January 8, 1954
The Southern Pacific Railroad’s Sunset Limited became the first train to use the newly opened New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal (NOUPT). This train, which had begun its journey on the west coast, arrived at NOUPT at 4:35 p.m. At 5:00 p.m., the Illinois Central Railroad’s Panama Limited became the first train to depart from the new facility. That train was headed for Chicago.
NOUPT was widely considered to be a state-of-the-art terminal for that time. It had been designed by a group of New Orleans-based architectural firms to consolidate passenger rail operations within the city. The facility was formally dedicated a little less than four months after it began operations.
William G. Zetzmann, chairman of the Terminal Board, officiated at the ceremony. New Orleans Mayor deLesseps S. Morrison, Sr., was among the public officials on hand for this event, and it was his six-year-old daughter Corine Ann who christened the building. The bottle that she used for that task contained water from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans; the Great Lakes; the Gulf of Mexico; and the Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Rio Grande Rivers.
A few days later, Clayton Rand recounted the dedication of NOUPT in his column for the Town Talk newspaper in Alexandria, Louisiana. Rand described the facility as “a compact, streamlined, airconditioned structure with a spacious concourse, a cafe and cocktail lounge.” He also noted that “the interior walls are finished in marble and aluminum.”
NOUPT remains a vital public transportation hub both within the Big Easy and for regions well beyond it. The facility is now served by Amtrak, Greyhound Lines, and the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority. NOUPT has also been an essential part of its hometown in other respects. In 2005, for example, it played a key role in the large-scale recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina.
Photo Credit: Infrogmation (licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en)
For more information on the New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal (NOUPT), please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Orleans_Union_Passenger_Terminal and http://archives.nolalibrary.org/~nopl/exhibits/choochoo/page4.htm