But for one weekend in April 2022, skateboarders from across the United States came to give the terminal life once more. The second annual Red Bull Terminal Takeover pitted teams of skaters against each other to pull off the best tricks in the abandoned space, giving new purpose to the old building.
Repurposing airports as other public mixed-use spaces isn’t a new concept, especially in Europe. Berlin’s old Tempelhof Airport has been reclaimed as a public park and commerce center (though some of the “commerce” suggested for the site has raised a couple of eyebrows). And the recently closed Berlin Tegel Airport received numerous repurposing suggestions, including becoming a club venue in the future.
Although abandoned and slowly being deconstructed, the old MSY terminal has found plenty of ways to stay relevant without aircraft. The Associated Press reports various television and film projects have used the space as a filming location for generic office shoots, ranging from a hospital or office to an actual airport. The space was featured in the films “Girls Trip” and “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.”
This marks the second time Red Bull has taken over the terminal as a skatepark. For two days, skater teams from across the United States used five areas of the old terminal to pull off tricks many only dream of. Terminal C, one of the baggage claim areas, the parabola terminal building built in 1959, the old ticketing area for American Airlines, Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines, and even a portion of the tarmac was turned into a skater’s paradise.
The juxtaposition of life around the abandoned spaces left behind – from the gates stocked with ticketing paper, to the old Delta Air Lines Sky Club space in the – was haunting. Although New Orleans is known for its ghost culture, walking the halls of the old terminals seemed to be a bridge between this life and one past.
Although Hollywood is bullish on making the space the next great sound stage of Louisiana, the future for the historic building is unclear. Multiple attempts to connect with MSY about the future of the airport were unsuccessful, leaving plenty of questions about what will happen to the jet-age building designed by Goldstein Parham & Labouisse, Herbert A. Benson and George J. Riehl – and the artifacts that remain from a long, lost time in American air travel.
But for one weekend, the space was once again filled with excited chatter, plenty of flight and anticipation of what adventures come next. From here, the teams will create a two-minute highlight reel of their best tricks from the old building, with public voting starting soon. The team with the most votes will receive a $5,000 prize to benefit their local skating scene.
Perhaps the biggest prize everyone there shared is the ability for one last time to appreciate the gilded jet age, and once again appreciate the infrastructure that connected New Orleans to the world.
All Photos: Joe Cortez for FlyerTalk
Ed. Note: As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary services in covering this story. While it has not influenced this article, FlyerTalk believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.
Source: frugal travel guy