The Wedell-Williams Air Service pilots entered air races across the country from 1928 through 1935. These races kept the viewers in suspense as the aircraft circled the pylons that marked the race course. The crowds usually only saw a portion of the…

After the formation of the Wedell-Williams Air Service, Harry Williams established a base of operations on what was once Calumet Plantation by clearing a sugarcane field. This airport offered hangars and a grass landing field, but it also featured…

In 1928, Harry Williams, the lumber man and former mayor of Patterson, LA, met Menefee Airways pilot James Wedell and received flying lessons from him. The two instantly became friends despite their highly dissimilar backgrounds. Wedell came…

The Air Service hit its height in 1933 and 1934, but it experienced a period of decline partially due to the construction of the Shushan Airport in November 1933. The air service took a bigger hit with the death of Jimmy Wedell in June 1934. His…

The Wedell-Williams Airport saw quite a bit of excitement after it opened in early 1931. The Ford company sponsored a series of annual air tours dubbed “The National Air Tour,” with the 1931 tour being the final one. The National Air Tour, led…

The Wedell-Williams Air Service sold and distributed planes, taught the next generation of pilots and mechanics, and transported passengers. To sell planes, the air service received informational pamphlets from aircraft companies on new planes…

As the Wedell-Williams Air Service expanded their air service, a new airport was under construction near Harahan in Jefferson Parish. Costing $63,000, the airport featured a 100 foot x 120 foot steel arch weld hangar with a concrete floor, complete…

Abe L. Shushan Collection (MSS 23), Louisiana and Special Collections Department, Earl K. Long Library, University of New Orleans. “Airplane Lines, Railways, Paved Highways speed Travel to City,” Times-Picayune, Jan. 25, 1937, Scrapbook #72,…

The tour ends at the Moffett Hangar. The Shushan Airport was one of the most advanced airports in the country in the 1930s. The Orleans Levee Board had to keep extending the runways to accommodate the newer and increasingly larger passenger planes,…

On February 9, 1934, the first Mardi Gras after Prohibition was repealed, hundreds of people crowded around the airport to see the Pan-American Air Races. Abraham Shushan, the Henderson brothers (air race promoters), and Harry Williams planned these…

You are currently standing in front of the Lindbergh/Williams hangar. This hangar, the administration building behind you, and the Moffett hangar across the driveway were the airport’s original three buildings; space for nine more hangars and other…

In the 1920s, all of this land, including what is under your feet, was unsightly marshland and fishing camps. In 1922, Abraham Shushan, the President of the Board of Commissioners of the Orleans Levee District, pushed for a lakefront improvement…