New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Monday, May 27, 2024
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Moisant Airport

In the mid 1930's, it became apparent to the city of New Orleans that the

municipal airport located on the lakefront was no longer large enough to service
the city's growing air transportation needs. Expansion of the lakefront
facilities was considered too costly. An Aviation Division of the Department of
Public Property of the City of New Orleans was then formed to coordinate with
the Civil Aviation Authority (now the FAA) to establish a New Orleans

The Aviation Division at that time was headed by Douglas O. Langstaff - an aviation enthusiast. Langstaff recognized the need to obtain a surplus of land to formulate what he thought would be needed for future expansion plans of any new airport. This, along with the regulations of the CAA stipulating that the distance of an airport from a city center should be a minimum of six miles, resulted in the selection of Kenner as the site for a new airport. The proposed new airport was named for John Moisant, an early aviation pioneer, in 1940. The Kenner site was approved by the City and 648 acres was purchased.

However, before any construction began, the United States became involved in World War II in December, 1941. The land for Moisant Field was taken over by the U.S. Government for use as an air base. Facilities were constructed on this land by the Federal Government and were used by the Army until the end of the war in August 1945. In 1946, the Federal Government returned the land plus 295 adjacent acres to the City of New Orleans.

In May, 1946, a commercial air service began at Moisant Field. By January, 1947, the airport was considered to be one of the largest commercial airports in the nation encompassing 1360 acres of land and included three 5000 foot runways and one 7000 foot runway. In addition, it was the first airport to install an Instrument Landing System. In 1959, a new terminal and two new concourses were dedicated. The official name of the airport was changed in 1960 from Moisant Field to New Orleans International Airport.

Source: - The Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport