Mary Landrieu, former U.S. senator, will serve as the speaker for the Southern University at New Orleans 2015 Commencement Saturday, May 9 at 4 p.m. in Kiefer Lakefront Arena.
Landrieu served in the United States Senate from 1996 to 2014. During her tenure, she became chair of the Senate’s Homeland Security Appropriation Subcommittee. She also chaired the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship from 2009-2014, and the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources from 2014-2015.
In the weeks after Hurricane Katrina, Landrieu gained national attention for work she did to help the response effort, delivering tens of billions of dollars in aid for New Orleans and the surrounding region. Her work was instrumental in transforming FEMA to be a more able and reliable partner in the rebuilding process.
Her efforts directly benefitted SUNO, which in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina used a $44 million low-interest loan to construct a 699-bed student and faculty housing facility. This transformed SUNO from a commuter to a residential campus. In addition, the loan — thanks again to Landrieu — has been forgiven.
Born in Arlington, Va., Landrieu is the daughter of Verna and Moon Landrieu, a former mayor of New Orleans. She also is the sister of current New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. She was raised in New Orleans and attended Ursuline Academy. She graduated from Louisiana State University in 1977, where she was a member of Delta Gamma Sorority. Before entering politics, she worked as a real estate agent.
She is married to attorney Frank Snellings. They have two children and one grandchild.