Marc Morial

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Marc Morial
59th Mayor of New Orleans
In office
May 2, 1994 – May 6, 2002
Preceded bySidney Barthelemy
Succeeded byRay Nagin
Member of the Louisiana Senate
from the 4th District
In office
Preceded byBen Bagert
Succeeded byPaulette Irons
Personal details
Marc Haydel Morial

(1958-01-03) January 3, 1958 (age 61)
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Michelle Miller
Alma materUniversity of Pennsylvania (BA)
Georgetown University (JD)
ProfessionPresident & CEO,
National Urban League

Marc Haydel Morial /ˌmɔːriˈæl/ (born January 3, 1958) is an American political and civic leader and the current president of the National Urban League. Morial served as mayor of New Orleans, from 1994 to 2002.[1] He is married to Michelle Miller, who has won awards as a CBS News Correspondent.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Marc Morial grew up in the Seventh Ward in New Orleans. He is the son of New Orleans' first African-American mayor, Ernest N. "Dutch" Morial, and teacher Sybil (Haydel) Morial. He is the second of five children. Morial graduated from Jesuit High School in 1976, then received a bachelor's degree in economics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 1980. Morial joined Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. Morial then earned a Juris Doctor degree in 1983 from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.[3]


Morial opened a private law practice in New Orleans. He also served as a board member for the Louisiana American Civil Liberties Union from 1986 to 1988.

After an unsuccessful run for Congress in 1990, in which he came in second place and was defeated in a runoff by Bill Jefferson, Morial ran for the Louisiana State Senate in 1992. He won and served until 1994.

He ran for mayor of New Orleans in 1994 and followed his father by being elected. He ran again in 1998 and was re-elected. One of his opponents in the 1994 mayoral election was Mitch Landrieu, also the son of a former mayor. Landrieu was elected Mayor of New Orleans in 2010.[4]

Mayor of New Orleans[edit]

In the 1994 election for mayor, Morial defeated Donald Mintz with 54% of the vote.[5] He campaigned with the promise to "clean out City Hall with a shovel not a broom." The issue of endemic corruption in the city's Police Department was addressed after Morial hired Richard Pennington as Police Superintendent. On Pennington's first day of work, Morial introduced the new superintendent to investigators from the FBI. Together they worked to rout out corruption in the New Orleans Police Department. During the first seven years of his time as mayor, Morial's approval rating stayed at or near 70%, and near 100% at all times among black residents.[6][7]

The growth of the city's tourist and convention sector accelerated appreciably during Morial's mayoralty, boosted in part by the general economic growth of the United States in the late 1990s. Tourism boomed during Marc Morial's mayoralty; the city's downtown core saw the construction of 14 new hotels during his tenure. This development was due in part to the much-publicized reduction in New Orleans’ high crime rate through the effective leadership of Morial's Superintendent of Police, Richard Pennington. Of particular significance was the 60% reduction achieved in the city's violent crime rate.[citation needed] These real gains enabled a resurgence of interest and investment in the city's older historic neighborhoods. New Orleans benefited from an increase in downtown population. The number of households within the city limits stabilized for the first time since beginning their decline in the 1960s, a significant accomplishment. Morial also secured bond issues for street improvements, the Canal Street streetcar line, and an expansion of the city's convention center.

Morial worked to institute fairness into the city's contracting policies. He reached out to black-owned businesses, encouraging them to apply for contracts. He also enforced the city's residency rule for police officers and other city workers, which had previously been unevenly enforced.[8]

Two accomplishments of his administration dealt with professional sports: NBA basketball returned to the city after Morial orchestrated negotiations for the league's Charlotte Hornets to relocate there. Secondly, following the September 11, 2001 attacks, Morial persuaded the organizers of a large automotive exposition to change its date so that Super Bowl XXXVI (held at the Louisiana Superdome) could be played one week later than originally scheduled, enabling the NFL to keep its post-season tournament fully intact. The week of regular-season games slated to be played on the weekend following the attacks had to be postponed and was transferred to the end of the regular season.

Based on his achievements in reducing crime and reforming the police department, Morial easily won re-election to a second term in 1998 New Orleans Mayoral Election. In the 1998 Mayoral Election, Morial received 79% of the votes, while his opponents Paul D. Borrello received 1% and Kathleen Cresson received 20%.[9][10][11][12] Like his father, Dutch Morial, Marc Morial made an attempt to amend the city charter to run for a third term as mayor in 2002. It was tied to his campaign to save the New Orleans Public School System by assuming control of the city's public schools to turn around their performance. He was trying the approach of other mayors, such as Richard M. Daley in Chicago. But, 61% of the voters rejected the proposed amendment to the New Orleans City Charter.[13]

From 2001 to 2002, Morial was President of the United States Conference of Mayors.[14]

After city hall[edit]

After serving as mayor, Morial was selected as President and CEO of the National Urban League, one of the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organizations. His tenure began on May 15, 2003. Morial was mentioned as a possible candidate for Governor of Louisiana in the 2011 election. He did not run for the seat.

Morial served as a member of the Debt Reduction Task Force at the Bipartisan Policy Center.[15]

In 2012, Morial was appointed to the President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability.[16]

Morial serves as an Executive Committee member of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights,[17] the Black Leadership Forum,[18] and Leadership 18, and is a Board Member of the Muhammad Ali Center,[19] and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.


  1. ^ Gordon, Ed (September 1, 2005). "Former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial". NPR. Retrieved 16 March 2010.
  2. ^ "Michelle Miller". CBS News. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  3. ^ "Biography". Marc H. Morial. Archived from the original on July 17, 2012. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  4. ^ Louisiana Secretary of State Election Results, 7 February 2010, Mayor City of New Orleans
  5. ^ Louisiana Secretary of State Election Results, 5 March 1994, Mayor City of New Orleans.
  6. ^ WWL-TV Poll. 2002.
  7. ^ "2011 - 2012 Board Leadership". National Urban League. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  8. ^ "Mayor Marc Morial", The Angela Hill Show, CBS. WWL, New Orleans. 16 January 1995.
  9. ^ Louisiana Secretary of State Election Results, 7 Saturday 1998, Mayor, City of New Orleans.
  10. ^ New Orleans mayoral election, 1998
  11. ^ The Times Picayune. "Morial a winner where he once lost; support crosses racial bounds." February 12, 1998.
  12. ^ The Times Picayune. "Mayor's margin widest since 1961." February 8, 1998.
  13. ^ Louisiana Secretary of State Election Results, 20 October 2001, HRC Amendment City of New Orleans.
  14. ^ "United States Conference of Mayors: Past Presidents. (n.d.)". Archived from the original on 2015-07-02.
  15. ^ "Debt Reduction Task Force Members". Archived from the original on 2010-12-13.
  16. ^ Press release (March 29, 2012). "President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts". White House. Retrieved April 23, 2012.
  17. ^ "The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Executive Committee". Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  18. ^ "Black Leadership Forum" (PDF). Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  19. ^ "Marc H. Morial". Retrieved 18 June 2013.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Bernard J. "Ben" Bagert, Jr. (D)
Louisiana State Senator from District 4 (Orleans Parish)

Marc H. Morial (D)

Succeeded by
Paulette Irons (D)
Preceded by
Sidney Barthelemy (D)
Mayor of New Orleans
Succeeded by
C. Ray Nagin (D)
Preceded by
H. Brent Coles
Boise, ID
President of the United States Conference of Mayors
Succeeded by
Thomas Menino
Preceded by
Hugh Price
President of the National Urban League
Succeeded by