THE ICON: Marc Morial
THE LEGACY: Living up to a name like Morial would be tough enough. But Marc Morial — son of New Orleans’ history-making first black mayor, Dutch Morial — also inherited a city wracked by violent crime when he, too, won election to City Hall’s highest office in 1994. Rather than settling for the way things had been done, however, he charted a new course, starting with the decision to go outside the then-corrupt New Orleans Police Department to hire reformer Richard Pennington as chief. That decision would pay dividends, setting the table for such long-lasting economic wins as the expansion of the Convention Center bearing Dutch Morial’s name, construction of an arena to lure the NBA back to New Orleans, and the addition of thousands of hotel rooms. The younger Morial would lose in his bid to persuade voters to amend the city charter to allow him a third term, but more than 15 years after leaving office he continues to have an impact on New Orleans — and other American cities — as president of the National Urban League.
THE ARTIST: Jeremy Paten
THE INSPIRATION: “This city was in the prone position. It was like a patient and the family was sitting around, trying to decide whether to pull the plug. It was plagued by this coffee table rhetoric of, ‘I’m frightened, I’m getting out.’ Well, you don’t hear that anymore.” — Mark Morial, speaking to The New York Times in 1998