Road Trip #007 – US-61 North – New Orleans

Welcome back to 504 Road Trips. On today’s Road Trip, we will drive along U.S. Highway 61 from Mid-City New Orleans to Laplace, Louisiana We start out a bit before the beginning of Highway 61 at the corner of Camp Street and Common Street in the New Orleans Central Business District Common Street becomes Tulane Avenue at the corner of Rampart Street Visible on the left is the abandoned Charity Hospital which was heavily damaged in Hurricane Katrina and has been closed ever since Built in 1939, the building is an urban explorer’s dream, but is heavily secured and nearly impossible to infiltrate Between Claiborne and Broad, we are temporarily on U.S. Highway 90 East U.S. Highway 61 begins here at the corner of Tulane Avenue and South Broad, and continues north, roughly parallel to the Mississippi River all the way to the town of Wyoming, Minnesota At one time, the route reached Grand Portage, Minnesota nearly at the Canadian border Tulane Avenue has traditionally been a multi-lane road with a very narrow median and as a result, left turns are not allowed, as vehicles waiting to turn have no way of getting out of the way of traffic. Currently, there is a project as can be seen here that will widen the median and allow for left turn lanes at major intersection as well as add recessed parking bays on the right side of the street. This section of Tulane Avenue has seen redevelopment in recent years and is now home to some more-upscale businesses At the junction of I-10, Tulane Avenue becomes Airline Highway. In Jefferson Parish, the

name changes to Airline Drive. The name was changed to alleviate the reputation of this stretch of highway as being the home of seedy motels after a prominent televangelist was caught with a prostitute Here we see the Airline/Causeway flying roundabout This is a 3-level stacked roundabout meaning that Airline Highway and Causeway Boulevard are grade-separated. Traffic on Airline goes through an underpass and traffic on Causeway on an overpass. This roundabout is in-between and is used only if you want to change direction at the junction…or in our case, just to have a bit of fun On the left is the New Orleans Saints training facility, and then Zephyr Stadium, home of the New Orleans Zephyrs baseball team The name “Airline Highway” refers to the nearly straight path that the highway takes between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, in contrast to the older, meandering Jefferson Highway that follows the bends in the Mississippi River

The name pre-dates the construction of Louis Armstrong International Airport, and the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport, both of which happen to be on Airline Highway On the right is Louis Armstrong International Airport. The original name of the airport was Moisant Field, named for daredevil pilot John Bevins Moisant, who died in a plane crash nearby on New Year’s Eve of 1910. The site of the crash became known as Moisant Stockyard, and several years later when the first airport was built in Kenner, it was named for Moisant and received the IATA airport code of MSY in the 1930s. Even though the Moisant name is a thing of the past, the MSY abbreviation still persists As we leave the Kenner area, we travel through an industrial area called St. Rose We pass under Interstate 310, an elevated roadway that crosses the LaBranche Wetlands I-310 is a spur that connects I-10, just west of Kenner, and the town of Boutte at U.S Highway 90 on the Westbank of the Mississippi River We continue through the wetlands, and then into another industrial area with oil refineries

The town of Norco, whose name is derived from New Orleans Refining Company is home to a large Shell oil refinery as well as a Valero refinery After leaving Norco, we travel across the Bonnet Carre Spillway. This floodway consists of a river control structure which is used to divert water from the Mississippi River into Lake Pontchartrain when the river reaches flood stage. This is used to protect the levees in the City of New Orleans when the water reaches a certain level. The spillway was opened for several weeks in 2016 and was closed around 4 weeks ago Today’s roadtrip will conclude in Laplace, Louisiana. Laplace is known as the “Andouille Capital of the World” and is the southern terminus of U.S. Highway 51 and Interstate 55. The headquarters of the Port of South Louisiana is located in Laplace This is the end of our trip for today. Thanks for watching, please subscribe, and join us

for our next 504 Road Trip!