Flight Over South Pole


Second only to Lindbergh’s epic in firing the enthusiasm of the public were Admiral Byrd’s achievements at the South Pole. In this panel, the big triple-motored Ford monoplane “Floyd Bennett” is shown taking off from the ice for a flight over the Pole.

In the ice-locked harbor on the edge of the forbidding Ross Barrier lies the “City of New York”, the three-masted rigger which carried the expedition as near to the Pole as the great barrier permitted.

It is the beginning of winter, and the Aurora Australis, glowing like a prismatic fan, spreads across the horizon. (Friends of New Orleans Lakefront Airport)

The second in the series of posts about the Gonzalez murals in former Shushan Airport, Admiral Byrd’s Flight Over the South Pole, like the others, had been covered by rice paper to protect it from the 1964 remodeling project that encased the entire airport, including the murals, in steel and concrete and wooden panels.  Elise Grenier, who holds a master’s degree in art history from LSU and diplomas in art restoration from Italian universities, has restored artworks in historic buildings in Louisiana and in Italy, and owns an art conservation company in Baton Rouge, and one in Florence, Italy.  Of the restoration process, Grenier said

It’s like surgery.  You don’t know what’s ahead.  The most important phase is testing to determine materials, what they can withstand during restoration and what the issues are.  When the treatment is correct and successful, it is a wonderful feeling. (John R. Kemp, 2016, Xavier Gonzalez: Restoring a Golden Age in Aviation in New Orleans, myNewOrleans.com)


According to Grenier, Gonzalez “wanted to capture the beauty and safety of flying, which was still very new to most people.”

This entry was posted in Art Deco architecture, Louisiana, New Deal Administration, New Orleans and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Flight Over South Pole

  1. Beth says:

    Astounding murals! And, yes, he did capture the beauty of flying to faraway places and seeing things unimaginable. How far we’ve come with not only aviation, but photography and virtual travel. In our digital world we’ve lost some of the aspect of seeing and discovering real places. Terrorists have mandated that the friendly skies be filled with checkpoint lines and delays. What a beautiful airport – I assume you’ve been in there for a visit? And, the nuclear shelter intrigues me. Have you encountered any pictures relating to it?


    • Suzassippi says:

      Yes, I was there in September for my first visit. I was there for a conference, for which I had done a loooooootttttt of research, but there were issues with travel and health, and I was not able to make the conference (though the research did at least). However, cuz and I did go out to the airport and stop back by the park for a brief visit before I had to turn around and drive back to Jackson for work. Honestly, sometimes it is just a pain to be so famous and in such demand. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Suzassippi says:

    And no, have not seen any photos of the 1960s nuclear fall out shelter make over, although I am sure they are out there somewhere.


  3. Suzassippi says:

    I would “like” your comment, but I do not seem to see that option, Beth, so suffice it to say 🙂 🙂 🙂


  4. socialbridge says:

    Suz, I love the mural but still have doubts about the beauty and safety of flying (which I hate!)


    • Suzassippi says:

      Perhaps you will be convinced by the time I post the other 6 murals of flight. 🙂 It is no doubt safer today than then, given there were 2 plane crashes and 2 deaths at the opening of the Shushan Airport gala air show. As someone who once took flying lessons, I do think the beauty of flight is amazing…but let’s just say I decided not to solo after the gut-wrenching deliberate stall and downward spiral spin toward earth. You had to have a LOT of confidence in your instructor.


  5. Suzassippi says:

    🙂 Only a small single engine Cessna.


  6. Sheryl says:

    I’m always amazed by how fascinated people seemed to be in the early 1900’s by people who explored the north and south poles. A few years ago I read a 1912 novel, called The Woman Thou Gavest Me that was about a woman who fell in love with an explorer who was trying to get to the south pole. It seemed really dated and over the top. I struggled to get through the book, yet it so clearly demonstrated how the role of women has changed over the years, that I’m glad I persevered.


    • Suzassippi says:

      I imagine that we were fascinated by a lot of new discoveries during that time. I recall struggling through Love in the Time of Cholera, and then being glad I kept on with it. It has been true of Crazy Horse’s Girlfriend, too, so I guess there is something to be said for keeping on, though so far, I have not managed to do so with a couple of others that I thought I would love and did not.

      Liked by 1 person

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