Gov. Edwards Appoints Walter J. Leger Jr. to Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS — July 23, 2020 — Gov. John Bel Edwards has appointed Walter J. Leger Jr. to the Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA). Leger was sworn in during the July board meeting and will serve a five-year term succeeding Arnold B. Baker as one of four Orleans Parish representatives on the seven-member regional board.
“Walter Leger Jr. brings directly applicable maritime expertise and a broad skill set to his role as a member of our Board of Commissioners,” said Brandy D. Christian, Port NOLA President and CEO. “His impressive record of volunteer service reflects a commitment to regional economic growth, strong communities and high quality of life. We look forward to his contributions as we work to strengthen our competitive advantage.”
Port Commissioners also serve as Commissioners of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad (NOPB) board, and Leger will become NOPB’s newest commissioner with this appointment. NOPB, a Class III switching railroad, is an independent political subdivision of the state of Louisiana with the primary mission of serving the Port of New Orleans and local industries.
“I am honored to join an esteemed group of community leaders who serve on the Board of Commissioners for the Port of New Orleans and the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad,” said Leger. “I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and contributing to this Board’s ongoing efforts to strengthen the Port NOLA gateway and create economic opportunities for the state and region.”
A prominent attorney and respected legal expert, Leger serves as the Senior Partner in the law firm of Leger & Shaw. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Louisiana State University, and received his legal education at Tulane University, where he graduated from Tulane School of Law with a concentration in Maritime Law.
After graduation, Leger worked as an admiralty associate at the Phelps Dunbar law firm. He later formed his own firm dedicated to admiralty and complex litigation, including the Hard Rock Hotel litigation, nationwide opioid litigation, the BP Oil Spill case, and the Castano Tobacco litigation to name a few.
Leger is the past President of the New Orleans Bar Foundation and the New Orleans Bar Association. The Louisiana Bar Journal named him a “Louisiana Legal Legend.” He received the “President’s Award” for leadership and public service from the New Orleans Bar Association, the Federal Bar Association and the Louisiana Association of Justice.
Leger has also tirelessly served the people of his community and Louisiana. He currently serves on the Louisiana Land Trust as Chairman, the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) as a Commissioner and the New Orleans City Park Board. He is a member of the Louisiana Committee of 100 for Economic Development, the Southeast Louisiana Business Council Coalition, the New Orleans/Baton Rouge Super Region Committee, the Board of Trustees of the Greater New Orleans Foundation and the Louisiana Cancer Research Center.
He served as Chairman of the St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation and also as a founding Director of GNO, Inc. Leger has been named "Volunteer of the Year" by both the Southern Economic Development Council and the Louisiana Industrial Development Executives Association. The Louisiana State Bar Association has given him its “Citizen Lawyer Award.”
The Port of New Orleans Board consists of seven commissioners. They are unsalaried and serve five-year staggered terms. The Governor of Louisiana appoints members from a list of three nominations submitted by local civic, labor, education and maritime groups. The Board reflects the Port’s three-parish jurisdiction, with four members from Orleans Parish, two from Jefferson Parish and one from St. Bernard Parish. Chairman Darryl D. Berger, Vice Chairman William H. Langenstein, III, Commissioner Tara C. Hernandez and Leger represent Orleans Parish; Commissioners Joseph F. Toomy and Jack C. Jensen Jr. represent Jefferson Parish; and Secretary-Treasurer Charles H. Ponstein represents St. Bernard Parish.