Louisiana Division/City Archives   New Orleans Public Library

Image of the Month
September 2008

This image from July 1941 shows workers spreading asphalt to form one of the two runways that served the U.S. Naval Reserve Air Training Base at Lakeshore Drive and Elysian Fields Avenue. Construction of the facility was a joint project of the WPA and the Navy, and it was completed just in time for the beginning of World War II. The role of the lakefront base changed several times during and after that conflict. When a new Naval Air Station opened farther to the East on Lake Pontchartrain the old installation closed abd shortly thereafter the state selected its site for a new institution of higher learning for young New Orleanians.

Louisiana State University in New Orleans opened on the old Navy site in time for the 1958 fall semester. At first the University operated from repurposed military barracks buildings and other structures. Over the last fifty years UNO (the name was changed to University of New Orleans in 1974) has grown tremendously and has erected new buildings to house its various activities. As new facilities came online the old Navy-era structures were demolished. Today just about all that remains of the old facility is the smokestack shown near the middle of this photograph. That red brick smokestack is now the focal point for the University's Homer L. Hitt Alumni and Visitors Center.

The University of New Orleans celebrates its fiftieth anniversary this month! Click HERE for a calendar of the celebration.

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Click HERE to visit our old (1996-2007) Images of the Month Gallery archives.

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