The Honorable Walt Leger III, Speaker Pro Tempore of the Louisiana House of Representatives interviewed by: Steve Clemons
Steve Clemons is Washington editor at large for The Atlantic and editor of Atlantic Live. He writes frequently about politics and foreign affairs.
Clemons is a senior fellow and the founder of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation, a centrist think tank in Washington, D.C., where he previously served as executive vice president. He writes and speaks frequently about the D.C. political scene, foreign policy, and national security issues, as well as domestic and global economic-policy challenges.
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.
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 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.