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Fri, 01.03.1958

Marc Morial, Lawyer, and Civic Leader born

Marc Morial

*Marc Morial was born on this date in 1958. He is a Black administrator, politician, civic leader, and lawyer.

Marc Morial grew up in New Orleans, in the 7th ward.  He is the son of Ernest N. Morial, New Orleans' first Black mayor, and Sybil (Haydel) Morial, a teacher.  He is the second of five children. Morial graduated from Jesuit High School in 1976 and received a bachelor's degree in economics at the University of Pennsylvania in 1980. After this, he earned a J.D. degree in 1983 from Georgetown University.

He opened a private law practice and served as a board member for the Louisiana American Civil Liberties Union from 1986 to 1988.  After an unsuccessful run for Congress in 1990, Morial spent two years in the Louisiana state senate from 1992 to 1994.  From there, he was elected mayor of New Orleans in 1994 and 1998.

Two of the most well-known accomplishments of his administration both dealt with professional sports: He is widely credited with returning NBA basketball to the city by orchestrating negotiations that led to the league's Charlotte Hornets relocating there; and 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 postseason tournament fully intact as 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 record of reducing crime and reforming the police department, Morial easily won re-election to a second term in the 1998 New Orleans Mayoral Election.  Like his father, Morial tried to amend the city charter in order to allow himself to run for a third term as mayor in 2002. This was a campaign to save the New Orleans Public School System.  This would have allowed Morial to put in place a mandate to assume control of the city's public schools and turn around their depressed performance. However, 61% of the voters rejected the New Orleans City Charter amendment.  From 2001 to 2002, Morial was President of the United States Conference of Mayors.

After leaving the mayor's office, Morial was named 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 is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha. He is married to CBS News Correspondent Michelle Miller.

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