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Full-time Staff

Matthew Johnson

Staff Attorney

Matthew serves as Staff Attorney and Land Bank Manager. In these roles he manages BBR’s in-house legal affairs, real estate portfolio, and real estate transactions. Matthew is a Baton Rouge native and a two-time LSU graduate, having received a Bachelor’s degree in economics and his Juris Doctorate. While in law school, Matthew interned at BBR and joined the staff full-time after his law school graduation.

Vashti Little

Grants Senior Program Manager

Vashti serves as a Senior Program Manager and focuses on Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program delivery. She is a New York City native and holds two Bachelor’s degrees in English and Economics & Politics, a Master’s degree in Sociology, and is currently pursuing a Juris Doctor degree at the Southern University Law Center. Prior to joining BBR, Vashti worked to help elderly, disabled, and low-income residents through the East Baton Rouge City-Parish Office of Community Development.

Walter Geno McLaughlin, Jr.

Community Engagement Specialist

Geno serves as the Community Engagement Specialist and works to carry out the agency’s commitment to equity, accountability, and transparency. Geno grew up in Memphis, New Orleans, and Baton Rouge. He attended Southern University and his previous roles involved community organizing, civic engagement, experiential event production.

Marla Muse-Morris

Grants Fiscal Manager

Marla serves as Grants Fiscal Manager and is responsible for maintaining financial and accounting-related support services related to BBR’s administration of HUD community development programs. Marla is a Greensburg, Louisiana native. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Southeastern Louisiana University and is currently pursuing an MBA from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. Marla has over 18 years of experience in accounting and grants/contract management. Prior to joining BBR she was employed as a Business Operations Accountant at LSU and as a Grants Accountant at The Water Institute of the Gulf.

Tasha Saunders

Grants Director

Tasha serves as the Grants Director and oversees the administration of HUD-funded programs, specifically the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) programs. She is a native of Bay Springs, Mississippi and has over 15 years of grants management experience in various industries. Tasha holds bachelor degrees in Spanish and Political Science from Southern University and a Masters of Public Administration from Strayer University.

Rebekah Strickland

Administrative Assistant

Rebekah serves as Administrative Assistant and coordinates a host of general administrative tasks, including office management, scheduling, and supporting BBR’s community events. She is a Zachary, Louisiana native and previously worked in event coordinating and home school management.

Tara Titone

Chief Operating Officer

Tara serves as Chief Operating Officer and manages the agency’s operations, including financial management, human resources, and a variety of special projects. She works closely with the CEO and the Board of Directors, assisting with the implementation of strategic and targeted action plans, securing external funding, and coordinating with the agency’s local, state, and federal government partners. Tara is a Shreveport, Louisiana native and holds a bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from Louisiana State University. Tara joined BBR in 2014 as Director of Finance and Economic Development, making her the longest-serving staff member. Prior to joining BBR Tara worked as a landscape architect for the Center for Planning Excellence and Edsa, Inc.

Christopher Tyson

President & Chief Executive Officer

Chris serves as the President and CEO and is responsible for directing day-to-day operations as well as developing and implementing the Authority’s short and long term strategy and plans. Also serves as a direct liaison to the Build Baton Rouge’s Board of Directors and communicates on behalf of the Authority to other key stakeholders, including the City of Baton Rouge/East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President. He is a Baton Rouge native and holds a Bachelor of Architecture, with honors, from Howard University; a Masters of Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School; and a Juris Doctor degree from the Georgetown University Law Center. He is currently on leave from his position as the Newman Trowbridge Distinguished Professor of Law at the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University. Chris has also practiced as a real estate and land use attorney, a management consultant, and a member of U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu’s Washington, DC legislative staff.

Ashley Vaughn

Grants Program Manager II

Ashley serves as a Program Manager II implementing HUD-related community planning and development grants. She is a Baton Rouge native and graduated from Louisiana State University with a degree in Political Science and Sociology. Prior to BBR Ashley worked in sales and marketing at WAFB and Lamar Advertising.

Vallorie Young

Grants Senior Program Manager

Vallorie serves as a Senior Program Manager for all HUD Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program related matters, including sub-recipient contracts and federal compliance tracking. She is a Baton Rouge native and graduate of Louisiana State University. Prior to BBR she worked with the Louisiana Office of Community Development to administer the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program on behalf of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security. Before that she was a Quality Assurance/Quality Control Consultant for Cohn Reznick where she managed and monitored program controls and processes for the federally funded Restore Louisiana rehabilitation program.

Jacques Hawkins

Redevelopment Intern

Jacques serves as a Redevelopment Intern, working as the agency’s Graphic Designer.  He assists the Grants and Community Engagement Department in coordinating housing programs, maintaining community partnerships and outreach efforts throughout Baton Rouge.  His skills include graphic design, community engagement, urban gardening, and project development.  He’s currently pursuing a degree in Urban Studies and Planning at the University of New Orleans.​