The National Rivers Hall of Fame recently announced Gary P. LaGrange as the 2005 recipient of its National Achievement Award. Mr. LaGrange’s award was presented in a special tribute as a part of the Waterways Council, Inc’s Fall Symposium and Annual Meeting in Chicago on October 4.

Mr. LaGrange is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Port of New Orleans, LA. His life-long commitment to the maritime industry and inland waterways system is reflected in the numerous leadership positions he has held at state, regional and national levels. In his present position as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Port of New Orleans, and in previous Port related positions, Mr. LaGrange has promoted our nation’s inland waterways system as an economic generator, attracting private sector investment and creating family wage job for all Americans. Now with the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, his time and energy is focused on making the Port of New Orleans fully operational for the health of national shipping and as well as the importance to the regional economy.

“Mr. LaGrange was selected for this award before hurricane Katrina,” said National Rivers Hall of Fame Executive Director Jerry Enzler, “but his efforts since Katrina to restore this valuable port to our national transportation system only highlights the important role that he has played and continues to play in American riverways.”

“There is no one more deserving of this Achievement Award than Gary LaGrange,” said R. Barry Palmer, President and CEO of Waterways Council, Inc. “Gary has provided exemplary service and leadership to maritime economic development over his distinguished career, and Waterways Council, Inc. could not be more proud to help honor him, and to call him our member and our friend,” he continued. Mr. LaGrange is currently Chairman of the Board of the American Association of Port Authorities and a member of the Board of Directors of Waterways Council, Inc.

Mr. LaGrange previously served as the Director of the Port at Gulfport, Mississippi, where he was effective in not only promoting port business but also the cruise industry. Prior to that, Mr. LaGrange was head of the Ports of South Louisiana, which nearly rivals the Port of New Orleans in total shipment of grain and other commodities.

Mr. LaGrange holds a B.A. from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a M.A. from the University of South Louisiana.

The National Achievement Award is the highest honor bestowed on an individual by the National Rivers Hall of Fame - it recognizes the men and women who during their life time make significant contributions to the history of the inland waters of America. Members of the National Rivers Hall of Fame can make nominations for the achievement award.

The National Rivers Hall of Fame is located at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium in Dubuque, Iowa.