Dr. Megan Holt is the Executive Director for One Book One New Orleans and the Words & Music Literary Festival. Raised in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Megan received a B.A. in English and Spanish from the University of Alabama in 2003 and a Ph.D in English/Comparative Literature from Tulane University in 2013. The same year, she began her work with community literacy. She received the 2014 Literacy Champion of Greater New Orleans award. In 2015 she was named one of Gambit Weekly’s “40 Under 40” and New Orleans Magazine’s “People to Watch.” In 2021, she gave a TEDx Talk titled “Becoming Part of the Story” on her journey to becoming an advocate for adult literacy.
Megan is a member of the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, and a member of the Literacy Alliance of Greater New Orleans coalition.
Her husband, Jermaine Smith, and their sons, Jefferson and Abel, inspire her to work toward making New Orleans a better place.
Elizabeth Hyman has been a part of One Book One New Orleans since 2015, initially as a volunteer through the Young Leadership Council and then a project leader.
She is thrilled to be on OBONO’s inaugural Board of Directors and to help the organization continue on its literacy mission.
A native New Orleanian, Elizabeth earned a degree in journalism from the University of Richmond before returning home to attend law school at Loyola University New Orleans.
She is now a practicing attorney in private practice in the greater New Orleans area.
Victor Jones serves as Education Special Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), and is based in New Orleans. At LDF, Victor litigates school desegregation and other educational equity cases in the South.
Prior to joining LDF, Victor served as General Counsel & Senior Policy Advisor for the Louisiana Board of Regents, where he developed statewide legislation and administrative policies to expand postsecondary education access for underserved populations. He also was a Senior Supervising Attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center, where he, through litigation, public policy, and public education, lead the Children Right’s Practice Group in fighting the school to prison pipeline, fighting for educational equity, and protecting children’s access to mental health services in the Deep South. Before SPLC, Victor was a litigation and education associate at multi-disciplinary law firms in New Orleans. Prior to entering law school, Victor was a public school kindergarten teacher.
Victor received his J.D. from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Education from Harvard University and a B.A. in Literature from Xavier University of Louisiana. He is also a graduate and avid supporter of the national Head Start program. Prior to law school, Victor was a public school kindergarten teacher.
Elizabeth (Liz) Elliott is an attorney focused primarily on telecommunications and general real estate matters, and currently works at the all-women law firm Rosenberg & Clark. Prior to joining Rosenberg & Clark, Liz spent two years clerking for Hon. Helen G. Berrigan at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
She received her undergraduate degree in Russian History from Newcomb College, of Tulane University, and her J.D. from the College of Law at Loyola University New Orleans. While at Loyola, she was the recipient of the Jesuit Social Justice Scholarship for her work as the Symposium Editor for the Journal of Public Interest Law’s Prisoner’s Rights Symposium and was named as a Gillis Long Poverty Law Center Public Service Award recipient for her work as a student practitioner for the Stuart H. Smith Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice, Community Justice Section.
Since 2002, Liz has been a volunteer DJ with Tulane’s non-profit community radio station, WTUL, where she currently hosts a weekly children’s show. Starting in 2018, Liz has been volunteering at the city’s juvenile detention facility leading a weekly book club for the youth incarcerated there. She is currently the President of the Loyola Young Law Alumni committee, Co-Chair of the New Orleans Safety & Justice Challenge Community Advisory Group, and a mentor with the Welcoming Project, a local organization helping youth transition out of incarceration.
Jennie Merrill is the Director of Education at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. She leads children’s culinary programming, and gives tours and lectures on the cultural influences on Southern foodways.
Ms. Merrill’s first introduction to One Book was by writing the discussion questions for the University of Nebraska Press’s One Book One Lincoln in 2009. After moving to New Orleans the same year, OBONO was the first event she volunteered with while working with Literacy AmeriCorps. She joined OBONO as a Project Leader in 2015. In 2017, Ms. Merrill moved into the position of Board Secretary.
Jennie Merrill has a B.A. in Psychology and English with a concentration in Creative Writing from North Park University in Chicago, IL. She currently lives in New Orleans, LA and spends her free time exploring the South for the best BBQ.
Malik Bartholomew is a New Orleans native who serves as a community griot, cultural curator, local historian, photographer, researcher, and tour guide. He is a proud graduate of Dillard University where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in History. Post-graduation he has since spent countless hours in many of the city’s archives exploring and learning more about the unique traditions and history of the city of New Orleans.Currently, Malik is involved in numerous projects documenting the city of New Orleans through the medium of photography. and supporting indigenous New Orleans culture. He is a board member of the Congo Square Preservation Society, a cohost on the Misbelief Radio podcast, and serves on the curatorial board of the Pass it On Poetry Team, He is also the owner of Know NOLA Tours a tour guide & historical consulting company.Malik additionally serves as the lead docent and resident historian at Studio BE, the solo exhibition of visual artist Brandan “Bmike” Odums and the Evening Access Services Manager at the Will W. Alexander Library located at Dillard University. Malik has an undying passion for all things “New Orleans” and remains committed to reading, exploring, researching, learning and most importantly sharing the special history, rich culture and distinctive qualities of the city of New Orleans.
Ashton Jackson is a life-long New Orleanian and a graduate of John F. Kennedy (High School) and University of New Orleans (undergraduate). At UNO, Ashton earned his B.S. in Accounting and Business Administration.
During his professional career, he has worked at Louisiana Cancer Research Center, Couch, Conville, Blitt Law Firm, Postlthewaite and Netterville CPA firm and Ochsner Health Systems. Additionally, he runs his own accounting firm, Ashton Mitchell Jackson Accounting Services, since 2012 offering tax and other accounting services.
Ashton also sits on the Board of Directors as Treasurer for Uptown Music Theatre and The Urban League of Louisiana Young Professionals.
Ashton recently served as Campaign Treasurer for the Committee to Elect Ethan Ashley run for Orleans Parish School Board District 2 and LaToya Cantrell’s Campaign for Mayor of New Orleans, in which he is assisting with the transition. He is currently serving as the Campaign Treasurer for the Committee to Elect Royce Duplessis run for State Representatives, District 93.
Ashton is deeply involved with his community and some of his service initiatives includes, but not limited to, supporting young people during Louisiana’s National Lemonade Day, Kicks for the City Shoe Drive and co-hosting an annual Holiday Toy drive/fundraiser.
David W. Robinson-Morris, Ph.D. is the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at Xavier University of Louisiana and serves an adjunct professor at the University of New Orleans and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Currently, David serves on the boards of the city of New Orleans Human Relations Commission, Forum for Equality Foundation (Louisiana), College Beyond, and Emerging Philanthropists of New Orleans (EPNO). He is a founding and emeritus board member of Propeller (née Social Entrepreneurs of New Orleans) and holds positions in a number of professional and academic organizations.
David obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Communications – Public Relations from Loyola University New Orleans in 2006, Master of Public Administration (MPA) from the University of New Orleans in 2011, and holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Research with dual concentrations in Higher Education Administration and Curriculum Theory, and an Education Specialist (Ed. S.) Certificate in Educational Leadership with a focus on applied research, measurement, and evaluation, both from Louisiana State University (LSU). He is a native of Galveston, Texas.
An award winning Art Director and print designer with 20 + years of experience, Mariana has worked as an Art Director for gift publishers, AMCAL, Inc and Papyrus, and as a Sr Designer for Chronicle Children’s Books in San Francisco.A native of the Republic of Panama, Mariana lived in California for twenty-five years and moved to New Olreans summer of 2007. She gladly supports NOLA’s re-building efforts through pro bono work for kids’ non-profits and family literacy programs.Mariana is the former Creative Director of PlayBuild NOLA, a non profit dedicated to educational activities and programming focused on design, architecture, city planning and related disciplines, to expose under-served populations to those fields and to stimulate curiosity, enthusiasm, and engagement with the professional community in New Orleans. There she contributed five years of service by donating her creative vision and design expertise to define the look and feel of the PlayBuild brand.As mother of two sons, she is a passionate advocate for diversity in design professions, and for the power of design to positively impact young people so they may see themselves reflected in a positive maner and enable them to effect change in their communities.Mariana studied Fine Art with emphasys in graphic design at San Diego State University and is fluent in Spanish — FUERZA!
John H. Norris is an attorney and educator serving New Orleans and the greater Gulf Coast region. Originally hailing from Fairhope, Alabama, he earned his undergraduate degree in history and international affairs from The University of Georgia (B.A. ’06, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa), where his thesis focused on the disaster relief and recovery efforts following the hurricane at Galveston Island, Texas in 1900. He earned his law degree from Tulane University Law School (J.D. ’11), and is an active member of the Louisiana State Bar Association.
Since 2013, he has volunteered as an instructor for the Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans English as a Second Language (ESL) program, where he teaches English to adult immigrants from around the world. He is also a regular reader with WRBH 88.3 FM Reading Radio, where he reads newspapers, novels, and satire writing for the blind and visually impaired. He is a member of the New Orleans Citizens Diplomacy Council and also serves on the board of the ELLA Project, a local 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing pro bono legal assistance and business education to artists, musicians, and other members of the city’s cultural community
Liz Granite is the Vice President of Royer Studios, a film and animation production studio dedicated to youth empowerment. Liz develops educational programs that use media arts to engage young people in experiential learning, giving them tools to make a difference within their communities and find their voice through creative expression.
Since 2015, she has been producing a workforce development program in partnership with the National Guard Youth Foundation and sponsored by the Office of Naval Research to expand educational and employment opportunities for historically underrepresented populations in STEM careers.
Building the proverbial campfire around which stories are told, ideas are shared, and bonds are strengthened is what inspires the programs, films, and events that Liz produces. As OBONO’s Events Committee Chair, she loves bringing people together to explore and celebrate New Orleans culture.
Liz co-hosts Friday Night Funk on 102.3 WHIV FM with her partner, Josh. She volunteers with SOUL NOLA to reforest Bulbancha and with Common Ground Relief to restore the coastal wetlands.