 1970’s, Fat City precipitously declined and was stuck in a seedy stage of inertia for decades despite numerous revitalization attempts. Fat City has a new energy and is now positioned for the goal of lasting revitalization. Adult uses have closed. Five former late-night bars have been redeveloped into new restaurants, an office and wellness center, and the parish has issued over 40 permits for renovations since revitalization efforts began and the new zoning ordinance took effect. New mixed-use zoning, amortization of non-conforming signs and public streetscape investments have fostered private investment.

The panel will discuss the successes and failures of the strategic plan and zoning amendments, public outreach, public outreach, capital improvements, creative financing, and attempts to spur development and attract private investment with limited funding.

  • Moderator: Juliette Cassagne – Assistant Director, Jefferson Parish Planning Department
  • Panelist 1: Terri Wilkinson, PhD, AICP – Director, Jefferson Parish Planning Department 
  • Panelist 2: Michael Lauer, AICP – Principal, Planning Works
  • Panelist 3: Tiffany Peperone Pitre, JD – General Counsel and Policy Analyst, TMG Consulting
  • Panelist 4: Jerry Bologna – Executive Director, Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO)

3:00 PM, Wednesday

Session 3: Area-Wide/Multi-Lot Neighborhood Brownfield Surveys

Governors Room, [1.5 CM]

This session will present the concept and application of area-wide/multi-lot neighborhood brownfield surveys and how they can support redevelopment planning. Two such surveys have been completed in the Baton Rouge urban core. Another is under way in the city of Shreveport, with funding from an EPA grant specifically intended for these types of brownfield planning activities. This presentation will feature descriptions of the surveys from the two lead authors of these three projects as well as a discussion of how they can be utilized support neighborhood revitalization. The presentation will be designed to help practitioners decide if a multi-lot brownfield survey could be useful in their communities.

  • Panelist 1: Barrett Chaix – Coordinator, Economic and Environmental Research, Baton Rouge City-Parish Planning Commission
  • Panelist 2: Melanie Hanks – Site Evaluation and Remediation Group Manager, Providence Engineering and Environmental Group, LLC
  • Panelist 3: Jennifer Schatzle – Environmental Scientist, Risk and Remediation Group, CK Associates, LLC

Session 4: Housing Needs Assessments: Best Practices at the State and Local Level

Capitol Room, [1.5 CM]

The panel will examine the role of housing needs assessments in planning for community change.  Housing needs assessments are a powerful tool for determining current demographic, economic and housing conditions and making recommendations for future investment. The panel will explore housing needs assessments at the state (Louisiana) and city level (New Orleans), present best practices from around the country, and discuss innovative data sources, community engagement strategies, and planning for implementation.

  • Panelist 1: Nathan Cataline – Senior Housing Planner, GCR, Inc.
  • Panelist 2: Andreanecia Morris – Vice President of Homeownership and Community Development, Providence Community Housing
  • Panelist 3: Roy Heidelberg – Assistant Professor, Louisiana State University’s Public Administration Institute.

5:00 PM Opening Reception & Social

Heidelberg Ballroom, 10th Floor, Hilton Capitol Center

The storied Heidelberg Hotel (aka Hilton Capitol Center) was once the favorite haunt of legendary politician Huey P. Long, "the Kingfish." Construction on the Heidelberg Hotel began in 1927, with just a sketch on a napkin by architect Edward Nield. Nield's napkin plan lay the foundation for his vision to create a luxury hotel fit for Louisiana's capital city and the dynamic, controversial politicians of the era.

It seemed fitting to open our conference with a reception in the Heidelberg Ballroom, located on the tenth floor of the historic Hilton Capitol Center overlooking the Mississippi River. This grand room provides the perfect atmosphere conducive for attendees to mix and mingle while enjoying the view and light refreshments.

Dinner is on your own following the reception.


DAY 2 - Thursday, January 22

7:30 AM - Breakfast with Bill Anderson

Riverview Ballroom "A"

Talk to the President of APA, Mr. Bill Anderson, on what’s happening in planning on a national level. Breakfast is included in the conference fee.

9:00 AM, Thursday

Session 5: Comprehensive Plans: Successful Implementation

Governors Room, [1.5 CM]

Comprehensive plans have been adopted at a record pace across Louisiana in recent years. But how are those plans being monitored and measured for success? What defines successful implementation? This discussion will highlight methods for identifying relevant indicators, for reporting that information to the public and for utilizing the results in adapting/updating the overall planning documents.

  • Panelist 1: Lael Holton – Manager, Advance Planning and Research, Baton Rouge City-Parish Planning Commission
  • Panelist 2: Mukul Verma – Director of Communications, Baton Rouge Area Foundation
  • Panelist 3: Honorable Murphy McMillin – Mayor, Town of Jena

Session 6: P3 - Leveraging Partnerships to Boost Public-Private Partnership

Riverview Ballroom, [1.5 CM]

Public-private partnerships (P3s) are now widely used by local governments as a method for implementing real estate, urban infrastructure and economic development projects, after a community plan is completed. But what about the benefits of bringing P3s early into the planning process itself?

Involving the private sector (corporate, non-profit, philanthropy, etc.) in carrying out a public outreach and engagement strategy has several advantages. Private sector partners offer access to specialized skills, can increase efficiency and may be able to offset restrictions that prevail in the public sector. Because of this, they often can come up with and carry out creative solutions. And of course, they can generate resources.

Participants in this session will learn how to effectively create and use alliances between local governments and different segments of the private sector to expand public outreach and increase levels of citizen engagement in a planning process. They will learn the “do’s and don’ts” from the diverse perspective of several non-planner panelists involved in the recently completed PlanLafayette effort.

  • Panelist 1: Silvia Vargas, AICP, LEED AP – Senior Associate, Wallace, Roberts, & Todd, LLC
  • Panelist 2: Kevin Blanchard, JD – Director of Public Works, (formerly Chief Development Officer), Lafayette Consolidated Government (LCG)
  • Panelist 3: Carlee Alm-Labar – Chief Development Officer, Lafayette Consolidated Government (LCG)
  • Panelist 4: Bruce M. Conque – Chair, Lafayette Planning Commission; (Retired) Vice President of Community Development, Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce
  • Panelist 5: Steven J. Oubre, AIA, LEED AP BD+C – Principal, Architects Southwest


10:45 AM, Thursday

Session 7: 2015 Mayors’ Roundtable on Fighting Blight in Louisiana

Riverview Ballroom, [1.25 CM]

Ronnie Harris, a former Louisiana mayor and Executive Director of the Louisiana Municipal Association (LMA), will moderate a roundtable of Louisiana mayors on their successes and failures at combating blight in their respective communities. The panel will also examine recent efforts by the LMA to shepherd measures through the Louisiana legislature process to address blighted property. Acts 436 and 871 are proposed constitutional amendments on the November 2014 ballot aimed at streamlining procedures for local governments to recover expenses for blighted, abandoned or tax-delinquent property. Addressing the cost of clearing such property could encourage redevelopment and improve the quality of land uses.

  • Moderator: Ronnie Harris – Executive Director, Louisiana Municipal Association
  • Panelist 2: Honorable Belinda Constant – Mayor, City of Gretna
  • Panelist 3: Honorable Hyram Copeland – Mayor, City of Vidalia
  • Panelist 4: Honorable Kenneth Boudreaux – Councilman, Lafayette City-Parish Council

Session 8: St. Tammany Parish Hazard Mitigation Properties: Methodologies for Determining What to Do with Hazard Mitigated Properties

Governors Room, [1.25 CM]

Following several storms – most recently Hurricane Isaac – St. Tammany Parish was left with numerous parcels now taken out of commerce and placed in the public domain as a result of flood hazard mitigation programs. These properties vary widely in size and are distributed across the parish with a concentration along the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain and along bayous flowing into it. The study identified the properties, and developed a methodology for deciding the best utilization for them going forward, since their return to commerce is not possible. Specifically, the use of these lands to enhance wildlife habitat, aquifer recharge, outdoor recreation and tourism were examined in detail.

  • Panelist 1: Dayton Crites, LEED GA – Designer/Planner, Design Workshop
  • Panelist 2: Conners Ladner – Associate, Design Workshop
  • Panelist 3: Risa Mueller – Vice President, Franklin Associates 



Noon: State Planning Awards Luncheon

Riverview Ballroom "A"

Each year our Chapter recognizes the achievements of agencies, companies, groups and individuals as they strive for excellence in the planning profession. General award categories include Planning Excellence (Plan/Implementation/Process/Education or Advocacy), Planning Achievement (for an individual), Student Project Award and Great Places in Louisiana recognition. A presentation of winning submissions will be shared as well as the official ceremony in which winners will receive a personalized award.  Click for awards winners.

2:00 PM, Thursday

Session 9: Legislative Roundtable

Riverview Ballroom, [1.5 CM]

Please join Jason Jordan, the APA Director of Policy and Communications, for a workshop on how to organize and energize the current APA LA legislative process, overview of national legislation pertinent to planners and national policy initiatives of the APA, the communication of these policy initiatives to elected officials, staff and the media on Capitol Hill, and how the APA LA can translate these actions on the state and local levels.  Dialog and participation with the audience will be strongly encouraged.

  • Moderator: Lydia Z. Jemison, AICP, CFM – President, APA LA and President, Jemison & Partners, Inc.
  • Primary Speaker: Jason Jordan – Director of Policy and Communications, APA
  • Facilitator 1: Ed E. Elam, III, AICP, PTP – Associate Planner, Burk-Kleinpeter, Inc.
  • Facilitator 2: Stephen D. Villavaso, FAICP, JD – Principal, Villavaso & Associates
  • Facilitator 3: Tim Jackson, AICP – Senior Research Associate, UNO Transportation Institute


Session 10: The Envision Rating Systems: Sustainable Rating Systems for Public Improvement Projects

Governors Room, [1.5 CM]

This session provides a review of sustainable rating systems for public improvement projects with a focus on Envision. The Envision system is more than just LEED for public works. It includes assessment of planning, community involvement and livability.  Session participants will learn:

  1. The different rating systems (STARS, Greenroads, INVEST, LEED ND) the merits of each and possible planning applications.
  2. The basics of Envision, with a focus on the following categories: Quality of Life, Leadership (including planning), Climate and Risk.
  3. How to use the Envision tools to enhance planning projects, even when not fully pursuing project certification.
  • Panelist 1: Derek Chisholm, AICP, ENV SP, LEED GA – Senior Planner/Project Manager, URS New Orleans; Envision Sustainable Professional
  • Panelist 2: Malay Ghose Hajra, Ph.D., P.E., ENV SP – Assistant Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of New Orleans

3:45 PM, Thursday

Session 11: Shreveport Common: Using Hard Numbers to Validate and Implement the Vision

Governors Room, [1.25 CM]

Shreveport Common, a 9-block art and culture district adjacent to the Central Business District, was conceived after a devastating fire engulfed the Shreveport Regional Arts Council’s headquarters in 2009. The panel will describe Shreveport Common’s unique history and the vision for it to evolve to an arts and cultural district.  This vision was reported by the Massachusetts’ Institute of Technology as a leader in “creative placemaking.”

The panel will discuss obtaining grant funding for a planning audit and market assessment, the market assessment’s methodology and analysis, the market assessment’s projection of the potential utilization of the Shreveport Common’s housing and commercial uses, the validation of the vision, and how the plan strengthened stakeholder commitment and interest from developers. The panel will describe using the market assessment in its planning implementation and creative placemaking to stay true to its vision as an uncommon cultural community.

  • Panelist 1: Suzanne Perilloux Leckert, AICP – Director of Gaming, Feasibility and Land Use Analysis TMG Consulting
  • Panelist 2: Liz Swaine – Executive Director, Shreveport Downtown Development Authority and Downtown Shreveport Development Corporation
  • Panelist 3: Eric Melancon – Associate TMG Consulting
  • Panelist 4: Pam Atchinson – Executive Director Shreveport Regional Arts Council

Session 12: Shreveport Brownfields - Leveraging Financial and Technical Assistance to Implement a Plan: An EPA Brownfields Area-Wide Planning grant and AICP Community Planning Assistance Team Coordinate to Stimulate Urban Revitalization in Downtown Shreveport

Riverview Ballroom, [1.25 CM]

This presentation should provide insight into how these types of opportunities might be used in other communities to help implement or otherwise stimulate investment in a current comprehensive plan. Moreover, the two coordinated efforts provided resources to address problems that would otherwise undoubtedly remain ignored for the foreseeable future.

Topics and issues addressed in the two efforts include: walkability, urban transportation alternatives and enhancements; environmental assessments and remediation; urban waterfront development; livability principles; historic preservation; sound urban design and environmental justice.

In addition, these efforts are already attracting additional funding and technical assistance opportunities from other federal agencies and their non-profit partners. Insights regarding successful applications for assistance and the successful provision of professional planning services will be shared.

  • Panelist 1: Mart Black, AICP – Lead consultant, Brownfields Area-Wide Plan, Providence Technical Services, LLC
  • Panelist 2: Aron Chang – Waggonner & Ball Architects
  • Panelist 3: Roy Jambor, AICP/PA – Senior Planner, Long Range Planning Metropolitan Planning Commission, City of Shreveport


6:00 PM, Thursday - Soirée Dinner

De La Ronde Hall: 320 3rd Street. ~ a block east of the Hilton; north of Florida Street.

All are welcome to register for this event featuring a 3-course dinner at De La Ronde Hall catered by Ruffino's Italian Restaurant. Enjoy a Sensation Salad, followed by your entree choice of Fish Picatta, Chicken Parmesan, or Lasagna; all capped off with a White Chocolate Bread Pudding desert. How can you go wrong?

Optional event; additional fee applies.


DAY 3 - Friday, January 23

7:30 AM - Continental Breakfast

Riverview Ballroom "A"

8:30 AM, Friday

Session 13: Ethics Case of the Year

Riverview Ballroom, [E 1.5 CM]

“The Ethics Case of the Year” is focused on practicing professionals; helping us all to be aware of situations where extra care is warranted. It fulfills the 1.5 CM Ethics credits required for AICP certification maintenance.

  • Panelist 1: James Drinan, JD – Executive Director, American Planning Association
  • Panelist 2: Robert Barber, FAICP – AICP Commissioner elected from Region III; Founding Partner, Orion Planning Group

Session 14: Topics in Professional Development

Governors Room, [0 CM]

This session is geared toward students and young professionals with key topics including internships, job hunting, professional certification and continuing education, and professional societies and volunteering.

  • Panelist 1: Sean Daly, AICP – Senior Transportation Planner, Iteris. Inc.; Professional Development Officer, American Planning Association, Louisiana Chapter
  • Panelist 2: Frank Duke, FAICP – Director, Baton Rouge City-Parish Planning Commission

10:15 AM, Friday

Session 15: Planning Law

Riverview Ballroom, [L 1.5 CM]

The law session for 1.5 Certification Maintenance credits will review the current status of the major zoning and land use case law in Louisiana, including an update on the Palermo case. Specific topics to be reviewed include local government’s authority in relation to land use matters as applied to “fracking projects”; recent rulings regarding the definition of a “family”; and new definition issues for code writers, such as: “growlers,” “commissary kitchens” and “food trucks.” This presentation is focused on practicing professionals; helping us all to be aware of existing and proposed legislation and issues pertinent to our profession.

  • Panelist 1: Stephen D. Villavaso, J.D., FAICP – Principal, Villavaso & Associates; Adjunct Professor at both the Department of Planning and Urban Studies at the University of New Orleans and the School of Law at Loyola University teaching Land Use and Zoning Law.

Session 16: Community Foundation - Hands-on Workshop Demonstration of a Reprogramming and Remodeling Exercise

Governors Room, [1.5 CM]

This presentation and hands-on workshop will demonstrate how a community foundation used the reprogramming and remodeling of an iconic downtown building to revitalize downtown, build community, and incentivize a new economy founded in the values of Equity, Inclusion and Opportunity. While this project took place in central and rural Wisconsin, the robust and authentic engagement can be applied in any community. Over 700 community residents and stakeholders have engaged in this work. The project was collaboratively designed and has proven to be transformational for the community and the region.

Following a presentation, we will engage participants with an activity that illustrates tools and methods for active engagement.

  • Panelist 1: Bobbie Hill – Principal, Concordia, LLC
  • Panelist 2: Philip Denning – Planning Project Manager, Concordia, LLC
  • Panelist 3: Connor McManus – Planner, Concordia, LLC

Noon Friday: Closing Luncheon

Riverview Ballroom "A"

As a wrap up to the conference, we will hear from keynote speaker Kristin Gisleson Palmer - New Orleans City Council, Councilmember District C - speaking to us about transportation issues affecting the Metro area and the state as a whole.


1:15 - 5:15 PM, Friday

Session 17: Planning Commissioner Training

King Room

This session is intended for newly appointed planning commissioners and citizens appointed to similar positions, such as boards of zoning adjustment and historic district commissions.  The session serves as an introduction to the principles of planning and zoning and key court cases for which every commissioner should be familiar. Louisiana Act 859 adopted by the Louisiana Legislature in 2004 requires citizens appointed to such commissions and boards to receive a minimum of 4 hours of training in the "duties, responsibilities, ethics and substance of the position..." This session will fulfill the requirements established in Act 859.

  • Panelist 1: Mart Black, AICP – Senior Planner, Providence Technical Services, LLC
  • Panelist 2: Joanne Poret, AICP  – Director of Planning & Zoning, City of Monroe