Columns » Blake Pontchartrain: New Orleans Trivia

Blake Pontchartrain: What's the structure atop the U.S. Postal Service building on Loyola Ave.?

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Hey Blake,

Can you tell me anything about the structure atop the U.S. Postal Service building on Loyola Ave.? It appears to have antennae, perhaps microwave, but the structure itself could even be an art sculpture.


Dear Morgan,

  The white structure atop the U.S. Postal Service building at 701 Loyola Ave. does resemble modern art, but the folks there say it's actually a radar tower. Why does the Post Office need radar? The answer has very little to do with the mail and everything to do with meteorology.

  The radar tower is a holdover from when the U.S. Weather Bureau, better known since 1970 as the National Weather Service (NWS), was located there. The Weather Bureau moved to the 14th floor of the Loyola Avenue building in 1961, shortly after that facility was opened. Prior to that, from 1915 to 1961, local forecasters were based in the Post Office building at 600 Camp St. near Lafayette Square.

  In 1979, the NWS office moved to a building on Old Spanish Trail in Slidell. In 1994, it relocated to its current office in northwest Slidell. According to its website, the local NWS has one of the longest histories of any forecast office in the U.S. It was established in 1870 and originally was located at 281 Carondelet St. It moved to Iberville Street a short time later, eventually settling in the U.S. Custom House for many years before moving downtown.


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