Louise Barnes received a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology in 1975 from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. Her early work included projects with Dr. Nicholas Hobbs and with the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth. She worked for 29 years at the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS), developing and overseeing programs for early childhood and respite.
In the 1990’s she began developing planned respite services for families of children with serious emotional disturbances, and helped develop several programs across the state for these families. This led to an interest in respite services across the lifespan and across disability categories. Starting in 1996 she obtained a series of federal grants to develop and operate a statewide information and referral service. The program operated under the auspices of the TDMHSAS for six years before becoming an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization in 2003. Louise joined the TRC Board in 2017 after her retirement from the TDMHSAS. In her spare time she enjoys making jewelry and playing the violin.