LSU AgCenter holds first Lead Louisiana class

James Barnes, Van Osdell, Mary Ann  |  1/15/2009 8:49:27 PM

Edna Cooper (left), an alderman from Waterproof, watches as Drew Evans with Lake Bruin State Park tries to drop an egg without it breaking during one of the exercises at Lead Louisiana. The lesson teaches sharing ideas together, recognizing another’s skills and making do with what you have. (Photo by Mary Ann Van Osdell. Click on photo for downloadable image.)

News Release Distributed 1/15/09 

ST. JOSEPH – The LSU AgCenter launched a leadership-development program Jan. 8 in Tensas Parish to be followed by classes in Catahoula Parish in February, Richland Parish in March and Concordia Parish in April.

Lead Louisiana I is a 12-hour, parish-based, introductory leadership program, said Dr. James Barnes, director of the LSU AgCenter’s Delta Rural Development Center in Oak Grove.

Remaining classes will be taught by LSU AgCenter agents on subsequent Thursdays in January at the Tensas Parish Community Center in St. Joseph.

The curriculum is designed to increase the leadership knowledge and skills of elected officials, existing and emerging community leaders and volunteers, Barnes said. Graduates will become more engaged in community decision making at the local, parish and regional levels to enhance community rural development.

Barnes said the class will understand how leaders’ decisions have positive or negative effects on community development and that everyone has a different leadership style.

The curriculum includes sessions on foundations of community development and leadership, communication and building effective teams, meeting management and parliamentary procedure.

The project was announced in September at a Tensas Revitalization Alliance and Police Jury meeting in St. Joseph. TRA member Lynn Brown said she was looking for ways to promote the parish and give back to the community. “We need to help each other,” she said while introducing herself at the first class.

Shirley Bradley said she is taking the class to obtain new ideas on how to be a stronger leader. Ray Campbell said he wants to set up a Web site to keep former residents abreast of what is happening in the parish, and John Lee said he wants to learn networking and communication skills.

Katrina Devine, a senior at Tensas High School and a 4-H’er, attended to learn how to speak in front of groups of people and to learn how to start a new service club. Daniel Adams, another 4-H’er who attends Tensas Academy, said he hopes to see a thriving Tensas Parish like his parents and grandparents saw.

Barnes said people can work together to solve problems and community problem-solving should be inclusive, “engaging people of different backgrounds and life experiences.”

He said leadership involves taking abilities, organizing community capital – financial, human, political, cultural and social – and executing a plan.

Louisiana Lead I is a program of the Delta Initiative, a joint effort of the LSU AgCenter and Southern University to bring leadership development workshops and entrepreneurship classes to the 12-parish Louisiana Delta region.

Graduates may enroll in Lead Louisiana II, an intermediate course to be taught on the multi-parish/regional level in fall 2009.

A blog at has been created for the class.


Contact: James Barnes at (318) 428-3571 or

Writer: Mary Ann Van Osdell (318) 741-7430, ext. 1104, or  

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