Join us this weekend in New Orleans for the first-ever Unrig the System Summit

This weekend, Feb. 2nd-4th, hundreds of the nation’s top advocates, academics, celebrities, philanthropists, and journalists will gather at Tulane University in New Orleans for the first-ever Unrig the System Summit, a bipartisan conference that “is about crossing partisan and ideological divides and working together on concrete solutions to unrig America’s political system.” 

The event is being hosted by Represent.us, a non-profit organization that seeks to “bring together conservatives, progressives, and everyone in between to pass powerful anti-corruption laws that stop political bribery, end secret money, and fix our broken elections,” and The Bayou Brief is proud to be one of two Louisiana-based sponsors, along with our friends at Louisiana Progress.

Tickets are $300 for all three days, which includes a concert at the Howlin Wolf on Friday night and their marquee event on Saturday night.

However, for Louisiana residents, tickets are available for $130; a very limited number of $85 tickets are available online for Louisianians (with an special promotional code).You can contact me at publisher at bayoubrief dot com for the code. 

Speakers include the Academy-Award winning actress Jennifer Lawrence; Richard Painter, former White House ethics counsel for George W. Bush; Steve Hilton, a host on Fox News and the founder of Crowdpac; Nina Turner, the president of Our Revolution and a former state senator from Ohio; Buddy Roemer, former governor of Louisiana and 2012 presidential candidate; U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat from Hawaii; U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, a Republican from Wisconsin; Lawrence Lessig, Harvard Law professor and 2016 presidential candidate; Cenk Uygur, co-founder of The Young Turks network; Ellen Weintraub, Commissioner of the Federal Elections Commission; Trevor Potter, former Chair of the Federal Election Commission and lawyer for Stephen Colbert’s SuperPAC, and the comedian Tig Notaro.

Although the majority of the speakers and panelists will be focusing on national issues, Louisiana will be well-represented. In addition to former Gov. Buddy Roemer, who will speak at the opening plenary session, Louisiana speakers include Lamar White, Jr. (that’s me) and Jarvis DeBerry, columnist for The Times-Picayune, who will join a panel on the media on Friday afternoon.

Also on Friday, Nina Turner will moderate a panel on Criminal Justice Reform in Louisiana featuring Norris Henderson, executive director of Voice of the Experienced (VOTE), Nia Weeks, director of policy and advocacy for Women with a Voice, Daniel Erspamer, executive director of the Pelican Institute, and Simone Levine, executive director of Court Watch NOLA.

On Saturday, Matt Bailey, the founder of Fair Districts Louisiana, Rosalind Cook, president of the League of Women Voters in New Orleans, Clancy DuBos, political editor of Gambit, and Ashley Shelton, the executive director of the Power Coalition will be discussing political corruption in Louisiana.

Stephen Street, Louisiana’s inspector general, will join a panel on Saturday about the importance of government watchdogs. Westley Bayas, III, the civic and community engagement principal at Magnolia Strategies, will deliver a speech titled “Liberation as the Center of Organizing” on Saturday, as will Dolfinette Martin, statewide organizer for Vote NOLA, and Brandon Fake and Stephen Kearny, organizers for Fair Districts Louisiana.

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Lamar White, Jr.
Lamar White, Jr. is an award-winning writer and the publisher and founder of the Bayou Brief, Louisiana’s only statewide news and culture publication. Born and raised on the banks of the Red River in Alexandria, he is a proud product of the Louisiana public education system and a graduate of Rice University in Houston and SMU’s Dedman School of Law in Dallas. Lamar has been writing about politics and public policy in Louisiana for twenty years, beginning as a weekly youth columnist for his hometown paper, the Town Talk. After earning his undergraduate degree in English and Religious Studies, Lamar moved back to Alexandria, where he launched a popular blogsite, CenLamar, and worked for five years as the Special Assistant to the Mayor. He exposed significant problems with Louisiana’s school voucher program, which resulted in a series of other investigations and ultimately in the removal of several schools from the program. He was the last person to argue online with Andrew Breitbart. He investigated and then broke the report that U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise had once attended a white supremacist conference. He was the first to share a photograph of Bobby Jindal’s portrait in the state Capitol. He exposed U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy’s incomplete timesheets while the then-representative moonlighted as a physician. He earned headlines in Texas after the gubernatorial campaign of Greg Abbott falsely claimed he had been exploited as a “campaign prop” by Abbott’s opponent, Wendy Davis, and after exposing U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign for relying on online “bot farms” to counter Beto O’Rourke, and he earned headlines in Mississippi after publishing videos of U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith making bizarre comments about public hangings and voter suppression tactics which were both perceived as racist. Lamar was the recipient of the 2011 Ashley Morris Award, given to the writer who best exemplifies the spirit of New Orleans, and in 2019, he was honored as one of Gambit’s Top 40 Under 40 and as the year’s Outstanding Millennial in Journalism at the annual Millennial Awards. He has been the subject of profiles in the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, Above the Law, and the Advocate and has appeared multiple times as a guest on CNN and MSNBC. Lamar currently lives in New Orleans with his two golden retrievers, Lucy Ana and Ruby Dog.