Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields:

Louisiana: Western New Orleans area

© 2002, © 2019 by Paul Freeman. Revised 1/29/19.

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Wedell-Williams Airport / New Orleans Airport / Naval Outlying Landing Field 22508,

New Orleans, LA

29.951, -90.186 (West of Downtown New Orleans, LA)

An August 1933 aerial photo (courtesy of John Anderson) depicted Wedell-Williams Airport as having an unusual angled outline

with an oval outline following the angled shape, and at least 2 aircraft visible near a single small hangar on the east side.



The Wedell-Williams Air Service operated flights between New Orleans & their facility in Patterson, LA.

In 1930 they established the Wedell-Williams Airport, according to a historical plaque erected at the site in 1990.



The earliest directory reference to the Wedell-Williams Airport which has been located

was in the September 1931 Commerce Department Descriptions of Airports & Landing Fields (according to David Brooks).

It described Wedell-Williams Airport as a commercial airport consisting of an iregularly-shaped 142-acre sod field.

The field was said to have 2 runways, with the longest being 2,600'.



The earliest depiction which has been located of Wedell-Williams Airport

was an August 1933 aerial view (courtesy of John Anderson, Director of LSU's Cartographic Information Center).

It depicted Wedell-Williams Airport as having an unusual angled outline

with an oval outline following the angled shape, and at least 2 aircraft visible near a single small hangar on the east side.



The earliest aeronautical chart depiction which has been located of Wedell-Williams Airport

was on the 1934 Navy Aviation Chart V-242 (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



Wedell-Williams Airport, as depicted on the 1935 New Orleans Sectional Chart.



An undated photo of Raymond Braud at the Wedell-Williams Airport.

According to Vincert Caire (author of Louisiana Aviation: An Extraordinary History in Photographs),

“Braud was the airport manager there & remained until Wedell-Williams was purchased by Eastern in 1936”.



By 1936 both founders of the Wedell-Williams company had died in air crashes, according to a historical plaque erected at the site in 1990.



An undated aerial view looking north at the “New Orleans” Airport

from The Airport Directory Company's 1937 Airport Directory (courtesy of Bob Rambo).

It described the field as a commercial airport, located 4 miles west of the center of New Orleans,

and situated only 6 feet above sea level.

The field was said to consist of a 90 acre rectangular sod field.

The photo showed what could have been a single building on the east side of the field.



The 1938 USGS topo map (courtesy of John Anderson) depicted Wedell-Williams Airport as having an irregularly-shaped outline

(which followed the section lines which all make a dog leg in that area due to being based on the Mississippi River banks),

and having a single small building on the east side.



According to Brian Rehwinkel, “Two 65’ x 65’ metal hangars [were] built in 1941.”



During the Second World War, Wedell-Williams was used by the Navy as an auxiliary field

to support flight training operations at NAS New Orleans.



According to Brian Rehwinkel, “The Navy began using the field in 1942 after the US Government used (according to Navy documents) a rather unconventional way of acquiring use of the field.

In May 1942, the use of the 90 acres was condemned for a period ending 11/1/45 (the land was leased)

and all of the structures & improvements on the property were taken (bought) by the government.

So, the title to the land remained in the hands of the original owners (with the government having use of the property)

and all of the structures & any improvements (including the 2 metal hangars) became government property.

According to Navy documents created in preparation for acquiring this field, the land was owned by the Illinois Central Railroad & leased to the New Orleans Air College.”



A 5/20/43 aerial view looking west from the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock)

depicted “New Orleans NAS Auxiliary (22508 Wedell-Williams Outlying Field)” as an open grass area.






The last photo which has been located showing Wedell-Williams Airport still in operation

was a 3/9/44 USN aerial view (from the National Archives, courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel).

It depicted Wedell-Williams Airport as having a hangar on the southeast side,

and three grass runways marked on the northwest side.

A single-engine biplane was visible as just having taken off, visible over the northeast end of the southwest/northeast runway.



The April 1944 US Army/Navy Directory of Airfields (courtesy of Ken Mercer)

indicated that the Wedell-Williams Airport conducted Navy flight operations.

The field was said to be located 5.5 miles west of New Orleans, and to have a 3,800' unpaved runway.



The June 1944 New Orleans Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

labeled Wedell-Williams as “22508”, indicating that it was being used as a satellite airfield to support flight operations at NAS New Orleans,

and the numbering indicated that this field was located 225 degrees from the parent airfield, at a distance of 08 miles.



According to Brian Rehwinkel, “The Navy used the field until sometime before September 1994 when it was determined the field was no longer needed by the Navy.

A 9/15/44 photo indicates the field was probably not be used any longer, as most of the field marking you see in the March photo are no longer present.”

The 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock) described “New Orleans NAS Auxiliary (22508 Wedell-Williams Outlying Field)”

as a 118 acre rectangular property containing a 3,210' x 2,057' all-way sod landing area.

The field was said to have two 65' square metal hangars,

to be owned by the U.S. Government, and operated by the Navy.



The last aeronautical chart depiction which has been located of Wedell-Williams was on the January 1945 Beaumount Sectional Chart.

It depicted Wedell-Williams as an auxiliary airfield.



Wedell-Williams evidently closed in early 1945, as it was no longer depicted on the July 1945 Beaumont Sectional Chart.



A November 1945 aerial photo (courtesy of John Anderson) of Wedell-Williams Airport.

John Anderson noted, it “shows the area as still open land but has no obvious evidence of aero operations.”

What were the 3 large circular formations that had been added to the airport property?



A 1964 aerial photo showed the Wedell-Williams hangar had been removed at some point between 1945-64,

and 2 large industrial buildings had been built on the southeastern part of the former airfield.

The northwestern portion remained a clear grass field.



A historical plaque was erected at the site of Wedell-Williams Airport in 1990.



As seen in the 2002 USGS aerial photo, the location of Wedell-Williams Airport has been densely redeveloped,

and no recognizable trace of a former airport appears to remain.



An undated (pre-2013) photo of a historical plaque erected in 1990 at the site of Wedell-Williams Airport.



Wedell-Williams Airport was was located east of the intersection of Hickory Avenue & 10th Street.

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