For four days in February of 1934, New Orleans and the State of Louisiana celebrated the dedication of Shushan Airport, on the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain. Renamed New Orleans Airport in 1940, then New Orleans Lakefront Airport in 1964, it was the first combined land-sea air terminal in the United States, featuring one of the nation’s first Art Deco terminal buildings designed for serving commercial airline passengers. Its opening preceded that of the famous New York LaGuardia Marine Air Terminal by almost one year.
Restoration of the historic terminal building will get under way Feb. 11.
Very few of the Art Deco air terminals that served the United States in the 1930s and through World War II, often called the Golden Age of Aviation, have been preserved. The Lakefront Terminal Building and its two adjacent original hangars comprise one of the oldest and most historic aviation properties in the country.
Lakefront Airport played a critical role in post-Katrina rescue of citizens from flood waters and rooftops. It has served continuously as New Orleans’ premier business aviation airport since 1946 and is an economic engine for the southeast Louisiana region and the City of New Orleans, city officials pointed out as they announced the start of restoration work.
Owned by the Orleans Levee District, Non-Flood Assets under the Louisiana Division of Administration, the entire airport is undergoing massive restoration and rebuilding, including four new hangars to replace those destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The historic terminal building is being restored to its original 1934 design.