When traveling this summer, it’s interesting to note that while plane technology was not as advanced, planes looked so much more stylish—and air travel seemed a lot more leisurely so many years ago. With that in mind, we take a look back at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.

During the 1930s, the New Orleans city government decided that the Lakefront Airport was too small to keep up with the city’s needs and was too expensive to expand. According to the airport’s official history, the CAA (predecessor to the FAA) stipulated that the distance of an airport from a city center should be at least a minimum of six miles, resulting in the selection of Kenner as the site for the new airport. The land was purchased, though it was taken over by the U.S. Government during World War II and used as an air base. The land was turned back over to New Orleans and in May 1946, commercial air service began at Moisant Field, named after early aviation pioneer John Moisant, who died in a plane crash in Kenner. In 1960, the airport became the New Orleans International Airport, and in 2001, Louis Armstrong’s name was added. Despite all of those name changes, today’s luggage tag still reads MSY (Moisant Stock Yards). While Moisant and the sleek lines of the old planes are no longer with us, its comforting to know one thing—MSY remains.


Plane DealingLeon Trice Photograph/courtesy of the New Orleans Public Library.

Plane DealingPhotography Unlimited photograph/courtesy of the New Orleans Public Library.

Above: Planes from several airlines lined up near Moisant International Airport’s new control tower, March 1959. The white structure to the tower’s right is the original terminal building. Left: A Delta Airlines DC-3 in front of Moisant International Airport’s original terminal building, c. 1946. Delta Airlines was founded in Monroe, La., in 1928.