KENNER, La. — It was just about 60 years ago when New Orleans city leaders cut the ribbon on the old Moisant International Airport.
The mayor’s office back then said that the terminal would “give New Orleans one of the newest and finest facilities of its kind in the nation.”
But that was 1959. Wednesday morning, just across from the old terminal, the new MSY was open for business and by most accounts, seemed to be a rousing success, with the only problem seeming to be in getting there, but even that wasn't too bad on this day. .
“We definitely celebrate the past, but we want to celebrate the future too,” said Aaron Age, who worked at the Dooky Chase’s restaurant at the old terminal and now work’s at Leah’s Kitchen in the new one.
He said that his first impression of the new billion-dollar facility leftt him in awe.
“The size of the place. The size is amazing. And, all the people are friendly. There is no place like New Orleans.”
The new facility features free wi-fi access, some mother's rooms, pet relief areas, a Delta SkyClub and charging stations at every other seat.
For those who want to eat while they are waiting, there are places to eat that range from New Orleans' specialties like Leah's Kitchen, Mopho, PJ's, Ye Olde College Inn, Mopho, Flose Market, Munch Factory, Mondo, Angelo Brocato's and Emeril's Table. There are also some fast-food staples like Smoothie King, Panda Express, Lucky Dog, Starbucks and Chick-fil-A.
There were a lot of questions if the oft-delayed terminal could open without any problems. Lines at the ticket counters on Wednesday were not long.
One couple said they had a little trouble finding their airline on the new LED boards.
“Possibly when their ticket counter opens up, these LED screens will change and say Alaska Airlines on it,” said Chelsea Randrup, a visitor from Anchorage.
Lines at the single, giant TSA checkpoint on the second floor seemed to move well. Lieutenant General Russell Honore, who saw the city during its worst times during Hurricane Katrina, was glad to see the change.
“I fly out of here at least once or twice a week,” he said. “This is a great improvement and it’s representative of what the city and the people of Louisiana deserve – a modern, safe airport. It’s been great.”
Honore was not the only one to come away impressed.
“It’s a complete night and day difference,” said Caroline Rosen of New Orleans. “This represents New Orleans. You can feel the hospitality as you’re walking around and it makes me proud to be a New Orleanian.”