Gordon Stevens - President, CEO & Co-Owner
Gordon Stevens grew up on the banks of the Mighty Mississippi, catching snakes and snapping turtles behind the levee and watching cargo ships pass by. The river got into his blood, as he says, but he could not have imagined he would one day be the steward of a river icon, the last authentic steamboat on the Mississippi, and an international symbol of New Orleans.
As President, CEO, and co-owner of The New Orleans Steamboat Company and Gray Line New Orleans, Mr. Stevens is at the helm of a company that has the privilege and responsibility of sharing the history, hospitality, and culture of New Orleans with millions of visitors through three daily Steamboat Natchez cruises and 13 different sightseeing tours.
This sense of stewardship was never stronger than during the years post-Katrina, as he successfully navigated The New Orleans Steamboat Company through one of the region's most difficult chapters and the company's gravest days. Five years later, just as the company was beginning to see the light, the recession and banking crisis hit. The company's survival was again threatened, as their bank divested all tourism industry loans. Mr. Stevens managed to find one local bank and successfully appealed to its chairman to refinance their loans.
As a father of seven, he also felt a great responsibility to preserve the livelihood of his employees. His favorite part of his job is seeing many of his staff growing up from young men and women, starting and growing their families, and progressing in their professions. Today more than 43 employees have been with the company for more than 10 years.
In 2014 Gray Line New Orleans, the city's oldest and largest sightseeing company turned 90 and in 2015 the Steamboat Natchez celebrates its 40th anniversary—both stronger than ever.
Guided by the strong Catholic traditions he was raised with, Mr. Stevens has held many leadership roles in organizations that make the community a better place. He was President of Legatus and currently serves on the Board of the Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Regents of Our Lady of Holy Cross College.
During his 12 year tenure on the Board of the Catholic Foundation of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, he has seen the Foundation's assets doubled to approximately $94 million. This foundation is the planned giving entity for the Archdiocese and distributes about $10 million annually to a variety of worthy ministries. In 2015 he will serve as the Foundation's President.
He has also served on the Board of numerous professional organizations, such as the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau and French Quarter Festivals. One of the highlights of his professional career was being elected by his peers as President of the National Passenger Vessel Association in 1992 after 13 years of Board service.
Gordon Stevens is also part owner of Café Beignet and Frostop Restaurants and President of M.G. Stevens Corporation, a family real estate investment company.