But what about the old terminal? It hasn’t been torn or repurposed for anything permanent just yet. Which made the empty main hall, gate halls, and baggage carousels perfect backdrops recently for a thrilling Red Bull Terminal Takeover by daring skateboarders.
The continuing series celebrates features and amenities at airports around the country and the world.
We’re trying to keep our lists to just 5 cool things about each airport, but you are invited to add ‘bonus’ favorites in the comments below.
*Note that some of the things we love at airports may be temporarily closed or suspended due to COVID-19 concerns, but we’re pretty sure they are coming back.
5 Things We Love About Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY)
MSY debuted its new $1.3 billion terminal building in November 2019 to serve 16 airlines with 35 gates spread out across three concourses.
1. Live music as MSY
Any trip to New Orleans involves live music. And that includes live music at the airport on arrival – and before you leave. The new terminal has music stages in the bag claim area and in the terminal.
2. The shops and restaurants
The new MSY is filled with restaurants and bars that represent local favorites, including Lucky Dogs, Cafe Du Monde, Emeril’s Table, Leah’s Kitchen and many more.
Great souvenirs of New Orleans can be found at the MSY as well.
3. The MSY Treewall
The Treewall at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) is an impressive three-story artwork portraying an oak tree that sits right in the middle of the airport’s main terminal area. It not only offers a great sense of place; it’s a great meeting place and, of course, a great photo opp spot.
4. MSY’s “Meet an Alligator” program
Every Friday the Audubon Nature Institute brings a few juvenile alligators to MSY airport so passengers can learn about these creatures and get a souvenir photo.
5. MSY’s K9 Krewe
Alligators aren’t the only animals that visit MSY on a regular basis.
The airport has a therapy animal program called MSY K9 KREWE.
13 dogs and their owners make visits to MSY to help decrease travel anxiety and hang out with travelers.
Did we miss something you love about MSY?
If we missed your favorite feature or amenity at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY), please leave a note in the comment section below.
Want to nominate an airport for the series or sponsor one of the episodes? Get in touch.
Airports in the “5 Things We Love About …” series. So far:
The pilot DTW Destination Pass program
at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) which allows non-ticketed
passengers past the security checkpoint began in October and was supposed to
end this week.
But so many non-ticketed visitors are
interested in visiting DTW airport to shop, dine, check out airplanes and spend
more time with friends and family starting or ending their travels that airport
officials have decided to keep the program going indefinitely.
“We understand that our facility is more than
just an airport—it is a place where memories are made,” said WCAA CEO Chad
Newton, “One participant of the program shared with us that she was able to
bring her 3-year-old nephew to the airport to greet his parents and see
airplanes for the first time.”
The DTW Destination Pass program is limited to 75 visitor passes per day. Passes can be used from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Check the DTW website for details about applying for a pass.
Where else can you get an airport gate pass?
DTW is just the latest airport to welcome non-ticketed passengers past the security checkpoint.
In December, Seattle-Tacoma International
Airport (SEA) brought back and made permanent the SEA Visitor Pass program, which
gives non-ticketed guests access to the secure side of the airport.
Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) started
the trend by introducing the myPITPass program in
August 2017. That program operates Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tampa International Airport (TPA) began
offering its All Access pass in April, 2019, welcoming guests on
And Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) began welcoming non-ticketed guests into the new terminal on December 4.
The MSY Guest Pass is offered seven days a week, with a limit of 50 visitors Monday through Friday and 100 visitors on Saturdays and Sundays.
Gate pass program at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International
the Louis Armstrong New Orleans
International Airport (MSY) is joining the list of airports that invite and
allow non-ticketed guests airside, past security to shop, dine, listen to live
music and spend more time with friends and family leaving for trips or coming
The free MSY Guest Pass program kicks off December
4 and will be available seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. MSY officials say the airport will issue no more
than 50 passes on weekdays and no more than 100 passes each Saturday and Sunday.
an MSY Guest Pass will need to sign up 24 hours in advance and provide their
full name, date of birth and contact information. Visitors under 18 will need
to be accompanied by an adult.
Pass holders must
still pass through the security checkpoint and all pass holders will be limited
to one visit per month.
MSY is justifiably proud of its shiny new terminal, which has branches of local shops such as Dirty Coast and Fleurty Girl and restaurants from award-winning chefs, including Emeril Lagasse, John Folse, Michael Gullotta, Susan Spicer, and the late Leah Chase and her family.
Have a little bit of extra time to spend in New Orleans? Here are some ideas we gathered recently for a story on CNBC.
Yes, New Orleans is a party town with bars and music on every corner and a festival – or three – in the streets just about every weekend.
But get off Bourbon Street and you’ll find plenty of other distractions.
Stroll along Royal Street, where you’ll find art galleries, souvenir shops and boutiques, including Fleur de Paris (523 Royal St.) a colorful custom millinery and couture shop that boasts of being the largest millinery shop in the country.
630 Royal St., M.S. Rau Antiques has
been selling high-end art, antiques, jewelry and exotic other items for more
than a century. The 25,000-square-foot gallery feels more like a museum than a
shop, with an ever-changing display of odd and eclectic items. If you’re a
serious shopper, you may be invited into a secret room to see rare
The Historic New Orleans Collection is nearby, with free exhibitions at 520 Royal St., (which has a nice gift shop and the Café Cour courtyard bistro) and at 533 Royal St. and 410 Chartres. Free organ tours are offered Tuesday through Sunday at 520 Royal and there are free tours available via the museum’s smartphone tours and app.
Lunch spots to check out include Cochon, serving a modern, unpretentious take on Cajun food (in the Warehouse Arts District about three blocks from the Convention Center); Compère Lapin(French for ‘brother rabbit; also in the Warehouse Arts District), which has a Caribbean-inspired menu, and Domenica, an Italian restaurant in the elegantly restored downtown Roosevelt Hotel New Orleans.
The new Sazerac House museum (and working distillery) at Canal & Magazine Street has a free self-guided, multi-media tour exploring the history of New Orleans through the Sazerac and other cocktails. Admission is free (reservation encouraged for busy times) and complimentary samples of three cocktails are included.
If you can, squeeze in a mid-to-late
afternoon in-town visit to another of New Orleans’ many museums. Some top-rated
ones include the New
Orleans Jazz Museum (400 Esplanade, in the historic U.S
Mint; Admission $8); the National World War II Museum (945 Magazine St.; Admission: $28.50, $18 for military with ID and
free for WWII veterans).
Or grab a taxi, Uber or street car (Fare $1.25; $3 for a day pass) and head out to City Park and the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), which has a permanent collection of almost 50,000 objects. Museum admission is $15, but there is no fee to tour the museum’s twelve-acre Besthoff Sculpture Garden, which has more than 90 sculptures in a lush Southern landscape with magnolias, camellias, and 200-year-old moss-laden live oaks.
Pay attention to the dress code (business attire, jackets for men, no flip flops, jeans discouraged) and consider this also as a lunch option weekdays, when 2-course specials and 25-cent martinis (limited to 3 per person) are served, or for the weekend Jazz Brunch.
For something more casual, try Coop’s Placein the French Quarter, where the house specialties are seafood gumbo and a rabbit & sausage jambalaya.
You can ease into the evening with a cocktail just about anywhere. Some popular options in the French Quarter include the historic French 75 Bar at Arnaud’s Restaurant (813 Rue Bienville); the rotating Carousel Bar & Lounge at the Hotel Monteleone (214 Royal St.)and the intimate wine-centric Patrick’s Bar Vin (730 Bienville St.) at the Hotel Mazarin.
For live music of all stripes and a “not
Bourbon Street-crazy” street scene, locals point visitors to the clubs on Frenchmen Street, in the Marigny neighborhood, not far from the French Quarter. Some
popular venues there include Snug Harbor, d.b.a, The Maison, the Spotted Cat, Blue Nile and
the Apple Barrel.
Leaving New Orleans
When it comes time to leave town, be sure
to head for the airport early.
Cab or ride-hailed (Uber or Lyft)
journeys to the airport start at about $36 and can take upwards of half an
hour, depending on traffic and time of day.