Walter “Walt” J. Leger III is Speaker Pro Tempore of the Louisiana House of Representatives and the representative for New Orleans’ District 91, which includes Central City, Uptown, the Lower Garden District, the Irish Channel, parts of Broadmoor, Gert Town, and Hollygrove.
Walt is best known and respected for putting politics aside, bringing people together, and rolling up his sleeves to do what’s right for the people of Louisiana. He makes the tough decisions and smart investments needed to get the job done, and his legislative record shows it.
Walt’s focus is on making Louisiana a safer, smarter, and more sustainable place to live, and his priorities include:
- Being Tough on Crime - Improving Education
- Creating Jobs - Protecting Our Coast
- Fighting for Fairness - Making Smart Investments
As Speaker Pro Tempore, Walt is respected as a smart leader by his colleagues on both sides of the aisle. In the Legislature, he has served on the powerful Appropriations Committee, the Criminal Justice Committee, the Education Committee, the Judiciary Committee, the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget, the House Executive Committee, the Juvenile Justice Implementation Commission, the House Committee on Homeland Security, and the Technology Sub-Committee of the House Executive Committee. Walt was recently named to a special Revenue Task Force to study and review Tax Expenditures, including Tax Credits, Exemptions, and Rebates. He also chairs the Juvenile Justice Implementation Commission, as well as the Louisiana State Witness Protection Services Board.
In 2014, Walt was appointed co-chair of the National Conference of State Legislators' (NCSL) Health & Human Services Committee. NCSL is a national bipartisan organization dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of state legislatures. Walt will serve as co-chair of the committee for a two year term.
In October 2012, Walt was elected to the Chairmanship of the Southern Rail Commission formerly known as the Southern High Speed Rail Commission, which is made up of representatives of the States of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.
Walt is an attorney at the law firm of Leger & Shaw in New Orleans, where he has a litigation practice focusing on admiralty & maritime law and commercial, insurance, and complex civil litigation.
Walt began his career in law as an Assistant District Attorney in New Orleans, prosecuting violent offenders and drug traffickers. He has tried countless jury and judge trials, maintaining a conviction rate of over 90%.
Walt has always had a passion for public service, and it was ignited while working for U.S. Senator John Breaux in Washington, D.C. while in college. After graduating from Louisiana State University with numerous honors, Walt attended Tulane Law School, earning a certificate of specialization in Admiralty & Maritime Law. While at Tulane, he served as a Judicial Intern for the Honorable Judge Morey L. Sear, United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
Walt has previously held leadership roles in the Louisiana State and New Orleans Bar Associations. He has also served on the board of directors for the St. Bernard Parish Chapter of the American Red Cross, as well as for the Louisiana not for profit DesireNOLA. Walt currently serves on the Board of Directors for Total Community Action, Inc.
Walt is regularly called upon to lecture at Continuing Legal Education programs for lawyers. He has also lectured at Tulane Law School, Loyola University School of Law, Tulane University, and the Loyola Institute of Politics.
Honors and Awards
Walt has received widespread recognition for his commitment to the people of Louisiana, including:
- 2015 Outstanding Legislator, LSU Health New Orleans
- 2015 and 2014 Best Member of the Louisiana Legislature, Gambit Weekly
- 2015 Aspen Institute Rodel Fellowship in Public Leadership
- 2015 Legislative Allies Award, Louisiana Industrial Development Executives Association (LIDEA)
- 2015 and 2014 Champion for Children Award, Childcare Association of Louisiana
- 2015 Champion for Healthcare Award, Louisiana Hospital Association
- 2015 Legislative Champion Award, United Way of Southeast Louisiana
- 2015, 2013 Champion of Small Business Award, National Coalition for Capital
- 2015 Honor Roll on the Higher Education Report Card with a 100% score, Student Government of Louisiana State University
- 2015 Education Champion, Louisiana Federation for Children
- 2015 Whole Child Champion, Childhood & Family Learning Foundation
- 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 Business Champion Award, Chamber of Southwest Louisiana
- 2014 Legislative Champion Award, Louisiana Primary Care Association
- 2014 Vocational Rehabilitation Champion Award, Louisiana Rehabilitation Council
- 2014 and 2013 Legislative Champion, Louisiana Industrial Development Executives Association
- 2014 Preservation Partner, Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation
- 2014 Leadership Award, Port Association of Louisiana
- 2014 Mondale-Brooke Award for Fair Housing Leadership and Civic Participation, Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center
- 2014 Appointed Co-Chair of Health & Human Services Committee, National Conference of State Legislatures
- 2014 Transit Champion of the Year Award, Ride New Orleans
- 2014 Coastal Champion Award, Arlene and Joseph Meraux Charitable Foundation
- 2013 Libby Milton Champion for Children Award, Kingsley House—New Orleans
- 2013 State Legislator of the Year, Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits
- 2013 Inaugural Film and Entertainment Advocacy Award, Louisiana Film and Entertainment Association
- 2012 Elected as Speaker Pro Tempore of the Louisiana House of Representatives
- 2012 Louey Award for Legislative Leadership, Louisiana Tourism Industry and the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association
- 2012 Outstanding Legislator Award, Victims & Citizens Against Crime, Inc.
- 2012 Elected as Chairman of the Southern Rail Commission
- 2012 Advocate of the Year, Louisiana Restaurant Association
- 2011 Legislator of the Year, Alliance for Good Government
- 2011 Crimestoppers Champion Award
- 2010 Legislative Champion Award, Louisiana Council of YMCAs
- 2010 National Award for Leadership in Juvenile Justice Reform, National Juvenile Justice Network
- 2010 Nurse-Family Partnership Champions Award
- 2009 Legislator of the Year Award, Louisiana Partnership for Children and Families