Fall in New Orleans provides that rare window of perfect weather for outside activities; the heat of the summer is behind us but the cold air of winter isn’t quite upon us yet. This November, The National World War II Museum and the New Orleans Lakefront Airport provide a unique, outdoor family opportunity that also delivers a good history lesson. In partnership with the Commemorative Air Force and the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, The WWII Museum presents the World War II Airpower Expo November 4-6, with activities taking place at the newly renovated and re-opened New Orleans Lakefront Airport.
The calendar of events for the three-day expo is full of activities designed to transport you back to the WWII era. There will be hands-on activities for children and adults; a collection of historic planes, or “warbirds,” which flew missions in the war; as well as the opportunity to hear from the veteran aviators who piloted these planes decades ago. You won’t only have the chance to tour the planes, but also to see them in the sky as they perform low passes over the audience. Located in the Biouvac Area, there will be exhibits where you and your children or grandchildren can touch and experience WWII artifacts, weapons, uniforms, vehicles and explore reenactment camps. The James Weddell Hangar will be the hub for entertainment and educational activities. Even the Victory Belles, a favorite at the WWII Museum, are included in the line-up. A new addition to the Expo, the “Boot Camp” will offer adults and children the chance to experience first-hand the physical fitness demanded of our soldiers. On separate age-specific courses, you can navigate cargo nets, rope climbs and more to see if you pass the test!
Every hour, a different WWII-era air or ground vehicle will be showcased. You will be able to touch the vehicle and learn about its role in the war before it performs either ground maneuvers or takes off into the sky for an aerial show. A detailed schedule of specific vehicles is available online, and includes M3 Stuart tanks, M2 High Speed Tractors, WC-45 Ambulances, P-40 Warhawk aircraft from the Flying Tigers brigade, a B-25 Mitchell bomber, a B-17 Flying Fortress and a B-29 Superfortress, just to name a few. Adult tickets are $21 with discounts given to students, senior citizens, military veterans and museum members; there are also VIP packages. Food and beverages will be available for purchase.
The weekend of November 4-6 at Lakefront Airport offers a chance to literally touch history and talk to the heroes who were part of it.
If you cannot make the Expo weekend, I encourage you to visit the Lakefront Airport on another occasion. The airport is a rich piece of the history of New Orleans. Built in the 1930s, the Art Deco-style building was designed by the same architectural firm that built the Louisiana State Capital Building. In its heyday, the airport also housed a surgical facility and a post office. After Katrina flooded the building, it remained closed for several years. Now, after an extensive renovation, the building has been restored to its former beauty and not only houses an active airport but also a full service restaurant, Messina’s at the Terminal. Consider taking the family for brunch on a weekend and you’ll be served with a view of the private planes taxiing down and landing and taking off from runways right in front of you.
Just the Facts
World War II Airpower Expo, Friday-Sunday, November 4-6
For specific ticket prices and a schedule of events call 528-1944 or visit WW2AirPowerExpo.org
For year-round hours of operation and menus for Messina’s at the Terminal, visit MessinasTerminal.com