Port President and CEO receives Post Katrina Leadership Award at United Nations

On May 10, 2006, Port of New Orleans President and CEO, Gary LaGrange, was honored at the 13th Annual International Maritime Hall of Fame at the United Nations in New York City. LaGrange was among six inductees to be recognized by four hundred international maritime world colleagues at the sold-out reception and dinner program.

LaGrange received the ‘Leadership Award for Post Katrina’ for his exemplary stewardship in bringing the Port of New Orleans quickly back to life after the most extensive natural disaster in US history. The award was presented to LaGrange by Angus R. Cooper, CEO and Chairman of the Cooper T. Smith Corporation and member of the Port of New Orleans Board of Commissioners.

‘Gary never left the command post, stepped up and was a real leader,’ Cooper said. ‘Our port was reopened in 5 days. It was incredible.’

The Maritime Association Port of New York and New Jersey founded the Annual International Maritime Hall of Fame in 1993 to recognize maritime visionaries, who through excellence in their company, organization, or services, best exemplify the qualities of futuristic thinking that will guide the maritime industry in the 21st Century.

A native of South Louisiana, Mr. LaGrange took leadership of the Port of New Orleans in September of 2001 after serving as Executive Director of the Mississippi State Port Authority at Gulfport. Under LaGrange’s direction the Port of New Orleans has opened new state-of-the-art facilities, and the cruise industry has experienced phenomenal growth, but most recently, LaGrange worked tenaciously to bring the Port of New Orleans back into operation after the most extensive natural disaster in US history.

‘I am so honored to be the recipient of this very special award, and I graciously accept it not only for myself, but on behalf of all of those dedicated maritime people who played a role in bringing the wonderful port city of New Orleans back to life,’ LaGrange said. ‘I thank the port community who jumped though hoops, and our strategic partners, such as the shipping lines, who had the loyalty to give us a shot to show them that we could still move their cargo.’

The other honorees included: Thomas W. Gleason, Attorney, Gleason & Mathews; ILA General Counsel; chief labor counsel for longshore negotiations involving the entire Atlantic and Gulf Coasts since 1956. Peter I. Keller, Executive Vice President & COO, NYK Line, North America; leadership to container carriers, ports, terminals. John Meredith, Group Managing Director, Hutchison Port Holdings; leadership around the world in container port management. Robert D. Somerville, Chairman & CEO, American Bureau of Shipping; outspoken advocacy for more demanding maritime safety standards and gaining consensus for those standards. Captain Panagiotis N. Tsakos, Founder, Tsakos Shipping & Trading A; leadership in Greece with shipowners and managers for tankers, bulk carriers and container vessels.