By Sue Strachan, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune | January 22, 2014

Since 1930, the Bureau of Governmental Research has been the conscience of local government, as well as the business community, “dedicated to informed public policy making and the effective use of public resources for the improvement of government in the New Orleans metropolitan area.”

BGR President/CEO Janet Howard and her staff are tireless in advocating good government, and to recognize their efforts, as well as raise awareness of BGR programs, the organization hosted its annual luncheon in December.

This year’s guest speaker was Steven Roberts, a journalist for almost 50 years, as well as a TV commentator, political analyst, best-selling author and husband of TV journalist Cokie Roberts. (The pair co-author a weekly, nationally syndicated newspaper column.)

Roberts spoke overall about the need for nonpartisan voices like the BGR in the age of surging partisanship.

On hand for the speech, as well as the announcement of the BGR’s new officers and directors, were local business leaders and community activists, including BGR Board Chair J. Kelly Duncan, who also welcomed Roberts to the stage, and his wife, Carmen Duncan; Scott Willis; Mayor Mitch Landrieu; Joseph Exnicios; D. Brent Wood; Anne and King Milling (both previous BGR Board Chairs); Robert Bray; Shelby LaSalle Jr.; Ann Thompson; Edgar Chase III; Herschel Abbott Jr.; Mark Mayer; Hans Jonassen; Julie George; Ludovico Feoli, Hardy B. Fowler, Marty Mayer; Luis Zervigon; Nathalie Simon; Mark Mayer; Herschel Abbott; Julie George; Sandy Whann; John Hope; Alan J. Yacoubian; and Vaughan Fitzpatrick.

Read full story with photos on nola.com.