July 16, 2024

Who We Are

The History of People First of Louisiana

In 1997 The Louisiana Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities provided funding to promote self advocacy for people with disabilities. “People First” chapters, comprised only of people with disabilities, were started across Louisiana. In 2001, a group of self-advocate leaders came together to begin planning for the formation of a statewide organization. The steering committee met for 10 months to develop a mission statement, plan elections, and plan the first Louisiana conference of People First. In 2004, the Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council recognized the growing strength and value of People First of Louisiana and increased funding to compliment the funding from the Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities.

People First of Louisiana is part of a national coalition of organizations of people with disabilities. As a statewide organization they support people with disabilities to empower themselves to become effective decision makers, to gain independence, and to enjoy life as equal citizens of the United States of America. They also empower each other to actively participate in and contribute to their local communities.


People First of Louisiana has chapters in every region of the state and is committed to the self advocacy movement in Louisiana.  There are at least 400 self-advocates who are actively participating.

People First of Louisiana has been the vehicle that has provided people with disabilities a statewide presence.

People First of Louisiana has gained recognition as a statewide advocacy organization and has representation on other advocacy organizations and educational committees. Various other committees/work groups throughout the state value participation from its members.

Board members of People First of Louisiana are gaining recognition in their local communities and many, with increasing frequency, are asked to speak about the organization and the disability rights movement before civic groups, businesses, churches and other community agencies.

People First of Louisiana has gained recognition as national leaders through participation in the national self advocacy organization Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE).