David Tatman – People to Watch 2015

President of the Tatman Group; East Baton Rouge Parish School Board Member
Hometown: New Orleans
Age: 52

David Tatman was one of six freshman members of the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board when Superintendent Bernard Taylor was hired in 2012 after a contentious seven-month search. As the new-look board seeks Taylor’s replacement this year, Tatman hopes to do things a little differently.

“The last time, we took more of a shotgun approach,” he says. “It was: ‘Anybody who’s interested in this job, come talk to us.’”

While the board may still advertise nationally and hire a search firm, he says members ought to go out and target people whom they want to interview. Tatman says he’s looking for a “CEO type” who can engage the community and foster partnerships with the private sector. He says Taylor has struggled with the public relations side of the job, but he adds that Taylor became superintendent “at a difficult time” when people in disparate parts of the district are clamoring for their own school systems.

As executive director of the Louisiana Film & Entertainment Association, Tatman will be involved in another potentially divisive conversation this year. When the Louisiana Legislature convenes in April, lawmakers will again face a massive deficit, and film production tax credits could be on the chopping block.

Supporters of the incentive program hope to save it by proposing changes that would improve the state’s return on investment without chasing the film business away. Tatman says that, with the entire entertainment industry in flux, Louisiana has a chance to position itself as a leader in film production.


Best advice that he’s been given
“My dad told me, ‘Make the most of every opportunity in life, in work, in love and in family, and luck will find you.’”