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Joe Burrow makes 2020 'Louisianians of the Year' list

4 years 4 months 1 week ago Friday, February 07 2020 Feb 7, 2020 February 07, 2020 10:48 AM February 07, 2020 in News
Source: WBRZ
Image via Romero & Romero

BATON ROUGE- Louisiana Life Magazine honors individuals that stand out in their profession, give back, and represent what is best about the Pelican State in a yearly list, 'Louisianians of the Year.'

LSU star quarterback and Ohio native, Joe Burrow, is among the top Louisianians of 2020 reigning number one in the sports category.

The celebration took place Wednesday evening at the Trademark in Baton Rouge.

"From teachers and artists to healthcare professionals and poets, these are the people who enhance our daily lives in more ways than one. We are thrilled to present to you our 2020 Louisianians of the Year."

Louisiana Life's 2020 Louisianians of the Year:

Joe Burrow


Leading the Tigers to victory in an undefeated season, LSU quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow quickly became a Baton Rouge legend. Burrow graduated from Ohio State University in three years with a degree in consumer and family sciences and family financial services. He later transferred to LSU as a graduate student, shattering school records for passing touchdowns and yards. While Burrow has only played two years at LSU, the quarterback views his time in Louisiana as a special period in his life. At the Nov. 25th press conference, Burrow described how the reception he has received from LSU fans has been “unreal.” He said LSU fans have not just been welcoming to him, but his family as well.

“This place means so much to me and everyone’s been so great,” Burrow said at the press conference. “I never could have dreamed that this was going to happen … The reception from people in Louisiana to an Ohio kid who came here, transferred … It’s been such a great two years.”

In addition to 'Louisianian of the Year," Burrow has won the following awards: The Heisman Trophy, the Maxwell Award, the Walter Camp Award, The Davey O'Brien Award, the Johnny Unitas Award, and the Manning Award.

Matt Saurage


4th generation owner of Community Coffee, Saurage is also involved with World Coffee Research examining ways the industry can fight climate change. Increased intense rainfall from climate change can lead to fungus, which can destroy coffee crops. While Saurage does not know if his five children (ages 13 to 22) will join him in the family business, he says they will have the same freedom to make up their own minds that he was given by his parents. “They’re not expected to join the business, but each of them knows they’re welcome,” Saurage said.

Alyssa Carson


Aspiring astronaut and Baton Rouge native, Alyssa Carson graduated from the Advanced Space Academy and the National Flight Academy. At 15 years old, she became the youngest person accepted into the Advanced PoSSUM Space Academy. Carson is a freshman at Florida Tech studying astrobiology, focusing on the potential for life on other planets, not just human life, but also plants and bacterial life. She is a few years away from accomplishing her goals but in the meantime, she travels throughout Louisiana to talk to children about pursuing careers in space travel and given TED talks on the subject.

Isaac Toups


Fan favorite and third place in "Top Chef," Isaac Toups established himself in New Orleans with a menu full of Cajun cuisine, intermingling with other cultures. Toups was hired on the spot at Emril's and has been a James Beard Best Chef of the South semi-finalist, among other accolades, three times. In addition to Toups' Meatery, he plans on publishing a book and making more television appearances in the near future.

Denise Reed


Coastal expert Dr. Denise Reed is at the center of Louisiana's efforts to protect its citizens from catastrophic hurricanes by creating a coastal master plan. England native, Dr. Reed calls Montegut home after moving to New Orleans for work. She was a professor at the University of New Orleans and a chief scientist at The Water Institute of the Gulf. Currently, Dr. Reed is a research professor gratis at UNO.

Dr. Reed said one of the area’s best assets in coastal restoration is the Mississippi River itself. As part of the coastal master plan, structures would be placed inside river levees that reroute sediment and water from the muddy Mississippi River to the wetlands to help build a new delta.

Andre & Louis Michot


Brothers from Lafayette grew up in a musical family, traveling throughout south Louisiana and the world to listen to their father and uncle perform

 as the band Les Frères Michot, often filling in.

Andre and Louis later started a band called the Lost Bayou Ramblers and 20 years later, they are making history. The brothers have produced 10 albums and a documentary on the band, “On Va Continuer!” debuted last year at the New Orleans French Film Festival and refers to the band’s commitment to performing in Cajun French and preserving the culture. The band has also performed for film soundtracks, including “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and, “Rodents of Unusual Size,” about Louisiana’s infestation of nutria.

Chris Dier


Louisiana Teacher of the Year 2020, Chris Dier is a world history and AP human geography teacher at Chalmette High School. Dier changed his mind about his previously planned legal career during his senior year of college, choosing to follow in his mother's footsteps and teach instead.

The 31-year-old Dier encourages anyone looking to make a difference in their community to consider teaching. Teaching remains an endlessly challenging profession for him, but he says, “it’s the hardest job anyone can do, but it’s also the most rewarding job anyone can do."

Malaika Favorite


Malaika Favorite is a poet and artist and her list of honors includes an African American Institute grant to study art in West Africa, a Fulbright-Hays grant, and the 2018 Michael Crespo Visual Artist Fellowship for her contributions to the visual arts in Baton Rouge. The Geismar resident uses her art and poetry to tell the African-American story of the 1950s and '60s. Born in 1949 in Ascension Parish, Barbara “Malaika” Favorite and her parents broke barriers in 1965 when she was in the 11th grade and first integrated the all-white Dutchtown High School. Favorite says her poems are “a door to another space” and her art “a form of meditation” and “cultural investigation” that takes a more universal look at “what it means to be a part of the American collective reality.”

John Warner Smith


The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and Governor John Bel Edwards appointed John Warner Smith to be the state’s poet laureate in 2019. Smith was the first African-American male to earn the title. The Morgan City native says he draws from his personal life experiences when crafting poems, striving to be both imaginative and truthful in his work. He received an MFA in creative writing from the University of New Orleans, later publishing four collections of poetry: “A Mandala of Hands” (2015), “Soul Be A Witness” (2016), “Spirits of the Gods” (2017) and “Muhammad’s Mountain” (2018). His fifth book, “Our Shut Eyes,” will publish this year. Smith believes poetry can help people think and feel emotions they might not otherwise have felt.

Jessica Laundry


Assistant Professor for Clinical Nursing at LSU Health Sciences Center, Jessica Laundry was working in a Northshore emergency room when a 12-year-old boy confessed that he attempted to commit suicide because he felt like a girl inside. Laundry says this experience changed her life forever and sought out training on responding with sensitivity to parents who are LGBTQI. After receiving training, she developed the Advocacy Program, training other nurses and doctors how to handle these situations. She is also the program director for the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program at LSU School of Nursing.

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