Walter (Walt) J. Leger III, President and CEO as of January 1, 2023. Walt Leger joined New Orleans & Company as Executive Vice President and General Counsel in 2019. In December 2021, when President and CEO Stephen Perry announced his retirement after 20 years of service to New Orleans & Company, Walt was appointed by the board as his successor.
Boasting 1,100 member businesses, New Orleans & Company’s goal is to cultivate and maintain a virtuous cycle between the businesses and attractions that make up the tourism industry, the visitors who invest in those businesses and attractions, and the city’s residents who benefit from tourism. As our promotion of the city continues and the city’s offerings evolve, we will continue to support New Orleans’ culture by providing more career opportunities than any other industry in the region and by generating revenues to fuel a vibrant economy in which all residents can find a path to prosperity.
Walt is well-known in the state of Louisiana as a strategic thinker and fierce advocate. First as an Assistant District Attorney in New Orleans and later as an attorney with the law firm of Leger & Shaw, Walt has been a zealous advocate for his clients and victims of violent crime. For over 17 years, Walt has achieved excellent results for his clients and earned a reputation for integrity and the highest caliber of legal excellence and ethical standards, as recognized by his AV rating by Martindale-Hubbel, the highest level attainable. Walt has also been recognized as a Super Lawyer, in Transportation and Maritime Law. Just out of law school, Walt served the people of the City of New Orleans as an Assistant District Attorney specializing in the prosecution of violent offenders and drug traffickers. He tried countless cases before Judges and Juries and earned the
respect of his peers and opponents as aggressive, fair and just.
Walt was elected by acclamation in 2012 and again in 2016 to serve as the Speaker Pro Tempore of the Louisiana House of Representatives, the youngest member to ever serve in this 2nd highest ranking position in the Louisiana House of Representatives. He was first elected to be the State Representative for District 91 with 65% of the vote in the fall of 2007 and re-elected without opposition in 2011 and 2015. In the Legislature, he represented parts of Uptown, Central City, the Lower Garden District, the Irish Channel, Broadmoor, Marleyville Gert Town and Hollygrove in New Orleans.
In the Legislature, Leger was a senior member of the powerful Appropriations Committee, and the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget, as well as the House Education Committee, House Executive Committee, House Select Committee on Homeland Security, The Energy Council, the Justice Reinvestment Task Force, Multimodal Commerce Advisory Commission, Executive Committee of the Southern Legislative Conference of State Governments, and the Council of State Governments Governing Board for 2017-2018. In October 2012, Leger was elected to the Chairmanship of the Southern Rail Commission formerly known as the Southern High Speed Rail Commission. For many years, Leger served as the Chairman of the Louisiana Juvenile Justice Reform Implementation Commission. On the National Level, Leger served a co-chair of the National Conference of State Legislatures Committee of Health and Human Services for two years. In 2015 he was awarded a Rodel Fellowship of Public
Leadership at the Aspen Institute. The Fellowship seeks to enhance our democracy by identifying and bringing together the nation’s most promising young political leaders to explore, through study and conversation, the underlying values and principles of western democracy, the relationship between individuals and their community, and the responsibilities of public leadership; to support and inspire political leaders committed to sustaining the vision of a political system based on thoughtful and civil bipartisan dialogue; and to help America’s brightest young leaders achieve their fullest potential in public service.
Walt has been widely recognized and acclaimed as a problem solver, a consensus builder and someone who gets results. Since 2008, Leger has passed over 125 pieces of legislation. His support for tax, revenue and budget reform and stabilization, strategic infrastructure investments particularly for our Ports, rail and multi-modal facilities, Criminal Justice Reform and Reinvestment, Early Childhood Care and Education, Education Reform and Economic Development have been recognized nationally and across the state with dozens of awards naming him a legislative champion, legislator of the year, or advocate of year. Walt is regularly called upon to lecture at Continuing Legal Education programs for lawyers and Judges through the Louisiana State Bar Association, the New Orleans Bar Association and other organizations. Walt is a founding board member and Vice President of the Louisiana Institute for Children in Families, which focuses on foster youth and adoption as a method for ensuring every child in Louisiana is loved and cared for. Walt is also a board member of the Louisiana Children’s Museum. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Louisiana Judicial College and has lectured regularly over the years at Tulane University School of Law, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, LSU Law School, Tulane University, the Loyola University Institute of Politics, and at conferences around the country for organizations like the National Conference of State Legislators, the Southern Legislative Conference, and the Council of State Governments, Justice Center among others. Walt is also an adjunct professor of Law at Loyola University New Orleans, College of Law.