The History Of New Orleans’ Lakefront Airport

Lakefront Airport in New Orleans, Louisiana, has a rich history dating back to its construction in the 1920s. The airport has served as a significant aviation hub and witnessed various transformations and events over the years.

Construction of Lakefront Airport began in 1928 and was completed in 1933. Back then, it was known as Shushan Airport, named after its founder, Abram M. Shushan. The airport was a pioneering project as it was built entirely on land reclaimed from Lake Pontchartrain, making it the only airport in the United States with this unique feature.

In its early days, Shushan Airport was one of the most advanced aviation facilities in the country. It featured a state-of-the-art terminal building designed in a distinctive Art Deco style by the prominent architectural firm, Weiss, Dreyfous & Seiferth. The terminal building is still an architectural gem and stands proud as a reminder of the airport’s historic past.

During the 1930s, Lakefront Airport gained prominence as the primary commercial airport for New Orleans. It served as a hub for several airlines, including Eastern Air Lines and Delta Air Lines. The airport also hosted the National Air Races in 1934, showcasing some of the fastest and most innovative aircraft of the time.

Lakefront Airport played a crucial role during World War II. The United States Army Air Corps took over the facility and utilized it as a training base for pilots and mechanics. The airport’s location near the Gulf of Mexico made it an ideal spot for flight training exercises. Numerous military aircraft were stationed at the airport, and it played a significant role in the war effort.

After the war, Lakefront Airport returned to civilian use and experienced a period of growth and development. It continued to serve as a commercial airport and witnessed the introduction of jet service in the 1960s. However, with the opening of the larger and more modern Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport in the 1950s, Lakefront Airport gradually transitioned into a general aviation facility.

Today, Lakefront Airport is primarily used for general aviation activities, including private and corporate aircraft operations, flight training, and various aviation events. The terminal building has been restored and renovated, preserving its original art deco features. The airport also houses the New Orleans Lakefront Airport Museum, which provides visitors with a glimpse into its rich aviation history.

In conclusion, the history of New Orleans’ Lakefront Airport is a testament to its enduring significance in the city’s aviation landscape. From its innovative construction on reclaimed land to its role in World War II and subsequent transformations, the airport remains a vital part of New Orleans’ aviation heritage.

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